There are close to 2 million heating appliances sold in the UK each year, over 80 per cent of which are domestic gas boilers. With 30 per cent of UK emissions coming from buildings, I am pleased that the Government has confirmed that it is exploring cleaner, greener heating for our homes and buildings.
The Government is examining the role hydrogen could play in heating and will make a strategic decision in 2026. In addition, the Government is growing the installation of electric heat pumps, from 30,000 per year to 600,000 per year by 2028, which can be used as an alternative to a gas boiler. More broadly, by the mid-2030s all newly installed heating systems will either use low-carbon technologies, such as heat pumps, or support new technologies, such as hydrogen-ready boilers. In other words, the Government is aiming to achieve no new gas boiler installations after 2035.
The Government has been clear that no-one will be forced to remove their existing fossil fuel boiler, but with industry confident that electric heat pumps will be as cheap to buy and run as gas-fired appliances by 2030, homeowners will be able to easily make these choices when the time comes to replace their old boiler.
To help consumers transition, a new £450 million three-year Boiler Upgrade Scheme will see households offered grants of up to £5,000 for low-carbon heating systems, so they cost the same as a gas boiler now.
I do think it is also important to look at making new build and existing homes as energy efficient as possible. I welcome that the Government has a target of making all rented non-domestic buildings EPC Band B by 2030, where cost-effective, and supporting as many existing homes as possible to reach EPC Band C by 2035.
Finally, the introduction of the Future Homes Standard will ensure that from 2025, an average home will produce at least 75 per cent lower CO2 emissions than one built to current energy efficiency requirements. Homes built under the Future Homes Standard will be ‘zero carbon ready’, which means that in the longer term, these homes will be future-proofed with low carbon heating and world-leading levels of energy efficiency. No further retrofit work will be necessary to enable them to become zero carbon homes as the electricity grid continues to decarbonise.