Blog: The heat is on!

I was at the Energy Managers Association event EMEX recently, presenting on a topic I am hugely passionate about – the future of heat. I just don’t think enough is being done to tackle this hugely important topic and the role it can play in addressing climate change, both at a national and local level. The future scenarios for heat are going to need us to bring the nation on a journey… one which has barely started looking at the figures below…

I always start my talk with a survey of the room - and in a room of 150 dedicated energy professionals it was unsurprising that all had energy saving light bulbs in their homes. But after that I found that only 10 had a smart thermostat, six of them had solar panels, one had a heat pump and one other was on district heating. So even in a room of knowledgeable energy users take-up of energy saving systems still feels low. Not unsurprisingly no-one was on Hydrogen! (I am looking forward to my first presentation where someone puts their hand up to that one!)

More scientifically E.ON has recently undertaken new research across seven European countries looking into the biggest challenges facing society today ahead of the #COP24 summit next week. The research revealed that #climatechange and #pollution were two of the biggest challenges facing society, falling only behind poverty.

Of the 1,000 or so Brits surveyed, more than quarter said business and industry should take a significant role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions (at 26.6% that was more than the 23.6% of people who said Government should take the lead!) and 70% of people said they would be prepared to pay more for a product if the manufacturer was making sustained efforts to produce in a climate-friendly way.

This highlights an opportunity to act now… 70% of people in this survey were up for addressing climate change. And don’t mind paying a little more to make it happen. More people are becoming engaged in the story and its time now for engineers, government and industry to talk openly about the challenges ahead!

But let’s not forget, all journeys start with just one step and we as energy professionals can lead by taking actions ourselves on a personal level… by trying new things and dipping our toes in the future of energy. If those who know and love energy engage then others will follow.

John Armstrong

John Armstrong is a Chartered Engineer and Fellow of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers, with a degree in Mechanical Engineering and a global energy MBA. He worked at E.ON for 15 years until June 2020, including roles in engineering governance, asset risk and safety, and most recently as Head of Operations for E.ON’s decentralised city energy systems.