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Getting up to speed with Boiler Plus
Published:  29 March, 2018

Stewart Clements explains what installers need to know ahead of the Boiler Plus rollout in April.

Over 18 months ago, to support the process of identifying suitable heating policy, the Heating and Hotwater Industry Council (HHIC) formed a working group comprising key industry figures, government, industry stakeholders and HHIC members, from across the supply chain.

The group regularly meets to debate and identify solutions to joint issues, a ‘heat council’, if you like – a forum for industry to directly converse with government. Since its inception, the Domestic Heat Strategy Group has supported the development of a single workable heat strategy. There are several main themes that will provide the framework: technology, collaboration, whole house approach, building regulations, consumer behaviour and Boiler Plus – a policy proposal from HHIC that can improve the efficiency of residential heating systems.

From April 2018, when a gas combination boiler is installed, an additional energy efficiency measure will be required. This requirement is flexible to allow a suitable choice to be made that reflects the diverse nature of the housing stock, and the needs of the household. The energy saving technologies that can be used to comply are:

  • Flue gas heat recovery systems
  • Weather compensation
  • Load compensation
  • Smart controls featuring automation and optimisation functions.

This new piece of policy is called Boiler Plus, and was announced on 12 October 2017 by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

The policy, which will form part of Building Regulations, will also require a new minimum performance standard for domestic gas boilers in English homes to be set at 92%. The ErP Directive aims to phase out poorly performing products across a range of product groups, to reduce carbon emissions across Europe, with the ultimate goal of achieving the EU’s 2020 targets.

Following the announcement, there have been a few questions banded around about the policy. The first common question is, who will police compliance with Boiler Plus? It will be the same people who currently police Building Regulations compliance, specifically Part L, which would be local authority building control.

If you do not comply with Building Regulations, the local authority may prosecute you in the Magistrates’ Court where an unlimited fine may be imposed (sections 35 and 35A of the Building Act 1984). This is possible up to two years after the completion of the work.

The second is: what if customers don’t want smart controls? Having more sophisticated controls is a simple way to improve the efficiency of a central heating system. Increasing the efficiency of a boiler lowers costs of energy bills. The reason that there are a number of options to comply is to reflect not only the diverse housing stock in the UK, but also to offer choice to the customer.

Boiler Plus gives consumers control of heating costs and enables them to feel more comfortable in their homes. Information about the range of technologies available can be found online at www.eua.org.uk.

As a Gas Safe-registered engineer, you should be able to talk through all the potential options with your customers, and find a technology which best suits their home and lifestyle.

While this may sound like a big change, it’s worth remembering that many installers already work to the Boiler Plus standards and many products already comply. Some may see it as legislation simply catching up with industry standards, and they are not wrong.

By mandating additional efficiency measures for new boiler installations in England, the industry is sending a clear message to the public and engineers; standards are high in the heating industry, technology is world leading, and consumers can save money and improve their thermal comfort.

Stewart Clements is Director at the Heating & Hotwater Industry Council.