The Energy Act 2023 paves the way for the mass rollout of heat networks in the UK, and the mandatory connection of many buildings. Alex Smith speaks to Gareth Jones, Managing Director at FairHeat, about government plans to regulate new networks and raise the standard of the 14,000 already in place.

Article Highlights

  1. Heat Network Expansion Under Energy Act 2023: The Act facilitates a major rollout of heat networks in the UK, aiming to increase the current 2% of heat distributed by networks to 18% by 2050 to meet net zero targets.
  2. Regulatory Changes and Heat Network Zones: The Energy Act 2023 introduces minimum standards for new and existing networks and establishes heat network zones mandating the connection of certain buildings, with Ofgem as the regulator. The Future Homes and Buildings Standards (FHBS), set for 2025, will encourage new and non-domestic buildings to connect to heat networks, integrating new low carbon technologies.
  3. Heat Networks Technical Assurance Scheme (HNTAS): FairHeat have been assigned as Technical Authors for the Heat Network Technical Assurance Scheme, with Gareth Jones as Lead Author. The scheme is being designed to ensure performance and reliability in heat networks. The assurance scheme aims to validate designs and verify delivery, leading to lower capital and operational costs due to reduced oversizing and complexity.
  4. Heat Network Zoning, Urban Heat Resources and Building Connections: The zoning system will leverage urban heat sources, like data centers, for heat networks. This approach is expected to change the regulatory landscape and incentivise connections. Heat networks offer solutions for older buildings, like Victorian homes, where installing individual heat pumps may not be feasible. Heat networks can operate at higher temperatures, allowing for future energy efficiency improvements in these buildings.

For more information and details, read the full article on the CIBSE Journal website.