2025 marks the start of the government’s Future Homes Standard which sets out energy-efficient targets to help the UK achieve its ambition to be net zero by 2050. Part of this was the proposal that there will be a gas boiler ban on new build homes from 2025, meaning they will have to be fitted with low carbon, alternative heating options. Understandably, this has caused confusion for homeowners so we’ve prepared a handy guide on what this means for you.
What is the 2025 boiler ban and why is it needed?
Tackling carbon emissions is a worldwide commitment to protect our environment and health for future generations. According to the Energy Saving Trust, around 21% of the UK’s carbon emissions comes from homes . A collective effort is therefore needed to reduce these, with homeowners morally obliged to play their part.
The government has outlined proposed legislation to ban the installation of gas boilers in new homes from 2025, although it is important to note that this is not yet officially confirmed. A consultation and review period is underway as part of the Heat and Buildings Strategy, which also proposes that gas boiler installations in existing homes should end by 2035. But again, this is not an explicit ban; rather, an ambition for all new installations to use green heating.
What does this mean for me? Should I replace my gas boiler?
One of the most common misunderstandings about the proposed ban is that people with existing gas boilers will not be allowed to use them and should organise a replacement. This is untrue. The proposed 2025 ban is aimed at newly built homes, not homes we already live in. So, if your existing gas boiler is still in good working order and less than 10-15 years old, then there is no need to replace. Similarly, should the 2035 ambition become legislation, you can also still go on using your existing gas boiler until it reaches the end of its lifespan.
However, if you’re considering a boiler upgrade to reduce your emissions and make energy savings, then there are various green heating alternatives, read on.
What alternatives are there to gas boilers?
Air source heat pumps are the most popular option, and the government has outlined an ambitious target for 600,000 heat pump installations every year by 2028 . Fully electric eco heating systems, air source heat pumps transfer heat from the outside air to water. This water is circulated around radiators or an underfloor heating system to heat the rooms in your home and can also be stored in a hot water cylinder for hot taps, showers and baths.
Other alternatives include hybrid heat pumps which will work alongside any heat source and are appealing for those looking to make energy efficiencies without the upfront costs of completely switching to electric. For homes with gas combi boilers, a hybrid heat pump will provide heating around the home while the gas boiler continues to supply hot water.
Lastly, there’s also SolarSmart panels which use the sun’s energy to generate free hot water. These can be used in conjunction with a gas boiler (which will still provide your heating) but will help lower overall costs.
How will these affect my energy bills?
Switching to a green heating system will save money in the long term but do remember they each have set-up costs to factor within your budgeting (see advice below for available support). Once installed, low carbon alternatives can help homeowners make significant savings and these will vary depending on the type of system you are switching from and its age. The Energy Saving Trust suggests air source heat pumps could save consumers up to £3,400 per year while solar thermal heating panels could save up to £200 annually (both based on April 2022 fuel prices). To check more accurate figures for your household, use this calculator from the experts at Which?.
Is there any financial support available?
To incentivise homeowners to make the switch to more eco-friendly heating systems, the government launched the Boiler Upgrade Scheme earlier this year. Open until 2025, this offers applicants grants of up to £6,000 to replace existing fossil fuel heating systems with low carbon alternatives. Eligibility criteria applies, but don’t forget that the VAT on the installation of energy-efficient systems is also zero until 2027, meaning real savings can be earned now by choosing green heating options.
What about the future of home heating?
Hydrogen is the most widely discussed alternative source for home heating, and government trials are underway to determine appropriate levels for safe use, and how modern gas boilers can be adapted to use a hydrogen blend or eventually 100% hydrogen. At Alpha, we’re developing hydrogen-ready boilers that will operate in the usual way but can be adapted to accommodate a blend or 100% hydrogen. Talk to your local certified installer to find out more.