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Government Consultation Outcome: Boiler Upgrade Scheme


The Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ) yesterday detailed the outcome of the recent consultation on the Boiler Upgrade Scheme which closed on 12th October 2023.

We take a look at some of the key points below.

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What is the Boiler Upgrade Scheme?

The Boiler Upgrade Scheme was introduced in 2022 to support the decarbonisation of heat in buildings. Under the scheme, individuals in England and Wales can benefit from upfront capital grants, which reduce the installation cost of heat pumps and bio mass boilers.

Changes were recently announced with regard to the level of funding a successful applicant would receive. From 23rd October 2023, the grant level for air source heat pumps and ground source heat pumps increased from £5,000 (air source) and £6,000 (ground source) to £7,500.


The Consultation Outcome

The Boiler Upgrade Scheme Consultation received a total of 205 responses from a range of companies, trade bodies, industry professionals and members of the public.

As a result of these responses, DESNZ has committed to:

  1. Maintain the need for a valid Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) issued within the last 10 years, while removing the requirement for that EPC to have no outstanding recommendations for loft and cavity wall insulation. The government will continue to advise the installation of loft and cavity wall insulation when it is recommended by the EPC, but these will no longer be mandated.
  2. Differentiate the grant levels for properties considered off the gas grid or self-build properties. DESNZ have confirmed that due to the recent grant uplift to all properties, they will not be varying the grant levels for these properties when the regulations come in to force. However, it will be an option to vary the grant levels for these types of properties in the future.
  3. Biomass boilers with an integrated cooking function will be eligible for support. When the new changes come in to effect, biomass boiler with an integrated cooking function that cannot be separately controlled, will be eligible.
  4. The approach to commissioning dates is to be amended. Applications will be ineligible if they are for a system which has been commissioned more than 120 days ahead of the application.


Elmhurst’s Response – “Fabric First is sensible”

Elmhurst’s Technical Development Director, Andrew Parkin, comments:

“Whilst Elmhurst welcomes the news that the Boiler Upgrade Scheme continues to use the EPC, it is very disappointing to see that the accepted ‘Fabric First’ approach is being abandoned here.

A heat pump needs to be correctly sized, based upon the heating demand of the property, which is dictated by the thermal performance of the building. Where this is improved through retrofitting insulation, the demand reduces, the heat pump can be smaller, and therefore more likely to be cheaper to buy for the consumer. Equally, additional or larger heat emitters may not be required.  All of these options reduce cost which in turn reduce heat demand and result in lower bills for the consumer.

Where simple and cheap insulation isn’t installed, a heat pump will, in most cases, need to be larger. Aside from the additional costs, if a homeowner then decides to insulate at a later date, the heat pump will be oversized. In this scenario, the heat pump will mostly see a reduction in efficiency as it may end up cycling.

Fabric first has always been sensible and the above scenario emphasises the importance of this approach. More than ever, good advice is key.

In addition, Elmhurst would like to advise our members and stakeholders that this response notes that a ‘valid’ EPC is required. A valid EPC is one that is less than 10-years old and accurately represents the energy performance of the property. Any changes to the property may impact the EPC rating, recommendations or descriptions. Therefore, the EPC may no longer accurately represent the property.

We strongly recommend that an accurate EPC is used in a Boiler Upgrade Scheme application.”


Next Steps

DESNZ will be announcing the timeline for the above changes in the coming weeks and will continue to work with key stakeholders as they prepare to introduce the changes to the Boiler Upgrade Scheme.

You can view the full government response here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/proposed-amendments-to-the-boiler-upgrade-scheme-regulations