Oil and Gas-Fired Boilers to be Banned in France
Friday 13 August 2021
The French government have announced the prospective end to the installation of new gas and oil-fired boilers in residential properties.
The ban on oil-fired boilers is being introduced as part of the Convention Citoyenne pour le Climat agreed in 2019, whose origins itself date from 2007.
Specifically, the installation of oil-fired boilers in new and existing buildings will be prohibited from 1st July 2022.
Inevitably, however, the rule is not as draconian as it seems for exceptions to the rule are permitted.
In particular, you will still be able to install an oil boiler if it is "technically impossible" to do otherwise, "related to the characteristics of the building."
This may arise, for instance as a dwelling is not connected to gas, that the electricity supply is insufficient to install a heat pump, or that the available space is too limited to install a wood boiler.
Nevertheless, in making the announcement Emmanuelle Wargon, Minister for Housing, stated that the circumstances where it would remain possible to continue to install an oil-fired boiler would be "very marginal".
These ‘very marginal’ circumstances will be set in the regulations that will later be published.
Under the regulations the maintenance and repair of oil-fired boilers remains possible, but if you need to change your existing one you will not be permitted to do so.
Professional installers will be under a legal obligation to comply with the regulations and to justify any exemption.
The ban on gas fired boilers is occurring under Réglementation Environnementale 2020, which applied from 1st July 2021.
The regulation sets out maximum carbon emissions threshold for heating in a dwelling at 4 kgCO2/m2/year from 1st July 2021, which excludes "de facto systems using exclusively gas" according to the government.
For the time being apartment blocks are excluded from the rule, but the government have stated that: "In line with the national low-carbon strategy, we cannot continue to build three quarters of our communal housing by heating them with gas". A date of 2025 is envisaged for apartment blocks.
The future ban on gas has not been unanimous in the sector, and several professional organisations have signed a petition to fight the decision.
Green Energy Alternatives
There are around 3.5 million households who use an oil-fired boiler in France, mainly in individual homes. In a survey carried out of those households, nearly half of them proposed to hang on to their boiler, and over two-thirds expressed concern about the announcement.
Their concern may not be entirely unconnected with the costs of installing a new heating system, as there are few alternatives, and none are cheap to install.
Of those proposing to move to an alternative energy source, over half were proposing to use a heat pump, nearly one-third a granular wood boiler and 12% a gas boiler.
There are grants available for the installation of green energy systems, although they are not that generous. You can read more at Guide to Home Energy Efficiency Grants.