2022 predictions: What lies ahead for the industry

Martyn Bridges, director of technical communication and product management at Worcester Bosch, gives an overview of the predicted changes and developments that will be made to the heating and hot water industry in 2022

As the year draws to a close, it is time to look towards the future and see what next year might hold for this industry. Several initiatives and training courses are being implemented to reflect the aim of becoming as sustainable as possible. 2022 aims to be a watershed year for the heating and hot water industry with changes that will help towards a carbon-reduced future for generations to come.

On the agenda

One major change is an adjustment to the Buildings Regulations, where any new-build properties constructed in 2022 to these regulations will be required to have a 31% reduction in their carbon footprint. Across the UK, the key focus point is on carbon reduction and moving towards net-zero. Many key industries will be developing and teaching skill upgrades which reflect innovative technologies.

To support these new skill upgrades, manufacturers will be offering training courses to help the workforce take a significant step in developing an energy-reduced UK. Worcester will be a major participant in this development, offering courses in several areas including heating design, heat pumps, hydrogen and low carbon heating and hot water solutions.

Testing underway

2022 will see several trials of these technologies, variously ranging from pure hydrogen, hybrid systems, blending gas and hydrogen, to HVO trials for bio-oil. A trial developed by Keele University concluded earlier this year. Having begun in 2019, they managed to deliver a blend of hydrogen and methane gas to 100 university homes and 30 buildings. In Gateshead, the Winlaton trial has 668 residential properties which have been isolated from the main grid. This trail is ongoing and all 668 homes are successfully living with heating and are being fed by a blend of up to 20% hydrogen and 80% methane.

Boilers and homeowners

In 2022, the boiler market is predicted to continue at its normal rate and there are no expected changes to the sales volumes. Yet because of the changes that are occurring, the industry is preparing for change.

In recent years, the boiler industry has become a replacement market. In future years, people will begin to substitute their gas boilers to heat pumps. However, the requirement for changing to heat pumps is challenging, with the government wishing to see circa 600,000 installed annually by 2028. This year we have noticed requests from homeowners on how they can reduce their gas consumption as gas prices have risen – we cannot be sure when or whether regular pricing will return. These constant, sustainable-led changes get the homeowner to understand that this will continue and may prompt them to look at their own home. Homeowners will then see that sustainable changes can help reduce gas bills and help the environment.

Debating change

Amid all the change planned for 2022, there have been questions raised surrounding the UK’s role in achieving carbon net-zero. There is some scepticism questioning why we are moving so quickly when our total contribution to the world of CO2 emissions is less than 1% and powerhouses such as China, Russia, and India don’t seem to be joining the cause as enthusiastically as some.

I believe that reaching carbon net-zero is important. We need to get rid of excess carbon emissions for our own sanity, but it is something which should be done sensibly. In 2022, one of the key aims is to be smart with our approach to carbon net-zero. Although it would be possible to install heat pumps in many homes, it can become expensive, especially when there are cheaper alternatives which are just as sustainable. Finding a way to merge lowering carbon emissions with affordability is fundamental to reaching our goal and keeping the UK at the heart of decisions.

The goal of carbon net-zero looks increasingly promising and with the rise of new technologies and trials, it looks like 2022 will be a year centred around starting change.

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