Most of our homes and businesses will currently be run on a gas boiler. However, there are still some areas where oil is still be used to heat water for cleaning and central heating. New grants rolled out by the government aim to change that however.
In the last few years around 18,000 households have moved on to renewable energy, and they can now apply for a grant which will be afforded in quarterly instalments over 7 years. These renewable solutions include wood pellets from sustainable or recycled sources, air source (heat from the air is absorbed into a fluid and passed through a pump to raise it’s temperature) and ground source (water is pumped up to 100m into the ground, where it gathers heat from the earth and travels back up through a pump which raises the temperature).
Households have also taken up the solar panel grants that were introduced in 2010, although many have yet to see a return on the cost of getting the panels fitted, and have discovered they are not much use if your shower is electric rather than run on the same system as your central heating.
Already there is one success story: The Grahams. Tony and Rhoda Graham live in a 5 bedroom property in Windermere. It’s not just their home though, it is also their B&B and is set in sustainable woodlands that they own and maintain. A year ago they switched to a biomass boiler to celebrate Tony’s 70th birthday. They had caught the eco-bug whilst on a cycling holiday in Europe, when they came across several places that had biomass boilers. Failing to find any in the UK, they shopped around to find an installer who would not only fit their biomass boiler, but would also give them fantastic aftercare and who would return to service the boiler regularly.
Having had the boiler fitted in an outhouse (biomass boilers are much bigger than gas-fired boilers) where both the boiler and it’s fuel could be stored safe and dry, they burn wood for just three hours a day, and the heat produced is stored. It lasts them over 24 hours. Tony opts for wood from their own sustainable forest rather than chip or pellets:
“Why should I use fossil fuels to turn the wood into chip? For me, burning the wood is the most environmentally friendly option.” (Tony Graham)
When we consider that during the winter most of us have our heating on all day, this sounds like an option that we should all look into… if only there wasn’t a £20,000 layout to get it all set up before the grants are even applied for. You never know, given some time the government might see fit to put some money into setting up these clean energy solutions so that everyone can afford them.
The original articles are here:
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/ … -money-oil
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/ … y-exercise (quote from Tony Graham taken from this article with thanks)
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