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Help to beat the cost of heat

The latest in our series of articles written in collaboration with Ecuity.

Over the summer, and particularly during the heatwave we enjoyed (or endured!) in July, heating systems may not have been priority for many. However, as autumn approaches, our heating needs and more likely heating costs will once again come to the forefront of the mind. This is especially true for householders in rural areas after another year of rising fuel costs, and there is no better time to think about renewable heating.

As we await the launch of the domestic Renewable Heating Incentive, due in spring 2014 there is nothing to prevent householders beginning the installation process now because legacy installations - from 15 July 2009 - will be eligible for domestic RHI payments provided they meet all the requirements of the scheme.

In order to be sure of eligibility, the scheme requires the undertaking of a short energy efficiency assessment (known as a Green Deal assessment) and the householder must install cavity wall and loft insulation if it is identified as a requirement in the assessment. Then an updated home Energy Performance Certificate must then be submitted to Ofgem to prove the work has been undertaken. The renewable technology must also be Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) certified and installed by an MCS certified installer. All of the above can and should be handled by a reputable installer.

The eligible technologies; biomass, heat pumps and solar thermal, provide renewable energy, reducing household fuel bills and CO2 emissions. The RHI payments will pay back the cost of the installation over seven years. A biomass boiler is often well suited to those not on the gas grid and in larger properties currently using an oil boiler. As explained in a previous post the payback can be made in just six years whilst savings continue for the lifetime of the technology.

Whilst it is still early days for the overall deployment of renewable heating in the UK, we have now reached a point where most aspects of the domestic RHI scheme are clear. For many early adopters it makes sense to get in now, both to secure initial higher tariff rates and to beat the coming cold weather in a much more cost effective and sustainable manner.

James Higgins

Ecuity Consultancy  

Equity's mission is to make sustainable energy mainstream by using our unique strategic insight to connect the commercial day to day reality of running a business and the political challenges of sustainable energy policy making. www.ecuity.com