Earlier this year, the government introduced a new legislation which had a significant impact on the heating industry. The ‘Boiler Plus’ changes came into effect from the 6th April 2018 and were instituted by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). Manufacturers and installers of boilers were affected in particular, and these huge changes will have a huge effect on the future of central heating systems.
Under the new Boiler Plus laws, the standard for energy efficiency has been raised. One way in which this is employed is through a minimum standard of performance for domestic gas boilers in Britain. The standard is an efficiency level of at least 92 per cent EpR for all boilers that are manufactured and installed, and this regulation means that inefficient boilers will be phased out. Old boilers will continue to disappear as they are replaced with energy-efficient, modern designs. According to Which? on the 29th January 2018, a third of boilers on the market failed to meet this standard.
Since us Brits spend around 60 per cent of our annual energy bill on gas-fired heating (source: Energy Saving Trust), these changes mean you could save money in the future. Boilers with higher scores of energy efficiency are less expensive, which is one of the benefits homeowners looking to get a new boiler installed can enjoy as a result of Boiler Plus. However, you must ensure that you hire somebody who is abiding with the latest legislations on how boilers are manufactured and installed. The potential penalty for knowingly hiring someone who is not compliant with Boiler Plus is prosecution and a fine of up to £5000.
Another change that Boiler Plus implements is that a programme timer and thermostat must be included with all new gas and oil boiler installations. Most boilers will have had these anyway, but it wasn’t a written requirement until now. The purpose of this being mandatory is to give homeowners complete and effective control over their heating.
A further driving force that led to these legislative changes is to help the UK meet the UN’s targets for carbon emission reduction by 2020. The Paris Climate Conference which was held back in late November/early December 2015 set out particular targets that the 195 participating countries agreed to meet. Since the more efficient boilers also release less carbon emissions, they are good for both homeowners and the environment.
What does this mean for the long-term future of boilers? We can expect to see boilers as we currently know them continue to be phased out and replaced with more environmentally friendly and efficient alternatives. One possible replacement energy source could be biomass, and biomass boilers may become the norm. We may even see new innovations in clean energy, and the government allocated over £2.5 billion of funding towards lowering carbon emissions for the period of 2015 to 2021.