From April 2018 a new mandatory Boiler Plus scheme will apply whenever a new gas boiler is installed in an existing central heating system in England. Below, we will discuss 10 things you need to know about these new standards and what you need to be aware of if you’re a gas engineer or a homeowner.
What is Boiler Plus?
Boiler Plus is a scheme launched on 6 April 2018 by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). Its aim is to reduce domestic carbon emissions and encourage energy efficiency in the domestic home.
Boiler Plus places a requirement on all gas engineers fitting new boilers and controls to ensure they adhere to new minimum standards when installing boilers in existing buildings. The Domestic Building Services Compliance Guide is the document that gas engineers should use for reference. This guide is also useful for specifiers, enforcement authorities and market oversight bodies.
Boiler Plus is additional to legislation already published in Part L of the Building Regulations and applies to England only.
The additional policy means:
- all gas boilers replaced in existing buildings must be at least 92% efficient under the ErP European rating system
- a boiler interlock, time control, and temperature control must either be already present or be installed and in working order
- gas combi boiler replacement will require (at least) one additional measure out of the following 4 options – (1) flue gas heat recovery system (FGHR) (2) weather compensation (3) load compensation (4) smart thermostat with automation and optimisation
To help, we’ve created a flowchart. Click the image to see the full-size version.
Is Boiler Plus a legal requirement?
Yes. The policy is part of the Building Regulations and therefore must be followed by law.
How does Boiler Plus affect engineers?
Gas engineers should ensure that whatever boiler they are installing includes a boiler interlock and a temperature control. Both should be present and in a working condition. The requirements also apply to oil boilers.
All manufacturers were made aware of the new requirements in 2017 so all new stock available for sale should comply with these new regulations which require boilers to be at least 92% efficient. There will still be old stock in the supply chain but this should be minimal.
If the engineer is fitting a combi boiler then the specification should include a flue gas heat recovery system, weather compensation, load compensation or a smart thermostat with automisation or optimisation.
Are the measures suitable for all customers?
BEIS has stated that engineers already have a good knowledge of all the new technologies that are available and which products are suitable for different uses. The consultation document produced by BEIS asked ‘Do installers know how to work with the technologies in the new standard?’
A: ‘It is important that standards are set at a level that is not beyond the capability of our installers. The technologies featured in the new standards are all existing, established technologies, which are already familiar in some fashion to most installers.“
Through consultation we have learned that most installers see it as part of their job to keep up with technological developments, and so those who are not already confident with these products may choose to take advantage of the wide range of training that exists, much of which is provided for free.
Individuals who do not see the value in keeping up with developments in their own field may struggle as the market moves forwards without them, irrespective of the new standards.”
How do I choose which technology is suitable for me?
The BEIS consultation has stated that consumer choice could be driven by two distinct motives:
- cost minimisation – some consumers prefer to focus on reducing upfront costs and accepting lower benefits but still maximising utility, therefore choosing the lowest-cost product which would be a load compensator
- benefit maximisation – some consumers focus on optimising over the lifetime of the technology and sometimes choose a higher upfront cost to maximise their annual benefits with yearly energy reductions, therefore choosing the highest performing technology which would be the learning smart thermostat
What can I save using Boiler Plus?
The typical cost and energy savings that can be made in the first year of operation as outlined in the BEIS document are as follows:
|Measure||Cost £||Yearly saving £||Pay back years|
|Flue gas heat recovery||200*||15||13|
Source: Impact Assessment (IA)
*The BEIS estimates that the cost of Flue Gas Heat Recovery (FGHR) systems would fall to £200 within 2 years once mass production starts to take place
BEIS also notes “The results show that learning thermostats and load compensators payback within technology lifetimes (15 years), even at the higher year-one cost. For those consumers who value lowering their upfront cost, bill savings will be significantly smaller compared to those who seek to maximise bill savings over the longer term.”
“Weather compensators and FGHR will likely not be attractive offers to the majority of consumers due to the high upfront costs or long payback periods. For some circumstances, however, these technologies will be beneficial, eg, households with high hot water demands who can benefit from higher than average performance from FGHR and associated bill savings.”
What if customers don’t want additional energy saving measures?
The householder is required by law to comply with the Building Regulations. Non-compliant work carried out may result in prosecution and financial penalties for the homeowner.
Will there be more paperwork to fill in?
There will be no additional paperwork to fill in.
How will Boiler Plus be regulated and enforced?
Gas engineers who do not comply with Boiler Plus will be in breach of Building Regulations and are therefore breaking the law and could face prosecution. Building Control can enforce prosecution. If a gas engineer invoices a customer for non-compliant work, it could be considered fraudulent and therefore open to investigation by Trading Standards.
For further reading please see the full Boiler Plus guidance