We have been contacted by customers asking if oil boilers are to be banned and we want to allay any fears or worries. The answer is categorically no – you do not currently need to get rid of your existing oil boiler or oil heating system.
The Irish Government has said they want to phase out the installation of oil boilers in newly built homes in 2022 but there are no announcements or plans to ban or stop the installation of oil boilers in existing homes. This we believe has not changed with the new Government although we have already made our thoughts very clear on the proposed manifesto of the coalition which can read on our website https://ukifda.org/ukifda-urges-newly-elected-irish-government-to-put-biofuels-in-future-energy-policy/
The heating oil industry across Ireland is working to show government that biofuels can and should play a role in the future and we are hopeful the newly formed Government will be technology neutral when achieving net zero by 2050. Recent studies undertaken by trade association OFTEC and their consultants In Perpetuum (2019) suggest that biofuels offer the most efficient and cost effective way to reduce carbon emissions in off-gas grid homes due to the type and fabric of the houses.
Over 90% of Ireland’s off-grid properties are below BER C1 and these are not very suitable for moving to an Air Source Heat Pump (ASHP) without significant disruption and expense. The expense would be incurred either by consumers directly, or indirectly through taxes to fund capital support. Recent research indicates that its costs between €40,000 to €60,000 on average to upgrade a house to make it suitable for a heat pump (https://superhomes.ie/) The cost of a new condensing boiler (if required) and biofuel tank will range from €1,700 to €7500 dependant on house size.
Biofuels would allow off-grid households like yourselves to switch to a more environmentally friendly fuel with lower carbon emissions. Importantly though, there will be minimum disruption to households as they can continue to use a liquid fuel form of heating without making large scale changes to your home. These drop in biofuels already exist and supply will increase if government announce that biofuels will play a part in the future and legislation on suitable implementation timeframes would also create immediate innovation and investment on these future fuels.
Our advice therefore and the advice of our trade association to the liquid fuels distribution industry – The UK and Ireland Fuel Distributors Association (UKIFDA) – is to plan for the transition to biofuels which is key in reaching the government’s decarbonisation targets, but it needs to happen in a way that also works for you – the consumer. UKIFDA has a handy decision tree tool which will help you. https://ukifda.org/make-the-right-decarbonisation-decision-for-your-off-gas-grid-home/
I am sure you will appreciate, energy efficiency is key across all heating irrelevant of the technology. The better insulated your home, the less energy you use, the less it costs and the lower your emissions and the more efficient your home the wider the choice of effective
technological options. The key becomes what can you afford to do and when, without causing you to fall into fuel poverty because you feel forced into making poor decisions quickly.
By taking this approach, you can make decisions that meet the needs of your home, your finances and your conscience as purchasing energy efficiency measures (even small ones such as draft excluders) will reduce energy use and therefore reduce cost and emissions. This means that you can make carbon savings now AND set your home up to be able to accept biofuels or other technologies at the end of the lifecycle of your current equipment without the significant cost that will be faced trying to convert a home with low EPC rating to another technology now.
If you want to change your existing oil boiler for a new oil boiler you should do so. However, we recommend switching to a condensing boiler for greater energy efficiency and in preparation for transitioning to biofuel in time. The ultimate biofuels on the market will be 0% fossil. However, initially, the introduction of transitional fuels such as B30K mean you can change the fuel without changing the heating system as they would work with current oil condensing boilers and infrastructure with minimal tweaks. The ideal pathway to the 0% fossil biofuel will take into account government ambition and consumer finances proving clear legislation to enable appropriate industry innovation to supply the new fuels.
Highly efficient, oil-fired condensing heating systems provide an excellent way to begin contributing to the energy transition, as modern equipment consumes virtually all the fuel used. Compared to outdated, standard boilers, they save up to 25% of the fuel oil – which also means a 25% reduction in your carbon emissions. Typically, a new condensing oil-fired boiler will have an efficiency of 92% to 93% and there are now over 90 “A” rated models on the market.
This is also an ideal opportunity for you to also consider upgrading the tank in your garden and installing a bunded oil tank (capable of storing biofuels) which is a tank with a double skinned oil tank. A bunded tank offers an extra layer of protection for homeowners against costly accidental oil spillages, theft and environmental concerns. When switching to a bunded tank, it is vital that you use an OFTEC registered technician for a safe installation that is building control compliant with proper control documentation.
Together with other trade associations across Ireland involved in the supply chain, our trade association, UKIFDA has developed a decarbonisation strategy, that has been presented to government to support the needs of the 686,000 homes using oil in Ireland. With your help and support, we are calling on the Government and the Sustainable Energy Authority Ireland (SEAi) to support our industry’s Future Vision which presents solutions in a timeframe that exceeds the net-zero emission legislation. The first stage of this vision is for government to incentivise all homeowners (irrelevant of type of heating system) to make energy efficiency improvements in their own homes. We suggest improvements such as fitting smart meters to tanks, installing smart temperature controls and installing better insulation in your home. All these improvements will add to a household’s carbon savings which will also help reduce bills in both the short and long term.
This is a key point that UKIFDA is making to Government. Achieving net-zero by small steps is more likely than one big transitional change. Biofuels will then complete the energy transition of the 686,000 homes well within the timeframe of the net zero target and the Paris agreement. We will keep you up to date on the progress. If you have any questions or require more information, please contact our Head Office Team by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 026 41236.