The House

A mix of energy solutions should be considered for the decarbonis­ation of rural homes

The Government strategy for the decarbonis­ation of off grid homes is centred around an ‘electrific­ation first’ approach. This would see rural homeowners having little choice but to install a heat pump if their heating systems fail after 2026.


When fitted appropriat­ely, heat pumps can be incredibly effective. However, many rural properties are old, poorly insulated and therefore less energy efficient. Properties of this kind will require a significan­t retrofit for a heat pump to work, which could cost homeowners up to £32,000¹.

This concerning prospect has resulted in the launch of an industryba­cked campaign, Off Grid Green, which showcases that a mixed technology approach to off-grid heating is the most suitable option for government and end users, on the path to decarbonis­ation.

Renewable liquid gases

Renewable liquid gases, such as bioLPG and rDME, are two promising energy sources for rural homes. Produced using renewable or sustainabl­e feedstocks, they are fuels for today, and for the future.

BioLPG and rDME are also proven to yield a significan­t reduction in carbon emissions, up to 90% and 85% respective­ly². BioLPG can also be used as a ‘drop in’ fuel for existing LPG systems, reducing costs and disruption for homeowners and businesses.

Currently, the equivalent of over 40,000 homes³ use renewable liquid fuels in the UK and domestic production is already underway. There is potential to substantia­lly increase this figure in the future as more production facilities open, such as the recently announced rDME plant in Teesside.

Supporting rural constituen­ts

Peter Aldous, MP for Waveney, agrees that rural constituen­ts would benefit from greater choice on the path to decarbonis­ation.

“The Government’s current Heat and Building Strategy has made steps to achieve net zero, but it needs to go further and investigat­e a range of sustainabl­e heating solutions for rural homeowners, as well as improving the energy efficiency of properties, to provide greater choice,” he says.

“Insulating as many rural homes as possible up to EPC Band C, which the Government has a statutory requiremen­t to deliver by 2030, could help homeowners save up to £600 off their energy bills,” adds Mr Aldous.

“Funding for the Energy Company Obligation (ECO), the government’s longstandi­ng energy efficiency scheme which is set to benefit 450,000 fuel poor households by 2026, is a good position to build from. However, it is also imperative that the decarbonis­ation strategy goes further.

“We should make upgrading our

‘leaky’ housing stock a national infrastruc­ture priority. It’s vital that we use the legislativ­e opportunit­y presented by the Government’s Energy Security

Bill to finally legislate for Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards of EPC Band C for this sector by 2028, kickstarti­ng the insulation drive rural Britain sorely needs,” he adds.

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