On 13th March the Chancellor announced that it will be illegal to install gas boilers in new build homes from 2025. The decision was taken after advice from the government’s independent advisory organisation, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC).
The committee found that the UK would not meet its climate change target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050 (compared to 1990 levels) unless a big change was made in the way we heat our homes. Approximately 14% of the country’s greenhouse emissions come from our homes, phasing out oil and gas boilers and replacing them with renewable heating systems is essential if we want to stop harming our planet.
What does this mean for landlords?
The announcement only applies to newly built homes; landlords of existing properties aren’t legally obliged to swap a gas or oil boiler for a renewable heating system. However, landlords who plan to build new rental properties after 2025 will need to find an alternative heating system which uses renewable energy.
Generally speaking, this will mean higher upfront installation costs than would be involved in traditional boiler installation, but in the long-term these renewable systems could actually benefit both landlords and tenants, as well as our environment.
Benefits of installing a renewable heating system
Renewable heating systems require very little maintenance and are less prone to breakdowns than boilers, reducing both the hassle and cost of arranging engineer call outs.
Annual servicing is still required in many cases to maintain the manufacturer’s warranty, but landlords won’t need to organise and pay for annual gas safety checks anymore.
Renewable heating systems run (for the most part) on free energy, so tenants can enjoy cheaper heating bills which may be a positive factor when trying to attract tenants.
Things to consider
Renewable heating systems currently cost significantly more to install than a standard boiler (see below for more details).
In order to heat a home effectively and as efficiently as possible, the new build needs to be completed with high levels of insulation. This is because water hot produced renewable systems is not as hot as water from a boiler. However, with the right insulation, larger radiators or underfloor heating, heat pumps are perfectly providing enough hot water for even large homes.
Here are some of the renewable alternatives available on the market today including potential installation costs.
Types of Renewable Heating Systems
Air source heat pumps are installed outside the home where they can extract natural heat from the air to produce hot air (air-to-air heat pump) for space heating or hot water (air-to-water heat pump) for wet central heating systems.
Ground source heat pumps take natural heat from the ground around your home (via tubes which are buried underground) and transfer the heat to a hot water cylinder in your home.
On average, it costs £9,000 – £13,000 for the supply and installation of an air source heat pump and £10,000 to £18,000 for a ground source heat pump.
Solar thermal panels are installed on a roof where they absorb heat from the sun and use it to heat water in your home. A solar thermal panel system usually costs between £3,000 – £5,000 to install.
Electric boilers are a potential replacement for gas boilers as they don’t produce carbon emissions when working. However, if the electricity they use to work is generated by burning fossil fuels (rather than via renewable energy), electric boilers will still be contributing to our greenhouse gases. To make electric boilers a more environmentally friendly solution you can install solar PV panels alongside it and power it with free solar electricity.
Electric boilers are usually cheaper to install than gas or oil boilers with average costs of between £1,000 - £2,500, but tenants will be facing high running costs if using electricity bought from a supplier.
David Holmes is the founder of the Boiler Guide. www.boilerguide.co.uk