A pioneering project has been launched by the University of Exeter has been launched to develop new initiatives for greener home heating.
The SHIFFT project (Sustainable Heating: Implementation of Fossil-Free Technology) is designed to help transform low carbon heating in houses and public spaces.
The project, which includes a team of six University of Exeter researchers, led by Professor Peter Connor from Exeter’s Penryn Campus in Cornwall, is funded by a €5.7M investment by the EU’s INTERREG 2 Seas programme.
The project has two key aims – to develop city strategies for four local authorities to reduce their heating carbon footprint and to develop practical low carbon heating solutions for four projects across four countries. They are tied together by the development of strategies to maximise ‘co-creation’, that is, community involvement in each process.
Heat accounts for 79% of energy consumption in the typical European household, he said, yet researchers say most customers and cities know little about low carbon alternatives for keeping their homes warm and their bills down.
Professor Connor, an expert in Sustainable Energy Policy said: ‘Right now, most of our homes and buildings are heated by burning gas, with much of that heat lost due to poor insulation – this is unsustainable.
‘We need a rapid, large-scale shift to renewable heating technologies and a programme of energy efficiency measures to hit European carbon targets.
‘The SHIFFT project will set an example by working with communities and residents to design new heating systems as well as producing guidance for local authorities developing their own Sustainable Heating Strategy across the UK, France, Belgium and the Netherlands.
‘Crucially, this project demonstrates the idea that the transition to low carbon heating in our buildings must be done with the people living in them, rather than being done to people.’