Aimed at encouraging the take-up of more energy-saving technologies, the new Boiler Plus legislation, which comes into force on 6 April 2018, requires the installation of an additional energy saving device with every combination boiler installed. Here’s an ‘at a glance’ guide to what you need to know.
1) So, what is Boiler Plus?
Boiler Plus is the name of new legislation that will change the way boilers are manufactured and installed by mandating higher efficiency levels in domestic heating systems. Instigated following a period of consultation by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), the new standards will initially only apply in England and have been incorporated into Approved Document L of the Building Regulations.
As part of the Government’s ‘Heat in Buildings’ programme, Boiler Plus has been devised as a way of maximising energy efficiency in homes and represents the biggest legislative change to efficiency standards since 2005, when condensing boilers were mandated.
2) What are the new standards and which types of boilers do they apply to?
In a nutshell, the new standards require:
All gas boilers installed into existing systems in England must have an ERP rating of at least 92%
At a minimum, all gas and oil boiler installations must include time and temperature controls, if they are not already present in the home.
All new combi boilers and replacements must include an additional energy efficiency measure (see below), which should be installed at the same time.
3) What additional measures are required for combi boilers?
The installation of a combination boiler means installers will have to incorporate at least one energy efficiency solution with the boiler, which should be done concurrently. There are four choices of additional measures:
Flue gas heat recovery systems
Smart controls featuring automation and optimisation functions
By having a variety of add-on measures to choose from, the customer has the flexibility to make a suitable choice that reflects the needs of the household and their budget.
4) When did Boiler Plus come into force and where does it apply?
Boiler Plus became mandatory earlier this month on the 6th of April, and only installers working in England are required to adhere to the new standards. It is thought that the rest of the UK will implement similar regulations in the near future.
5) Is there a deadline for households to comply with Boiler Plus?
No. Boiler Plus is not about forcing people to change their boilers. The aim is to improve the efficiency of boilers when and if they are replaced, and customers can be assured that they will be getting the most efficient boiler system possible for their home.
6) Does any of this affect system and heat-only boilers?
Only to the extent that they must be at least 92% efficient and include time and temperature controls. They are not required to incorporate the add-on efficiency measures that combis must have since the majority of system and regular boilers currently available would need further modifications to make them work with energy saving devices. This would entail not just a higher cost for the customer, but also put heating systems at a higher risk of developing legionella.
7) So what about oil boilers?
The only regulation under Boiler Plus for installing oil boilers is that they must have time and temperature controls as part of the system.
BEIS is aiming to phase out high carbon fossil fuel heating, like oil, by the 2020s, so BEIS is focusing instead on the RHI for oil in the interim and finding ways of encouraging oil households to shift towards low carbon heating alternatives.
8) Can the 92% efficiency standard be met in combination with other efficiency measures?
No, the 92% standard is just for the boiler as a standalone product. A boiler below 92% ERP does not comply, even if the system label is brought up to 92% by other components.
9) What happens if I don’t comply?
Technically, if you don’t comply with the standards in Boiler Plus, you are breaching the Building Regulations and therefore breaking the law and could face prosecution.
Building Control is responsible for policing compliance with Boiler Plus, but Gas Safe Register can refer incidents of safety concerns to the Health & Safety Executive.