Are you looking for ways to reduce your carbon footprint and reduce your rising energy bills? Now is the perfect time to go green and future-proof your home.
With the government’s Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS) and zero VAT on energy-saving measures, perhaps now is the time to look at exchanging your fossil fuel boiler for a low-carbon alternative.
What is the Boiler Upgrade Scheme?
The UK government Boiler Upgrade Scheme, provides grants of up to £7,500* to households across England and Wales, to incentivise homeowners to exchange their fossil fuel boilers for a low-carbon alternative, such as air source heat pumps, biomass boilers, and ground source heat pumps.
This scheme, which is administered by Ofgem, was initially expected to run for three years, however, it has been extended to 2028. The renewable scheme is designed to make installing energy-efficient green heating systems an affordable option.
Why are the government funding boiler upgrades?
Climate change is becoming ever more apparent. Over the last twenty years, across the globe, we’ve seen the warmest years on record. Our usual weather conditions are changing, with more rainfall or an increase in average temperatures.
The UK government has put plans in place to help combat climate change and has set a target to achieve net zero by 2050. A key way to accomplish this is to insulate homes across the UK and change the way we heat our homes, by exchanging fossil fuel boilers for low-carbon alternatives, such as air-source heat pumps.
The Boiler Upgrade Scheme, therefore, forms part of a wider plan to move away from a reliance on fossil fuel, by incentivising homeowners to adopt a new greener way of heating their homes. The main measure in this scheme is air source heat pumps.
What are the Government targets for the Boiler Upgrade Scheme?
The government aims to install 600,000 air-source heat pumps annually by 2028. The Boiler Upgrade Scheme which has been extended to 2028, offers grants (you don’t pay them back) of £7,500 towards the cost of air source heat pumps. Householders will be required to make a financial contribution, as the £7,500 grant will not cover the whole cost.
The government meanwhile, is also looking to reduce the costs of manufacturing, to bring the overall costs of air source heat pump technology down.
What are the qualifying criteria?
Luckily, the government has made the qualifying criteria simple, which makes the scheme accessible. To qualify:
- You will need to be an owner-occupier living in England or Wales
- Your home must have a valid EPC with no outstanding recommendations for loft or cavity wall insulation.
- Only properties that are fully replacing existing fossil fuel systems will be eligible for support.
Consumers looking to take advantage of this scheme must use a BUS-approved installer.
If you are looking to take advantage of the Boiler Upgrade Scheme, it is important to assess whether your home is adequately insulated beforehand. Energy-saving insulation measures, such as cavity wall and loft insulation, will reduce the heat loss from your home and maximise how effective a newly installed air source heat pump will be.
When can I apply for the Boiler Upgrade Grant?
The Boiler Upgrade Scheme opened for grant applications on the 23rd May 2022.
How will the scheme work?
Once you have chosen your installer and an assessment has been carried out to check your home is suitable and you fit the eligibility criteria, the installer will apply for the grant on your behalf. The value of the grant will be discounted from the price you pay.
How do I find a reputable installer to install an air source heat pump?
Installers will have to register with Ofgem (the scheme administrator) in order to part of and deliver through the Boiler Upgrade Scheme and to be able to access the grants on behalf of homeowners.
You will be able to find an MCS installer (the accreditation an installer will need to have to install an air source heat pump) in your area.
What are air source heat pumps and how do they work?
Air source heat pumps (ASHP) are appliances that use a refrigerant process to absorb heat from the outside air and then transfer that heat into a building’s water or heating system.
It’s a device that can be used in both cold and warm climates to heat or cool buildings, making it a versatile option for both residential and commercial properties. Air source heat pumps are also more efficient than traditional heating systems, using very little electricity to run.
What is the average cost of an air source heat pump?
Installing an air source heat pump in your home can cost anywhere between £7,000 and £13,000. If you are eligible for the grant, you will have £7,500 towards the cost, leaving a shortfall for you to fund yourself.
The government is predicting that the costs to install an ASHP will fall when the demand for these appliances, is greater, making it an affordable option for more households looking to reduce their carbon footprint and make the switch.
What is the average cost for a Biomass Boiler?
These types of boilers are much more expensive with prices ranging from £11,000 – £25,000 with costs depending on the type of model you install. There are currently two options: manual feed and automatic feed.
These are self-explanatory, manual feed allows the user to add logs to burn for fuel and automatic will refill the boiler on a timer with pellets when it runs low. Both models are available in multiple sizes depending on the size of the property.
*According to the government, from the 23rd October 2023, the grant level for air source heat pumps and ground source heat pumps is £7,500, which has increased from £5,000 (air source) and £6,000 (ground source).