17 December 2013

Switching energy does not bring any environmental gain

Replacing an old boiler with a high-efficiency installation saves a significant amount of energy and substantially reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Switching energy does not. This is the conclusion of a recent update to the study conducted in 2005 by the consultancy firm Intertek RDC on the complete life cycle (from source to burning). The update also confirms the conclusions from the study in a market with only high-efficiency condensing boilers.

The 2005 study concluded: “Switching from a heating oil boiler to a gas boiler in Belgium in 2005 does not lead to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Taking into account the complete life cycle of both fuels, from extraction to burning in a domestic heating boiler purchased in 2005 and operating for 20 years, the average quantity of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere over the next one hundred years is greater (+0.1%) for a gas-fired boiler than for a heating oil boiler”. The study assumed that one quarter of the additional natural gas used will come from liquid natural gas (50% from Algeria and 50% from the Middle East) and three-quarters from ‘non-liquid’ natural gas (75% from Russia and 25% from the Caspian Sea region). The update of the study is based on actualised assumptions regarding the source of liquid natural gas (100% Middle East – Qatar).

The update was carried out by Kurt Van Campenhout, Technical Director at the Belgian centre for technical and scientific information on heating oil, Cedicol.