What exactly are they banning?
The new standards set forth by Philip Hammond will bring an end to the installation of gas boilers in any new build domestic properties from 2025. The ban on gas boilers is only for new builds, so replacing the central heating system in your Victorian townhouse or 1920’s semi will still be perfectly possible. It’s just that the government wants our new homes to be leading the way in terms of energy efficiency.
It’s not just gas boilers either, gas hobs are on the hit list too. The plan is essential to prevent any new homes from being hooked up to the gas grid at all.
Why are gas boilers being banned?
It’s a policy designed to tackle climate change, something that we’ve been steadily but slowly working on for a long time now. The UK has a target to reduce carbon emissions by 80% by 2050 (vs 1990 levels), which is a big goal. Policies like the ULEZ and higher investment in renewable energy are one way, but our reliance on gas and fossil fuels within the home is still contributing massively to our national emissions.
It’s come to the forefront this year owing to large numbers of students and young people staging national protests in an attempt to get climate change issues prioritised by the government.
How will we heat our new homes without gas?
The proposal outlines that instead of gas boilers, new homes will operate on heat pumps and “world-leading” insulation standards. Again, any practical information about these insulation standards is woefully absent, but heat pumps are a well-established form of heating. More and more new build properties are installing heat pumps anyway, as the cost of putting one in as part of a new project is far less than retrofitting.
Despite this, the viability of heat pumps as a fixture in every new home in the UK is one that we’re a little dubious about. While ground source heat pumps are great, they take a huge amount of space and labour to fit. Meanwhile, air source heat pumps have big issues with fluctuating seasonal efficiency. If your heating system won’t work well in the winter, is it really a heating system you want?
The average age of first-time buyers in the UK has risen to 33 over recent years and the housing market is struggling to keep up with demand. With this in mind, it’s easy to see why enforcing the expensive heat pump alternative to gas boilers is causing controversy.
Will gas boilers really be banned by 2025?
The policy was set out by a very unstable government at one of the most turbulent times in recent political history. It was undoubtedly the result of pressure from protesting young people across the country. It could easily be changed or reversed by future governments unwilling to invest the money and infrastructure necessary to ban gas boilers and fossil fuels from UK homes.
Think we missed something? Do you have a different opinion?
Comment below to get your voice heard…