With reports that the UK economy is contracting at levels not seen since the last financial crisis, there is some positive news as lockdown restrictions are starting to be rolled back.  If these are the green shoots of a recovery then how does the government and construction industry ensure this really is a green recovery?

The government is already committed to bringing greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050.  To do so, heat supply to buildings needs to be decarbonised with nearly all emissions eliminated by this date.  Heat Networks are a key part of this commitment.

What is a Heat Network?

Heat Networks deliver heat from a central source delivering it to buildings using a system of insulated pipes.  The heat may be sourced from a variety of infrastructure e.g. rivers or energy created from waste plants, even using waste heat from the Tube!

They are one of the cheaper ways of reducing carbon emissions from the heat supply network and as they grow and connect to each other further efficiencies and costs savings can be achieved.

What next for Heat Networks?

The future is bright but there are hurdles in the way before Heat Networks can reach their decarbonising potential.  The Government’s ongoing consultation on Heat Networks seeks to address principally the following:

  • put consumers up front and centre – new regulations should treat consumers fairly and the networks need to be run to a high standard;
  • help investors enter the market – a clear framework will make the Heat Network sector an attractive investment opportunity;
  • support growth – addressing the perception that Heat Networks are a burden to developers;

In the current climate there will inevitably be delays to the consultation, however given the Government’s commitment to reducing greenhouse emissions Heat Networks are here to stay and will form an important part of our green recovery.