Do you know that communal heat pump networks are being hailed as the solution to decarbonizing heat in both urban high-rise buildings and rural homes? In the UK, 74% of homes are currently heated using gas boilers, which contribute to a third of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. In the US, half of the heating comes from gas. To reduce global warming, it is essential to install more heat pumps, and this is where the village of Stithians in southwest England comes in. The remote village is piloting a new approach to low-carbon heating that could be scaled up globally.

The project focuses on overcoming the obstacles facing individual homeowners by designing a heat pump system that can be delivered at scale. By designing a heat pump system that can be used across streets, towns, and cities, the project provides a model for other urban spaces worldwide to follow. The UK government’s climate advisory body states that by 2030, around a quarter of UK buildings should be heated using heat pumps, rising to 52% by 2050. Electrifying heating is also key to decarbonizing buildings in the US, and heat pumps are considered the “single most impactful lever” for reducing emissions, according to a study in San Francisco.

The success of the Stithians project could provide a blueprint for other communities to follow in the race to decarbonize heating. By providing warmth to individual homes while reducing greenhouse gas emissions, communal heat pump networks could be the answer to the climate crisis. The world is facing an urgent need to transition to clean energy sources, and heat pumps could play a crucial role in meeting that need.