The Green Heat Network fund, announced in the Spring Budget, has undergone an information gathering process in the last week. We take a look at the direction of UK Heat Networks and what that means for property managers.
The Green Heat Network Fund, announced in March, aims to transform UK heating by switching existing Heat Networks to low-carbon fuel sources. It will support the use of low-carbon fuel sources in newly built heat networks as well.
The pledge of £270m, in addition to the Heat Networks Industry Council (HNIC) funding, brings public sector investment to over half a billion pounds.
At the moment, there are 14,000 UK schemes providing heating and hot water to nearly half a million consumers. The call for evidence, which is an information gathering process, requested a range of insight from the sector on how decarbonisation of these schemes might be achieved:
“We are particularly interested in evidence which will inform the scope and design of the scheme, and how support arising from the fund may achieve the optimum impact.”
Since Heat Networks are more energy efficient than traditional gas boilers, there is no doubt they will become the new standard for heat supply. That being said, it will be vital to the UK’s net zero ambitions to make sure they are designed for low-carbon production. This funding looks to decarbonise existing Heat Network infrastructure as well as encouraging its construction on a bigger scale.
Heating and hot water currently make up around 20% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions. The CCC (Committee on Climate Change) estimates that Heat Networks have the potential to supply 18% of heat demand by 2050.
This means that on the road to net zero, Heat Networks present a big opportunity to reduce our carbon footprint, if they can be made greener at a national level.
The £270m contribution from the Spring Budget will become available in 2022 until 2025. On this timeline, the Green Heat Network Fund will directly support previous funding from HNIC in the construction and conversion of Heat Networks for low-carbon heat sources.
The use of the fund will be based on feedback from the sector leaders that the BEIS called on for evidence including heat network operators, local authorities, housing associations and property developers.
The added funding means an estimated 4.25m extra homes will be heated by low-carbon Heat Networks.
Support and investment in Heat Network technology will only increase as we near our 2050 net zero deadline. Property developers will be encouraged to integrate heat networks into their sites to improve their carbon profile.
The savings and increased efficiency speak for themselves, but there are unique challenges to the use of Heat Networks too. Heat Network regulation compliance will become a common responsibility among property managers and since retrofits of existing networks are at the heart of the government’s strategy, property managers will have to cope with inherited equipment and possibly historic debt.
Older equipment, specifically meters, can often come with technical problems like reduced battery life. Resulting in residents disputing their invoices and leaving property managers with unpaid bills. The problems of historic debt are self-explanatory and it can be a time consuming process to follow-up and resolve.
We have over thirty years experience overseeing the metering, billing and compliance processes of communal and district Heat Networks. Our Automatic Meter Reading (AMR) solution provides ongoing, daily consumption data to remove any room for dispute on invoices. Whether you are seeking guidance in these areas currently, or simply want to get ahead of the curve on District Heating, our team can help you out.
For a full breakdown of our services get in touch today.
“Heat networks will be a crucial part of our commitment to eliminate the UK’s contribution to climate change by 2050. I’m delighted we’re funding more heat networks all over the country and ensuring better consumer protections for those who use them.”
Andrea Leadsom, Business and Energy Secretary
As heat networks multiply, especially those based on renewable sources, robust billing and metering will become vital. Older sites may require retrofitting or the resolution of past bills, as well as assured regulatory compliance going forward.
We provide all these services under a single banner and conduct surveys to ascertain site needs before beginning work.