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The future of gas boilers is back in the limelight...

20 May 2021

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The future of gas boilers is back in the limelight…

‘Gas boiler ban’ is a familiar phrase to us at Energist. It first hit the headlines in 2019 following a hint from the then Chancellor, Philip Hammond, that the days of using fossil fuel heating in our homes was numbered. The dramatic headlines a day later gave rise to the term ‘Gas Boiler Ban’, which has been secretly murmured across the construction industry ever since.

The same three words have taken centre stage again this month. It’s after the International Energy Agency released a report setting out how the world can reach net zero carbon by 2050.

The roadmap says their plans will give the world a ‘fighting chance’ of keeping the rise in global temperature below 1.5 degrees.

The report explains how nations can reduce their carbon emissions by making changes to industry, transport, and especially electricity consumption. But the UK media latched on to two specific recommendations out of all 220 pages… the idea of banning petrol and diesel cars by 2035, and banning gas boilers from 2025.

Both are valid issues to tackle, but here in the UK we have previously made pledges on these points. In the case of cars, the plan is to ban fossil fed cars by 2030 – five years earlier than this report.

And when you look at the bigger picture the UK is ahead of the curve, and in some cases leading the way, when it comes to tackling the climate emergency.

Firstly, Theresa May’s swansong was to commit the UK to achieving zero carbon by 2050 – the first major nation to do so. Since then, many other countries have followed suite.

Also, in the past decade the UK’s electricity supply has been radically decarbonised – swapping coal and gas for wind, solar, biomass and nuclear. We generate more electricity through offshore wind than any other country.

And despite being the world’s 6th largest economy, we produce less than 1% of total global emissions.

But what about the boilers?

Since the first mention of a phase-out back in 2019, nothing has changed – but it’s about to. The final wording for a new Approved Document L is working through the system, and will go live in Spring 2022.

This volume of Building Regulations covers energy and emission targets in new buildings, and the changes will push developers away from using fossil fuel heating systems.

Targets within building regs will lead to far more homes using electric heat pumps, but stops short of banning gas boilers. Builders can still install them as long as their design includes ways of offsetting the higher carbon footprint.

We also know that plans are in place to update the same Building Regulation in 2025 to make it even more difficult to build a new house which relies on fossil fuel heating.

So the ‘Gas Boiler Ban’ isn’t going to happen in the UK. Instead, our regulations are being changed to make fossil fuel heating far less appealing to construction companies.

If you’re working on a new housing development and you want to check the energy performance risks against the proposed 2022 targets, and which alternative heating systems will work best for you moving forward, contact the Energist SAP10 team for advice.

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Author

Jon Ponting

Energy And Sustainability Specialist

Email

Jon Ponting

Energy And Sustainability Specialist

jonp@energistuk.co.uk