Step on the gas to look at new green boilers
Many householders will have noted the Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond’s announcement this month that he plans to stop gas boilers being installed in new homes from 2025 to cut greenhouse gases and carbon emissions.
But few will be concerned as they have no plans to buy a brand new house.
However, Midlands green energy expert Ron Fox said everyone would be affected eventually because, although the Chancellors didn’t mention existing homes, he hinted that his proposals could be the beginning of the end for gas central heating.
So what alternatives should residents be considering when they replace their boiler.
Ron, on the University of Keele Science Innovation Park, looks at three possibilities.
Use heat from the earth
A ground source heat pump heats fluid in underground pipes from the warmth in the soil. The pump squeezes the energy out of the tepid liquid and a compressor then heats up a much smaller amount of hot water which is fed into a heat exchanger and finally into a home’s pipes and radiators.
Although there is also a renewable heat incentive grant worth on average £2,500 a year over the first seven years there is no guarantee it will continue throughout that time, said Ron.
“However,” he added, “householders buying in a new development in the future may benefit from the builder having already installed the ground source heat pump.”
Use the outside air
Heat from the outside atmosphere is taken through an air source heat pump, which is a special suction fan on the outside of the home. An electrical powered compressor transfers heat from the air which heats up liquid filled pipes and the warmth is then pumped into the radiators or underfloor heating.
Ron said: “It works like a fridge in reverse in that while a fridge uses heat from pipes at the back to cool itself, an air source heat pump absorbs the heat from outside the home to warm it.”
Although energy bills can be cut by £200 a year he said the unit takes a day to install and residents might also need special radiators or underground heating pipes. It works best in well-insulated homes.
Again, he said people may be eligible for a renewable heat incentive grant worth about £1,200 a year for the first seven years, but it is not guaranteed for that time nor for new customers. Go to www.gov.uk/renewable-heat-incentive-calculator to check if you are eligible for a grant
Use solar power
Solar Panels are installed on preferably a south-facing roof that contain photovoltaic cells which convert daylight into electricity even on cloudy days.
Ron said there is an initial cost in installing solar panels. But the advantages are that there is no need to adapt a home’s heating system and although Government installation grants have been scrapped from the end of this month energy bills can still be cut by on average £400 a year.