Boris’s boiler cashback scheme must adopt best practice
The recently announced London boiler cashback scheme brings good news for the capital’s homeowners and private landlords, but to deliver the energy savings it promises, it needs to be supported with ongoing effective system protection, says John Vaughan, CEO at ADEY Professional Heating Solutions.
According to the scheme announced by Boris Johnson, Mayor of London (pictured), 6,500 of London’s owner-occupiers and accredited private landlords will have the chance to claim £400 cash back when a working but inefficient boiler (rated at 70% efficient or less) is replaced with a new A-rated boiler or renewable/low carbon heating system.
London’s homes are estimated to be responsible for 36% of the city’s carbon emissions and space heating and hot water is thought to account for around 85% of domestic energy use. Therefore the £2.6 million scheme, which is to be delivered by the Energy Saving Trust, is aimed at helping these homes to become more energy efficient and also reduce annual energy bills.
However, Vaughan warns that if these new boilers are fitted to dirty systems and aren’t properly protected by quality magnetic filtration and chemical water treatment, their performance will quickly deteriorate and the scheme will fail to deliver the long-term energy, cost and environmental goals expected.
“While this boiler scheme is to be welcomed and provides an opportunity to highlight energy inefficient boilers, without adopting a best practice approach to heating system maintenance and protection, it will ultimately be unable to make a lasting impact on the capital’s domestic carbon emissions.
“For example, if a new A-rated boiler is fitted to a system that hasn’t been cleaned and is contaminated with black iron oxide sludge as a result of natural corrosion, its efficiency will quickly be reduced by as much as 12-15%. Also, according to research, the presence of just 5kg of sludge within the system, which is not uncommon, reduces radiator heat output by up to 36%. To recover lost heat output, homeowners will naturally turn up the thermostat or use extra heating resources resulting in more energy use to treat the symptom and not the cause.
“Our MagnaClean filters have been independently proven to save up to 6% on household carbon emissions and energy bills year on year. The Energy Saving Trust also estimates that using a premium chemical inhibitor can increase boiler efficiency by a further 3% and prevent up to a 15% reduction in the effectiveness of radiators – bringing further savings for the household’s bill payers.
“By adopting a best practice system approach of clean, flush, maintain, protect and test, total energy savings could amount to as much as 15% a year and help extend the life of a household boiler beyond the average lifespan of 12 to 15 years,” continues Vaughan.
“This best practice approach could provide a real boost for Boris’s scheme. For minimum additional investment, our estimates predict that if a MagnaClean was installed with a new boiler in each of those 6,500 London households, it could save hundreds of thousands of pounds in energy bills and around 1,625* tonnes of CO2 annually, equivalent to removing 378** cars from the capital’s road.”
ADEY’s MagnaClean filters have already been installed in three million UK homes representing a potential carbon saving of 750,000* tonnes per annum, equivalent to removing 174,418** cars from Britain’s roads.
*Figures based on independent research by Gastech showing the installation of a MagnaClean filter can reduce household carbon emissions by up to 250kg a year.
**Average annual car carbon emissions based on calculations using figures reported by BBC Online and Carbonify.com
Further information: Rachel Meagher and Bethan Simkins on 01242 633100
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Photography: Digital high and low resolution images available.
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