Figures released by OFTEC show that a national boiler replacement scheme would be over five times more effective in reducing carbon emissions from domestic heating than the flagging domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI).
Inspiration has come from the London-based boiler scrappage programme introduced in February by then mayor, Boris Johnson MP.
OFTEC has since urged the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) to roll a similar scheme out nationwide.
Independently verified data released by OFTEC compares the benefits of replacing a standard efficiency oil boiler in an average three bedroom semi-detached house, with either a renewable heat technology, part funded by the RHI, or a new high efficiency condensing oil boiler.
The findings are as follows:
- Cost to the taxpayer – installation of an air source heat pump (ASHP), the cheapest technology available under the RHI, costs the taxpayer approximately £5,000 in RHI repayments. For the same money, the government could help 12 households upgrade their inefficient boilers via a £400 cashback boiler replacement scheme.
- Cost to the homeowner – the cost to the homeowner of installing an ASHP would amount to around £7,000. The average boiler costs approximately £2,000, so the cost to each consumer under a boiler replacement scheme would be around £1,600.
- Annual heating costs – an ASHP would increase heating costs by somewhere in between £564 – £1,453, while an efficient new boiler would decrease annual fuel bills by £158 per household.
Effect on carbon emissions
- ASHP option – emissions would be reduced by 3.49 tonnes per annum for the £5,000 spent.
- Boiler replacement option – the collective carbon savings for all 12 homes would be 19.56 tonnes per annum.
This equates to a 560% improvement in carbon reduction if the money was spent on a boiler replacement scheme rather than the RHI!
The implementation of a nationwide boiler replacement scheme would be great news across the board. Increased demand for modern and efficient heating systems would create work for gas engineers, giving the industry a boost. For homeowners, a boiler replacement scheme offers a welcome opportunity to reduce heating bills for minimal upfront costs.
Jeremy Hawksley, director general of OFTEC, the oil firing technical association, said: “It’s difficult to ignore the compelling argument for a national boiler replacement scheme that our research provides. By continuing to fund the flagging RHI (and ignoring boiler replacement) the government is forfeiting the chance to save 16.07 tonnes of carbon dioxide per annum for every £5,000 of expenditure.
“Unless you are very wealthy, the domestic RHI is unattractive due to the high installation costs of renewable heating technologies like heat pumps; the disruption installation often means for homes (e.g. new large radiators or underfloor heating, improved insulation) and consumers’ energy bills actually increase.
“A simple boiler replacement scheme would be more affordable and easier to implement for homeowners, so take up would be much higher, resulting in a far higher cumulative reduction in carbon emissions.”
OFTEC has written to Lord Bourne of DECC and rural MPs urging them to support the strong case for a universal boiler replacement scheme. Watch this space!
If this does come to fruition, demand for qualified installers will certainly increase.