In June 2017 OFTEC unveiled its vision for the future of off-grid heating, based on meeting four key objectives identified by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). These were to:
- Keep energy bills as low as possible;
- Ensure the UK has a secure and resilient energy system;
- Reduce carbon emissions cost-effectively at home; and
- Avoid unreasonable upfront costs for consumers which could discourage home improvements.
OFTEC believes that these objectives can be achieved via a two-stage approach:
Stage 1 from 2017 – 2022:
- incentivise the replacement of existing standard efficiency oil boilers with high efficiency condensing appliances through a nationwide boiler replacement programme. This should be supported by mandating heating controls such as functional timers and thermostats when new boilers are installed to further reduce energy use.
Stage 2 from 2022:
- introduce a low carbon liquid fuel as a replacement to kerosene.
The benefits of this approach can be summarised as follows:
A complete solution – addresses carbon reduction and energy efficiency simultaneously
Future proof – a workable, realistic option with the later development of a low/ zero carbon fuel enabling homes to radically reduce emissions while continuing to use technology they know and trust
Affordable – the low upfront cost of boiler replacement will encourage high levels of participation
Accessible and easily explained – a boiler replacement payment scheme is easy to understand and the benefit to the purchaser is immediate
Compatible – uses established heat technologies that are easy to install into rural homes without expensive renovation or modification; well-suited to distress purchase situations
Has large-scale deployment potential – the low level of government investment per home required means more households can be supported than by alternative options
Industry buy-in assured – minimised bureaucracy will guarantee support and advocacy from installers which is vital for measures to succeed
Resilient – the supporting installer, servicing and fuel supplier network is already in place
Pragmatic and cost-effective – a high value solution that will give the best result for least cost and return on investment.