Carbon halved! Sparks will fly!

We at geo have been advocating for electricity to be truly valued, so we were delighted to recently discover that the Government has decided to pave the way for low-carbon heating in UK new-build homes.

Currently, gas is the defacto heating fuel for new-build homes as (according to the calculations) it releases the least amount of carbon, and is cheap to install.

But there is a cheaper and greener solution emerging – electric heating. This will most likely put shivers down the spine of most who remember poorly-insulated storage-radiators on Economy 7, but the tide is turning.

For a few years now, heat pumps and modern storage heaters, amongst other technologies have been improving, and now boast efficiencies of up to 500%! Admittedly this is rare, but 300% for an Air Source Heat Pump is regularly possible.

Despite these efficiency improvements, and the lower cost of installation, new build developers have been deterred from designing all-electric homes due to the poor emissions ratings.

We admit, this is where it gets geeky, but the impact will be seismic!

When new-build homes are designed, the designers calculate how much carbon dioxide will be emitted, when the house is occupied. To calculate this, they use the Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP). Currently SAP dictates that for every kWh of electricity used, 519g of CO2 is deemed to be released, compared to 216g from burning gas.

This has created a gulf of disparity between electrically and gas heated property designs. But not for much longer! SAP 10 announced plans to implement a carbon factor of 233gCO2/kWh, so heating from electricity will be almost equivalent to burning gas, and when you take in the improved efficiency of electrical heating, electric homes will also be recognised as the low-carbon homes they’re fast becoming.

Once ratified in building regulations in 2019/20, this change will mean homes designed to be all electric will be cheaper to build, recognised as lower carbon and offer increase flexibility for the grid.

This is where we get really interested. At geo we design and manufacture smart energy technologies to help households save money and live a lower-carbon life. We’re already preparing for this future with our smart thermostat, Cosy, specifically optimised for electrically heated homes, and Core, our in-home energy management system, that can operate IoE (Internet of Energy) systems to deliver flexibility to households and balancing for the grid.

Before we plough into living an all-electric dream, pressure should remain on developing homes that also have an energy efficient fabric, i.e. the walls are well insulated so you can keep the heat in during winter, and out during summer! Further, this increased electrification, whilst better for the environment, will stress our electrical grid in new ways. Here automated management, through systems such as Core, can provide the necessary balancing to reduce peak demand. As a household, you’ll get rewarded for doing your bit to ‘keep the lights on’.

If you’re a developer looking at how you can reduce your grid connection costs in this ever electrifying future or a householder wanting to use energy smarter then please do get in touch to discuss our simple, automated energy solutions.

In a nutshell:

  • Carbon factor from 500+ to 233, compared to 210.
  • This means electrical more comparable to gas.
  • Just higher means you’ll still need insulation, but 100% efficient so actually use less carbon,
  • Therefore easier for housebuilders to meet requirements if electrical
  • Good, for all electric agenda
  • However, if building solely on cost competition then liable to bring forth expense to heat homes
  • Management tech needed to minimise negative impact to network and households