What is the Boiler Upgrade Scheme?
The Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS for short) is a government grant created to help decarbonise domestic heating in the UK in our efforts to reach “net zero” and at the same time decrease energy bills. The grant helps homeowners afford to make the eco-friendly switch from a fossil fuel or oil boiler to a low-carbon heat pump which is 400% more energy efficient and decreases CO2 emissions with 75%. Until 31 March 2027, installing energy-saving materials such as heat pumps, solar panels and insulation is VAT-free.
Recent changes to the Boiler Upgrade Scheme
On Wednesday 20 September 2023, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced an update to this boiler scrappage scheme highlighting an increase to the grants available, allowing homeowners to receive up to £7,500 for air source heat pumps, as well as ground or water source heat pumps. The available grant for biomass boilers remains at £5,000.
This increase is set to take effect from Monday 23 October. Existing grants are not eligible to be increased to the new level, however, those with live vouchers can revoke these and reapply from Monday 23 October once the new grant is in effect.
How the Boiler Upgrade Scheme Works
In England & Wales the Boiler Upgrade Scheme is an installer-led scheme, which means that you as a homeowner do not need to do anything to claim back through the scheme, and your installer should deduct the value of the grant from your quote. The scheme does have a set of eligibility criteria you need to be aware of before making the decision to install a heat pump:
- Your home or small business is based in England or Wales. There are separate grant schemes in place for Scotland and Northern Ireland.
- You have a valid EPC (Energy Performance Certificate)
- The commissioning of your Heat Pump is on or after April 1 2022
- You are fully replacing your old fossil fuel heating system
EPC requirements for the Boiler Upgrade Scheme
A valid EPC is one that is less than 10 years old and has no outstanding recommendations for loft or cavity wall insulation. If your EPC does have recommendations for loft or cavity wall insulation, prior to your installer claiming the grant, you will have to:
- Install the required insulation
- Obtain a new EPC that does not have any recommendations for these insulation types
You can check your Energy Performance Certificate using your postcode & the government’s “Find an energy certificate” service.
There are exemptions to the insulation requirements, where there is no ability to install cavity wall insulation for example, for which you will be required to give evidence to your installer to support their application for the BUS.
At Aira, we offer both Cavity Wall Insulation and Loft Insulation as add-on services to our air source heat pump offering to ensure that our customers can access the BUS grant as well as to ensure we support them in maximising the energy efficiency of their property with as low resulting energy bills as possible.
Why Does the Government Offer the Boiler Upgrade Scheme?
Boilers are the largest offending carbon emitter in your home – in fact, they use more fossil fuels than an average car. Making the switch to a heat pump home heating system will drastically reduce your annual carbon emissions.
To motivate homeowners like you to make this eco-friendly and money-saving switch, the UK government offers a grant to reduce the cost of installation – for many, the cost can be the biggest roadblock in making the shift. By swapping to a heat pump from a polluting gas boiler, you’ll be taking one of the most impactful actions possible and support the UK’s commitment to being carbon net zero by 2050.
Opting for a heat pump to heat your home means no more reliance on fossil fuels, no more gas heating bills, and a supporting grant scheme to help ease the cost of switching.
Let’s face it: the heating climate and the economic climate is affecting us all, right now. By switching your old gas boiler (which Aira will dispose of in an ecologically friendly way) and replacing it with heat pumps, you’re able to lower your monthly spend on heating while making the best decision for the planet.