As the UK government’s 2050 Net Zero target is fast approaching, the term ‘carbon footprint’ is on everyone’s lips – and a hot topic in the heating industry.
With traditional gas boilers and radiator systems now being deemed as an unfeasible heating solution for future new-build homes due to their extensive carbon emissions, more and more people are looking elsewhere.
As such, the interest in low-carbon heating methods has risen dramatically, with people actively seeking to reduce their building’s carbon footprint.
As a leader in the design, supply and installation of underfloor heating, we’ve had a look at the most popular ways to reduce the carbon footprint of a building and why underfloor heating plays a big part.
What does ‘carbon footprint’ mean?
A carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gas emissions which are released as a result of our individual actions.
It measures the total volume of greenhouse gasses but is usually expressed in terms of the carbon dioxide equivalent.
As not using fossil fuels like gas, oil and coal will play a large part in mitigating climate change, the biggest responsibility for reducing carbon emissions undoubtedly lies with large polluters such as fossil fuel companies.
However, individuals making sustainable choices can still have a meaningful impact.
As such, we all need to play a part in improving our sustainability, reducing our impact on the environment and ultimately reaching Net Zero.
Why is low carbon heating important?
As part of the changes to Part L Building Regulations, the government outlined that – in order to meet Net Zero targets – all new-build homes must produce 31% fewer carbon emissions than was previously acceptable, while commercial buildings must produce 27% fewer.
The changes were only an interim step on the way to the Future Homes Standard and Future Building Standard, which are due to be implemented in 2025.
These plans go even further, outlining that carbon emissions should be reduced even more, to 75-80% fewer than was accepted under previous standards.
It was also stated that all new heating systems should have a maximum flow-temperature of 55°C where possible – a criteria which underfloor heating meets.
With these new regulations emphasising the importance of low carbon heating for both new-builds and existing properties, we have already seen a significant effect on the underfloor heating market.
How underfloor heating can help
In light of the Part L Building Regulation changes – and MP Chris Skidmore urging the government to start phasing out gas boilers within the next 10 years – more and more builders and developers are turning their attention to underfloor heating.
Floor heating offers quick heat-up times and requires less energy to reach the ideal temperature than central heating systems whilst still offering the same level of comfort – greatly improving a building’s energy performance.
Considered to be around 40% more energy efficient than a traditional radiator and boiler system, underfloor heating runs at a significantly lower temperature of around 35°C, whilst radiators run at around 70°C.
This lower temperature takes much less time to achieve and therefore consumes significantly less energy for the same – if not better – warmth.
In addition, underfloor heating can be paired with heat pumps which are known to be a low-carbon – and hence very much sought-after – energy source.
It’s also important to note that the carbon footprint of a heating system is inclusive of the manufacturing process and the product’s lifespan. Radiators have a lifespan of around 25 years, so could need replacing up to three times within the lifespan of an underfloor heating system.
So, with its energy efficiency, lower running temperature and ability to be paired with low-carbon energy sources, it’s no surprise that underfloor heating is increasingly in demand.
Following the announcement of the 2050 Net Zero target and the predicted phasing out of gas boilers, the demand for heat pumps has soared.
One combination in particular – underfloor heating paired with heat pumps – is emerging as a top choice for homeowners, architects, contractors, M&E consultants, builders and developers alike.
This is because heat pumps do not require the burning of fuel to create heat and therefore do not produce the resulting carbon emissions.
Designed to take heat from an external source – ground, air or water – and transform it into warmth for a building, heat pumps are a renewable and sustainable energy source.
Plus, they deliver around three to four times more heat energy than the electrical energy they use, making them a great choice for people looking to lower their energy cost!
And, with people increasingly moving away from gas boilers to save on heating bills, we’re expecting the popularity of heat pumps to continue rising.
So, with the way we heat our homes changing, it’s time to be conscious of the carbon impact of the way we heat, our sustainability and the ultimate effects on our environment.
How can Gaia help?
Here at Gaia, we have over 30 years’ experience in the design, supply and installation of underfloor heating systems in the UK and Ireland.
Specialists in both wet and dry underfloor heating systems, we offer our clients choice when selecting the best heating solution for their project.
Our expert team are on hand to help homeowners, architects, contractors, M&E consultants, builders and developers with their underfloor heating needs.
Get in touch today to find out more.