Recent article in the Sunday Business Post.

The government is looking at speeding up the ban on the installation of gas boilers in new homes contained in the new climate action plan.

The installation of oil boilers is due to be banned in new homes in 2022 and new gas boilers banned in new homes in 2025, under the current climate action plan.

But the 2025 timeline banning new gas boilers in new homes could be brought forward to make sure that more energy efficient electric heat pumps are installed in the coming years instead.

This would not affect the installation or repair of gas boilers in existing homes because the government recognises that many homeowners would not be able to afford the expensive upgrades necessary to change their entire heating system.

Eamon Ryan, the Minister for Climate Action, has confirmed that he does not believe that gas and oil boilers should be installed in new homes.

His department is asking for experts to give their views on whether it should bring forward the “phase out of the installation of fossil fuel boilers” as part of the public consultation on the climate action plan.

It has also asked the Sustainability Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) to carry out a research study into the decarbonisation of homes, which will include the issue of the timeframes for the required cessation of burning all fossil fuels.

A spokesman for the Department of Climate Action said the SEAI study will inform the government’s view on the ending of sale of various fossil fuel appliances in all buildings “including researching the potential carbon savings of accelerating the phase out of gas boilers in new homes”.

Kieran McCarthy, who designs and builds one-off homes through his KMC Homes company in Cork, said most developers of new housing schemes were now putting in air to water heat pumps rather than gas boilers.

He said the heat pumps would save homeowners money in the long run, even though gas-powered heating systems were initially “a little bit cheaper”.

“This day is coming. Everyone knows it and we’re most of the way there, but I suppose there’s a few stragglers then who are still entertaining the gas side of things,” he said.

McCarthy said the latest air-to-water heat pumps could be powered by photovoltaic panels on the roof of a new home.

“If you’re creating your own electricity and sending some of that electricity down into your air to water system, then you’re effectively off the grid,” he said.

There were “near zero energy” building regulations introduced in 2019 which require all new homes to come up to A2 standards. However, it is still possible to meet this A2 standard by installing a gas or oil boiler – as long as photovoltaic panels capable of generating electricity are installed as well.

The Department of Climate Action said that electric heat pumps are currently installed in 39 per cent of new homes. It predicted that due to the building regulations, this would increase significantly to “effectively eliminate” gas boilers in new homes by 2025.





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