04 August 2023
The Heat Pump Association welcomes recent policy proposals to increase heat pump deployment in Scotland as well as recent initiatives to increase installer training capacity. These are crucial steps towards achieving the Scottish government’s target of achieving net zero by 2045.
Scotland has taken a momentous stride in its commitment to combatting climate change and reducing carbon emissions by consulting on changes to accelerate the uptake of more environmentally friendly central heating systems such as heat pumps.
The Scottish Government has committed to installing 170,000 heat pumps by 2030 in off-gas grid properties and is consulting on banning fossil fuel heating installations in new build homes and other buildings seeking a building warrant from April 2024. Alongside these proposals, changes to Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) ratings, resulting in homes with gas boilers being downgraded compared to those with climate-friendly systems such as heat pumps, are also being consulted on alongside the requirement for properties to meet EPC band C standards at key moments such as when they are bought and sold.
Minister for Zero Carbon Buildings Patrick Harvie has reaffirmed the applicability of heat pump technology in all home types in Scotland and maintained that the Scottish Government will commit to encouraging the move away from gas boilers to ‘tried and tested’ heat pumps. The Government in its Heat in Buildings Strategy set a target of converting one million homes connected to mains gas to low or zero-emission heating by 2030.
With a recent poll of over 2,000 people conducted by WWF Scotland found that 57% of respondents would install a heat pump with some or no support from Government and 40% would consider installing a heat pump as an alternative to a fossil fuel boiler within the next five years, the technology clearly has support. The Home Energy Scotland Grant and Loan scheme in Scotland, provides up to £7,500 grant funding for new heat pumps with the option to fund the remaining cost through an interest-free loan.
A key enabler to unlocking the full potential of heat pump deployment in Scotland is ensuring a high number of qualified and competent trained installers. Current figures from the MCS dashboard show there are 187 certified MCS heat pump businesses working in Scotland, who have completed over 8,400 heat pump installs since 2022. Whilst there has been consistent growth, it’s evident that more qualified and competent certified heat pump installation businesses will be needed to meet the ambition.
It is therefore fantastic to see the opening of a new mobile heat pump training facility in Scotland to provide certified training locally, direct to where installers are based. This is particularly welcome given the challenges associated with providing training provision in rural and remote areas of Scotland.
The mobile heat pump facility is a BPEC-certified approved training and assessment centre, offering installers heat pump training as well as the opportunity to gain their Water Byelaws/Regs and Domestic Vented and Unvented Hot Water Storage qualifications. The mobile training facility was launched by Mr Graeme Dey, Minister for Higher Education, Further Education and Minister for Veterans at South Lanarkshire College on 2 August.
The project has been fully funded by the Scottish Government and has come to fruition thanks to a collaboration between Energy Saving Trust, Energy Skills Partnership (ESP), South Lanarkshire College, and HPA member Nibe. The new training facility is hosted by South Lanarkshire College and will be a resource that any college in Scotland can use to provide heat pump training in their local area.
Commenting on the recent developments in Scotland, HPA Chief Executive, Charlotte Lee said: “It is great to see Scotland reaffirming its commitment to support the deployment of heat pumps, and consulting on steps to actively reflect their low carbon nature through EPC ratings. Furthermore, the opening of the new mobile training unit is the perfect depiction of industry and government working together to solve key challenges in the journey to decarbonising heat. These initiatives are crucial to securing a green future for Scotland.”