Could you earn a 65pc return from a wood-burning boiler?

Invest £35,000 in a biomass boiler and get a guaranteed £57,645 in 7 years – with assist from the Government. Does the claim stack up?


Invest £35,000 and get a assured return of in excess of £57,645 in just seven years. It’s a really bold claim, but all-natural vitality organization Euroheat this week mentioned this is achievable for households that switch to wood-fuelled heating, and that is ahead of any savings on current vitality bills are factored in.

The Government’s Renewable Heat Incentive, which launched in April, pays households that produce and use renewable energy to heat their buildings. Payments are made quarterly for 7 years and are primarily based on the kind and volume of energy created.

But can you really achieve a return of 65pc just by putting in a wood burning technique? The quick reply is almost certainly not, but there are considerable savings to be manufactured especially if you at present use electrical energy or oil to heat your residence.

What is the Renewable Heat Incentive?

As portion of the Government’s aims to minimize greenhouse fuel emissions and meet targets for lowering climate alter, it will shell out households to produce renewable power. A wood burning, or biomass, method will obtain a tariff of twelve.2p per kilowatt hour of power created. Other renewable sources this kind of as solar thermal panels, air, ground and water-supply heat pumps pay diverse rates.

The scheme is open to property owners, personal landlords, social landlords and self-builders, but not other new create homes. Any person who has put in a renewable power supply because 15 July 2009 can also apply.

What is a biomass boiler?

Put merely, it is a gadget that burns wood to offer heating and hot water. There are 3 primary sorts of wood fuelled heating techniques a boiler than offers heat and scorching water for the total residence, a stand-alone stove that offers heat to person rooms and a stove with a back-boiler that heats the room right and supplies sizzling water, and might also run radiators in the rest of the home.

What are the fuel possibilities?

There are 3 kinds of wood fuels – logs, pellets and chips.

Seasoned logs, which have been permitted to dry out in excess of a couple of years, can be utilised. This is a especially low-cost choice if you have land and access to cost-free firewood on your home or have a low cost nearby supplier.

Pellets are produced from the by-merchandise of wood manufacturing. They are denser and drier, so they burn up a lot more effectively, and they demand much less storage space that logs.

Chips normally come from forest or saw mills. They are far more appropriate for heating more substantial locations so are normally only utilized for business premises or neighborhood heating schemes.

Log-burning stoves and boilers are more perform due to the fact they have to be filled by hand, while pellet and chip burners use automated fuel feeders which refill them at standard intervals.

Is it appropriate for my property?

Brian Horne, of the Power Financial savings Believe in, said big houses in rural areas with out access to gas will advantage most from switching to wood fuelled heating.

“These properties will typically get their heat from oil or electrical power, which are substantially much more expensive,” he said. “If you have oil heating it is easier and cheaper to switch due to the fact you will have radiators in place presently. If you’re making use of electrical power you are very likely to require to install these.

“Biomass boilers are fairly large and hefty, so you will need room in an outhouse, cellar or utility space. You must also have somewhere to store the fuel, which is significantly cheaper to buy in bulk, and offer straightforward accessibility for deliveries which usually come in a lorry.”

Wood pellets ordered in batches of 3 or four tonnes at a time offer the best worth but require a storage space all around half the size of a common garage. Most houses would need to have two or three deliveries of this size a year.

A modest mid-terrace flat in the centre of London is unlikely to have the space or easy access required to make a biomass boiler possible, but such properties typically use gas and the argument for switching is less compelling.

Mr Horne stated: “It can be feasible to save cash if you reside in a large semi-detached, gas fuelled residence in a city for instance, but the financial savings won’t be as substantial.”

Expenses and savings

The Energy Financial savings Trust has calculated that for a normal 4-bedroom detached property, it will expense in between £14,000 and £19,000 to set up a biomass boiler. The Renewable Heat Incentive will pay in between £2,000 and £3,500 a year for 7 many years, giving a complete rebate of between £14,000 and £24,500.

If the residence is switching from electrical energy, there will be an further conserving of £340-£650 a yr in vitality expenses. That saving will be £335-£470 a yr if the residence utilised oil and £25-£80 for gas. These savings get account of the price of purchasing fuel for a wood burner.

As with all heating programs, residences that are effectively insulated will see the most savings.

So do Euroheat’s claims stack up?

Not except if you are trying to heat a especially run-down country manor. Additional digging exposed Euroheat’s claim was primarily based on a 4,000 square-foot property with bad insulation that consumes a whopping 67,500 kWh of power for heating and scorching water per year.

This compares to a standard British house – around 820 square feet – which uses 15,200 kWh for heating and sizzling water annually.

The Government has produced an on-line tool to help you calculate how significantly you might conserve by way of the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme. Find it at kingdom

How to pick a wood-fuelled heating program

The Power Saving Believe in has put together a buyers’ manual to biomass boilers. Some items to think about are:

Boiler or stove?

Boilers can be employed in place of a normal gasoline or oil boiler to heat radiators for a entire house, and to heat the hot water. Stoves are utilised to heat a single space, generally in conjunction with other heating programs, but could also have a back boiler to provide scorching water.

Chips, pellets or logs?

Chips are not suitable for heating a single home, but can be utilized to heat larger buildings or groups of houses. Pellets are considerably less complicated to use and much much more controllable than logs pellet boilers can run immediately in considerably the very same way that gasoline or oil boilers operate. Logs demand significantly a lot more perform, and you will need a lot of logs to heat a total home, but they can be cheaper than pellets if you have a great regional provide.

Do you have a local fuel supplier?

Some firms now supply deliveries of pellets anyplace in mainland Britain and Northern Ireland provide of logs is a lot a lot more variable.

Do you have area?

Wood boilers are greater than fuel or oil equivalents. You will also want area to retailer the fuel – someplace which is helpful for deliveries but also appropriate for feeding the boiler.

Do you have someplace to place the flue?

You will want a flue which meets the regulations for wood-burning appliances such as a new insulated stainless steel flue pipe or an current chimney. Chimneys normally need lining to make them secure and legal.

Do you require arranging permission?

You could not, but you should often verify.

– Much more: Can you really conserve £300 a yr with a wood burner?

– Far more: What following for energy? Need to you resolve?

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