The big question recently is how to make heat pump technology financially viable for new build developers when the heat pump units are more expensive than gas alternatives. Putting in renewable systems into new housing stock is so important if we are to meet our zero carbon targets by 2050.
With the carbon emissions for electricity reduced to 233gCO2/kWh in SAP 10, this opens up ground source heat pump (GSHP) technology to large developments as a low cost and low carbon alternative. The biggest cost of GSHP’s is the ground loop array system. But if this is shared between more that 3/4 houses you see these costs come down to very manageable amounts of £8,000-10,000 per unit fully installed. This gives the developer a property that is not only carbon neutral but also cheap to heat. All of which are good selling points in the current housing market and give the development a real eco, feel good factor that will increase the value of the houses and make them easier to sell.
Good design for housing in the next 10 years is going to be the biggest challenge as I feel the government will talk big on the green economy but not put any money into it. So we as designers have to get smart and think creatively about how to change the way we heat our homes with little or no government help. We can do it with hard work and creativity.