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Domestic heating firms praised for carbon cuts

Research carried out by Vaillant Group has revealed that the domestic heating sector has already made a massive contribution to the UK’s campaign to cut carbon emissions.

The condensing boiler and renewables manufacturer estimated that heating installers had helped to reduce carbon emissions by five million tonnes since the mid-1990s using its high efficiency products.

The company also calculated that by working closely with contractors, it had helped to save at least 2.4 million tonnes of carbon since the new Building Regulations came into force in 2005.

“These are very impressive figures,” said UK managing director Jim Moore. “Domestic heating engineers should feel very proud of what they have achieved.”

Vaillant also estimated that emissions caused by domestic heating systems would have risen by over one million tonnes since 2005 if the changes to Part L had not come into force. It added that a further 3.5 million tonnes of carbon could be saved annually if all cast iron permanent pilot boilers of 15-years-old and over were replaced by high efficiency condensing models.

“The industry has made tremendous progress, but these projections show we still have a very long way to go,” said Mr Moore.  “We estimate there are around four million old, inefficient boilers still installed and operating in UK homes1. The Government should make a concerted effort to incentivise householders to replace these.”

Stamp duty has been waived on ‘carbon neutral’ homes, but Mr Moore thinks this will have little or no impact because it will not apply to the “majority of the existing housing stock” where the real energy efficiency problems lie.

Home Information Packs will raise awareness of carbon emissions, but again these have limited scope as they only apply when properties are put on the market, he added.

According to Vaillant’s research, if only 10 per cent of the three million new homes the Government hopes will be built by 2020 used either a solar hot water system or heat pump to supplement traditional heating technologies more than 150,000 tonnes of carbon could be saved annually.

However, such significant growth in the renewables market depends on the industry having access to a suitably skilled workforce, according to Mr Moore.

“Heating installers have many of the necessary skills, but we are still concerned that unqualified people are gaining access to this market,” he said. “We would like to see more support given to Competent Person Schemes as the avenue for accrediting installers and protecting the public from the less scrupulous operators.”

Heating and Hotwater Industry Council research.