What is the Boiler Upgrade Scheme and Do You Qualify for It?

April 2022 saw the introduction of the Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS) for homes in England and Wales. What is the scheme, and are you eligible for it? In the article that follows we will explain what the BUS is and how it may affect you and outline the steps you need to take to find out if you are eligible for the BUS and how to apply. We begin with a brief explanation of the BUS and how it works.

What is the BUS?

The Boiler Upgrade Scheme has been introduced to help reduce the carbon footprint of homes in England and Wales. The scheme will provide monetary grants for the installation of heat pumps – efficient sources of domestic heating – and, where appropriate, biomass boiler systems.

Launched on April 1st, 2022, the scheme is open to domestic properties in England and Wales, as well as some commercial properties that may be eligible. Any low-carbon emission heating systems that are commissioned after this date may be eligible for the BUS. From April 11th any qualifying installers can apply for a BUS account. Applications for air source heat pump grants Newcastle for the BUS can be made from 23rd of May.

Am I Eligible for the BUS?

To be eligible for a BUS grant you must meet the following criteria:

  • Own a domestic or small business property in England or Wales.
  • Have an installation capacity of no more than 45kWth.
  • Have a valid Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) with no outstanding recommendations.

The scheme opened in 2022 as outlined above and will remain open until 2025.

What Can I Apply For?

The BUS scheme is about meeting carbon emissions reduction targets. As such, domestic property and small business property owners can apply for the following:

  • £7500 towards the cost and installation of an air source heat pump
  • £7500 towards the cost and installation of a ground source heat pump
  • Rural properties and those not connected to the gas network can apply for £5000 towards the cost and installation of a biomass boiler system

How Do I Know What System is Right for Me?

You will need to talk to a registered installer for advice. They will tell you whether a heat pump or a biomass boiler is suitable for your property. They will also advise as to appropriate loft and interior insulation for your property to reduce energy loss. You may be able to get a government grant for such work and the installer will advise you on this matter also.

How Do I Make an Application?

The BUS scheme is designed to be installer-led. In other words, your registered installer will make the grant application for you. It is strongly recommended that you seek quotes from more than one registered installer. The grant value will be taken off the final price your installer quotes for you.

What is the Process for BUS Application?

Eligible installers will need to be registered with the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS). The MCS certification is reassurance that the installer is competent and experienced in the required field. The application process is as follows:

  • Find MCS approved and certified air source heat pump installers Newcastle area.
  • The installers (we recommend you get quotes from more than one to ensure you get value for money) will assess your property and advise whether it is eligible for the BUS or not.
  • The installers will provide you with a free, no-obligation quote for the work involved, which should include the grant as a reduction of the final cost.
  • You agree with whichever installer you feel most comfortable with and the quote is accepted.
  • The installer then applies for the grant through the correct procedure.
  • You notify Ofgem that the installer is applying for the grant on your behalf.
  • The work is carried out, completed, and signed off as satisfactory.

Are New-build Properties Eligible?

Newly built properties must comply to energy efficiency targets as a matter of course. Because of this, new-build properties are unlikely to be eligible for the BUS scheme as they will already have a low-carbon emissions heating system.

There is an exception should you be self-building. In this case it is advised that you talk to installers who will assess your property and advise as to any energy-efficient improvements that can be made.

Can I Claim for BUS while Also Getting Grants for Other Improvements?

Homeowners and small business property owners are entitled to make an application for BUS whilst also claiming help for loft and other insulation, or energy efficient doors and windows.

Talk to a registered installer who will advise as to the eligibility of your property.

I Want to Replace an Existing Low-Carbon Emissions System

If you already have a low-carbon emissions heating system, you will not be eligible for a grant to replace it. For example, should you have an air source heat pump, you cannot apply for BUS to replace it with a ground source example.

To qualify for BUS, you must be replacing a fossil fuel system – gas, electric, or oil – with an energy efficient system as described earlier.

Will My New System Save Me Money?

The cost of heating a home varies with the rates for gas, electricity, and oil prices. However, the more efficient a heating system is, the less expense you will be subject to. Air and ground heat pumps are highly efficient systems, and biomass boilers are also affordable to run.

In Summary

For domestic home and small business property owners the BUS scheme offers an opportunity to save money when switching to a low carbon emissions heating system. We strongly recommend you talk to installers now about your eligibility.

Remember that while all systems commission after April 1st may be eligible, actual applications cannot be made until May 23rd. Getting quotes now means you are ready for your chosen installer to make the application on your behalf on that date and have your new system up and running as soon as possible.

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