£5,000 subsidy for gas boiler switch is ‘totally inadequate’

 In Air Source Heat Pumps, Energy Saving, Heating

A £5,000 subsidy to persuade householders to switch from gas boilers to low-carbon heat pumps is totally inadequate, says a Midlands green energy expert.

“The £450m grants in total will fund just 90,000 houses with the latest green technology, but there are up to 25 million UK homes who have gas boilers,” said Ron Fox. “The scheme goes nowhere near enough in helping us to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050.”

One group of researchers estimates that to meet Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s net zero targets he needs to invest nearly another £10bn over three years.

But ministers believe the offer, which begins next April for three years, will boost demand and make heat pumps comparable in price to a new gas boiler. They hope this incentive will then help bring down their cost by 2030 just as happened with solar panels.

They say that an air-source heat pump, which costs between £6,000 and £18,000, depending on the type installed and the size of a property, will be around the price of a new gas boiler if the subsidy is included.

But Ron pointed out that householders might also need to pay to ensure their home is fully insulated and for other improvements to ensure they get the best out of the switch.

He also said that the government must give a clear signal that it wants no new gas boilers to be sold after 2035; so far it is not banning them outright.

As heating buildings accounts for more than a fifth of the UK’s overall greenhouse gas emissions, MPs need to deliver effective solutions to reduce this figure. 

So, at the same time as the heat pump subsidy, they have announced £3.9bn funding towards decarbonising public buildings, insulating and installing new heating systems in social housing and for those on low incomes, and helping to provide clean heating networks for homes that are unsuitable for heat pumps.

But for those interested in applying for a subsidy Ron, of Noreus Ltd on the University of Keele Science and Innovation Park in North Staffordshire, said there were many green advantages in switching to heat pumps.

● They work like a fridge in reverse, extracting heat from the outside air, the ground or water to provide heating and hot water. They produce about three or four times the energy they use, making them much more efficient than gas boilers.

● They emit no carbon dioxide and are carbon zero if are powered by electricity from renewable sources.

● They require little maintenance and may last up to 20 years before replacing.

● They are safer than systems based on combustion.

● They produce no nitrogen dioxide, so may improve air quality inside and outside the home.

● The system can be reversed to provide cool air during the summer. 

● Generally, no planning permission is needed but residents are advised to check with their local authority if they live in in a conservation area or in a listed building. 

To find out more about green energy and heat pumps call Ron on 0845 474 6641.

Caption: On offer next April – The Government is giving householders a £5,000 subsidy to switch from a gas boiler to a heat pump.

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