A guide to energy-efficient heating and hot water for home movers and improvers

Whether you’re purchasing a new home or renovating your existing property, now could be an ideal time to upgrade your heating and hot water system, or see how renewable energy could benefit your home. As we move away from gas boilers to low-carbon options such as heat pumps, it makes sense to future-proof your new or improved home with the most eco-friendly heating solution possible.

Upgrading your heating and hot water system or adding renewable technology while you’re already doing work in your home can save hassle and disruption in the future – especially if your existing system will need to be replaced in the next few years.

21% of home improvers upgraded their heating and electronics as part of their project, so if you’re planning on doing the same, read on to find out how sustainable home heating systems like heat pumps, heat batteries and solar PV could work in your home.

Navigating the shift in home heating solutions

Currently 80% of UK households have gas combi boilers which provide both space heating and hot water, but this is set to change. Gas boilers will be phased out as part of efforts to reduce carbon emissions and meet targets of reaching net zero by 2045 in Scotland and 2050 in the rest of the UK.

The UK Government aims to phase out gas boilers from 2035 and the Scottish Government’s proposed Heat in Buildings Bill sets out a minimum energy efficiency standard which owner-occupied homes would need to meet by 2033, involving either minimum insulation levels or ending the use of polluting heating.

Heat pumps are likely to replace gas boilers as the most common heating system, with the UK Government expecting 600,000 heat pumps to be installed a year by 2028. A heat pump takes heat either from the outside air or the ground, and transfers it into your home. Heat pumps provide space heating, but a separate system is needed to provide hot water.

2023 was a record year for heat pump installations in the UK. There was also substantial growth in solar PV installations, up 1/3 in 2023 compared to 2022. Solar PV panels capture the sun’s electricity and use it to power the sockets and appliances in your home, including any electric heaters.

The ability to capture and use free renewable electricity makes solar PV popular among people looking to reduce their energy bills and become more self-sufficient, particularly in light of energy price increases in the UK.

For householders moving into a new home or planning a renovation project, a heat pump is a good way to get ahead of energy efficiency regulations, while solar PV can help reduce electricity bills.

How much do heat pumps and solar PV cost?

Cost is an important consideration for home movers and improvers. Typically an air source heat pump costs around £14,000 including installation and an average solar PV system costs around £7,000. There is government funding available though, particularly for heat pumps – another good reason to factor this into your project now while you may be able to benefit from incentives.

The Boiler Upgrade Scheme provides grants of up to £7,000 to help eligible households In England and Wales to replace their gas boiler with a low-carbon alternative like a heat pump.

In Scotland, Home Energy Scotland offers grants of up to £7,500, or £9,000 for rural households, plus interest-free loans to cover the remaining cost of a heat pump installation. Funding is also available for insulation and for solar PV or energy storage systems such as heat batteries, if these are installed along with a heat pump.

How a heat battery can overcome the barriers of switching to heat pumps and solar PV

Alongside upfront cost, a few other factors can put householders off installing a heat pump or solar PV. Because heat pumps only provide space heating, a separate hot water system is needed. For householders moving from a compact combi boiler which provides space heating and hot water, finding room for a hot water cylinder can be an issue.

One drawback of solar PV is that households often aren’t able to use most of the renewable energy their system generates. Most households only use between 15-25% of this solar energy because generation is highest during the day, but typical household energy consumption peaks in the morning and early evening.

Pairing a heat pump or solar PV system with a Thermino heat battery addresses these issues. A Thermino is up to four times smaller than the equivalent hot water cylinder, meaning households can switch to a heat pump even if there’s not room for a bulky cylinder. By storing electricity generated by a solar PV system and using this to provide hot water when it’s needed, a Thermino also helps maximise the use of free renewable energy.

Benefits of fitting a heat pump or solar PV in your home

The main benefits of installing a heat pump in your new home or renovation project include saving energy and getting ahead of regulations.

Switching from a gas boiler to a heat pump leads to significant carbon savings – even if you have a new A-rated gas boiler, you could save 1,900kg of CO2 a year by switching to a heat pump, rising to 2,900kg a year if your boiler is an older G-rated model.

Moving away from fossil fuels for heating and choosing a more sustainable energy source will greatly reduce the environmental impact of your home. Solar PV has great environmental benefits too, allowing you to harness zero-carbon renewable energy.

Solar PV can also lead to significant savings on your energy bill because using free solar electricity means you’ll have to purchase less electricity from the grid. You could save up to £545 a year depending on where you live in the UK, how much you’re home during the day, and whether you get payments from the Smart Export Guarantee for the energy you generate.

These cost and carbon savings can be maximised when using a Thermino heat battery alongside a heat pump or solar PV. The systems have a low heat loss rate, less than a quarter of that of a conventional hot water cylinder, meaning less energy is wasted.

When paired with a solar PV system, households are able to use more of the energy generated by their solar panels. Plus, our latest Thermino batteries are all future-proofed so you can add solar PV at any time – perfect if you’re completing your renovation project in stages and looking to add PV at a later date.

The ideal upgrade for home movers and improvers

There are also specific advantages for home movers and improvers thinking of incorporating a heat pump or solar PV and Thermino in their energy system.

Nine in 10 UK homeowners who planned home improvements in 2023 said they wanted to make their home more energy efficient and environmentally friendly. It makes sense to consider home renewables and energy storage in this case – as well as lowering your carbon emissions now, you’ll be ready for future energy efficiency regulations which can save the hassle of further improvements down the line.

If you’re spending a lot of money on a new home or renovation project, you’ll also want to make smart choices which will increase the value and appeal of your home. A heat pump or PV with Thermino can improve your home’s Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating, and a high EPC rating can increase the value of your home by up to 14%. You could also enjoy lower running costs, which makes it a smart investment.

Finally, you won’t want the aesthetics of your home to be spoiled by a bulky hot water cylinder. A Thermino heat battery is the ideal space-saving, sleek and stylish solution. The system’s high energy density means it’s only a quarter of the size of a conventional hot water cylinder and the cuboid shape makes it easy to find space for, whether in a cupboard or even under a kitchen worktop.

If you’re planning a move or home refurbishment, choosing an energy-saving heating solution such as a heat pump or incorporating renewable energy generation with solar PV is a smart move for years to come. Adding a future-proof Thermino heat battery can boost the benefits of each option, while providing reliable mains-pressure hot water to your new taps and showers.

Want to know more?

Find a stockist or installer in your area using our certified installer map, or read some of our other blogs below.

Check out some of our other blogs

Why a homeowner chose a Sunamp heat battery over a hot water cylinder

Which Thermino heat battery is right for you?

UK grants, schemes and loans for homeowners to upgrade to renewables