Low Carbon Heating Research Network

The Low Carbon Heating Research Network has been embedded in the wider Energy@Edinburgh community of researchers at Edinburgh working towards the Just Energy Transition and Green Recovery Plan. We work in multi-disciplinary teams across energy technology, sustainable design, materials, enterprise, data, environment, regulation, policy and social science. The website for Energy@Ed will go live in early 2021.

The Low Carbon Heating Research Network aims to combine the existing but separate research in low carbon heating and cooling across the university. The objectives are to build a low carbon heating research network in which all members share their own specific expertise and ideas but are also made aware of challenges and skills outside their immediate area of expertise. The University’s large diverse estate and range of heating systems has great potential to serve as a “living laboratory” for collaborative research projects. Ultimately, it is envisaged that the network will foster connections and stimulate collaborative research projects and will be a focal point for low carbon heating research in Edinburgh.

Heating is responsible for over 50% of the total energy demand in Scotland and currently most of this is provided through gas boilers. Until recently research and policy focus has been on the decarbonisation of electricity but this is shifting to include also the decarbonisation of heat. In order for Scotland and the UK to fulfil their greenhouse gas reduction targets, a transition to virtually zero-carbon heating is necessary. This challenge is multi-dimensional and includes building-level technological change and innovation, replacement and reconfiguration of energy networks, non-traditional business models and shifts in energy governance. Thus the deployment of low carbon heating is not only a technical problem but faces issues of uncertainty and social coordination, and requires a supportive political, legal and financial framework. Accordingly applied research in this area requires a multi-disciplinary collaborative effort.