Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS)

Financial support for heat pumps and biomass boilers

This page summarises key information about the Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS) for property owners.

For full scheme details, we encourage you to read the BUS guidance for property owners.
Acting on your behalf, an MCS-certified heating installer can claim:

•    £5000 off the cost and installation of an air source heat pump
•    £5000 off the cost and installation of a biomass boiler
•    £6000 off the cost and installation of a ground source heat pump, including water source heat pumps.

If you want to know which of these technologies is right for your property, speak to a heating installer or learn about low-carbon heating options on the Energy Saving Trust website.

Help with VAT

From 1 April 2022 to 31 March 2027, there is 0% VAT on the installation of energy-saving materials including heat pumps and biomass boilers.

 

How the scheme works

The scheme is designed to minimise the amount of work property owners need to do. It is ‘installer-led’, which means your chosen installer will:

  • make a BUS application on your behalf
  • liaise with Ofgem on most matters related to the scheme
  • tell Ofgem when they’ve installed your heating system
  • claim the money from Ofgem at the end of the project

The grant value should be deducted from your quote upfront and installers are responsible for passing on the discount that the BUS grant provides to you, the property owner.

Choosing an installer

For a heating system to be eligible under BUS, it has to be installed by an installer certified by the Microgeneration Certification Service (MCS).

As with all home improvements we recommend that you obtain quotes from multiple installers.

You can find an installer in your area on the MCS website.

Giving your consent

After your chosen installer has submitted an application for your property, we’ll contact you to confirm that:

  • you have consented to the installer making the application on your behalf
  • you meet the relevant eligibility criteria for the scheme

If we do not receive your confirmations of the above within 14 calendar days, we may reject the application.

If we need more information from you in order to progress the application, we will contact you directly.

What does confirming your consent mean?

It’s important to remember that you’re only confirming you have consented to an installer making an application on your behalf. This is to provide us with assurance that the application is being made in good faith.

It does not mean you’ve committed to working with a particular installer. That’s something that needs to be handled separately through any contractual arrangement you make with your installer.

Multiple applications for the same property

In situations where more than one installer has submitted a BUS application on your behalf, you can only confirm your consent to one of them. After this, we’ll reject any applications from other installers.

Errors with consent

Where consent has been confirmed by mistake, contact us at BUS.Application@ofgem.gov.uk

Fraudulent consent

Where we identify a fraudulent confirmation of consent, we may reject the application and contact you and the installer regarding the application. If needed, we may refer the case of fraud to the police.

Completing the project

After you’ve confirmed your consent your installer has three months from the moment the application is approved to complete the installation in line with industry standards and scheme requirements (six months for ground source heat pumps).

Depending on your property, you may need to install insulation before the work is completed on your heating system in order to be eligible. If this applies to you, we will contact both you and the installer about this.

When the new system has been installed and fully checked, your installer can claim the grant amount from Ofgem.

If the installer does not complete the work within the time limits set out above, they will have to submit a new application for the installation and you will need to confirm again that you consent to this.
 

Checks that we need to do

To ensure that the scheme’s public money is being used correctly, Ofgem has the legal authority to carry out routine checks on grant applications at any point in the process, including after payment has been made.

This may involve a site audit where we visit your property.

For full information about audit and compliance activity on the scheme, including that carried out by MCS and how it could affect you, see chapter 6 of the BUS guidance for property owners.
 

Eligibility for a grant

Installer eligibility

Installers need to be certified by the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS).

This means:

  • they are technically competent
  • the products they use in their installations meet the correct standards

Property eligibility

The scheme is open to domestic and non-domestic properties in England and Wales.
New build properties are not eligible for the scheme, with the exception of self-builds that have:

  • been built mainly using the labour or resources of the first owner
  • never been owned by a business or organisation

Grants are not available for:

  • social housing – that is, any rental or owned accommodation that’s provided at lower than market value to people that could not have afforded it otherwise (including arrangements like shared ownership)
  • properties that have already received funding from government or an Energy Company Obligation for the purchase or installation of the heat pump or biomass boiler

EPC eligibility

An energy performance certificate (EPC) gives information about a property’s energy use, with recommendations on how to reduce energy demand and save money. It’s required every time you buy, sell or rent a property.

Before we approve any grant application, we check that a property’s EPC:

  • was issued within the last 10 years
  • has no recommendations for loft or cavity wall insulation

You can check your property’s EPC report.

We do not check EPC reports for eligible self-builds.

Addressing problems with loft or cavity wall insulation

If your property’s EPC has recommendations for loft or cavity wall insulation, you’ll need to do the following before your installer claims the grant at the end of the project:

  1. Install the relevant insulation.
  2. Commission a new EPC.
  3. Make sure the new EPC has no recommendations for loft or cavity wall insulation.

Exemptions from the loft or cavity wall insulation requirements

You do not need to fix the insulation problems if:

  • your property is affected by atypical local environment conditions, such as regular exposure to driving rain
  • it is not feasible to install loft or cavity wall insulation due to the structure of the property, for example the house has a steel or timber frame
  • installing loft or cavity wall insulation would harm protected wildlife
  • your property is in a conservation area
  • your property is a listed building
  • installing loft or cavity wall insulation would be unlawful

In these situations, you will need to give evidence to your installer so that they can submit your application.

Evidence templates for EPC exemptions

Rejecting grants due to problems with an EPC

If we have to reject a grant claim because of an issue with an EPC relating to the insulation of your property, the installer may seek to recover the cost of the grant from you.

Product eligibility

BUS grants are only available for air source heat pumps, ground source heat pumps (including water source heat pumps and those on shared ground loops) and biomass boilers.

Hybrid heat pump systems, for example a combination of a fossil fuel boiler and air source heat pump, are not eligible.

The new heating system must:

  • have been commissioned (that is, installed and fully checked by your installer) on or after 1 April 2022
  • be capable of meeting the full space heating and hot water requirements of your property
  • replace an existing fossil fuel or electric heating system
  • not replace an existing low-carbon heating system
  • meet certain technical standards, such as minimum efficiency requirements (your installer can advise you on these, or you can learn about them yourself in chapter 2 of the BUS guidance for installers).

In addition, biomass boilers:

  • can only be installed in rural properties
  • can only be installed in properties with no connection to the gas grid
  • cannot be installed in eligible self-builds
     

What to do when things go wrong

If you experience problems with your new heating system, for example underperforming equipment, repairs or safety issues, speak to your installer first.

If you ever have problems with your installer, visit the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) website and read ‘What to do when things go wrong’.

Your rights are protected by various consumer bodies, set up to promote the renewable energy sector and protect customers. These include organisations like RECC and HIES. MCS can advise you on when and how to engage with them.

For more information, please see Chapter 6 of our BUS guidance for property owners

For any issues related to the Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS), contact Ofgem directly:

Boiler Upgrade Scheme leaflet

BUS leaflet for property owners (PDF)  - published by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS)