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Retrospective Boiler Labelling

Retro Label

Registered gas engineers and boiler manufacturers have joined forces to launch the ‘Retro Boiler’ label aimed at tackling the UK’s 9 million inefficient boilers. 

The scheme will see registered gas engineers issue an energy efficiency label, a ‘retro boiler’ label, on all noncondensing boilers with a permanent pilot light, when visiting homes to undertake servicing or maintenance work. The voluntary scheme offers an opportunity to start the energy efficiency conversation with consumers.

The FREE labels are available from most boiler manufacturers.

Baroness Neville-Rolfe, Government Minister of State at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, BEIS has endorsed the scheme saying;

“This is a fine example of the collaboration and initiative that makes the UK gas boiler market one of the largest and most valuable in the world. Helping consumers to optimise their household heating fits perfectly our vision of ensuring that the UK has a reliable, low cost and clean energy system.”

Background to energy efficiency

A growing number of consumer electrical products such as washing machines, fridges and vacuum cleaners are required to meet minimum energy efficiency standards in order to help reduce energy consumption in Europe by 20 per cent by 2020. These products feature a multi-coloured label – the ‘EU energy label’ – similar to the one that your washing machine might carry. The label helps consumers to quickly assess how energy efficient their appliances are. 


The Government has estimated that by 2020, the annual net savings to the UK economy resulting from these standards and labels will be in excess of £850 million per year, with reductions in greenhouse gas emissions of more than 7 million tonnes per year. 


From 26 September 2015, mandatory energy labelling was extended to all domestic and commercial heat generators, water heaters and hot water storage products, and associated products sold within the EU, with an output less than or equal to 400kw.


The new regulations place obligations on manufacturers to ensure that any products placed on the market from September 2015 meet the minimum performance requirements and have an energy label.


This does not, however, address the efficiency of the 23 million existing boilers in UK homes.

UK boiler efficiency

The Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) previously known as DECC, estimate that heat related activities account for a third of UK greenhouse gas emissions and nearly a half of the energy we use. Much of this heat demand stems from the combustion of gas in domestic boilers. Therefore, upgrading the average efficiency of the UK boiler stock would have a significant impact upon the UK’s primary energy use and consequent greenhouse gas emissions. 


There are approximately 9 million inefficient boilers in the UK. A large proportion of these are over 20 years old and would be classed as ‘zombie boilers’, these are boilers with old technology that never seem to die, yet they remain highly inefficient – costing homeowners in terms of higher bills, the planet in terms of higher carbon dioxide emissions and a contributor to poor air quality – compared to a modern condensing boiler.


HHIC believe that more needs to be done to encourage homeowners to consider replacing their old ‘zombie’ boiler. Replacing a band E or below (~70% efficiency) boiler with an A-rated (>90%) appliance could reduce the carbon footprint of a typical UK household by 0.7 tonnes of CO2e each year, as well as reducing gas bills by approximately £150. 


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