Under Government proposals for the Future Homes Standard supplying heat to new dwellings from gas combined heat and power (CHP) would be a thing of the past.
Changes to the way buildings are assessed for the future Part L would mean that heat networks with most of their heat derived from CHP will fail to comply with the new standards. Even with radical improvements to building fabric, compliance will be extremely challenging and impossible in many cases.
The challenge for new heat networks will be to identify routes to deliver low carbon heat affordably. The most likely source of this heat will be from heat pumps unless reliable sources of waste heat exist. On large schemes CHP has traditionally offered the lowest running costs for customers and the Renewable Heat Incentive for heat pumps is due to end in 2021.
The challenge for existing networks will be how to continue delivering heat whilst connecting new dwellings. Historically transitional arrangements protected long-programme developments from sudden changes in regulations, but the Government are proposing to tighten these meaning existing networks would have to adapt to meet requirements of later phases built out to the new Regulations. The commercial and technical complexities of such a task should not be underestimated and should be considered as soon as possible.