Green Homes Network

Green Home NE692 in Roseisle

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Being passionate about environmental causes and cutting carbon emissions, Ms Harley installed Solar PV panels in her previous home. This was a positive experience, so Ms Harley was keen to use solar again when she moved house although the roof of her new home was unfortunately unsuitable to host the panels. Ms Harley’s installer recommended biomass boilers as an alternative to replace her current boiler LPG system which was reasonably efficient, but not environmentally friendly. Through online research via the Renewables Installer Finder and with the support of Home Energy Scotland, Ms Harley sourced a number of quotes from installers. She knew what sort of installer to look for due to her previous experience of renewable technology, and eventually opted for Greenflame Installation Limited.

The installation took a few weeks – longer than expected – but was not disruptive as the radiators and most of the pipework didn’t need to be replaced (although one cupboard did have to be removed). The installation came in on budget at a cost of £11,000 although there have been subsequent maintenance costs which must be factored in. The Home Energy Scotland Renewables Loan helped to spread the cost of the installation.

The installation has improved the energy rating of the home from an E to a D, but LPG was previously costing Ms Harley £700 a year, while four tons of pellets (a year’s supply) have cost over £1,000. Fortunately this is offset by the £2,000 a year she receives through the Renewable Heat Incentive.

Mrs Harley feels from an environmental perspective the investment has been worthwhile, however she was very disappointed to discover that the pellets come in plastic bags, which are not currently recyclable locally. She could have avoided this by installing a hopper, but had neither the space nor extra funds for this. The system also requires ash emptying frequently, plus a monthly clear out, which is a significant job. There is also the storage and handling of the pellets to consider -  she points out that this might not be suitable for people who couldn't manage to regularly handle 10-15kg bags or people who are away from home for more than a weekend in winter - unless they have the automatic hopper system. She would not recommend this type of technology to people living alone, suggesting it would be better suited to a family with a greater heating/hot water demand.  

Mrs Harley would however recommend the installation of a wood burning stove to anyone in a situation similar to her own.  The Home Renewables Advisor from Home Energy Scotland suggested that Ms Harley install an Eco fan for her woodburning  stove, and this has helped disperse the heat more easily through the house.

For people contemplating installing renewable energy technology she says; “If you are installing biomass, be aware of the maintenance costs which are ongoing. The system also needs regular cleaning - I clean the ash pan every 2-3 days and do a bigger clean of the system every 3-4 weeks, during which, you get covered in soot. This is not a job I look forward to. My friends, however, seem to enjoy the photos of me covered in soot. 
1983 - 2002
Biomass wood-pellet boiler

Event: Green Home NE692

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