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The Future for Home Heating – life without fossil fuels (NF87)

As the industry aims to respond to one of the aims of the Future Homes Standard: that in the future, no new homes should be heated by fossil fuels, including mains natural gas; this publication, prepared for the NHBC Foundation by Cutland Consulting Limited, explores the implications of designing and building low-energy homes without gas boilers.

Key technical issues and alternative heating solutions

It explains the key technical issues and considers alternative heating solutions; our need for hot water; and the requirement for new homes to be energy efficient. It examines the potential role of heat pumps, solar heating and photovoltaic systems and the place of energy storage.

Significant change for all

The non-gas home is a significant change, requiring housebuilders to rethink and redesign and for their supply chains to identify satisfactory solutions that are acceptable to consumers. It also represents a huge change for homeowners who will need to adapt their behaviours.

As we embark on this major re-evaluation of the way we design and deliver energy-efficient, low carbon new homes, this short review will help to begin that process of re-thinking.

Summary of content

This publication contains seven sections:

1 Introduction

2 The policy context

3 The basics of a low-energy, low-emissions home

4 Electric heating systems in the 2025 home

4.1 Principles

4.2 Types of heat pump

4.3 Heat emitters for heat pump systems

4.4 Heat pumps in houses

4.5 Heat pumps in apartments

5 Further issues to consider in the 2025 home

5.1 Water heating

5.2 Emitter sizing

5.3 Running costs, carbon emissions and Energy Performance Certificates

5.4 Midwinter performance

5.5 Noise (internal and external), and other Planning requirements

5.6 Maintenance

5.7 Cooling using heat pumps

5.8 Direct electric heaters in apartments

5.9 Cooking

5.10 Electrical supply capacity

5.11 Skills shortages

5.12 The performance gap

6 Non-electric heating in the 2025 home

6.1 Heat networks and combined heat and power (CHP)

6.2 Hydrogen

6.3 Biofuels

7 Summary and conclusions