No Gas boilers in New homes after 2025

Cliff

Distinguished Member
www.cityam.com/274624/no-gas-boilers-new-british-homes-after-2025-chancellor

The plan is to build homes with extra insulation and no gas main... Is this practical?
The aim of course to reduce carbon emissions, which will work if the power is coming from a wind farm or solar.

But during cold winters quite a lot of energy is needed to heat a house. We will switch to electricity driving heat pumps I suppose. Either ground heat or air.

On paper an air heat pump may use 1 kw of electricity and pump out 3 kw of heat (for example) but the price per kwh is 3 to 4 times the price of gas and cosy radiators..
It could be expensive for householders.
 

Synchro

Distinguished Member
Seems like its ill thought out to me. Storage heaters are such a PITA, but would need to be considered.
 

Over by there

Well-known Member
I upgraded my attic insulation seeing as the builders put in less than required for the year built, it has made a noticeable difference.

There is a house at an experimental energy place near me that says it can be done. It generates more than it uses.
 

DOBLY

Well-known Member
Gas has been, and will continue to be for some time, a (fairly) cheap, (fairly) clean fuel to heat Britain's homes and hot water. But it is not as clean as some other fuels, and the supply is not endless.
By improving the construction standards around insulation (including triple glazing) and airtightness, new build houses should require less energy inputs, and therefore should cost much less to heat than past and indeed current houses. Add to that the greater efficiency of heat pumps and other technologies, and the need for gas as a fuel to heat houses and water is removed. This has the upside of reducing emissions of greenhouse gases.
Technologies such as solar panels or tiles should be able to produce enough "free" electricity to power a domestic scale heat pump (and some of the rest of a households needs) for most of the year - add in a storage system for excess electricity & / or hot water and the load on grid electricity should be much reduced.
Alternatively, the insulating properties of a green (planted) roof should reduce the need for as much heating / cooling as a standard roof.
 

Over by there

Well-known Member
Problem is that will be for new stock, unless they are knocking older houses down (new for today and older), gas will certainly be needed until that stock is replaced.

I can see the benefits for new, but how long until it makes a dent? (not saying nay, rather want to know timescales).

My insulation has made an impact, replaced window seals as they were leaking. There are perhaps one or two more things I can realistically do to my 18 year old house, more importantly, affordable things. Past that I will still need gas.
 

Over by there

Well-known Member
The house I mentioned earlier at the experimental site.
Cardiff University
The other question for such a building is the on going cost to maintain tech and what happens at sale time.
 

DOBLY

Well-known Member
^^ North Sea (and other fields around the UK) gas will last at least another 25 years, plus there is an interconnect from Europe and Russia, so no supply worries.
Older houses are constantly replaced - the issue is that in the UK this tends to happen a long time after they are well past being state of art, and large numbers in the same area at the same time.
As you have found out, houses built to the building code only a relatively short time ago are not efficient enough - if the code had been stricter 20 years ago, you could have save a heap of energy, money and emissions in the time that you have had the house...
 

Over by there

Well-known Member
Of course I could have had better energy stuff. However the builders of mine, a well know builder, used Friday afternoon attitude trades and parts from the cheapest supplier for what should have been a reasonable house, council sign off was probably through binoculars looking the other way. They did not even meet the code for the year the house was built. Every minor project, I have to plan for the follow up sort out as they fudged the whole thing.

Which is worrying for hi tech homes.

Not being the original buyer I could not take it up with them and had run ins with the guarantee firm before.
 

Over by there

Well-known Member
Last time I moved, any of that was not in place. I hope there is a good way to verify they are correctly carried out.

e.g. our house does not have cavity wall insulation, though the house fell within the years where it should have happened but apparently we are in a driving rain area and it could be omitted.
 

Navvie

Member
An EPC certificate is only as good as the person who carries out the inspection.

I live on an estate where all the houses are of a 'wimpey no-fines' construction (solid concrete walls) yet many of the houses that have had an EPC done (like mine) state there is a cavity wall and it's filled with insulation. :facepalm:
 

Pacifico

Banned
So a return to storage heaters which I hoped to have seen the back of in the 1970's..

But wait - how is electricity produced... :lesson:
 

springtide

Distinguished Member
It will be interesting to see how this works out in practice. I guess the key is this is for new homes.

My house is maybe 5 years old and I don’t think Nest has reported me using more than 20 hours of heating per month since living here.

This thread seems to imply solar might be able to meet a decent chunk of the power most homes need:
What are YOUR solar PV's generating TODAY?

I guess we need someone to invent something like solar roof tiles so that these are integrated with new homes rather than retrofitting existing solutions.
 
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ashenfie

Well-known Member
In Sweden at the beginning of the 1980s numerous low-energy houses had already been built for research and demonstration projects.

This standard was so successful there that in overfulfilment of the construction standard, mainly low-energy houses were being built even up to the mid-80s. With the “Nybyggnadsregler” in 1991 the low-energy standard became compulsory.

In principal a zero energy house has no primary heading system and on the basis of calculations most of the time it needs no extra heading. On very cold days you use an auxiliary maybe electric heater. Works perfectly if you keep the doors and windows shut. So additionally you need heat exchangers to keep the air quality high, else it's stuffy.

So yes it can be done. BUT it's expensive and this country we build the cheapest MDF houses with brick surround. This is total incompatible with what is required and so a major culture change would be required.

It would change the build cost from around 110,000 for two beds to around 220,000 on top of land etc.
 

spinaltap

Distinguished Member
I guess we need someone to invent something like solar roof tiles so that these are integrated with new homes rather than retrofitting existing solutions.
Solar tiles/slates have been available from several companies for at least the past 10 years. Unfortunately, they’re not as efficient as integrated/in-roof solar panels.

Yesterday, I visited the Elmsbrook Eco village in Bicester, Oxfordshire. Choose 2, 3 or 4 bedroom houses - either outright, shared ownership, or as affordable rents - which come with 12 x integrated solar PV panels, triple glazing, air recovery, water-waste recycling, and centrally shared combined heat and power plant.

Elmsbrook new homes development - Bicester, Oxfordshire | FABRICA
 

Crafty

Member
So how does it work when that central system has problems and needs to be repaired ?

It was always said that the extra cost of triple glazing didn't warrant the gain over double glazing, has the cost dropped compared to double glazing or is this a "money no object" type thing ?
 

DOBLY

Well-known Member
^ Modern triple glazing can outperform double glazing by a huge margin, but needs to be the high-end stuff, not the mass market watered down version that gets put in many developer new-builds.
It only really makes sense in very well built houses that are approaching passivhaus standard:
  • The building must not leak more air than 0.6 times the house volume per hour (n50 ≤ 0.6 / hour) at 50 Pa (0.0073 psi) as tested by a blower door, or alternatively when looked at the surface area of the enclosure, the leakage rate must be less than 0.05 cubic feet per minute.
  • for unobstructed south-facing triple-glazed windows, the heat gains from the sun are, on average, greater than the heat losses, even in mid-winter.
 
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spinaltap

Distinguished Member
So how does it work when that central system has problems and needs to be repaired?
The dedicated on-site CHP is provided and maintained by SSE. Elmsbrook residents pay a monthly service charge of <£37 for its upkeep.
 

Crafty

Member
For a family home, during winter when there is little light and increased usage (heat, ight?) I'd be surprised. More likely that they select an "ethical" energy supplier that only supplies from renewable sources?
 

springtide

Distinguished Member
For a family home, during winter when there is little light and increased usage (heat, ight?) I'd be surprised. More likely that they select an "ethical" energy supplier that only supplies from renewable sources?
Just checked and looks like heating and hot water is centrally produced:

Built-in innovation delivers exceptional economy with energy efficient appliances fitted as standard. Homes at Elmsbrook use on average 31% less electricity than the average Bicester home. Heating and hot water will come from the district’s Heat and Power system, so no more worries about boilers, while each house has rooftop solar panels, collectively generating enough electricity to power 528 typical UK homes.

More info at: https://www.fabrica.co.uk/content/doclib/51.pdf#zoom=100

Elmsbrook is the only true zero-carbon community of this scale in the UK. All homes at Elmsbrook, of which there will be 393 across four phases, are carbon neutral. With the first two phases complete, we are now launching the final phases of this ambitious project

And: Energy Minister unveils new energy centre at Elmsbrook, NW – Growing Bicester

The CHP plant, which supplies heat and hot water to all homes through a district heating system that harnesses waste heat from electrical generation exported to the grid, helps minimise energy consumption and prevents the need for a separate boiler in each home.

Regarding electricity, looks like they are generating more than enough from the EVs (as stated above). They are stating true zero carbon so the heating is either from over production from the houses EV, they have additional EVs or they are buying in green energy I guess.
 
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Ronski

Well-known Member
Solar roof tiles have been around for years, we built our extension in 2004 and soon afterwards I discovered Marley did a solar tile, but the roof was already fitted so too late.

Https://www.jewson.co.uk/media/202979/solar_century_pv.pdf

We've had a 4Kw PV system fitted since December 2015, and it certainly doesn't provide enough electricity for us, I doubt even if we had battery storage it would either.. Pay back is looking more like eight years than the six we were told. Most of our lighting is Led, and we don't leave lights on in rooms if we're re not in there, of course there is a server running 24/7, lots of equipment in standby as well. One wonders if these test houses take into account how the average person lives

A lot of our heat goes straight out the windows as the wife insists on having bedroom windows open, not wide but enough to lose heat, this is where I can see whole house ventilation and heat recovery systems will really pay off, but the house does need to be airtight. I wonder just how many years it will stay airtight for though.
 

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