Boiler Greenwashing Alert

Boilers, Greenwashing

Boiler greenwashing alert – Open Democracy an independent UK media platform and news website reports that a leading gas boiler manufacturer has been accused of misleading consumers by inventing a meaningless new term to suggest its new appliances will help tackle climate change. This coincides with prime minister Sunak announcing his U-turn on key green policies, including delaying the target for eliminating the sale of gas boilers to homes.

Vaillant is marketing its ecoTech gas boilers as “hydrogen prepared” and claims this makes them “the perfect future-proof heating solution”. Several plumbing companies that install Vaillant’s boilers have also adopted the term “hydrogen prepared” on their websites.

But in reality we should see this as a boiler greenwashing alert as the boilers are just regular gas boilers, all of which are capable of burning a blend of natural gas and up to 20% hydrogen – and there are no fixed plans for supplying hydrogen to homes anyway. The government has signalled that hydrogen is unlikely ever to fully replace gas.

The invention of the term follows a warning by the Competition and Markets Authority in May that marketing new boilers as “hydrogen-ready” or “hydrogen-blend-ready” risked “greenwashing people into thinking these products are more environmentally friendly than they really are”. It added: “There is no difference technically between a standard gas boiler and one marketed as a ‘hydrogen-blend’ boiler – both can operate safely with a 20% hydrogen blend.”

Jo Alsop of the Heating Hub, which advises households on heating systems, said the new term “hydrogen prepared” was also misleading and should be removed from marketing too. She said: “Describing new boilers as ‘hydrogen prepared’ could mislead consumers into thinking that they are making a long-term investment in a green heating system. “It is clear that the whole sector needs much tighter regulation and clear guidelines on what they can tell consumers about the capability of their products.”

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Image credit: “Vaillant Boiler” by is licensed under CC BY 2.0. – thank you!