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Biomass Heating Solar Heat Pumps

Comparison of Biomass, Solar and Other Heating Methods

Heating fuel type Useful kWh cost Annual service costs Installation costs Running costs CO2 emissions(Kg/year)
Wood pellets (bagged)1 5.52p >£150 >£6,800 £1,153 766Kg/year
Wood pellets (bulk)1 4.16p >£200 >£15,000 £870 766Kg/year
Wood chip (30% moisture content)1 4.29p >£200 >£20,000 £895 550Kg/year
Log gasification boiler1 1-3p >£150 >£11,500 £626 436Kg/year
Log burner with back boiler2 13p >£120 >£6,000 £2,773 608Kg/year
Air source heat pump (efficiency 350%)3 4p >£120 >£6,800 £877 3874Kg/year
Ground source heat pump (efficiency 400%)3 3.5p >£120 >£15,000 £798 3524Kg/year
Electric heating and water3 14p >£100 >£1,000 £2,690 10184Kg/year
Economy 7 heating and hot water3 7.5p (off peak)
18p (peak)
>£100 >£2,400 £1,538 10184Kg/year
Natural gas4 4.7p >£100 >£2,800 £1,003 6406Kg/year
LPG bottled 47Kg (93 litres)4 11p >£100 >£4,000 £2,349 7663Kg/year
LPG bulk4 9p >£150 >£4,500 £1,922 7663Kg/year
Oil fired boiler5 7p >£100 >£5,000 £1,764 9219Kg/year
Anthracite coal burner 6p >£150 >£5,000 £1,538 13541Kg/year

1 - Biomass technologies have efficiencies of greater than 90%. All these technologies are eligible for RHPP and RHI payments as we install Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) boilers and stoves
2 - Log burners are part considered biomass but they do not get incentives as most if not all of these burners are not MCS registered
3 - Heat pumps and electric heating emissions are predicted on the emissions to generate electricity, there are plans to de-carbonise the electricity supply with more wind power, hydro power and nuclear plants to replace fossil fuelled plants
4 - Gas boilers are now required to be at least 90% efficient. Older gas boilers can have efficiencies as low as 75%
5 - Oil fired boilers tend to have an efficiency of 85%

All installation costs only take into account the price to install the system and do not include the cost to install the hot water cylinder or heating system such as radiators or underfloor heating.

Electric panel radiators are one of the cheapest forms of heating to install in your home, but also the most expensive to run. Recently many landlords have requested that we install electric water boilers in place of gas boilers as there is no requirement for gas servicing or gas safety checks. However the tenant can then be left with huge heating bills and fuel poverty. We have never yet installed an electric only heating boiler, we usually show customers how much these can cost to run against comparable heating systems.

LPG (Propane) heating is much the same to use as standard natural gas heating. Natural gas equipment is just converted to work on LPG. It can be run from two or more 47kG bottles or from a bulk LPG tank. Bottled LPG heating is the second most expensive form of heat for the home. The bottles are exchanged regularly in the heating season.

Economy 7 storage heaters can potentially be cheaper to run than electric heating, but are uncontrolled and not much use to people that go to work each day, as often by the evening the manually set pre-charge has almost been exhausted and you're left with switching on the electric fan heater to keep warm. The system charges in the night with heat at a rate manually pre-set, so if the following day is warm the heaters will still radiate the same amount of heat as with a cold day. Economy 7 tariff has a sting in its tail, electricity companies charge a 30-40% inflated peak rate for all your other daily power usage in the home. Dual fuel gas and electricity suppliers often do the same; they offer a low gas price but then inflate the electricity cost per kWh.

LPG bulk is a lot cheaper to run than bottled LPG. Suppliers offer a subsidised tank installation and usually you are tied to one supplier for a period of time after the tank has been installed. These tanks can be above or below ground. LPG is often considered a more dangerous gas than Natural gas as it is heavier than air so it can collect at low levels in your home.

With oil heating systems, you own the oil tank. Oil boilers tend to be a lot bigger and heavier than gas boilers and are more expensive, especially the combination oil boilers. The tank and tank base adds a lot of cost to the installation price. There are also many restrictions on where you can site an oil tank. There is always the potential for oil to leak which can then amount to substantial clean up costs. Oil is also prone to contamination with condensation water. Oil prices are fluctuating all the time, oil is frequently speculated on by commodity traders and has tripled in price over the past few years. During cold winter snaps the oil price rallies and existing oil boiler users are as a rule fed up with relying on this fuel.

Bag loaded wood pellet boilers are the most expensive of the renewable technologies to fuel. This is due to the cost to supply bagged pellets as they are delivered on pallets; the typical price for a tonne of bagged pellets is £260 with delivery. They are a cheap technology for installation. Bulk wood pellet boilers are more expensive to install as they require a pellet store and a means to supply the boiler with pellets either via a vacuum unit or auger system. The benefit is that the cost to purchase pellets is reduced as there is less industrial process and work required for delivery. Bulk orders of 3 tonnes and above can start at £180/tonne.

Anthracite boiler coal is rarely used as a sole heating source for homes. Automatic gravity fed boilers are still available, but more often the systems tend to be back boilers. Coal is to be used often mixed with wood in Parkray style back boilers. Coals have high carbon content and also have 30% ash content. The boilers tend to be inefficient with efficiencies from 65 to 75%.

Natural gas is the most popular choice for householders in the UK and the UK has the biggest gas boiler market in Europe, due to our dense population, our gas grid extends to the vast majority of homes. However, natural gas has more than tripled in price over the past 10 years due to us having to import more and more gas. By 2016 we have signed up to a Europe wide agreement to not install gas heating boilers into our new housing. However, it is still a very cost competitive heating fuel, simple to use and the installation costs are low, hence its popularity.

Air source heat pump heating and hot water costs are low as they are very efficient; a well designed system can be in excess of 350% efficient. The cost is dictated by the cost of electricity, if the price of electric goes up, so too will the cost to run a heat pump.

Ground source heat pumps are similar to air source heat pumps, they can be up to 400% efficient if designed correctly. Again the cost of heating is dictated by the cost of electricity.

Wood chip boilers have similar costs to bulk pellets as they need wood chip stores and augering to the boiler. The cost for heating is low as the cost of wood chips is around £160/tonne. They are slightly more expensive than pellets as pellets have a higher calorific value than chip.

Log gasification boilers can be cheap to run, it is dependent on the price to obtain wood. Most customers who install log gasification boilers have a plentiful supply of wood. They have high install costs as they require accumulator tanks.



We supply and install a wide range of biomass boilers, biomass stoves, air source heat pumps and solar systems from manufacturers including:
ETAFrolingMCZ HeatingEco AngusGrantNordica Extra FlameVaillantPanasonic
Microgeneration Certification Scheme Approved Installer and NAPIT Approved Electrical InstallerGreen Deal Approved InstallerRenewable Energy Consumer CodeRenewable Energy Hub Approved Installer
We serve a wide area including Somerset and Devon, Exeter, Wellington, Taunton, Shepton Mallet, Street, Glastonbury, Wells, Frome, Minehead, Bridgwater, Weston-Super-Mare, Bristol, Dorset, Wiltshire and Cornwall.
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