Industry body which helped formulate revised efficiency requirements for gas heating appliances urges expansion of standards to include all new build properties and annual servicing work
The Heating and Hotwater Industry Council (HHIC) has praised last year’s introduction of Boiler Plus efficiency standards for ensuring greater energy efficiency in UK heating appliances. However, the organisation has argued that a number of improvements could be made to the requirements by extending the programme to more types of appliance beyond combi boilers.
Boiler Plus came into effect on April 6, 2018, as part of UK Building Regulations. Key requirements of the standards include requiring any new heating appliances fitted in homes across England to have a minimum performance standard for seasonal space heating of at least 92 per cent based on the European Energy Related Products (ErP) Directive. At least one form of additional control or efficiency measure from a set list of technologies must also be included in an appliance.
Government and industry is now being urged on the first anniversary of Boiler Plus to broaden the efficiency standards to make them apply to annual boiler servicing work and new build heating system installations.
HHIC added that other potential areas for expansion could include making Boiler Plus apply to work to treat and protect a heating system, as well as ensuring it is part of installation best practice, such as by focusing on hydraulic balancing.
HHIC director Stewart Clements said that the introduction of a number of mandated requirements under Boiler Plus, such as fitting a range of potential controls that can include programmable timers, had driven the heating market to create a range of new products.
He said, “The range of products available for controlling domestic heating systems was already rapidly developing. Boiler Plus complimented and accelerated this trend by making consumers more aware of the many options for enhancing the efficiency of their system.”
Mr Clements added that discussions held by the HHIC with installers showed that many in the heating industry were already fitting the technologies specified in Boiler Plus and therefore had not been adversely impacted from a technical perspective. He accepted that educating consumers was a much more significant challenge that would require greater amounts of conversation with an end user about their needs and how they can be met within the revised efficiency standards.
Mr Clements said, “There are differing opinions across the industry regarding Boiler Plus. It’s a case of look back and don’t stare. Some felt it went too far and many others would suggest it didn’t go far enough, some may see it as legislation simply catching up with industry standards, and they are not wrong, but we need to remember there is a cost to the consumer at the end of every installation.”
Boiler manufacturer Viessmann has also argued for additional amendments to the Boiler Plus standards in recent months in order to help the heating industry address wider environmental challenges.
The company said in February that the standards should be ramped up and applied to more gas boilers. These calls followed a major report from the independent Committee on Climate Change that proposed a possible switch to electric heating in all new UK homes within seven years.
Viessmann said that ensuring Boiler Plus must be followed in all new homes would address concerns about the energy efficiency of UK housing and ensure boilers might better meet new national efficiency standards.