UK Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS) new changes update and 3 customer scenarios

September 22, 2023
9 min read

As part of its Net Zero Strategy, the UK government has announced changes to the Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS), which provides grants to help homeowners install heat pumps. It is hoped this will make it more affordable for people to switch to more energy efficient options for their homes.   

This new announcement is excellent news for new Green Building Renewables’ customers considering installing this highly efficient form of heating in their homes. It could also impact existing Green Building Renewables customers currently engaged in having a heat pump installed and applying through the BUS application scheme.  

Boiler Upgrade Scheme offers grant for Air Source Heat Pump
The Boiler Upgrade Scheme now offers £7,500 for Air Source Heat Pumps and Ground Source Heat Pumps

Like others in the industry, we are still waiting for complete instruction from the government on the changes, but in this guide, we will explain what we know so far and what we think is helpful to both new and existing customers.   

The first and most important thing about the BUS is that we do it all for you! All a customer must do in applying for the grant is approve an email that they are happy for Green Building Renewables to complete the application. How easy is that?   

Once you have approved us to do the BUS application for you, we will deal with and do all that time-consuming and head-scratching paperwork. We are responsible for getting you the grant for your new highly efficient energy system. That means whatever the changes are to the BUS, we must worry about it, not you.   

For you, the customer, the main thing to understand right now is that more money is available from the government to transform your home into a lower low carbon energy efficient building.    


What’s changed with the Boiler Upgrade Scheme? (What we know now)  

The main change is that the grant level for air and ground source heat pumps increased from £5,000 to £7,500. Homeowners could save up to £7,500 on installing a heat pump. As we understand, there has been no increase for biomass boilers; this is still at £5,000.  

The change to the BUS will come into effect on Monday, October 23rd 2023.  

The best way to understand what this decision means right now is to consider three scenarios depending on what type of BUS customer you are. This can be split into three main types of BUS customers: 1) those who have gone through the scheme already, 2) those currently somewhere in the process of getting a heat pump and applying through the scheme, and 3) those who haven’t had a heat pump installed and haven’t applied to BUS. Based on what we know so far, this is what we think the new upgrade means for those three types of BUS customers.  

Customer 1- Those who have ‘caught the BUS scheme’ already.   

Suppose you are one of our pioneering customers who has already transformed their home with a heat pump installation and has received the £5,000 BUS grant against the installation cost. Sadly, you will not be eligible for the new grant in that case. You cannot apply for an additional £2,500 contribution or refund towards the cost. We understand that this will be frustrating, but by being one of the early adopters of the BUS and making the step towards low carbon heating for your home, you have been a trailblazing innovator who has proven to the government and others that heat pumps work, and they will improve your home.  

Top-up grants to cover the difference in cost between the old and new grant levels will not exist. However, the government has said it will continue to review the Boiler Upgrade Scheme to ensure it meets its objectives. If the government makes any further changes to the scheme, it will announce them on the Boiler Upgrade Scheme website, and we will always notify it on our website, too – as soon as we can.  

Customer 2 – Those who are currently ‘waiting on the BUS.’   

Suppose you are a customer who has already had a heat pump installed and we have already applied for the BUS grant on your behalf or a customer who has a heat pump installed and is waiting to apply for the BUS scheme. In that case, the options for you are slightly more complicated.  

Once a BUS voucher has been issued, it cannot be changed. This is because BUS vouchers are funded by the government, and the government has strict rules to ensure that the money is used for its intended purpose.  

However, you can cancel a voucher issued and reapply for a new one. However, you should be aware that your new application may take some time to process, and there is no guarantee that you will be approved for the new amount.   

If you have a £5,000 voucher towards your installation already in your hand, so to speak, then you might be happy to accept this current amount and not take the risk of a brand new application. There is nothing to suggest that by cancelling your voucher, you wouldn’t be successful in receiving the higher grant amount. There is also no evidence yet to say you would be successful, as nobody has done it. This is perhaps the area that still needs the most significant clarification.  

If you are considering cancelling your existing BUS voucher, we recommend that you contact the Boiler Upgrade Scheme team to discuss your options. They will be able to advise you on the best way to proceed.  

Here are some things to keep in mind if you are considering cancelling your existing BUS voucher:  

  • You must return your voucher to the Boiler Upgrade Scheme team.  
  • The application would have to begin again online. You need to approve us reapplying for you.   
  • There is no guarantee that you will be approved for the new amount.  
  • It may take some time for your new application to be processed.  

If you are unsure whether to cancel your existing BUS voucher, we recommend contacting the Boiler Upgrade Scheme team to discuss your options. They will be able to advise you on the best way to proceed.  

Customer 3 Those have yet to take advantage and ‘get aboard the BUS’.  

You can follow these steps to take advantage of the new boiler upgrade increase. Remember, we will do the BUS application for you.  

  1. Check if you are eligible for the scheme. The Boiler Upgrade Scheme is available to homeowners in England, Scotland, and Wales. You can check your eligibility on the Boiler Upgrade Scheme website. We will do this for you.  
  1. Registering your interest on the Boiler Upgrade Scheme website will put you in touch with a qualified installer who can assess your property and provide you with a quote for installing a heat pump. If you come straight to us, we will register your interest.  
  1. Once you have accepted a quote, we will apply for the grant online. We will need to provide information about your property, your existing heating system, and the new one we propose to install.   
  1. If your application is approved, you will be issued a voucher for the value of the grant. You can then use this voucher to pay for the installation of your new heating system.  

Here are some additional tips for taking advantage of the new boiler upgrade increase:  

  • Get multiple quotes from different installers. We encourage you to look around, but we are confident we can provide you with the best service possible.   
  • Consider the best time to have your heat pump installed. Winter can be a busy time for heating engineers.  
  • Ask about government grants and incentives. In addition to the Boiler Upgrade Scheme, other government grants and incentives may be available to help you pay for the installation of a new boiler, or you may be entitled to.  

What are the benefits of switching to a heat pump?  

Heat pumps are a low-carbon way to heat your home. They work by absorbing heat from the air or ground outside and transferring it into your home. This means they are much more efficient than traditional gas boilers, which generate heat by burning fossil fuels.  

Heat pumps can also save you money on your energy bills. This is because they are more efficient than gas boilers and because they run on electricity, which is a cheaper form of energy than gas.  

The changes to the Boiler Upgrade Scheme make it easier and more affordable for homeowners to switch to low-carbon heating. If you are considering switching to a heat pump, we encourage you to visit the Boiler Upgrade Scheme website to learn more about the scheme and register your interest.  

What next for the BUS?  

We’re monitoring the news about the update every day. Another government consultation is taking place on BUS until October 12th, which could have other implications and changes to the scheme. But until we hear anything different, the information in this guide is our best.  

If you want to talk to us about a heat pump for your home, do not hesitate to contact your local team of regional renewable experts. Find your nearest office here.  

Remember, we do the BUS application for you. We take away all the hassle. And we want to help you get the BUS grant to transform how you heat your homes for the future.   

Written By:

Green Building Renewables
Green Building

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