Before you read on: Replacing a modern, condensing gas boiler with a biomass boiler is likely to increase your running costs. The systems are expensive, require spaceand can impact local air quality, so you'll need to check with your local authority before you consider installing biomass in your home.
Note that the RHI is now closed, so homeowners installing biomass boilers now cannot benefit from cash payments from this scheme. Due to the high cost and the specific criteria for installation, these systems are rarely funded through government grant schemes.
Biomass heating can come in various forms, from small woodburning stoves, to automated wood pellet boilers. Biomass heating can burn logs or pellets to heat a single room or they can be used to heat hot water, as well as work with a property's existing radiators.
Biomass pellet boilers cost approximately £16,000, and the savings (or increase) to bills depend on the current heating system in place.
Using wood as a fuel source is classed as low-carbon because it releases the same amount of CO2 that it absorbed by the tree/crop whilst growing. However, it is important to source wood locally as possible to reduce transportation emissions and ensure that the wood is harvested sustainably.
Is your home suitable?
There are several criteria needed for a home to suit a biomass boiler:
- Your property is not listed building or in a conservation area. To check contact your local council's planning department.
- Your property does not sit within a smoke control zones.
- Check that you have a large enough space to store fuel, allow deliveries, and feed the boiler.
- Check you have a local fuel supplier.
- Make sure the biomass heating system is sized correctly to the room that it will be placed.
- Check that you have enough room for a flue, which meets the regulations for a wood-burning appliance.
*All figures are taken from the Energy Saving Trust April 2022