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What’s the future for oil in rural homes?

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The way we heat our homes is undergoing a major overhaul as we move away from fossil fuels. For rural communities this is a particular challenge – many homes are off-grid and currently relying on oil.

OFTEC has launched a new report – ‘Industrial strategy for decarbonising oil heated homes’, which looks at ways to deliver greener energy to rural households, with the role of the OFTEC oil installer still very much front and centre to future heat.

OFTEC’s CEO, Paul Rose said: “Climate change is the biggest and most urgent challenge facing the world today and decisive action from all sectors of the economy is needed, including heat. Gaining consumer support for the necessary changes will be crucial to the success of any strategy. Without this vital part of the jigsaw, there is a risk that decarbonisation targets simply won’t be met.’

What are the challenges in rural communities?

Government plans to move away from fossil fuels towards electricity are all very well, but this is a huge challenge for off-grid, rural properties where oil has for many years been the fuel of choice. A recent report on oil-heated properties states that 97% of traditional rural properties fall into E-C Bands D-G and shows that most of them:

  • Were built before 1919
  • Are hard to insulate, with single-skinned walls
  • Are detached and larger than average

There’s also a significant level of fuel poverty in rural areas so government attempts to persuade homeowners to upgrade to heat-pumps are often unrealistic.

Paul Rose went on to say: “The nature of off-grid homes in the UK, including the 1.53 million heated by oil, means they will be amongst the most difficult to improve. Most are unsuited to solutions such as heat pumps without significant, costly retrofits which consumers are highly unlikely to embrace. What these households need are affordable solutions that are simple to deploy.”

Many will be unwilling, or unable, to switch to alternative heat technologies without significant financial assistance and are unlikely to welcome the highly intrusive and disruptive changes, such as underfloor heating and external cladding, that will be required as part of a switch to low temperature heating

A greener future for oil

OFTEC has its own solutions to deliver greener energy to rural families. Paul Rose explains: “Our industry is committed to delivering a 100% liquid biofuel by 2035, starting with a 30% biofuel and 70% kerosene blend from 2027, providing a fit-for-purpose solution which will command the confidence of consumers.”

To read OFTEC’s full report, click here.

Become an oil installer!

OFTEC’s report suggests there’s still a future for oil heating engineers, particularly in rural areas. If you live and work in the countryside why not think about up-skilling to become OFTEC registered?

We offer a range of OFTEC Oil courses, including Oil Firing Introductory Course OFT50, designed for new entrants into the oil heating sector. For more information on all of our oil heating courses, click here.

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