The Real Cost of Renewable Energy The Real Cost of Renewable Energy

We all know that traditional fossil fuel based boilers such as LPG, oil and coal are more harmful to the environment than green alternatives. In fact, over 70 percent of an average home’s carbon dioxide emissions are caused by its heating and hot water systems. But there is a widespread perception that installing an environmentally friendly boiler in the home to provide heating and hot water is very expensive. Plus some people think they don’t do the job as well as traditional boilers. This isn’t true.

Michael and Kate wright

Biomass boilers are classed as high temperature systems, which, as well as being ideal for less well insulated properties, run radiators at the same temperature as your existing boiler and can be controlled by thermostats and timers. And making the switch is not as costly as you might think. In many cases, most or all of the cost of a biomass boiler can be recouped through the government’s domestic RHI scheme, which offers a financial incentive to people installing renewable energy heating systems. Under this initiative, and according to the latest estimates from consumer association Which?, this can range from £11,529 for a two-bedroomed semi to £19,642 for a three-bedroomed detached house, over the seven year payment period. Taking into account the average cost of buying and installing a biomass boiler, which can range from £11,000 to £23,000 - depending on property size and the household’s heat demand - the income from the RHI scheme can, in many cases, cancel out your initial outlay. You will also have lower operating costs for the long term. Before you can Fuels by price KWhapply to the RHI scheme, you need a Green Deal Assessment on your home, costing around £120. As part of this, you’ll get an Energy Performance Certificate, which is used to determine how much you will be offered in RHI payments. It will also help you to identify any other energy saving measures you may wish to make to your home.

The greatest long-term savings are to be made by people who currently use electricity, oil or liquid petroleum gas to heat their homes. As the cost of gas is very similar to wood pellets, savings for customers currently on the gas grid would be marginal. Of course, for many people switching to a biomass boiler, it’s not just about the financial savings. Even taking into account the planting, harvesting, processing and transportation of wood fuel, carbon dioxide emissions are reduced by over 90 percent. And for some people, making a green lifestyle choice is just as important as saving money.

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