High upfront costs sees heat escaping from government's Boiler Upgrade Scheme

The level of take-up for the government’s Boiler Upgrade Scheme has been described as "disappointingly” low by the House of Lords Built Environment Committee Inquiry which concluded that the scheme is failing to deliver.

Related topics:  Property,  government,  Energy Efficiency,  boilers
Property | Reporter
28th February 2023
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"Agents, landlords and homeowners require significantly more information and financial support to cover heating upgrades and retrofitting costs, which are a significant barrier to improving energy efficiency"

Propertymark’s Policy team, led by Timothy Douglas, submitted evidence to raise awareness of their concerns. Since launching its inquiry in May 2022, the Committee has found public awareness of low-carbon heating systems is very limited, and promotion of the Boiler Upgrade Scheme has been inadequate.

In its evidence to the Committee, Propertymark outlined that 48 per cent of Propertymark members were unaware of the scheme’s existence and for members who were aware of the scheme they felt the amount of funding available per house compared to the overall cost of retrofitting was too little.

Timothy Douglas, comments: “Upfront costs are too high for many households, even with the help of the grant, making it impossible for low-income households to benefit from the scheme."

In some types of residential properties, there are significant additional costs or restrictions to installing heat pumps. Properties in coastal areas and flats can be the most problematic, as there is less room to retrofit flats this way and the salty air from the coast can cause erosion in heat pumps.

The Committee’s recommendations include calls for the UK Government to provide greater clarity to professionals and consumers on feasible options for low-carbon home heating through a consistent policy framework, public communications, and householder advice.

Douglas continues: “It’s not surprising that the House of Lords Built Environment Committee Inquiry has recognised many of the issues our members have highlighted, such as the upfront costs of installing heat pumps and very low public awareness of the Boiler Upgrade Scheme.

“Agents, landlords and homeowners require significantly more information and financial support to cover heating upgrades and retrofitting costs, which are a significant barrier to improving energy efficiency.

“It’s vital that the Committee’s recommendations to provide a wider range of feasible options through a consistent policy framework are now prioritised by the UK Government and lead to better, targeted support being made available.”

The committee also calls for the UK Government to correct the Energy Performance Certificates methodology so that certificates properly reward households for making the switch to low-carbon heating and flawed EPC recommendations cease being a barrier to Boiler Upgrade Scheme eligibility.

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