Why are gas boilers a problem – and what alternatives are available?

According to a new flagship report from the International Energy Agency (IEA), bans on new gas boilers need to start being introduced in 2025 if the world is to achieve net-zero emissions by the middle of the century. It’s just one of 400 milestones proposed by the agency in their roadmap for the global energy sector.

Why are gas boilers a problem?

When heating up our homes, gas boilers release carbon dioxide as a by-product, which is known to contribute significantly to climate change. They require more power input and can only reach efficiency ratios of up to 95%, so will always consume more energy than they can ever deliver.

Because of this, a gas boiler ban was announced by former Chancellor Philip Hammond in 2019, and later reaffirmed by Boris Johnson as part of the Future Homes Standard for 2020. It is not yet signed into law but is making its way through parliament.

The ban will only apply to new build properties from 2025, though it is expected that a full ban (including retrofits) will follow in the years after.

What about hydrogen?

As discussed in our previous blog (which you can read here), there are two common types of hydrogen that are being explored – “blue” and “green” hydrogen.

Blue hydrogen is better for the environment than natural gas, but still leaks methane (a known contributor to climate change) during the fracking process. Meanwhile, green hydrogen, while genuinely green, is expensive and inefficient to produce.

While both could be potential options, the government’s climate advisers have said that we’ll only be able to produce enough hydrogen to heat up to 11% of the UK’s homes. These are likely to be in north-east Scotland, where wind-turbine hubs are nearby.

So, are heat pumps the future?

In short, yes! Both climate advisors and the team at Freedom HP strongly believe that most homes in the future will be warmed by heat pumps. Operating a bit like a fridge in reverse, the technology is proven as a much more efficient and superior system to traditional gas boilers.

Lucrative grants

The government has introduced financial incentives to promote and encourage the use of renewable heat, including the Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (Domestic RHI). People who join the scheme can receive quarterly payments for 7 years, relative to the amount of clean, renewable heat their heat pump has produced. The amount paid under the scheme can be up to around £11,000 over the 7 years.

The Clean Heat Grant has been proposed to take over from where the Domestic RHI leaves off in March 2022, providing a means of assisting homeowners with meeting the cost of installing low carbon heating systems. Full details are yet to be released, but it’s expected that the grant will be a straightforward £4,000 voucher.

To find out more about heat pumps and how they could benefit you or your client, please get in touch with the Freedom team on 02380 274833 or email sales@freedomhp.co.uk.