smart home tech

Homeowners could pay by the hour with revolutionary smart heating systems

Energy companies are pioneering new ways of heating new-build homes in preparation for the ban on gas boilers from 2025, with money-saving options for homeowners.

From 2025, it will be illegal in England to install gas boilers in new-builds, so a number of heating systems are being trialled to ease the transition from natural gas.

A 12-month pilot heating scheme by Energy Systems Catapult in partnership with Baxi Heating and UK utilities company Bristol Energy has had 100 homes across the UK testing a smart heating scheme with various different ways of paying for their energy consumption.

All 100 participating homes had smart heating systems, including low-carbon options, installed. These provided room-by-room temperature control, as well as information on the thermal performance of the home and homeowner’s individual heating behaviour.

Pay for energy by the hour not kilowatt

Homeowners were able to choose a Heat Plan based on the number of warm hours they required, rather than the traditional unit kilowatt charges. Fixed weekly or monthly prices (based on thermal efficiency data and the number of hours of warmth required) were applied.

Hydrogen boilers to revolutionise new homebuilding

A 100% hydrogen boiler was showcased by Worcester Bosch at the beginning of 2020 and is also being trialled in the UK. Other sustainable hydrogen boilers are also being designed and housebuilders are tracking their progress ahead of 2025.

Housebuilders are going to need to install low carbon heating, such as hydrogen boilers, which will revolutionise the way future homes are heated. Schemes like this one are designed to educate the public and encourage a move to more energy efficient solutions in their homes.

Around 85% of the pilot scheme homeowners confirmed that they would consider a low-carbon alternative, providing their bills would be consistent and that the system would be reliable and efficient.

All homes need to make a move to sustainability

Energy Systems Catapult hopes that the accessibility and ease of the smart heating systems could increase willingness among the public to adopt smart and low-carbon heating solutions.

Dr Matt Lipson, consumer insight business lead at Energy Systems Catapult, commented: “If people have the peace of mind that heat-as-a-service will deliver the comfort they want at a price they can afford, then when it comes time to replace their gas boiler, they will be more confident of switching to a low carbon heating system like a heat pump, district heat network or hydrogen boiler.”

Earlier this month, a study revealed that timber frame construction could store up to 700 million tonnes of carbon a year.

The Scottish government has pledged to make all new homes energy efficient by 2024. The homebuilding industry is continually exploring new ways of improving sustainability and reducing carbon emissions.

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