Oil-fired heating – time to back the most cost-effective option

Oil-fired heating – time to back the most cost-effective option  

Offering the best decarbonisation solution for oil heated homes, OFTEC says it’s time for government to back low carbon liquid fuels as the most practical, cost-effective solution. 

OFTEC’s recently released ‘Industrial Strategy for decarbonising oil heated homes’ underlines the unique challenge of reducing heat emissions from off-grid properties presents, due to the diverse character, age, design, construction and sparse distribution of these homes.

Analysis of oil–heated properties in England alone reveals almost half were built before 1919 with hard to insulate, single-skinned walls, while 51% are detached and typically larger than average. These factors greatly contribute to their poor energy efficiency, with 97% falling into EPC Bands D-G¹.

Rural households also face additional challenges including lower disposable incomes² and significantly deeper levels of fuel poverty³. This means those least able to fund carbon reduction measures are living in the hardest and most expensive homes to treat.

OFTEC says it’s difficult to understand why current decarbonisation policy favours pushing oil heated households towards these expensive, disruptive solutions when a simpler, more affordable option can be developed which is less reliant on extensive retrofit work.

“Climate change is the biggest and most urgent challenge facing the world today and decisive action from all sectors of the economy is needed, including heat, explains Paul Rose, OFTEC CEO.

“Gaining consumer support for the necessary changes will be crucial to the success of any strategy. Without this vital part of the jigsaw, there is a risk that decarbonisation targets simply won’t be met.”

“Our strategy is based on in-depth, independent research which shows that for oil heated properties, low carbon liquid fuels offer the highest carbon reduction impact for the lowest cost⁴. Analysis also shows that sustainable, low carbon liquid fuels could be produced in sufficient volume in the UK, with the additional benefit of generating investment opportunities and creating new green jobs.

“Our industry is committed to delivering a 100% liquid biofuel by 2035, starting with a 30% biofuel and 70% kerosene blend from 2027, providing a fit-for-purpose solution which will command the confidence of consumers.

“OFTEC continues to work closely with the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and other key stakeholders to gain support for low carbon liquid fuels but to achieve the wholesale changes required and successfully deploy this solution, full government backing will be required.”


¹ BEIS Minister Written Answer, 29/10/2018 based on Analysis of National Housing Model input data, drawing from English Housing Survey 2014, Scottish Housing Condition Survey 2014, Welsh Housing Conditions Survey 2014

² DEFRA Statistical digest of rural England, June 2019

³ Renewable Energy Association Phase 3: Delivering the UK’s Bioenergy Potential

⁴ Based on existing SAP 10.1 figures

About the Author

Cliff Taylor