Skip to main content

Domestic heating

Action 4.2: Economic incentives to replace old heating equipment

Old wood burning equipment has in general been shown to have higher or much higher emissions than modern equipment. There is also a significant number of old oil-fuelled heaters and local oil-fuelled district heating boilers that cause black carbon emissions. Replacement of these older, high-emitting stoves and boilers would reduce emissions considerably.


Area of action
Domestic heating
Economic incentives (subsidies for new equipment or scrapping bonuses) to replace old equipment and appliances fuelled by oil or hard coal through national initiative/programme for
Type of intervention
Economic incentives
Time perspective
Structural change
Jurisdictional scope
Policy forum
National authorities (e.g. those responsible for fire safety and/or environmental protection)

National initiatives/programmes for subsidies (or other economic incentives) have been initiated (Levander and Bodin 2014) with the aim of accelerating the replacement of old wood burning equipment with cleaner technologies. There are also national programmes for replacing oil burning in individual houses or local district heating boilers with cleaner technologies.

The programmes need rules and policies identifying the requirements for eligibility of subsidy, as well as requirements for the replacement technology. It is worth noting, however, that national perspectives here vary. Economic incentives have previously been considered in Canada where it was deemed not feasible due to high costs, while the Danish experience points towards the incentive having effect and they are used in the EU. In Finland a national programme aims at supporting a switch away from oil burning, and in Russia actions have been initiated to replace old polluting local district heating boilers (Salonen 2020). Although not targeting domestic heating per se, Norway has banned the use of fossil oil to heat buildings utilised in the construction sector, starting from the 1st of January 2024. All these initiatives aim at improving local air quality and health benefits as well as climate impact. Again, and of importance given the current disparity in national experiences, it is useful with international exchange of experience.