The OFTEC vision for the future

Off-grid domestic heating for England and Wales by OFTEC

OFTEC – the trade association for the oil heating industry in the UK and Ireland – has officially launched its vision to improve energy efficiency and carbon reduction for off grid homes.

The Government is looking closely at the future of heat in domestic buildings as a way to meet its carbon reduction promises. Greenhouse gas emissions from oil heating account for less than 2% of the UK’s total, but OFTEC is concerned there is currently a lack of affordable and practical measures to help the majority of rural households improve the energy efficiency of their homes and reduce carbon emissions from heating.

Domestic heating is at a crossroads. Current domestic heat policy lets down the majority of the 3.6 million off-grid homes in England and Wales. Including the 970,000 oil heating households.

The domestic RHI is only viable for the wealthy few to cut carbon emissions. Whilst the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) is only for those on very low incomes This leaves the majority out in the cold.

A new way forward must be found to help these homes to keep their energy bills low and reduce carbon emissions cost-effectively. In a way which is practical and easy to implement and avoids high upfront costs.

We believe this can be achieved with a two stage approach:

Stage 1

Introduce a boiler replacement scheme (2018 – 2022). To upgrade the 400,000 standard efficiency oil boilers still in use in England and Wales. Supported by better heating controls to further reduce energy consumption.

Stage 2

Bring to market a low carbon liquid fuel (2022 onwards). Because it’s cheaper to replace the fuel than upgrade an entire heating system.

Why will this approach work?

OFTEC’s independently verified calculations show that for the same £5,000 government spend, boiler replacement is 5x more effective in reducing carbon emissions than the Domestic RHI:

  • Boiler Replacement 20.8 tonnes CO2 saved
  • Domestic RHI 3.49 tonnes CO2 saved

Boiler replacement can upgrade 13x more homes than the RHI. Energy bills wills also be much lower compared to using RHI technologies. Running costs for high efficiency oil boiler is £942 per year. Average home with 16,000kWh energy requirement Sutherland Tables, April 2017, compared to £1,576 for an ASHP.

OFTEC believe the future lies in greening the fuel.

So, why is a low carbon liquid fuel a more realistic solution than the RHI?

Upgrading a boiler is quick and easy. Compared to complex system installation with RHI technologies. Small cost to modify existing boiler to a low carbon liquid fuel, roughly £250. Compared to the huge expense to install RHI technologies £10,000+. Use the existing supply and installer network with a low carbon liquid fuel. Compared to expensive upgrade to UK power grid to cope with higher electricity demand.

We believe our two stage proposal provides a complete, workable and affordable solution to an urgent problem. And one that homeowners would welcome and embrace. OFTEC are sharing their vision with the aim of securing government investment and support to turn this into a reality.

For a full copy of their proposal go here.

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