The CCC has suggested phasing out the installation of fossil fuel boilers by 2033 - but is this ambitious enough?
The Climate Change Committee recently released their proposed target for the Sixth Carbon Budget; suggesting a challenging 78% emissions reduction beyond 1990 levels. To achieve this, they have strongly recommended the introduction of a 2033 law banning the installation of fossil fuel boilers – but is this ambitious enough and what are the alternatives?
As the UK looks to position itself a global leader in sustainability, there has been no shortage of big announcements and proposals to date emphasising this goal. The latest is the Climate Change Committee’s (CCC) proposal to Government on what the Sixth Carbon Budget should be. As expected, this is a challenging figure, focused on phasing out the use of fossil fuels and ushering in a new era of low carbon energy and building design.
The idea of the end of the traditional gas boiler is not new information. In new build, the Future Homes Standard made it clear that it will be very difficult to use these solutions beyond 2025 - now it seems the end date may be in sight for all buildings.
Banning the installation in 2033
On average, the traditional natural gas boiler has a life expectancy of around 15 years. With the Net-Zero target requiring a move away from all fossil fuel technology to be met, this means we need to stop installing and replacing them by the early 2030’s to ensure no high carbon fossil fuel boilers are still operational by 2050.
This is why the CCC urge Government to adopt the below milestones for phasing out the installation of high carbon fossil fuel boilers for certain sectors by the below dates:
- Public buildings: 2025 or 2030, depending on ambition
- Commercial buildings: 2026 or 2033, depending on ambition
- Off-gas grid homes: 2028
- Homes connected to the gas grid: 2033
Is this ambitious enough?
It’s clear that to achieve net-zero status we need to move away from using natural gas and other high carbon fossil fuels to heat our buildings, due to their greenhouse gas emissions and resulting negative impact on climate change.
The CCC has said that 2033 gives the supply chain for replacement products, such as heat pumps, time to develop, whilst allowing the last natural gas boilers installed in early 2030’s to become obsolete by our 2050 net zero target as they reach the end of their 15-year life span. This would also give low carbon heat networks and regional rollouts of hydrogen time to take place.
Interestingly, there are already those saying that this date should be brought much further forward in certain areas, such as commercial developments and off-gas grid homes, as the technology to replace them exists already and a delay will only exacerbate their impact of climate change.
What are the alternative solutions to gas boilers?
For projects looking to transition away from natural gas boilers sooner than the dates listed above, there are already trusted and proven solutions available with established supply chains.
Potential replacement solutions for gas boilers include:
- Hybrid electric systems:
- Heat pumps
- Electric boilers
- Hydrogen boilers (where regional low carbon supply exists)
For retrofit installations, the process is more involved than simply finding a new technology that uses a low carbon energy source. Other feasibility factors need to be considered, such as available pipework size, space availability, supply loading and budget. It might also be necessary to deploy new emitters to work alongside low carbon solutions, such as fan convectors.
If you’re receiving enquiries about projects looking to replace fossil-fuel boilers, we are here to help. With over 70 years of industry experience, our expertise goes into every product we offer.
For more information, contact us today to be put in contact with your local sales representative.