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Last updated: 16th March, 2023


Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS) Explained

Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS) Explained

Key takeaways

  • The BUS is a government initiative to assist with the costs of switching to 'greener' heating.
  • The BUS can contribute up to £5000 for air source heat pumps and biomass boilers, and up to £6000 for ground source heat pumps.
  • you do not have to legally replace any gas boiler installed in any property before 2025.

You may have heard of the Boiler Upgrade Scheme, a government initiative to help cover the costs of greener and cleaner heating systems within UK homes.

In this article we’ll be exploring the Boiler Upgrade Scheme, including who it is applicable to, what it covers and how to apply for it.

What is the Boiler Upgrade Scheme?

Property heating accounts for one third of the greenhouse gases emitted in the UK. The government’s ambition is to phase out the installation of new natural gas boilers (only applicable to new builds after 2025), and replace them with low carbon alternatives.

2050 is the date the nation is aiming for to be deemed ‘net-zero’ in terms of dependence on carbon fuels, the Boiler Upgrade Scheme aims to incentivise the use of low carbon systems by providing targeted support to the supply chain.

The Boiler Upgrade Scheme or BUS is a government grant initiative to assist with the costs of upgrading a current traditional boiler to an eco-conscious heating alternative.

BUS provides up front financial grants to subsidise the installation of heat pumps or biomass boilers in domestic and non-domestic properties in England and Wales.

How much does the BUS provide?

The amount contributed by the BUS can vary, grants of up to £5000 are offered for the installation of ‘air source’ heat pumps and biomass boilers, while up to £6000 can be offered for the installation of a ‘ground source’ heat pump.

The Scheme has allocated a budget of £450 million from 2022 to 2025, with an annual allocation of £150 million.

Between the dates of April 1st 2022 and 31st March 2027, there is a zero rate of VAT on the installation of energy saving materials including heat pumps and biomass boilers, further financial incentive for low carbon heating in alignment with the 2050 net zero goals.

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Are You Eligible for BUS?

You’re classed as eligible for a BUS grant only if all the following are true. 

You must:

  • Be the owner of the property you’re applying for (including if it’s a business, a second home, or a property you rent out to tenants)

  • Have installed (or plan to install) your new heating system on or after 1 April 2022

  • Have replaced (or plan to replace) fossil fuel heating systems (such as oil, gas or electric)

You’re actually still eligible even if you’ve previously had funding to make your property more energy efficient, i.e. insulation.

How To Apply for BUS

The voucher application will actually be led by the installer, who once selected by the property owner, will have the responsibilities of:

  • Applying to OFGEM (the BUS administrator) for the appropriate grant amount

  • Collecting and providing relevant property owners details and consent for OFGEM 

  • Receiving the grant if application is successful

  • Completing the installation to scheme and industry standards

  • Providing property owner with relevant post-installation documents (including MCS or emission certificate)

  • Redeeming the voucher

  • Receiving grant payment from OFGEM on behalf of Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

An installer may apply retroactively for the BUS grant after the installation has been commissioned, however if a system is commissioned and installed before application verification it is at the risk of property owner and installer.

BUS vouchers will be sent via email to installer, and property owners will also be notified when this happens. Vouchers have a validity period and if the system is not installed within this window, expired BUS vouchers will need to be reapplied for.

(Note Self build installations are classified as such and follow a different BUS process).

Do I Need to Replace My Gas Boiler with BUS?

No, although the government is shifting an emphasis on heat pumps and biomass boilers, by no means is this a legal requirement.

You can alternatively replace an old inefficient boiler by upgrading to a new, high performance mains gas or lpg boiler.

Modern gas boilers are the most popular in the country for a reason, they’re efficient, safe, and cost effective.

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