Choosing LPG could save developers up to £500,000 on off-grid build costs claims new report

A new report by Briary Energy, commissioned by Calor, reveals that housebuilders could save up to £500,000 on build costs on a typical 100 plot development if they choose to install LPG heating.

Available for free from www.calor.co.uk/briary-report, the report examines the impact that fuel choice and its installation costs can have on a developer’s bottom line profitability, reviewing how LPG compares with alternative fuels for new off-grid housing developments including oil, electric and air source heat pumps.

The report covers a range of development sizes, from two-bedroom mid-terraces to large five-bedroom, three-storey detached houses, based on minimum floor areas and a typical fabric specification using gas heating systems with radiators.

A member of the UK Green Building Council, Briary Energy is well-positioned to comment on this issue, with its director Gary Nicholls having spent 25 years in the construction industry, covering all aspects of Part L compliance and BREEAM. He has also led on key projects for the Zero Carbon Hub.

Speaking about the new report, Gary said: “When looking at the changes required to the fabric specification in new houses to meet Part L1A of the Building Regulations with LPG, Briary Energy has considered the changes and the associated costs, identifying those that would have the least impact overall. The aim of this has been to try and keep any changes as straight-forward as possible for designers and builders.

“Our research demonstrates that LPG can be a more cost-effective solution than oil, electric heating and air source heat pumps.”

Ian Digby, specifier sales manager at Calor, added: “The findings by Briary Energy are encouraging to see, supporting LPG’s position as an efficient and cost-effective fuel for new homes. As the closest alternative to mains gas, it is clear that LPG offers greater installation cost savings than other options.

“To comply with Building Regulations, oil and electric heating solutions require significant, costly modifications from standard design. Any additional requirements for LPG to meet Building Regulations are low-cost, fit-and-forget technology, such as waste water heat recovery and hi-therm lintels.

“For developers, LPG is an easy option. The average additional costs of building a house on LPG in comparison to mains gas are less than £1,000 per plot.  In contrast, developers selecting air source heat pumps could see an increase in build costs of between £5,000 to £8,000 per plot.

“For example, with LPG, standard combi boilers can be installed on smaller homes and there is no need to fit a hot water cylinder or underfloor heating to achieve optimum performance. This would almost certainly be the case with air source heat pumps.

“In addition, in line with our vision to provide 100 per cent renewable energy solutions by 2040, Calor has recently launched BioLPG. This is a renewable fuel that can reduce a homeowner’s carbon footprint by up to 38 per cent compared to heating oil.

“What’s more, no retrofitting is required, meaning any LPG boilers installed now can be fuelled by BioLPG in the future.

“Most off-grid sites will be based in rural settings, and the opportunity to install LPG tanks underground, which do not impact on site aesthetics, is another strong proposition for developers. When the demand from homeowners for gas central heating is factored in too, there is a compelling case to choose LPG for new build developments based off the mains gas grid.”

BioLPG from Calor is currently available to homeowners with plans underway to make it available to rural housing developers.

To download the free report in full, please visit www.calor.co.uk/briary-report. For more information about LPG for new off-grid developments, please visit www.calor.co.uk/business-energy/solution-for/developers