The government has backtracked on plans to force people living in an apartment or a listed building to install a heat pump to replace gas-fired boilers from 2026.
Housing minister Hugo de Jonge had said that heat pumps should be standard when replacing old boilers from 2026 but has now agreed that it will be too complicated for listed building owners to make the change because of the permits.
In addition, the pumps will not be compulsory for apartment owners because of the size of necessary equipment and the noise.
De Jonge told MPs on Monday he is clarifying the situation so that both home owners and central heating firms know where they are, three years ahead of the legislation coming into force.
People living in detached, semi-detached and terraced housing will have to switch, unless there are plans to connect their properties to district heating schemes.
Home owners, institutions and small firms will be able to apply for a grant to cover 30% of the average cost of installing the pumps. This will allow households to recuperate the cost of the pump within seven rather than 10 years.
Low income households, earning up to €60,000 a year, will be able to borrow additional funds via an interest-free loan system.
Landlords who install heat pumps in their rental properties will be able to recuperate some of the cost via higher rents, De Jonge said.
‘Everyone now knows what is expected of them but there are still a lot of questions,’ Katja Kruit, of environmental research bureau CE Delft told broadcaster NOS. ‘What about the noise situation, for example. It is still unclear how much noise the pumps make and how the noise will be monitored.’
Doekle Terpstra, chairman of the technical engineers’ lobby group Brancheclub Techniek, told NOS that 42,000 heat pumps were placed in Dutch homes in the first quarter of this year, almost double the 2022 figure.
Heat pumps work by extracting heat from a source, usually the surrounding air, amplifying it and and transferring it to where the heat is needed. Air-based heat pumps require equipment inside and outside the property to work.
Most older Dutch homes are being fitted with hybrid pumps which still rely on gas during cold weather or showering. They are still considered to be 60% more energy efficient than traditional gas boilers. Homes also require high levels of insulation for the pumps to be effective.
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