It’s certainly an attention grabbing headline and received lots of press coverage when it was apparently announced by the Government in Philip Hammond’s Spring Statement in April.
One expert company in renewable technology has done some more digging in to this and isn’t quite as convinced as the tabloids appear to be.
According to www.energist.co.uk there is some discrepancy in what has been reported and what was actually said:
At BWP Architects we have been advising private clients planning their own homes to push insulation levels up and up while pushing air-permeability down and down. In addition, sensible planning of bathrooms and hot water storage locations can significantly reduce wastage of hot water by reducing lengths of pipework. It is far better to reduce the amount of energy needed to heat your home and water in the first place and then deal with how one creates that heat next. This is one of the core Passivhaus principals of design along with consideration of limiting solar overheating from summer sun while maximising solar gains from winter sun, looking at the volume efficiency of a new home, maintaining fresh air etc all to create highly energy efficient and comfortable homes to live in.
By reducing the requirement for heating it brings in to play the option of using heat source pumps (air, ground or even water) as they become more efficient as the demands are lower.
Of course, as the Energist article above highlights, heat pumps can be heavy on electricity requirements so coupling these with a large array of Photovoltaic panels and battery storage makes perfect sense.
Finally, the Government saying they are committed to something and then this actually actually translating into legislation are often very far apart… it wasn’t that long ago that the Government were committed to all new housing being zero-carbon by 2016!