Following on from our previous look at a simplified explanation of decarbonisation for those beyond the building services industry, Sian Bird looks at what businesses and individuals can do to make a difference.
Decarbonisation plays a pivotal role in helping the UK achieve its ambitious, and legally binding net zero targets by 2050.
By reducing carbon-intensive activities and transitioning to sustainable alternatives, societies aim to mitigate the impact of climate change.
This process involves transforming energy systems, industrial practices, and transportation, emphasising the need for innovative solutions to adapt a more sustainable and resilient future.
We focus on providing solutions that lower energy use and reduce carbon emissions
What can people do?
Businesses can both invest in and take advantage of decarbonisation to help with net zero goals, this can be in the form of renewable energy sources, improving energy efficiency, integrating carbon offset programs, and eco-friendly supply chain strategies.
Residential property owners also play a vital role in decarbonisation efforts. This can be in the form of transitioning to cleaner energy sources and reducing individual carbon footprints through lifestyle changes. These steps can not only enhance environmental sustainability, but also bring economic benefits through potential energy savings.
Other steps that both residential and commercial property owners could take would be to focus on insulation and airtightness to reduce heat loss and lower energy consumption, and use greener and more efficient building materials to upgrade the thermal fabric of the building.
A good start if to measure energy use and look at ways of improving the building’s operation by using modern, efficient heating, cooling and ventilation solutions.
Where does the responsibility lie?
Houses are responsible for between 17-21% of energy-related carbon emissions globally. That figure covers everything from the electricity used to power televisions and other electronic devices, as well as the fuel used to heat water and cook – but for much of the year in cold climates, such as the UK, the majority of a home's energy goes on heating.
This is where modern air source heat pumps come in; powered by and increasingly ‘greener’ electricity grid, producing more renewable energy, they are a highly sustainable and efficient way of heating buildings. They work by harvesting heat from the outdoor air and essentially acting like a fridge in reverse.
A modern gas boiler delivers around 95% of heat energy as some of the heat is lost in the combustion process. An older boiler can be 70-80% efficient.
In contrast, a heat pump can be 300-400% efficient as it will harvest 3 or 4 units of heat energy for every kilowatt of electricity consumed.
The roadblocks faced by the UK
Whilst there is now a heat pump for almost any building, UK homes are draughty, leaky and not very thermally efficient. Many of these will need remedial work making them more air tight and less wasteful, if they are to get the best out of a heat pump.
Other than thermal efficiency, cost is another issue that both homeowners and businesses face when making the switch to renewable energy.
Nearly six in ten homeowners think it’s important to make their property ‘net zero ready’ by 2035, but few feel confident about how to get there. The same number also believe that the primary responsibility for getting homes ‘net zero ready’ sits with Government.
There are financial schemes that both business owners and residential owners can take advantage of to support decarbonisation by installing renewable heating.
What help is on offer?
In 2020 the government started The Public Sector Decarbonisation scheme, which targets public buildings in England, and areas of reserved public services across the UK. A third phase of this energy scheme, announced in 2021, is providing £1.425 billion in grant funding over the financial years 2022-2023 and 2024-2025.
For homeowners, the boiler upgrade scheme, means they can get £7,500 to help with the costs of installing an air source heat pump, making it one of the most generous schemes in Europe.
What we’re doing
Here at Mitsubishi Electric, we are leading the way with renewable heating systems and have engineered solutions to help both residential property owners and businesses take steps towards decarbonisation and meeting net zero targets.
If you would like a deeper insight to the new generation of renewable heating technology for businesses, our commercial heating brochure is available to view here.
In addition to this, an overview of the solutions available involving an air source heat pump and water source is available here.
Sustainability is at the heart of our product development, and our focus is on providing solutions that lower energy use, reduce building carbon emissions and help our customers make the best use of renewable technologies.
Sian Bird is a Marketing Graduate