New Clause 19 - Micro combined heat and power passive flue gas heat recovery devices

Part of Energy Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 5:45 pm on 21st June 2011.

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Photo of Caroline Lucas Caroline Lucas Leader of the Green Party 5:45 pm, 21st June 2011

I fully support the new clauses and the hon. Gentleman’s sentiments. New clause 49, which I have tabled, differs from new clauses 19 and 20, in that it seeks to make the most of the end of the Warm Front programme as a way of kick-starting the use of passive flue gas heat recovery systems, so that the scale of production can be ramped up and the costs reduced. I understand that leading manufacturers have said that mass production of these systems could slash retail costs from the current £600 to as little as £100. When independent test results suggest an annual saving on household fuel bills of £80 a year, it is easy to see why the Minister said recently that it should be one of the products in the green deal, if it meets robust consumer and certification standards.

Even as Warm Front is being wound down, it will still install many thousands of new boilers over the next two years. The sooner these devices are fitted, the greater the benefits will be, both in terms of cutting the cost and from the perspective of reducing emissions. The recovery systems could also save water because they speed up the delivery of warm water to the hot tap, thereby reducing the amount of time that cold water is pushed through the pipes before the hot water starts to come through.

I have one final point regarding the inclusion of specific technologies through energy efficiency programmes. I was contacted recently by the Gas Safety Trust, which is concerned that, as homes become more energy-efficient, they will lose a certain amount of their natural ventilation. That could increase the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, so the trust is calling for the mandatory inclusion of carbon monoxide alarms in all green deal packages. Given that the average cost of an audible battery alarm,  which would last for about six or seven years, is only about £15, that could be a cost-effective way of protecting people’s living and working environments, and could reduce the costs to the Government of both fatal and low-level exposure to carbon monoxide. I hope the Minister will give serious consideration to that proposal.