Energy Minister Malcolm Wicks launched a call for information on efficiently heating buildings and is looking for ideas on putting existing technologies to good use and suggestions on where research and development should be focused.

Government wants to speak to experts in the fields of combined heat and power, renewable heat, heat from waste and district heating as well as those developing new sources of low-carbon heating and ways to capture surplus heat.

It would also like opinions on whether low-carbon electricity powering traditional heating systems has a role to play in reducing the emissions of our buildings.

“Heating our homes and businesses accounts for nearly half of the UK’s energy demand and for almost half of our carbon dioxide emissions,” said Mr Wicks.

“We’re already developing ambitious strategies for renewable electricity and biofuels in road transport but we need to seriously look into cost-effective sources of renewable heat. Keeping warm at the same time as tackling global warming is a big challenge.

“We are looking for technical contributions and firm evidence of what the Government needs to do to develop renewable heat such as biomass, heat pumps and biogas.

“Also advice on what role low-carbon electricity should play in heating and how surplus heat can be captured, transported and re-used to heat local buildings rather than going to waste.

“The responses to this call will put us in a strong position to develop policy to take to consultation this summer and set out firm plans to reach the UK’s share of the EU 2020 target.”

The call for evidence will be followed by a formal consultation in the summer.

Details of the call for evidence can be found on the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform website.

Sam Bond

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