Industry experts have forecasted that the number of electrical boilers and electrical heating system installations will surpass their gas counterparts within the next few years. The subjective prediction was made after a member of the Association of Registered Gas Installers communicated to H&V News that more residential landlords and homeowners were replacing their gas boilers with water heaters or electrical boilers. It also seems that developers of flats and high-rise buildings are only fitting electric heating, replacing the use of gas in homes altogether. Will electric heating supersede gas throughout the UK in the next few years?
Research undertaken by H&V News discloses that there is a lack of statistical evidence to suggest or dismiss the prediction, but a spokesman for the Home Builders Federation has verified that electricity is the dominant heating energy used in new buildings of flats and apartments. The spokesman commented that this was due to construction practice and that it’s easier to fit electric heating, rather than install a gas central heating system.
“I’ve been predicting this would happen for years…”
Giuliano Digilio from the Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA) and head of technical services has stated that he is knowledgeable of both energy trends and claimed that people are concerned over the security of energy makes electrical heating more attractive to developers. He commented; “Many landlords are not returning to gas for various reasons and I’ve been predicting this would happen for years. Traditionally, gas was regarded as cheaper than electricity and so almost everybody installed gas central heating systems; very few people relied on electric heating. That has been changing over the past 20 years or so as the cost of electricity came down.”
Observers in the energy industry suggest that the decline of gas production in the North Sea consequently means that the UK will be importing 40% of its gas, concerningly putting the UK in a position of being dependent on unpredictable energy exporting systems.
Digilio explains more why electricity is considered a sustainable energy source for heating; “Also, as a result of the [more stringent] Building Regulations and new energy efficiency standards, the energy requirements of buildings are coming down. In the past, commercial and domestic buildings used to leak [energy] like a sieve and heat was lost at a substantial rate. New and refurbished buildings now have to comply with much better loft and cavity wall insulation and double-glazing standards, and the amount of energy needed to heat the average home is far less than it was.”
When Digilio was asked if he agreed with claims that electric boilers and heating system installations would replace the gas equivalent, his response was; “I agree with that. Developers are increasingly specifying that new apartments should have electrical heating systems because of lower installation and lower ongoing maintenance costs. Electric heating systems are also slightly cheaper.”
Witney electrician says that this trend is fast-developing…
Electrician Steve Evans from SE Electrical Services Ltd in Witney, Oxfordshire believes that gas will continue to dominate energy for homeowners of 3 or 4-bedroom houses, but he agreed that smaller houses and flats at the affordable housing with lower energy consumption, would benefit from electric installations.
Steve Evans from Witney said; “It is disappointing that developers are moving to electric heating, since it is not the most efficient way of heating a home, but having said that, as we move closer towards a zero-carbon economy, Government pressures are pushing private and local authority clients in that direction. In turn, they are pushing contractors towards low carbon heating and one way of achieving that is not to install gas boilers at all.”
The Witney electrician says that this trend is fast-developing and that there will be a big revolution in the heating market over the next few years as the shift moves from gas to electricity and green energy, having consequences for the industry. Not only will there be a major shift in energy, but also in skilled trades for electricians and plumbers.
Steve Evans goes on to say that installers will need to think about developing new skills in their work, not just for the electrical side but they will also need to consider being able to combine skills for heating and power systems, solar thermal, heat pumps and a large range of other renewable technologies. The SE Electrical Services Ltd electrician concluded with; “On the electrical side, it won’t be a case of starting from scratch because most installers have knowledge of electricity.”