Six Trends and Initiative Driving the Shift to Decarbonise Commercial Heating

Chris Caton, commercial product director, at Groupe Atlantic UK, ROI & NA, recaps six top takeaways from his recent talk to trade professionals on what’s driving decarbonised commercial heating solutions.

More than 100 trade professionals joined us recently at Mercedez-Benz World in Surrey for the launch of our new commercial air source heat pump.

It represented an excellent opportunity to take stock of where we are on the road to net-zero, and to showcase how the diversity of products on the market is helping businesses meet shifting policy and strategy as we edge closer to decarbonisation.

For those who couldn’t make the journey, here’s my top six insights shared on the day:

1.     Change is driven by stick rather than carrot

Many businesses are working hard on their plans to become more sustainable, yet anecdotally, we hear it is regulation changes that are driving much of the work to decarbonise.

For example, the Part L uplift that came into effect in the summer of 2022 has heightened requirements for the energy performance of new and existing buildings in England, Scotland and Wales. It also paves the way for the Future Homes Standard which will land in 2025.

These regulations bring us closer towards net zero by introducing higher building fabric standards, improving building services, and helping uptake of low carbon technologies such as commercial heat pumps.

2.     Good progress among local authorities thanks to funding

In many cases we’re seeing the UK’s local authorities going above and beyond current building regulations to futureproof their properties.

This is possible through access to government funding like the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme (PSDS) launched at the same time as the Heating Building Strategy of 2021, which made £1.4bn available to decarbonise buildings with commercial heating solutions.  

3.     Manufacturers need to introduce the right technology at the right time

Ideal Commercial understands the importance of delivering the right products at the right time and it’s something we have a history of success in. In 2015, the UK switched from non-condensing to condensing boilers almost overnight. We saw this change coming into legislation years before and had already begun the transition of our product ranges, giving us a head start supporting customers.

Today, we have a range of ECOMOD commercial heat pumps, Heat Interface Units (HIUs) for heat networks, and hydrogen-blend ready technology. This ensures that we have the solutions for when regulation drives change and to work with customers who are ready to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels now.

4.     ECOMOD: meet our latest innovation in commercial heat pump technology

Heat pumps are one of the government’s first choices for low-carbon heating. Increasing heat pump uptake will help the nation to significantly lower its gas consumption, reduce the risk of shortages and protect companies against volatile energy prices.

This is why we have chosen now to launch our commercial air source heat pump range, ECOMOD.

With six outputs, from 14kW up to 70kW, businesses with buildings of various size can decarbonise their heating system and improve their building’s energy efficiency.

The range also uses an R32 refrigerant with a low global warming potential (GWP) of 675, considerably less than lots of other units on the market.

5.     Continuing our net-zero journey: POD HIUs and heat networks.

There’s no silver bullet for decarbonising, which is why we have a number of commercial heating solutions available.

Our Ideal POD HIU systems transfer heat energy and can distribute heating using thermal energy from a heat network. Heat networks use any energy source, from renewable energy right through to heat recovered from industrial processes that would otherwise be wasted – making them a cost-effective way to introduce low carbon heating.

Government funding is also making HIUs more appealing to businesses through the Heat Networks Investment Project (HNIP), which is providing £320 million to increase the number of heating networks built and create conditions for the market to develop.

6.     Major investment reflects no room for complacency

We’re investing £12 million over five years into our Hull base to fund new research and development, manufacturing, and distribution facilities, including a new heat pump manufacturing cell and climatic chamber for heat pump development.

We have also invested in a £2 million state-of-the-art Expert Academy centre, where we will welcome thousands of installers from across the UK in 2023.

These investments will enable us to continue pioneering a sustainable future in commercial heating from the UK.

To find out more, see our commercial heating solutions, check out our heating network guide, or get in touch with us here.