With the recent increase of the Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS) grant from £5,000 to £7,500, it’s expected that there will be an increase in consumers wanting to take the opportunity to switch to low-carbon heating. Here, Ian Trott, training manager at Baxi, discusses four key elements of the BUS installers need to know.
The UK is on a path to decarbonisation and installers have a vital contribution to make. Recent changes to the BUS have seen the grant jump to £7,500. It naturally follows that people who may not have thought about Air Source Heat Pumps (ASHPS) as a viable option for their homes will likely be reconsidering the technology. It is therefore important that installers are ready for an increase in ASHP demand and have a good understanding of the BUS.
The BUS is one of the Government’s incentive programmes intended to help the nation get closer to Net Zero by reducing emissions from heating. It gives eligible homeowners a discount of £7,500 for replacing their gas boiler with an ASHP.
The way it works is simple. Installers go the Ofgem website and make an account. Then they apply for a voucher when a customer agrees to having an ASHP installed. When the installation is complete, the installer redeems the voucher.
Because the voucher is issued to and redeemed by the installer, they can quote the discounted price to customers from the very beginning. This approach can be doubly attractive for customers as, not only is the cost significantly reduced, there’s also no admin for them to handle. For installers to be able to offer the reduced price from the initial consultation, they need to know which properties are eligible for the grant.
Most properties can benefit from the BUS in England and Wales. The property owner must agree to the installation of an ASHP, but the property does not have to be the owner’s home. It could be a second or holiday home, or a property they rent out. In a lot of cases, the property will need to have been given an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) within ten years of the voucher application. The BUS can be used with many self-build properties but not new builds.
The heating system being replaced is another factor determining eligibility. It must be fossil-fuel based, such as a traditional gas boiler, and it must be replaced with an ASHP, a biogas boiler or a ground source heat pump.
Installers need to be Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) certified in order to be able to receive BUS vouchers. To be MCS registered and certified, installers must prove their competence with a heat pump qualification such as Baxi’s recently launched BPEC ASHP Course – a hands-on programme that covers the principles of design, installation, commissioning, and servicing of ASHP systems.
Once fully assessed, heating engineers can then use the BPEC certification to demonstrate competence in heat pump installation for their MCS application. BPEC course applicants can take advantage of the government Heat Training Grant which provides up to £500 towards the cost of training. To further support engineers with the cost and time involved in qualifying, those who take this up can also receive 15,000 Baxi Works loyalty points once they install, commission and register their first Baxi ASHP.
4. How does the BUS benefit installers?
The cost of an ASHP and any modifications a house may need to be compatible with a low-temperature system – more insulation or larger radiators, for example – will depend on the individual property. Many people understand the need to reduce their carbon footprint but simply don’t have the available funds. The updated £7,500 BUS grant makes an ASHP a far more affordable option for people who are looking to upgrade to a low-carbon solution.
By making it possible for installers to position themselves as expert consultants who can help homeowners make the transition to a heat pump more affordably, the BUS is a great benefit to installers ready to make ASHPs part of their portfolio.
The BUS was originally intended to end in 2025, however it has now been extended to 2028. Installers who act now can therefore make the most of the lucrative opportunity that the next five years presents.
This feature was first published by Installer Online