HVP Magazine – Heat pump market mechanism puts pressure on manufacturers



Martyn Bridges, director of technical services at Worcester Bosch, explains how the government’s market mechanism to encourage the adoption of heat pumps misses an important element.

The Heating strategy and buildings was published in October 2021, outlining the strategy for decarbonizing homes, commercial, industrial and public sector buildings as part of the plan to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The policy document included statements on the intention to introduce a market mechanism to achieve the goal of a greener future. The outline of the plan proposes to target boiler manufacturers and set a quota on the number of heat pumps that must be sold in addition to or instead of non-renewable energy home heating systems.

A consultation was launched late last year, giving industry players until January 12 to issue a response to the proposed plan. In May this year, the government confirmed its intention to continue with a market mechanism strategy. In the impact study, the breakdown of these targets is approximately 30,000 heat pumps installed per year from 2024 increasing in subsequent years until the quota reaches 210,000 by 2028.

Omit information

While the purpose of these goals is to bring about positive environmental change and provide the infrastructure for a greener future, it omits the critical consideration that the device manufacturer rarely has contact with the end user prior to installation. of a device in his house.

The manufacturer tends to have an influence on which brand the customer chooses, but the most relevant factor in choosing the right product for their home is based on the installer’s expertise as to what is best for their needs. For those building new homes, it’s the builder in conjunction with an industry professional.

The right fit

There is a disconnect because the boiler manufacturer is usually a stone’s throw from the consumer. This not only poses challenges for the consumer and manufacturer, but also threatens the successful permeation of the initiative in its early stages, which will be crucial to staying on course to achieve net zero by 2050.

Without direct contact between the owner and the builder, he runs the risk that households have an incongruous system in favor of reaching quotas which can lead to unsuitable installations.

The current free market model, where each home has the opportunity to have the optimal product installed according to their needs with the advice of a qualified installer, risks replacing a push strategy that has not taken into account the different requirements of different property specifications.

Towards a greener future

This is an ambitious goal, and we support the end result of a greener and more sustainable future and the important role that industry must play in achieving this vision, however, there are practicalities that need to be improved to make this transition phase run smoothly.

This is a sea change for industry, consumer and society. It is essential that manufacturers have a say in the direction of government policy to ensure that the approach is as pragmatic as possible for all parties.

Ultimately, for heat pumps to become the norm, permeation of the technology must not be a problem for the consumer, otherwise it will become a deterrent.

Collaborating with manufacturers and obtaining relevant information on how to achieve these goals will be the difference between a favorable opening phase of this program and obtaining resistance to heat pumps due to malfunction.

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