New Boiler Upgrade Scheme

From 23 May 2022, the Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS) application and payment scheme will open for installers to apply on behalf of residents and homeowners.

The scheme includes £450m of government grants to help homeowners in the UK upgrade to low-carbon heating systems like heat pumps and biomass boilers.

In the UK, 40% of our carbon emissions come from our buildings. To reach net zero, we need to insulate our buildings and homes and change the way we heat them, phasing out gas boilers for heat pumps and heat networks. If we insulate well, buildings become more energy efficient, they will need less energy to keep them warm and it will be easier and cheaper to switch to cleaner heating, like heat pumps.

Every home is unique, and it’s important to consider all the changes you might need to make before making big retrofit home improvements in isolation or installing a new heating system. It’s positive to see this new scheme recommending homeowners get independent advice, like that offered by our Futureproof home retrofit assessors.

It's also positive to see government support to reduce the upfront cost of installation.

However, CSE is concerned elements within the BUS scheme risk undermining the success of heat pumps across the UK. The scheme specifications for heat pumps is far too low and many people are going to be eligible where their existing home energy efficiency is woefully inadequate. For example, the scheme states:

“Your EPC must not have any outstanding recommendations for loft or cavity wall insulation (unless you have an exemption covering these recommendations – refer to Evidence for insulation exemption | Ofgem).”

In the UK we are facing two big problems, rising energy prices and the urgent need to reduce carbon emissions if we’re to reach net zero by 2050. People are increasingly worried about how they can reduce energy use in their homes to not only save money but take action in the fight against climate change. Retrofit is the best solution to both these issues. Read more about what retrofit is here.

Heat pumps

35% of heat can be lost through the walls of a home and 25% of heat can be lost through the roof. For a low carbon heating system to work efficiently, you may need to upgrade insulation levels in your home.

If you’re thinking of switching to a heat pump, it is critical to first improve the fabric of your home – including insulation and improved window glazing to ensure you’re getting the most out of that new technology. These improvements also go a long way to improving the comfort and overall health of our homes.

You can find more information about heat pumps in our factsheet here.

What funding is available?

The new funding will allow homeowners to apply for a one-off grant of either:

  • £5,000 towards the cost of an air-source heat pump (ASHP).
  • £6,000 towards the cost of a ground-source heat pump (GSHP).
  • £5,000 towards the cost of a Biomass Boiler. (For properties in rural areas not connected to the gas grid only).

Solar thermal (water heated by solar panels) will not be included in the scheme.

Who can apply?

To apply, you’ll need to:

  • Live in England or Wales.
  • Own your property (whether this is a home or a small non-domestic property).
  • Have a property with a maximum installation capacity of up to 45 kilowatt-thermal (kWth), (this covers most homes).
  • You must have a valid Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) for your home.
  • Your EPC must not have any outstanding recommendations for loft or cavity wall insulation (unless you have an exemption covering these recommendations – refer to Evidence for insulation exemption | Ofgem).

New build homes and social housing will not be eligible for the Boiler Upgrade Scheme. The only exception is if you are building your own home.

Your installer can still apply if you’ve received separate funding for energy efficiency upgrades such as insulation, doors or windows.

If you’re replacing an existing low carbon heating system, funding is not available for the replacement of existing low carbon heating systems. Only properties which are fully replacing existing fossil fuel systems (such as oil, gas or direct electric) are eligible for support.

How to apply?

Your installer will apply for the grant on your behalf. The value of the grant will be discounted off the price you pay. An MSC certified installer can advise you on whether your installation is eligible for a grant under the scheme.

It’s a good idea to get quotes from more than one installer to make sure you’re getting the best value for money.

Here’s what to do.

  1. You find an MCS certified installer in your area that is able to carry out the work. (The MCS quality assurance scheme ensures that installers are competent, and the products they use meet the correct standards.) Click here to find a contractor: Find a Contractor - MCS (mcscertified.com).
  2. The installer advises you on whether an installation is eligible for a grant.
  3. When the installer visits your home, they should provide you with an explanation of whether a heat pump is suitable for your home. It’s important that you understand the likely heat demand for your property and the expected Coefficient of Performance (CoP). If you live in an older property with poorly insulated walls, then you might achieve a low CoP which could mean that your bills increase as a result of installing a heat pump, even if the carbon emissions go down.
  4. You agree a quote for the installation.
  5. The installer applies for the grant.
  6. You confirm that the installer is acting on your behalf when you’re contacted by Ofgem.

The scheme will run for three years from 2022 to 2025. Grants will cover low carbon heating systems with a commissioning date on or after 1 April 2022. Applications and payments can only be made from 23 May 2022 at the earliest.

Find out more about how CSE’s independent Futureproof retrofit experts can help you through your retrofit journey, by contacting our retrofit team. We take an in-depth look at your home – how it’s built, how it’s been adapted over the years, and how it’s used – and discuss with you your objectives and aspirations for your home. Based on this information, we can provide guidance on the most impactful and cost-effective retrofit measures for improving the energy efficiency of your home. When done correctly, your home should be warmer, easier to heat and healthier for yourself and the planet. Here’s a more detailed look at what retrofit isand an example of a recently retrofitted home.

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