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ISSN 2753-7757 (Online)

Decarbonisation of home heating: calling time out


6 min read

Cartoon of a hydrogen molecule in the form of a blue teardrop shape wearing boxing gloves in a boxing ring and fighting a green heat pump Cartoon: Brian Davis
The fraught debate on the pros and cons of hydrogen boilers versus heat pumps needs to be more informed

Cartoon: Brian Davis

The debate on the decarbonisation of home heat has been gaining intensity. Oversimplified to a fight between heat pumps and hydrogen, the discourse on social media platforms is getting fraught, writes Nick Wayth, CEO of the Energy Institute.

However, it’s an important debate that we all need to understand if we’re to make informed choices that benefit our homes, our national energy demand and the path to net zero. Rather than add another voice to the online melee, we need to find space for informed debate and not get stuck in the competitive advocacy of one camp or another. This debate must lead to further understanding and greater participation by those that are making choices – government, regulators, consumers, housebuilders and landlords.


Why is this an important issue today?  
Domestic heating accounts for around one-sixth of the UK’s CO2 emissions. The UK, where 80% of UK homes are heated by natural gas, has announced bans on gas boilers in newbuild homes from 2025 and for all new boilers by 2035. Decarbonising 28mn homes whilst balancing supply and demand on the coldest, calmest winter nights is a monumental task but one that we must tackle.  


We are going to have to make choices in the years ahead, and, for many, it’s just too polarised and confusing to know what realistic options are.


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