Clever Heating is Cooling the Planet 

DGA are determined to reduce emissions and in the spirit of COP26, we know that we are not alone. The level of embodied carbon emitted into the earth’s atmosphere from the UK’s building sector is unsustainable and unacceptable. The world is pushing a climate agenda whilst relying on fossil fuels to heat homes. The solution? A retrofit revolution. The 2021 UK Building and Heating Strategy is the starting point.  

What is the Heat and Buildings strategy? 

It is a decarbonisation strategy that sets out the government’s plan to reduce carbon emissions from the UK’s 30 million homes and workplaces by replacing fossil-fuelled heating systems (gas boilers) with low carbon heating solutions (heat pumps). 

The strategy signals an intention to phase out the installation of new natural gas boilers from 2035. This means that by 2028 we will need to replace at least 600,000 every year to reach the target of net zero by 2050. 

Under the government’s £450 million Boiler Upgrade Scheme, from April 2022-2025 households will receive grants of £5,000 when they switch to an air source heat pump or £6,000 when they switch to a ground source one. Additionally, applications for the UK RHI (Renewable Heat Incentive) scheme that provides quarterly tariff payments for households using renewable heat systems, such as heat pumps, are open until March 2022. 

What is a heat pump? 

A heat pump is a renewable energy solution for household heating and hot water needs. An air source heat pump (ASHP) absorbs heat energy from the air outside and passes through a heat exchanger. A ground source heat pump (GSHP) gets heat energy from water circulating in underground pipes, which is pumped into a heat exchanger inside the house. Typically, ground source heat pumps provide more energy than air source heat pumps. 

What are the costs? 

Initial investment costs: the cost of an air source heat pump is approximately £7,000 – £13,000. A ground source heat pump on the other hand can cost between £14,000-£19,000. In comparison, the average cost of a new boiler ranges from around £1,500 to £2,000. 

Running costs: Heat pumps safeguard homeowners against fluctuations in energy prices. Despite the cost of electricity being higher than gas, oil and LPG in the UK, the high efficiency of heat pumps makes households less reliant on electricity. In the event of electricity prices coming down in the future, the running cost of heat pumps would fall even further.  

Replacement costsA typical air source heat pump lasts for around 15+ years. Ground source heat pumps have a lifespan of around 25 years. In comparison, a typical gas or LPG boiler’s lifespan is around 8 – 12 years. 

How will the UK heating market change 

The science is clear, to avoid climate disaster we need to reach net zero by 2050. Using renewable energy as opposed to fossil fuels is the most effective way to reduce emissions. Figure 1, showing the UK average household CO2/kg emissions makes clear that the UK heating and electricity markets will change drastically between now and 2050 if we are to achieve crucial climate goals. 

Figure 1: UK average household CO2 emissions in kg based on Energy Systems Catapult analysis (2019)
Figure 1: UK average household CO2 emissions in kg based on Energy Systems Catapult analysis (2019)

What’s next? 

Frankly, the UK government Heat and Building Strategy is not enough on its own, but it is a great place to start. It’s not the governments job to give us all the solutions, we must act as well. DGA know how important the switch to low-carbon heating systems is for the environment and will act as trusted advisors in the sustainable optioneering space to support this market shift. 


When is The Right Time to Use an Expert QS?

We are living in the trickiest of times – material costs are volatile, labour and skills are in short supply, contracts are unfair, and clients can be relentless. Contractors are suffering and trying to adjust to the shifting conditions.

Tendering new work is time-consuming and uncertain at the best of times now it’s a nightmare. Using an estimating service helps with the time commitment but not with certainty, and it comes at a cost. For contractors, it’s important to focus resources and get as much bang for your buck as you can.

Having a clear strategy for acquiring new work and an understanding of the support options available and crucially when to use them really helps. The scattergun approach is high risk and stressful. Often using an online estimating platform is cost-effective and quick, it works best when you have a simple project with a less than 30% chance of winning the work. You may want to get a ballpark price to an architect quickly who sends you work regularly but you know that there are others in the frame – the risk is managed, that makes sense!

Using an expert professional cost management firm is more expensive but when is the time right to make this investment? The answer is when you need Advice and not just numbers…when you need a Wingman, not a pdf! A professional firm will look after your business in the round, ask you the questions – Do you want to grow? Do you want to maximise profit? How do you control your business? How are your stress levels? What are you signing? – getting the right advice should set you free to run your business with confidence and get you where you need to be with the angles covered. It’s all about the knowledge, the trust and the personal relationships – they should grow and develop with you.

So, if you just want just numbers then use an online platform – it’s the right decision if you want a team of well-connected industry specialists, experienced and capable of systematically taking your business from project acquisition to regular, dependable and successful completion then use an expert firm.

Signs You’re Hiring a Great Contractor

It is important to us at DGA that we assist you in every way that we can. Your contractor is your first step in the right direction of bringing your project all the way from start to finish, which is why we have put together the following tips and tricks to tell you how you know that you are hiring a great contractor.

It is important that you get to know your potential contractor both in a professional and personal manner. In a personal manner, it is important to make sure that your contractor is fair and reasonable, as well as friendly with a personable attitude. You want to ensure that your contractor is co-operative throughout the scheme, for example calling you when they said they would.

Professionally, it is essential that you put a good amount of research into anyone you pay to do work for you, so make sure you have knowledge of their relevant experience. You could also gather references from their previous completed schemes to give you that added peace of mind. It’s also a good sign that they are happy to provide you with the details of their previous clients and have no complaints about you contacting them. It is important that they have a good credit score and a consistent yearly turnover, as well as accreditations and an established subcontractor and supply chain. You also want to make sure your contractor isn’t spreading themselves too thin with other projects.

You want to make sure that you are working with someone who is prepared for anything and has contingency plans in place if something within the project goes wrong. It’s even better if the contractor is already extremely open and honest about what the client can expect on a daily basis on-site, with full transparency on who will be there, who makes decisions, how does the communication work and more. This shows a real willingness from them to work with the you, rather than against you, and is an extremely efficient way to work on site. It also shows their ability to adapt to different environments, showing their experience first-hand.

If you need any further advice on hiring a contractor, or are after any recommendations, please contact us at 01565831999 or and we will help out the best that we can.