The End of Boilers: UK Government Bans Boilers and Hydrogen for New-Build Homes by 2025

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In a significant move towards a greener future, the UK government has announced a ban on boilers in new-build homes starting in 2025. The decision, outlined in a long-awaited consultation on energy efficiency standards in the housebuilding industry, dismisses the practicality of installing boilers as a means of achieving significant carbon savings and creating ‘zero-carbon ready’ homes.

What adds an unexpected twist to this development is the exclusion of hydrogen as a potential heating source. Hydrogen, once hailed by both the government and the energy industry as a logical replacement for natural gas, has been ruled out due to concerns about its questionable green credentials. While hydrogen can be a clean fuel if produced without emitting carbon, the majority of global hydrogen production involves the use of fossil fuels, making it a less-than-ideal green alternative.

Earlier recommendations, including a March 2023 report suggesting the blending of up to 20% hydrogen into the gas grid and calls from major boiler manufacturers for hydrogen compatibility by 2025, have been overridden by the government’s latest decision. Even trial projects in three towns—Whitby in Cheshire, Redcar in North Yorkshire, and Levenmouth in Fife—aimed at heating homes with hydrogen have faced setbacks, with two projects already cancelled due to protests and lack of resident uptake.

The consultation’s release on December 13, 2023, coincided with the conclusion of the COP28 climate summit in Dubai, where nearly 200 countries agreed to transition away from fossil fuels. The timing prompts speculation about whether COP28 influenced the government’s decision to exclude hydrogen as a heating option.

The COP28 summit also saw the launch of a joint declaration on the Responsible Deployment of Renewables-Based Hydrogen, advocating for clean hydrogen in sectors where alternatives are limited and cautioning against its use in heating due to potential energy inefficiencies. The declaration’s assertion that hydrogen use for heating could “potentially cannibalise renewable electricity” echoes concerns raised by experts in the field.

However, it’s important to note that the consultation is not a final decision but a policy document open to public feedback. The energy industry is likely to lobby for changes during the consultation process, leaving the final decision in the hands of politicians.

Despite the uncertainty surrounding the consultation’s outcome, a clear message has been sent—a transition away from the fossil fuel era is underway. Simon Stiell, the UN Climate Change Executive Secretary, declared it as “the beginning of the end” at COP28. Germany’s climate envoy, Jennifer Morgan, emphasized that for investors, the future is renewable, and fossil fuels are becoming stranded assets.

Looking ahead, whether or not the recommendations become law, a few certainties emerge:

  1. Hydrogen’s Role: Hydrogen is unlikely to play a significant role in home heating. Scientific and public support is lacking, and it’s unlikely to reduce energy costs.
  2. Rise of Heat Pumps: New-build homes are expected to be equipped with heat pumps in the coming years. Cost-effective and efficient, especially as insulation levels increase, these pumps extract and transfer heat using electricity.
  3. District Heat Networks: For apartments, district heat networks may emerge as a viable alternative to heat pumps. Common in colder countries, these networks circulate hot water from a central source throughout a neighborhood.
  4. Nostalgia for Boilers: Home boilers, once a common sight, are poised to become relics of the past as the UK marches towards a cleaner and more sustainable future.

In the wake of COP28 and the government’s energy efficiency consultation, the trajectory is clear—the transition to renewable energy is inevitable, and the landscape of home heating in the UK is undergoing a transformative shift.

Elliot Preece
Elliot Preecehttps://newswriteups.com/
Founder | Editor Elliot is an experienced journalist manager with a passion for writing. He played a pivotal role in building the News Write Ups website as a web developer and has since been leading the team of journalists to produce high-quality content. With his strong background in writing and web development, Elliot ensures that the website not only functions smoothly but also provides engaging and informative articles for readers. elliot@newswriteups.com

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