Go Back

Decarbonisation of the UK's heating system

Download a PDF of this resource here.

What does decarbonisation of heating mean?

Decarbonisation of the heating system refers to the removal of carbon produced during the production of heat to warm our homes and buildings, and to heat our water. Heat is a complex problem, which must consider different property types and categories of end-users, meaning that policies for heat must always be tailored. Emissions from electricity are easier to reduce because of access to better developed technologies such as wind, solar etc. But it has proved harder to decarbonise heating.

 General overview of the UK’s heat supply:

The scale of the challenge is large given that 20% of the UK’s GHGs come from heating for buildings. Heating and hot water also make up 40% of energy use (Aldersgate Group).

  •  70% of the UK’s heating is provided by natural gas and 13% by electricity.
  • The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) said in 2016 that if the UK is to meet its targets set out in the 2008 Climate Change Act then it is necessary that the UK has largely eliminated these emissions by 2050.
modern home.jpg

What steps has the government taken so far?

The Committee on Climate Change says that progress into decarbonising our heat network has largely stalled, and that we need a new comprehensive heat policy framework put in place.

gas hob.jpg

potential solutions

Solutions can include measures to increase energy efficiency, increasing the supply of low carbon gases in the heat network, heat pumps and district heating. This page will give you a brief overview of the pros and cons of these potential solutions.

big ben.jpg

What can you ask your mp to do?

The decarbonisation of the heat network is a really complex issue, but decisions made today are 'locked in' for decades to come. Therefore, it is really important that policies are put in place now which allow for future transitions.

Useful links

  • This has quite a lot of useful information, particularly about the RHI.
  • This report from OFGEM has a lot of information about potential solutions. 
  • This is report from the CCC on the future of heat policy, referenced many times in this resource
  • This briefing from The Aldersgate Group, an alliance of leaders from businesses, civil society and politics, which drives action for a sustainable economy, provides further detail and all that is discussed in this resource.
  • This is a report on the scope of low carbon gases which can be used: 

Visit our other resources

Health and Climate Change      Divestment     Green Economy      Fuel Poverty     Community Energy

Date of Publication: 20.06.2018