Spring Statement 2019: banning gas boilers from new homes to "dramatically" reduce energy bills

Published by Stephen Little on 13 March 2019.
Last updated on 14 March 2019

Chancellor Philip Hammond has pledged to ban boilers in new homes that harm the environment in the next six years.

During today’s Spring Statement, the Chancellor confirmed plans to future-proof new homes by ensuring they are energy efficient, have lower energy bills and are better for the environment.

He said rules will be introduced for new housing to end the use of fossil fuel heating systems by 2025 – meaning an end to boilers and radiators.

Jane Lucy, founder of energy auto-switching service Labrador, says the new measures will create world-leading levels of energy efficiency and “dramatically” reduce energy bills for many across the country.

She says: “This action highlights the government’s commitment not only to the environment, but also to reducing household bills that have been continually increasing and placing financial pressure on Brits.

“Now the conversation has been started, we need to continually discuss the current injustices that are faced at the hands of an energy market which continues to financially squeeze Brits.”

The new standard will build on the Prime Minister’s pledge to at least halve the energy use of new buildings by 2030.

The news follows a report released earlier this year by the Committee on Climate Change which warned UK homes were not fit for the future, with efforts to cut greenhouse gases from house stalling and properties at growing risk of flooding and overheating.

It said that no new homes should be connected to the gas grid by 2025 at the latest, with super-efficient homes using low carbon heating such as heat pumps and induction hobs.

Steve Turner from the Home Builders Federation says: “New technologies are increasingly being incorporated that drive down emissions and we are committed to continuing to work with government on this.

“The ongoing costs and comfort of homeowners is an absolute priority for home builders and it must be ensured that alternative heat sources are suitably attractive, available and efficient before withdrawing existing options.”

The government has also pledged to increase biodiversity targets for housing developers.

However, the building industry has warned that the new measures will result in more costs for house builders, worsening the housing crisis.

Brian Berry, chief executive of the Federation of Master Builders, says that the targets for developers “will bring yet more costs and more delays for builders".

He says: “Rather than hampering the building of new homes, if the government wants to be more green, it should focus instead on retrofitting the more than 24 million homes that have already been built and which account for around one fifth of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions.

"This will not only help reduce the UK’s carbon footprint but will also tackle the scourge of fuel poverty.”

The government also says that to help meet climate targets it will reduce dependence on burning natural gas by increasing the proportion of green gas in the national grid.

It has also proposed to give people the option to travel “zero carbon”.

The government says it will launch a call for evidence on offsetting transport emissions and will also look into whether travel providers should be required to offer carbon offsets to their customers.

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A recent letter I the

A recent letter I the Telegraph pointed out that while modern domestic boilers are about 90% efficient generation by power stations is about 60% with a further 10-15% transmission loss making the nett efficiency of generating electricity delivered to homes at about 45%. How will this reduce emissions? Further how will generating capacity be increased sufficiently to provide the extra demand for this and the electricity to charge cars?

Is this yet another example of a ill thought through Government vanity project?

Do you mean INCREASE? I can't

Do you mean INCREASE? I can't see how the proposal saves money any more than smart meters!

Whoa! Not so fast with such a

Whoa! Not so fast with such a ban. Just beware that such a ban could make it more difficult and much more expensive to heat homes in the winter using renewable energy.

Inter-seasonal energy storage – storing energy in the summer by making hydrogen fuel gas from water by electrolysis using surplus wind and solar power – can increase system efficiency.

It is more efficient to use that stored hydrogen to heat homes via the gas grid than it would be to use the same hydrogen to generate electricity in remote power stations where there would be thermal losses.

If the hydrogen gas can efficiently heat existing homes and homes built before 2025 then why can the gas grid not do the same for homes built after 2025 too?

Combination electric heat pump / condensing gas boilers

There is another reason to keep using the gas grid after 2025 – to increase the efficiency of electric heat pumps.

Condensing gas boilers still expel warm, dry air.

Now, while the gas grid supplies natural gas then that expelled warm, dry air is carbon dioxide and nitrogen mostly.

In future, when the gas grid supplies only hydrogen that warm, dry air will be simply nitrogen mostly.

Either way, this expelled warm, dry air can be used as an “air” heat source for an electric heat pump, which is particularly useful in winter when the air outside is far from ideal and may often times be inefficient to the point of becoming unusable as an air heat source – too cold and / or too wet.

Likewise ground heat sources can get frozen and inefficient to the point of becoming unusable too.

In colder countries in winter, good heat sources are not always to hand for every house’s electric heat pump to utilise.

So a dependable source of warm, dry air from the flue of a condensing gas boiler is just what air source electric heat pumps need to extract their heat energy from.

Combination electric heat pump / condensing gas boilers should be researched, developed and brought to market and may indeed be the next big thing in home heating.

Hope they have done more

Hope they have done more trials than they did with the air heat pump electric boilers for central heating systems they started installing, I remember reading all the problems owners had, told they were very cheap to run but ended up the most expensive. I had a plasma inverter air heat pump air con system fitted in my bedroom in 2006 as I am ill a lot in bed, it is fantastic and cheaper to run than any other electric system, costly to install and if it goes wrong I expect will be costly to get fixed. To fit out a whole house with just these I expect would be very expensive even with the multi units and then what new hot water system do we use. No electric system will be as cheap to run as my 1995 gas CH system in my bungalow. I would prefer separate heating in each room as being old and alone I am often in one room most of my time and could set bedroom to heat when I go to bed as I do with the air con unit. I found the old gas convector in each room better than CH years ago,

"dramatically reduce energy

"dramatically reduce energy bills" and I'll believe that when I see it.
£6k for an installation? And the rest. With a pay back of 10 years? 20 years?

Wow the electric industry

Wow the electric industry just hit the jackpot. You can bet the prices of heating/water will triple overnight. Oh what it is to have powerful friends who are corrupt n high places. Now doubt a stench of CONservatism. A scam if ever there was one. I'm all for saving the planet but lets get the smelly fossil fuel cars/trucks off the roads first. Oh and then actually comply with our obligations instead of the UK paying fines for the last decade.

So - UK domestic housing is

So - UK domestic housing is responsible for about 20% of the UK's CO2 emissions. Looks like the government needs to examine where the other 80% is coming from, if it is going to make progress. It is disingenuous of the Chancellor to wave the carrot of dramatic reductions in energy bills, given that alternatives to gas and oil boilers are few and far between in the UK. Not only that, but these alternatives (e.g. biomass boilers) are very expensive to install, taking years to recover the capital outlay.
Certainly there is a very strong case to tighten up Building Regulations to improve insulation and energy efficiency. In fact, this should be first step in the process, because even current gas and oil heating methods would radically reduce consumption with improved building standards. However, with house building at its current low levels, it would take a couple of generations to notice the impact, so we need to look more at existing housing to make sustainable long term improvements.
A country's environmental impact is usually measure by its CO2 emissions, which for the UK amounts to some 2.5% of the world's emissions. The UK government's target is to reduce UK emissions by 20%, which, in global terms, means a reduction from 2.5% to 2.0%. I suppose it is a step in the right direction, but completely unnoticeable in global terms, when the USA and China between them produce over 50%. China, incidentally, has such an increasing demand for energy, that a new coal fired power station is commissioned every two weeks.
So - nobody needs to hold their breath to notice the impact of the UK's reduction by half a percent over the coming decades. This is a world wide problem that needs world wide action, rather than tinkering with UK domestic heating.

Oh dear. So moving to

Oh dear. So moving to electric at 4x the price per kWh compared with gas is going to cut heating bills? Does that really mean that gas prices will rocket in order to justify that daft statement, perhaps.

So, they plan to reduce the

So, they plan to reduce the bills for those who can afford shiny new homes...….meanwhile the existing gas supply grid will have less people using it, but will still need maintaining, the cost of heating and cooking will soar beyond belief for the rest of the population who are unable to buy a new home, and are struggling to pay rent and mortgages on properties they cannot afford to retrofit, and now if the government has their way, won't even be able to cook a meal at a reasonable cost

I have just spent a small

I have just spent a small fortune replacing my 35 year-old boiler with a new gas boiler. I appreciate the potentially prohibitive costs of installing something else in an existing house with the necessary pipework and fittings, but it would be useful if an expert under government approval published some advice on practicable alternatives, including examples of typical costs (or has this been done and I missed it).