EU Energy Efficiency Labels Explained
31st January 2017

GOING GREEN? Thousands of people have been empowered not only to save money and energy but also to conserve our planet's resources for future generations.

There are countless reasons why more and more people are deciding on alternatives to fossil fuels for their heating. Here are a few things that may encourage you on the benefits of biomass boilers.

What are biomass boilers?

More homes are installing biomass boilers for the purpose of heating. They work by burning wood, animal waste, food or high-energy plants to generate heat and energy. They can also be linked up to hot water or central heating systems. There are many different types on the market to choose from, depending on your requirements, and they can also be used for commercial, industrial as well as domestic applications.

Advantages

  • For many the idea of using biomass technology to heat their homes is the ideal alternative to the traditional C02 producing fossil options that we have relied on in the past.
  • One of the advantages of biomass boilers is that it’s a good way to use up wasted wood or other natural products. This means less of it goes to landfills, which we are rapidly running out of in the UK.
  • Also another environmental benefit is they produce a lower amount of carbon dioxide than fossil fuels do, lessening the impact on global warming.
  • Trees and plants take in carbon dioxide whilst they are growing, so long as more are planted to replace the ones cut down, it should counteract the volume of emissions produced upon combustion. Biomass boilers cost much less to run than conventional alternatives so can save you a lot of money on your energy bills.
  • They have a high efficiency so do not need much maintenance done to them which makes things simple and hassle free.
  • You can get financial help towards the cost of a biomass boiler. The Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme (RHI) provides payments to householders who have a biomass boilers.
  • For further details visit the Energy Saving Trust

What are the drawbacks?

  • A Biomass boiler is larger than a traditional gas or oil-fired boilers and needs to be located in a larger area.
  • Fuel-storage facilities will be required nearby.
  • A regular supply of biological matter will be needed to generate the system.
  • The boilers need constant feeding of its fuel! Logs provide a cheaper option but you need a guaranteed and reliable supply. The wood should be of good quality to ensure the boiler will operate effectively.

Do I need planning permission?

Planning permission is not normally needed when installing a biomass system in a house if the work is all-internal. If the installation requires a flue outside, however, it will normally be permitted development if the conditions outlined below are met.

  • Flues on the rear or side elevation of the building are allowed to a maximum of one metre above the highest part of the roof.
  • If the building is listed or in a designated area even if you enjoy permitted development rights it is advisable to check with your local planning authority before a flue is fitted. Consent is also likely to be needed for internal alterations.
  • In a conservation area or in a World Heritage site the flue should not be fitted on the principal or side elevation if it would be visible from a highway.

If the project also requires an outside building to store fuel or related equipment the same rules apply to that building as for other extensions and garden outbuildings.