Factory pollution

The UK bans gas boilers in new houses: a step to tackling climate change

Author: Rointe


The UK opens a new debate on banning gas boilers to help tackle climate change. See Europe's latest actions on climate change here >>


The UK opens a new debate that proposes to abandon gas (and other fossil fuels) in new build housing as of 2023 since it accounts for 14% of polluting gases in the whole country. Therefore, homes built after 2023 will be prohibited from using natural gas for hot water and heating. The intention of the British Government is to move towards decarbonization in order to fight against global warming and climate change

Did you know that the older your boiler gets, the less efficient it becomes? With the gas boiler ban announcement, if you think yours is nearing the end of its life, now is the time to explore other options. 

What’s happening to gas boilers in the UK?

Gas boilers are being phased out in the UK, with the current deadline set at 2025, although it is unclear whether it will definitely be implemented.

With the application of this new measure, homes that are built after 2025 will not be connected to the gas grid, opting for low-carbon energy instead. In fact, it’s not just gas boilers but all fossil fuel boilers that will be banned going forward. 

The objective of this is that the homes of the future (Future Homes Standard) can contribute in a more intense way to the reduction of carbon, are better prepared for energy transitions and have greater energy efficiency. Homes now need to look towards low-carbon heat pumps and networks to meet climate change targets… a particular challenge since 85% of our homes are still heated by carbon-heavy natural gas.

The UK Committee on Climate Change (the CCC) announced in a recent report that the country’s housing “is not equipped to cope with the effects of climate change and recommended that, by 2025, new houses should not be connected to the gas network ”.

Through this report, we understand that, without this change, the UK would not be able to meet climate targets as “household energy use accounts for approximately 14% of greenhouse gas emissions”. Therefore, a reduction objective of 24% is proposed for 2030 on the figures of the year 1990.

Why should heat pumps replace gas boilers?

Heat pumps offer the same heating potential as gas boilers, except they’re powered by low-carbon electricity. 

Above all, heat pumps have the most potential for saving carbon. According to the CCC report, they deliver around 25-85 tCO2 (a measure of carbon dioxide) savings per home over a 60-year lifetime. To put this into perspective, using heat pumps would mean a 90% reduction in lifetime carbon emissions.

After seeing what’s going to happen in the UK, Rointe recognises we’re stepping into a new era, where fossil fuels are dying and renewables are rising. Banning gas boilers isn’t going to single-handedly rescue us from global warming and the threat of mass extinction number 6, but it is a step in the right direction. Here at Rointe, we can’t help but be excited at the prospect of homes using more efficient, electric heating and alternative methods, like our Dalis Pro Heat Pump to heat our hot water and to keep us warm.

What climate change initiatives are happening across the rest of Europe?

Ireland

Ireland has approved the final text of legislation to set them on the path to net-Zero emissions no later than 2050, and to a 51% reduction in emissions by the end of this decade. The Bill will also provide the framework for Ireland to meet its international and EU climate commitments and to become a leader rather than a laggard in addressing climate change. Actions for each sector will be detailed in the Climate Action Plan which must be updated annually. Local authorities must also prepare their own Climate Action Plans, which specify the mitigation and adaptation measures that they plan to adopt.

The public will be consulted on the Bill over an eight-week period running until May 18. No one should feel threatened by these changes and they should be seen as opportunities to design a new, clean and renewable energy system, restore nature, build a world-class public transport system and invest in innovative industries that will generate jobs for generations to come.

The Dáil chamber members of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action were being treated to a vision of what climate action might actually look like. Expert witnesses described a possible future in which 98 per cent of Dublin’s households would not need to own a car; one where the drop in car ownership freed up space for more cycle lanes and public transport. There will be much discussion of the Bill by policy and legal experts over the forthcoming weeks when it is debated in full by the Oireachtas. We should be clear, however, that this is just the starting line for Ireland… the race has already begun.

France

France has a very ambitious environmental policy agenda. The French government has proposed legislation committing the country to carbon neutrality by 2050. The heating of buildings currently represents 20 per cent of France’s greenhouse gases.

From 2022, oil and coal boilers will be replaced by heating systems that “pollute less”, announced Emmanuelle Wargon, an ecology minister for housing. 

Coal and oil heaters will be banned in 2022. As of January 1st 2022, anyone building a new home will have to choose different means of heating, and anyone whose oil or coal boiler breaks down will have to replace it with a different kind of heater. The plan is to reduce the number of oil-fired boilers by 200,000 every year. 

As reported by the ICEX (Institute of Foreign Trade), “later, from the year 2024, Les Echos informs that the threshold of CO2 emissions for apartments will be reduced to 6 kg / m2 per year, which will make installation of gas heating systems unfeasible in these sites, but not the installation of hybrid systems. “

Housing ‘decency’ will become legal criteria as of January 1st 2023. In practice, that means that from that date any tenant in a house that consumes more than 500 kilowatts of energy per square meter per year can ask the landlord to renovate the building. 

The government will also issue measures that target the “completely unjustified overconsumption” of resources, which includes prohibiting outdoor restaurant terraces from using heaters, causing controversy for the countries bars and restaurants, particularly after the Covid-19 pandemic.

Spain

Spain’s national energy and climate plan (NECP) sets a target of 23% greenhouse gas emissions cuts by the end of the decade, compared with 1990 levels. The strategy insists that will put it on the right path to going carbon neutral by 2050. Spain decided in 2018 to aim for a 100% renewables-powered electricity system by 2050 and to get the country on the right track, clean energy sources will supply 74% of demand by 2030.

Spain’s energy efficiency measures also include the improvement of public and private buildings. In total, the Ministry of Ecological Transition will promote the rehabilitation of at least 100,000 homes a year to make them more energy efficient.

In relation to sustainable mobility, the law establishes that in 2040 the registration and sale of vehicles that emit CO 2 will not be allowed and measures will be put in place for the penetration of electric transport. In this way, it is intended to reach 2050 with a fleet of passenger cars and commercial vehicles without direct carbon dioxide emissions.

Precisely, the minister recalled during her visit to COP25 that the law will also force municipalities with more than 50,000 inhabitants to create low-emission zones , such as those that already exist in Madrid, Barcelona or Pontevedra. To this end, the installation of charging points for electric vehicles and the improvement of the public transport network will be promoted.

Spain has also introduced the prohibition of coal boilers in Madrid as of January 1, 2022. This new regulation promotes energy efficiency and the elimination of polluting sources, produced by coal boilers. The aim is to end the most polluting emissions and turn the capital of Spain into a more decarbonized, greener city, with cleaner and healthier air for its citizens.

Netherlands

The Netherlands has produced a more ambitious carbon plan for 2030 and recently passed a law to end all coal power generation by that date.

To create a healthy and livable city, Amsterdam launched a Climate Adaptation Strategy. In densely populated areas such as Amsterdam, heat waves are more extreme, as a result of the so-called ‘urban heat island effect’. This means that heat generated by people, vehicles and the sun is easily trapped by the materials used to build houses, industrial buildings, sidewalks, and parking lots. Amsterdam’s goal is to achieve a 55% reduction in emissions by 2030, and a 95% reduction of emissions by 2050.

The city’s Climate Neutral Programme focuses on reducing CO2 released within the city of Amsterdam as a result of energy use. Its aim is to become a natural gas-free city by 2040. As many of the new homes as possible should be constructed to an energy-neutral standard. The City wants all people with a roof to gain insight into the possibilities of solar panels and get a so-called ‘sun offer’. The days of diesel and petrol cars in Amsterdam are numbered. From 2030, the entire built-up area of Amsterdam will be emission-free for all forms of transport, including cars and motorbikes. Charging stations have been set up to encourage the switch to electric transport.

Portugal

In the case of Portugal, the negotiations on the European Climate Law, which will aim to reduce emissions of 55% by 2030, are expected to conclude before the end of June, as Portugal is giving greater priority to climate change in recent months.

The country believes, along with most EU members, that we should aspire to be carbon neutral by 2050 or earlier.

These are just some of the initiatives European countries are working on to tackle climate change. Why not share with us your low carbon strategies in your own home?

Why choose Rointe as the most efficient option?

Rointe heating systems were created to respond to the growing demand for efficient and environmentally friendly products in heating. The combination of electricity as fuel and high-quality materials, allows us to generate efficient and healthy heat for the comfort of people.

We develop 100% electric and energy-efficient heating and domestic hot water systems, committing ourselves to provide the most innovative and sustainable electric heating solutions on the market, offering our customers the heating of the future, today.