Representatives from all areas of the heating industry, along with trade bodies, consumer groups, housing associations and the media joined Baxi Heating at an event in Westminster to herald the introduction of Boiler Plus – changes to the Building Regulations that will increase the energy efficiency of domestic heating in existing homes in England only.
Andrew Keating, Aftersales and Marketing Manager, Baxi Heating, welcomed guests to the event and gave an overview of Boiler Plus and how it fits in with the debate over the future of heat and what can be done to address the need for decarbonisation to meet mandated carbon budgets and the ultimate 20150 goal set out in the Climate Change Act.
Aaron Gould, Senior Policy Adviser at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) addressed attendees, explaining how the consultation process had been carried out, with feedback from hundreds of Gas Safe registered installers, manufacturers and industry bodies, to ensure that the measures included in the legislation are those which are easily adopted to improve energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions with demonstrable results.
He explained that the Clean Growth Strategy will drive more policy change in the future and he encouraged everyone to be part of the future conversation.
A lively discussion followed Mr Gould’s speech, with a panel that included Philip Sellwood, Chief Executive, Energy Saving Trust; Jeff House, Head of External Affairs, Baxi Heating; Steve Sutton, Technical Manager, Heating and Hot Water Industry Council (HHIC); Rebecca Hart, Corporate Responsibility Manager, Calor Gas; and Martyn Frost, Chair of Controls and Heating Group, Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering.
Philip Sellwood said: “I congratulate the heating industry on working with the government on this legislation. Reflecting on the previous major changes that made condensing boilers mandatory in 2005, this was the single biggest carbon reduction initiative the government has introduced in the last two decades.
“However, it is important that we take the public with us on this journey. Our research shows that consumers engage with their heating in different ways, and we must be mindful to educate and engage with them in the ways they will understand.”
Installers are one of the best ways to engage consumers, according to Jeff House, as they are invited into homes, acting as trusted advisers. We can help with training and advice to enable them to install the right measures to suit each household or customer need. This view was strongly supported by Martyn Frost of CIPHE, who said that the industry is working on innovative ways to support training, such as augmented reality.
Steve Sutton is mindful that while Boiler Plus is definitely a great step forward for increasing efficiency of boilers, he would like to see system balancing and system cleaning as part of future consultations.
We mustn’t forget older, hard to heat homes which are often in areas off the mains gas network. Rebecca Hart of Calor said: “We must take a pragmatic approach to heating these homes, which are often a part of rural areas that make up our countryside and which we don’t want to lose, by combining energy efficient boilers with bioLPG.”
Boiler Plus came into effect on 6 April 2018. It requires the seasonal space heating efficiency of the replacement boiler to be no less than 92% ErP; a minimum of time and temperature controls for all gas and oil boiler installations; and, for combi installations only, one of the four additional measures: weather compensation; load compensation; smart controls; or flue gas heat recovery.