Mind the gap on hot water storage to reach net zero

Around 18 million homes may need to install a hot water cylinder to help the UK to reach net zero carbon emissions, says the Hot Water Association (HWA).

The trade association says there are currently around 9 million cylinders already in homes in England, and it highlights what it says are huge gaps in government policy that could result in unnecessary costs to consumers and make decarbonisation harder to reach.

Its recent report No Place Like Home comes with a stark warning that the government needs to do more. Director of External Affairs Isaac Occhipinti says: “The political focus of decarbonising heating has been solely on the heat source, such as boilers and heat pumps. There has been little to no focus on hot water cylinders and recognition of the vital part they play in the efficient operation of low-carbon heating. There is also currently untapped potential for them to act as domestic batteries.

“To decarbonise heating, all UK homes will need low to zero-carbon heating. Most currently available low-carbon heating solutions require a hot water cylinder.”

“With a gap of 18 million homes in England, it is clear that homeowners are not replacing or installing cylinders at the speed required to meet our decarbonisation targets. Also, where a hot water store has been removed, the space is often repurposed for additional storage or bathrooms and therefore re-introducing a hot water store can prove challenging.

“The government must do more to educate homeowners, local authorities and social landlords on the need for hot water storage, and homeowners should be able to access incentives if they wish to replace their hot water cylinder, with no stipulation on the type of system to be installed, only that it is a suitable replacement. This will also mean that, in the future, the cost of moving to new heating systems will be reduced.”

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