More boilers sold, despite the ambition of natural gas-free living

The number of boilers sold last year rose sharply, according to the Gas Monitor. In 2019, 450,000 boilers were sold, nearly 5 percent more than twelve months previously.

In the Gas Monitor, drawn up by Natuur en Milieu with the help of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate, the sales figures of all heat technologies, such as Hr boilers, heat pumps, solar boilers and pellet stoves were examined. Since 2016, the number of boilers sold has increased every year, but last year the increase was the strongest.

“The figures show that the transition to natural gas-free living will not work out on its own,” says Rob van Tilburg of Natuur en Milieu. “All the people who have now bought a new boiler will be stuck with gas for another fifteen years. While the government’s policy is aimed at gradually making homes natural gas-free.”

At present 91 percent of all nearly 8 million homes are connected to natural gas. As of next year, the first existing houses are expected to be removed from natural gas, up to a total of 1.5 million houses in 2030.

More heat pumps sold

Earlier this week it became clear that for some homeowners it is hardly feasible to recoup an investment in a more sustainable house, except for solar panels. Nevertheless, a relatively large number of heat pumps were sold last year. With 45,000 they were 25 percent more than in 2018

Unknown is how many hybrid heat pumps have been sold. Such an installation consists of a heat pump in combination with an hr boiler that only heats the house on cold days. Furthermore, the number of connections to a heat network increased by 3.5 percent to over 400,000,

No matter how difficult it is to get rid of natural gas for heating, the transition in the kitchen is a lot faster. Of all the people who bought a new cooker last year, 82 percent opted for an electric cooker, mainly induction.

Techniek Nederland, the branch organisation of installers, says that an increase in sales of boilers can go hand in hand with sustainability measures. Not only because a new boiler is more economical than one that is, for example, twenty years old, but also because the combination of a boiler with a hybrid heat pump is becoming increasingly popular.

The Dutch Heating Industry (NVI) is not surprised by the latest figures, says secretary Walid Atmar. “Boilers are very efficient. If you want to replace them, there is often a lot involved and it requires an investment. A house has to be well insulated and adjustments often have to be made to radiators and pipes.”

Btax on natural gas substantially up

But Rob van Tilburg of Natuur en Milieu thinks this position is outdated. Green gas and hydrogen will in the future by far not be sufficiently available to be able to heat large scale houses, he thinks.

Nature and Environment is of the opinion that there should also be more subsidies for alternative heating methods and that more emphasis should be placed on insulation. “Last year there was 160 million euros in the subsidy pot. But almost 250 million had been applied for, by private individuals and companies”, says Van Tilburg. “This indicates that a large group of people are quite willing.”