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Major HVAC players demand action on 2050 net zero regulation

Manufacturers such as Vaillant and Glen Dimplex Heating and Ventilation sign up to industry decarbonisation pledge that demands effective reforms of Building Regs and renewable incentives

A cross section of major companies and organisations working across the heating and mechanical engineering sector have demanded a range of policy changes to help them meet aims to fully eliminate their carbon emissions by 2050.

BEAMA, alongside companies such as Vaillant and Mitsubishi Electric UK, have all pledged to individually match the UK government’s aim to become a net zero carbon economy in the next 31 years. However, a new report being launched by the organisation this week has backed broader criticisms of the UK’s net zero strategy by UK watchdogs that highlight need for clear regulation and policy to transform building standards and infrastructure.

A total of 24 companies from the sector have signed up to the ‘Net Zero By Design report’ and its conclusions on how government must better support industry decarbonisation.

Recommendations in the report include ensuring that upcoming reforms to UK Building Regulations include a strong focus to ensure improved energy efficiency in buildings, while phasing out a reliance on higher carbon fossil fuel technologies and appliances.  This commitment would need to be met by improved enforcement of non-compliance concerning Building Regulations. 

Government has also been asked to maintain and support further financial incentives for lower carbon technologies such as by reducing VAT on these products and systems.  BEAMA noted that government has pledged to remove current reduced VAT rates for solar and storage technologies.

Support for opening the UK energy market to ensure greater consumer acceptance of low carbon technologies in their homes, such as reforms to introduce variable ‘time of use tariffs’, was also highlighted in the report as a vital step to realise zero carbon buildings.

BEAMA chief executive Dr Howard Porter said the report’s recommendations reflect a major opportunity for the UK to build up its expertise in green, more sustainable buildings.

He said, “This is a cross party, cross industry, global coordination challenge at an unprecedented level - current markets for renewables and certain low carbon technologies essential for the energy transition, including storage, are struggling to gain the levels of investment needed to radically decarbonise our UK electricity infrastructure, buildings and transport system.”

Neil Stewart, chief executive of Glen Dimplex Heating and Ventilation, said that any planned future investment by the company would be determined by energy costs and fuel demand, making government support hugely important.

He added, “The cost per kWh of energy is largely policy dependent, and with the current disparity in the price of gas versus electricity, it is hard to see how we will incentivise a market for electrification. A trajectory therefore needs to be set by government for these values and factors, so that manufacturers can make confident investment decisions and fulfil their role in delivering the solutions needed to achieve net zero.”

Mark Wilkins of Vaillant said the report reflected industry interest to help government realise its 2050 net zero target. However, he reiterated recent calls by the Committee on Climate Change for a clear policy framework and directions in how the HVAC sector will be expected to ensure carbon emissions can be eliminated.

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