Act now on how to swap the gas boiler in your home
Over the last ten years which has had the biggest carbon footprint – cars, airline travel or home heating?
“The answer may surprise you,” said Midlands green energy expert Ron Fox, “it’s our domestic boilers and that is why the Government may ban gas boilers from new-build homes by 2025, while existing gas boilers may not be replaced from the mid-2030s.
“The problem is that a gas boiler does the job of heating a home far more cheaply than any other household water-heating and central heating system.
“Although the carbon emissions have fallen in every part of the economy, those from the residential sector increased by four per cent,” said Ron, of Noreus Ltd on the University of Keele Science and Innovation Park in North Staffordshire.
It is one of 400 measures being phased in to help the world achieve its zero emissions target and already has the support of the International Energy Agency which said that no new fossil fuel boilers should be sold from 2025 unless they are compatible with hydrogen.
Although Britain has reduced emissions by 45 per cent since 1990, the Government needs to decarbonise people’s homes to help reach the target reduction of at least 57 per cent by 2030.
This is considerably higher than that of the European Union which aims to reduce carbon emissions by 40 per cent by the same year as the UK.
So, what will be the alternatives for householders looking to replace their gas boilers in the next few years? Although the government is funding research into hydrogen-powered boilers, there is no breakthrough in sight yet which leaves two main alternatives.
Firstly, all-electric heating using storage heaters or immersion elements, which work like a kettle to run the hot water and central heating. But both of these are very costly.
Secondly, there are a number of green alternatives such as solar assisted heat pumps, or if you have quite a bit of land, ground-source heat pumps.
While boilers make warmth, heat pumps transfer heat from outdoors to indoors.
A solar assisted heat pump or thermodynamic panel solar system consists of an aluminium collector, which is fitted to the wall or roof, plus a unit installed near the cylinder, or in the loft.
The thermodynamic panel absorbs heat from the sun, rain, wind or even snow in the atmosphere to turn the refrigerant liquid into a gas 24 hours a day, which is then compressed into a hot fluid again to heat the water in the nearby cylinder. This is later returned to the collector to begin the whole process again.
Around 30,000 heat pumps are installed each year in homes in Britain, but the government wants to increase this to 600,000 a year by 2028.
“Although there is an initial cost outlay,” admitted Ron, “air heat sources offer many benefits with greater efficiency, lower emissions and cheaper energy bills in the long term.”
Caption: Stepping off the gas – the Government may ban gas boilers to help the UK cut its emissions.