Plan to ban gas boilers in new homes is ‘long overdue’
A recommendation that gas boilers and cookers should be banned in new homes within six years is long overdue, said green energy expert Ron Fox.
He was commenting after the government’s climate change advisory body said developers should be forced to install low carbon heating systems instead of connecting homes to the gas grid by 2025. Although gas is cleaner than coal, it is still bad for the environment.
The report by the group said this was necessary to meet Britain’s legally binding emission targets to cut greenhouse gases by 24 per cent by 2030, and by 80 per cent on 1990 levels by 2050, under the Climate Change Act 2008.
“This decision should have been taken years ago as it is essential to cut the 14 per cent of total UK greenhouse emissions caused by household energy use,” said Ron, of Noreus Ltd on the University of Keele Science Innovation Park.
He said energy to heat homes was contributing to global warming by increasing the temperature of the planet. This has become more of a problem since household emissions unexpectedly rose by one per cent last year because of reductions in installing household energy efficiency measures.
The committee wants new-build homes in the countryside to be warmed by air source heat pumps which extract heat from the outside air – and cooking to be done on induction hobs, rather than using gas boilers and cookers.
In cities, they said new housing estates and flats should be kept warm by networks of hot water, which could be heated by waste heat from industry.
But Ron added that this would be only effective if extra insulation was added to the new homes.
The report recommended that these changes were made to new homes at first because they say it costs £4,800 to install low-carbon heating in a new home, but £26,300 in an existing one.
Chris Stark, the advisory committee’s chief executive, said the heat pumps would be cost-effective from 2021.
However, he admitted that they might not heat a home as quickly as a gas boiler, but it would be much more efficient and would give the same overall level of comfort.
However, the Home Builders’ Federation said the move would make houses harder to sell as the air source heat pumps and extra insulation would add up to £5,000 on the cost price.
They said gas boiler systems were the most attractive option for buyers and that the Government must ensure the alternatives were suitably attractive, available and efficient before the existing options were withdrawn.
Ron accepted that the move might cost more in the short term, but he said it would mean cheaper energy bills in the longer term for householders. “It will certainly be far cheaper than if we did nothing now and had to sort of the problems of more greenhouse gases at a later date,” he added.
For help on air source heat pumps or advice on insulation and green energy contact Ron Fox on 0845 474 6641.