Making the switch to LPG effortless for off-grid customers

Monday 4th March 2019

Switching to LPG doesn't have to be complicated.

There are over two million rural homes with no prospect of being connected to the mains gas grid, and these customers need specialist support to enable them to make an informed choice regarding the best fuel option for their needs.

Customers are increasingly relying on LPG-trained installers to provide valuable insight and knowledge about the range of benefits this versatile, cleaner fuel option can offer off-grid households and are looking to them to provide expert advice and guidance on how to make the straightforward switch from high carbon oil heating to LPG. This is why UKLPG is launching a new installer membership category, equipping installers with the knowledge and information to service a broader range of rural customers.

Whether a customer is looking for a cleaner fuel source; seeking a more cost-effective and environmentally friendly solution; wants an easy and aesthetically-pleasing storage solution, or simply wants to futureproof their energy source, there are many advantages of switching to LPG -making it the perfect choice for rural households and businesses and an easy proposition for installers.

LPG - the cleaner solution

With the new ErP directive enforcing maximum NOx emissions of 56 mg/kWh for natural gas and LPG boilers, and 120 mg/kWh for oil-fired boilers on both new-build and replacement projects, it makes good sense for customers off the grid to future proof their homes and businesses by installing cleaner gas systems as it will become more and more difficult for oil-fired systems to comply with the regulations.

The topic of energy efficiency is set to become even more important due to the focus on carbon in the Government’s Clean Growth Strategy. The strategy highlights the Government’s ambition to reduce the installation of high-carbon heating systems in new and existing off-grid homes and businesses during the 2020s, and to reduce greenhouse gases by at least 80 percent by 2050. The LPG industry can offer an immediate solution and, with installers on board, it can help customers gear up for the change in legislation and avoid being caught out in the long term by switching to a more efficient energy source, sooner rather than later.

With the ErP directive setting out legislation to reduce NOx emissions, LPG has excellent green credentials as it emits low levels of particle and NOx emissions, and low sulphur content. Emitting 35 percent less CO2 than coal, LPG is the lowest carbon conventional fuel available to rural Britain, and as oil boilers generate twice as much particulate matter emissions than LPG boilers, LPG is becoming widely recognised as the cleaner fuel of choice for customers off the mains gas grid.

Cost effective

Replacing the oldest, inefficient oil boilers with clean, condensing LPG boilers can provide customers with lower energy bills as well as reduced carbon emissions. The installer simply needs to fit the new boiler as, in many cases, a new central heating system is not required. In addition, the LPG storage tank is usually part of the supply contract making the transfer not only straightforward, but also cost effective.

Many LPG boilers are, on average, cheaper than buying new or replacement oil boilers and customers are not usually required to replace their internal pipework or radiators, ensuring peace of mind for both the installer and customer.

LPG is compatible with all the latest commercial boiler technologies and its reliability, consistency and availability enables end users to futureproof their homes and businesses and improve their energy security.

It is generally recommended that oil tanks should be replaced every 15 to 20 years, which can be costly for the consumer. However, switching to LPG can be viewed as an investment as the supplier typically owns the tank which can be left on site for up to 30 years. The supplier will maintain the tank and therefore has the responsibility of replacing it if required.

Easy to store

LPG is available in bulk or as portable units, making it a versatile and flexible fuel, and with many LPG suppliers located across the UK, customers can expect quick delivery as a local supplier of the reliable energy source is close to hand.

Homeowners can choose to have tanks above or below ground and out of sight to improve the aesthetics of the property. There is no need to worry about access to the tank when a refill is required as removable covers provide instant access to suppliers. Telemetry systems can be fitted to automatically alert the supplier when fuel is running low, ensuring deliveries are manageable and efficient.

Customers can also choose to have cylinders installed as a compact alternative to gas tanks when space is limited and the customer has a smaller heating demand. Cylinders are usually connected in pairs that automatically switch to another pair via change-over valves when empty to guarantee a backup of continual gas supply.

New Installer Membership Category

To provide extra support to installers and to learn more about LPG and how to reach more off-grid customers, UKLPG is launching a new membership category. This will provide a range of incentives, including promotion via the Gas-Safe LPG installer listing on the UKLPG website; access to informative LPG literature including a handy user guide; a biannual magazine for the LPG industry and a UKLPG member sticker. In addition, those installers who join the membership scheme will also receive exclusive invitations to a range of events throughout the year focusing on the processes required when switching to LPG and information on appliances, as well as use of the UKLPG logo, which offers reassurance to customers and demonstrates that the installer is a trusted, reliable professional and affiliated to the trade body.

Conclusion

With 180,000 off-grid homes currently relying on oil for heating, the industry needs to begin to prepare for the future. This is especially important as the reduction of carbon emissions is high on the UK Government’s agenda and further legislative changes are expected that could potentially see homeowners and businesses facing volatile costs if they continue to rely upon high carbon oil heating. We believe installers can really capitalise on this opportunity. 

UKLPG is committed to ensuring LPG has a part to play in helping to reduce the environmental impact of carbon in rural areas and by sharing the benefits of the fuel with installers, the industry can work together to emphasise the realities and vast implications of decarbonising off-grid Britain.

The trade association for the LPG industry in the UK