Grant Shapps, the Secretary of State for the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero, is taking a step towards reducing reliance on gas boilers by opting to install a heat pump at his home in Hertfordshire.
This decision comes at a time when the government is facing challenges in persuading the British public to transition away from more 'traditional' heating sources such as gas boilers.
During recent interviews discussing government subsidies, Shapps expressed his commitment to exploring the concept of a ground or air source heat pump, detailing how he has already taken steps towards introducing the technology to his home.
Viability of heat pump to be assessed later in month
So far it is unclear whether Shapps is installing a ground or air source heat pump. However, installers are set to visit the property later in the month to assess the viability of introducing a heat pump at his home, and whether any additional works are required.
Given that Shapps has already installed an EV charger at his Hertfordshire home, a new consumer unit may be required, for instance.
In some homes, particularly newer properties, the introduction of a heat pump may require the introduction of larger radiators and pipework, too. However, this is not always the case.
"I'm excited to see if I can turn my aspirations into reality. It feels like living the dream, or at least that's what I'm hoping for. The upcoming inspection of my home will shed light on the possibilities," Shapps shared with GB News.
Installation comes amid poor uptake of BUS grants
The decision from Shapps comes after widely publicised criticism of the government's Boiler Upgrade Scheme.
Recently the Lords Environment and Climate Change Committee said the scheme is failing to deliver on its objectives following a “disappointingly low” uptake of grants, blaming the government for its failings.
The scheme allows homeowners in England and Wales to benefit from grants of up to £6,000 to assist with the installation of heat pumps. However, the utilisation of this government initiative remains below expectations; only 8,584 heat pumps and 106 biomass boilers were installed between May 2022 and March 2023.
Due to this low uptake, the government has extended the Boiler Upgrade Scheme for an additional three years; it now runs until 2028.
Downing Street yet to have heat pump fitted
It has been revealed that the buildings at 10 to 12 Downing Street do not use heat pumps, and instead rely on gas.
In addition to this, the buildings also received a Display Energy Performance Certificate (DPC) rating of 'F' in 2023. This is an energy performance operational rating and the result reflected the high carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, which reached 150; the average for a public building is only 100.
Michael Ellis, the Conservative MP for Northampton North, in November 2021 stated that due to the buildings at 10 to 12 Downing Street being Grade I listed this makes "Maintaining and updating these historic buildings, whilst protecting the integrity of that heritage, presents distinct challenges" and subsequently makes installing a heat pump more difficult.
However, in December last year a spokesperson from No. 10 confirmed that they had acted upon the advice in an energy usage report and had started assessing the feasibility of utilising heat pumps and had also started implementing smart meters and increased the installation of loft and wall insulation.
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News Editor Joseph has previously written for Today’s Media and Chambers & Partners, focusing on news for conveyancers and industry professionals. Joseph has just started his own self build project, building his own home on his family’s farm with planning permission for a timber frame, three-bedroom house in a one-acre field. The foundation work has already begun and he hopes to have the home built in the next year. Prior to this he renovated his family's home as well as doing several DIY projects, including installing a shower, building sheds, and livestock fences and shelters for the farm’s animals. Outside of homebuilding, Joseph loves rugby and has written for Rugby World, the world’s largest rugby magazine.