Dutch Minister of Housing Hugo de Jonge has said that multi-story apartments and listed buildings will be exempt from replacing gas boilers with hybrid heat pumps by 2026.
The move comes after the Dutch government announced in May 2022 that hybrid heat pumps were to become the country’s new heating standard from Jan. 1, 2026. The measure originally encompassed apartments and listed buildings, but the government has now backtracked on those plans.
The heat pump mandate will apply to buildings where the return on investment for the heat pump is no more than seven years after the government has covered up to 30% of the cost with a grant. Jonge said that multi-story buildings often fail to meet this requirement.
“The study by W/E consultants shows that housing in stacked construction generally has a long payback period and that there are bottlenecks with regard to noise and available space,” he wrote in a letter to Parliament.
The minister justified the exemption for listed buildings with the fact that these require a permit to undergo modifications, a process that is too lengthy for a swift exchange of a gas boiler for a heat pump.
In general, “there will be an exception for situations in which the standard cannot be properly applied, for example when due to noise requirements or necessary modifications to the home, the more efficient installations lead to disproportionally high costs,” said Jonge.
Houses already heated by district heating will also be exempt, and so will neighborhoods that can switch to district heating within 10 years.
Non-residential buildings with a yearly electricity usage of less than 50,000 kWh or 25,000 cubic meters of natural gas will also be required to install a heat pump.
The mandate sets hybrid heat pumps as a “minimum standard” but highlights that fully electric heat pumps and district heating are also feasible solutions. Homeowners, institutions, and small companies will be able to apply for a grant to cover 30% of the average cost of installing the heat pumps. Households with a yearly income of up to €60,000 ($66,261) will be able to borrow additional funds via an interest-free loan system.
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