If you’re looking for ways to replace your current fossil fuel or electric boiler – be it for something that could be more energy efficient, greener or just less expensive to run – an air heat pump grant from the new Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS) could be just the right thing for you and help make the switch to low-carbon heating much easier on your wallet.
What is the Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS)?
The BUS is a government grant scheme aimed at increasing the uptake of low carbon heat pumps by providing homeowners with an up-front capital grant to help fund the install of domestic heat pumps. In some limited circumstances, the grant scheme could also provide funding to install biomass boilers but only when replacing fossil fuel heating.
The funding scheme will be open for applications from April 2022 and aims to incentivise homeowners in England and Wales to make the switch from fossil fuel boilers to cleaner low-carbon heating to help the UK to reach its carbon reduction targets. Scotland will have a separate funding scheme.
Switching to a low-carbon air source heat pump to heat your home is typically the single biggest action you can take to reduce your home's carbon footprint. It can slash them by up to 65% and help you make significant savings on our heating bill.1 Not a bad thing in times of rising fuel prices if you ask us, so let’s look at the BUS scheme in a bit more detail.
Who is eligible for the Boiler Upgrade Scheme grant?
To be eligible for the BUS, the following requirements must be met:
You must own a domestic property
The current heating system either needs to be fuelled by fossil fuel or be an electric heating system
You must have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) that has a hot water demand stated on it. All EPCs generated in the last 10 years will have a hot water demand number. If yours does not, you will need to get a new EPC. Click here to find out more.
At the point of installation, the EPC needs to state there are no cavity or loft insulation recommendations for the property, or where appropriate a report is provided to state that such insulation cannot be installed due to the nature of the property. (Don’t worry, we can talk you through how this works and where to find this information).
Note that there are exemptions to this last requirement, for example in the case of listed buildings or those located in a conservation area. In these cases, it’s best to check with your local planning authority for their specific guidance before proceeding.
If you have a valid EPC that recommends loft and/or cavity insulation but the measures have already been installed, you will have to get an updated EPC which evidences this.
Similarly, if you’re planning any works on your property such as an extension, these will have an impact on the heat requirements of the property. It is recommended you complete them first so that we can determine the heat loss of the property including any recent changes, which is essential in designing an efficient air source heat pump system.
What grants can you get under the Boiler Upgrade Scheme?
Grants for air source heat pumps are worth £5,000
Grants for ground source heat pumps are worth £5,000
It’s worth pointing out that while ground source heat pumps can be even more energy efficient than already highly efficient air source heat pumps, installing a ground source heat pump is much more disruptive and expensive compared to an air source heat pump.
Do I have to wait until April 2022 to start the process?
No, you don’t have to wait at all. And given that the total funding amount of the scheme, and therefore the number of vouchers, is limited, and interest is expected to be as high as, if not higher than, with the Green Homes Grant, there really isn’t any reason to postpone it for too long.
Ofgem have indicated that the process of applying to the BUS can be started before the official opening date, 1st April 2022, as long as the new air source heat pump is not commissioned before that date. This means that you can already request a BUS compliant quote from us.
What properties are eligible for the Boiler Upgrade Scheme?
To be eligible, properties need to be located in England or Wales as Scotland isn’t included in this scheme. As with previous funding schemes, such as the Green Homes Grant (GHG), the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) and Energy Company Obligation (ECO), it may be required to install basic energy efficiency measures before the installation of the heat pump.
You must have an EPC that has a hot water demand stated on it. All EPCs generated in the last 10 years will have a hot water demand number. If yours does not, you will need to get a new EPC. Click here to find out more.
At the point of installation, the EPC needs to state there are no cavity wall or loft insulation recommendations for the property, or where appropriate a report is provided to state that such insulation cannot be installed due to the nature of the property. (Don’t worry, we can talk you through how this works and where to find this information).
This means that if you have cavity walls they must be filled, and if you have a loft, you need a minimum depth of insulation. To evidence this, you will need to have an up to date EPC which does not show these measures as being required.
Can I have a hybrid system or a ‘heating only’ heat pump?
While the aim of the BUS is to increase the uptake of low carbon heating, Ofgem requires the low carbon heating to be a direct replacement of a fossil fuel heating system. This means that the new low carbon heating must be solely responsible to provide the property with heating and hot water. Since hybrid systems or ‘heating only’ heat pumps always work in conjunction with a fossil fuel boiler, and are therefore not solely responsible for heating and hot water, they are not covered by the BUS.
How do I get a Boiler Upgrade Scheme grant?
It couldn’t be any easier. Contrary to earlier funding schemes, the entire BUS grant process is led by the installer, who must also be MCS accredited, which means we’ll apply for and administer the grant on your behalf.
Here’s how it works in more detail:
You request an estimate quote from us.
We produce an estimate quote that includes the BUS deduction of £5,000.
We refine it with you during the online or in-home survey.
Once you accept our final quote, we’ll apply to Ofgem for your BUS grant voucher worth £5,000.
We arrange the installation at a time and day of your choosing.
Once your new air source heat pump is commissioned, we’ll redeem your voucher with Ofgem.
Your journey to greener, low carbon heating starts now.
1Subject to system design and usage.