Heat decarbonisation policy must be flexible, says OFTEC

Government should embrace a range of solutions to decarbonise heat in future homes with a focus on achieving set emission reduction targets rather than prescribing technologies, says OFTEC in its response to the recent Future Homes Standard consultation.

Published by the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), the first of a two-part consultation sets out plans for the Future Homes Standard which will be introduced in 2025, alongside proposed options to increase energy efficiency in new homes from 2020.

OFTEC’s submission underlines the importance of ensuring decarbonisation policy is flexible to enable solutions that are suitable for a range of property building types and locations. Best value for consumers is also key and OFTEC says this will be best achieved by encouraging innovation and competition between technologies.

OFTEC CEO Paul Rose explains: “We fully support the consultation’s ambition that properties built to the Future Homes Standard should produce 75-80% less emissions than current new builds. However, the consultation goes on to suggest that future homes will be fitted with heat pumps. OFTEC does not believe this blanket approach is the most effective way to achieve net zero. Alongside heat pumps and heat networks, hydrogen and liquid biofuels have an important role to play in decarbonising heat.

“Research shows liquid biofuels¹ are particularly beneficial for new and existing homes in rural areas. Crucially, this practical, easy to implement solution provides consumers with an affordable option, achieving the highest carbon reduction impact for the lowest cost of all solutions currently available for off-grid homes.

“With action on emissions reduction becoming increasingly critical, the contribution liquid biofuels can make to achieving government targets is too strong to ignore.”

OFTEC’s consultation response also focuses on the importance of taking a ‘fabric first’ approach in new build properties to future-proof these homes.

Paul Rose continues: “Ensuring modern homes are built to minimise energy use, irrespective of the heating technology installed, should be the foundation for Part L proposals.

“Such a move will also help to reduce energy bills for consumers. It is essential that net zero solutions are fair to all property owners and we cannot build new homes that may cause additional fuel poverty.

“We fully agree with the proposal to set a minimum target so that homes are affordable to run and believe service and maintenance costs over the lifetime of the selected technology should also be factored in.”

OFTEC’s views on liquid biofuels are also supported by the UK and Ireland Fuel Distributors Association’s in its own response to the Future Homes Standard consultation.

Click to view OFTEC’s full Strategy for decarbonising oil heated homes

¹Liquid biofuels, currently used mainly in the transport sector, are supported by the Renewable Energy Association

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