Renewable heating looks set to increase from 2015

Recent changes to the Renewable Heat Incentive (a government scheme giving financial incentives to encourage people to install renewable heating technologies) have meant that landlords and tenants may soon reap the rewards of renewable heating, helping them to have warmer homes and lower heating bills. In an announcement made on 10th November 2014, the government said they were ‘removing the requirement for a Green Deal Assessment for social landlords.’ The current situation means that landlords are not allowed to apply for the RHI without a Green Deal Assessment, whereby an assessor will come and inspect the property and recommend improvements that will help with energy efficiency and consumption. However, these changes, expected to come into force in Spring 2015, mean that landlords do not have to have a Green Deal Assessment to apply for the RHI, provided they have an Energy Performance Certificate that is less than 2 years old. The result will mean less bureaucracy for social landlords to deal with and lower costs involved when applying for the Renewable Heat Incentive. Because social landlords often provide accommodation for some of the most underprivileged and vulnerable members of society, the hope is that the changes will make the Renewable Heat Incentive more accessible, helping to provide warmer homes with heating bills that are less expensive, particularly in areas that are off the gas grid. Recent statistical research has show that around 2.28 million households in the UK are considered to be in fuel poverty and 365,000 of these are accommodated in social housing. Many of these homes are centrally heated by oil-fired heating and many often have to pay for the costs upfront, which make the problem of fuel poverty worse. In properties that have been accredited under the RHI, tenants have generally been very positive about the renewable air source heat pump heating systems (ASHPs) that have been installed in their homes. The upfront cost of oil can be up to 370GBP for a minimum order of 500 litres, which is a large amount of money for many families, so the switchover to an air source heat pump system has transformed their lives. Electricity is still required to power the ASHPs but a budget for electricity costs is much more manageable, meaning homes can be heating comfortably at a much more affordable price. Hopefully, with these new changes, this will be an increasinly common story... Article by Benjamin Clarke
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