Getting our heads round reducing energy use at home

This blog has been created by a small group of people in Sheffield, we got together after Sheffield Climate Action's ‘match-making’ meeting on Tuesday 6th November 2007.

We are sharing our research on how to make our homes more energy efficient; providing local information and contacts where ever possible.
We are interested in local peoples' experiences of installing and/or using energy saving technologies in their homes.

Please leave some feedback here or comment on individual items below. We would love to hear from you!

Renewable home electricity generation incentive from April 2010

The UK government is introducing a new scheme from April 2010 that will reward people for generating electricity at home from certain technologies. It is commonly known as "Feed In Tariffs" or FITs - although the bulk of the reward in fact comes from the amount generated regardless of how much is actually fed into the local electricity network.

This is my summary of what I think are the key relevant points in the scheme published in February 2010 by the Department for Energy & Climate Change (DECC) at


Suppose you installed solar photovoltaic (PV) panels with a capacity to produce a maximum of 4kW to an existing south facing roof on your home sometime in the year April 2010 - March 2011. Under the proposal an electricity supplier would pay you 41.3 p for every kiloWatthour (unit) of electricity you generated and 3.0p for every unit you exported to the local network. Once your installation is completed, the scheme guarantees the generation tariff for the expected lifetime of the technology (25 years for solar PV) and will protect this tariff against inflation by revising its value in line with changes in the Retail Prices Index. The export tariff will also get this inflation protection but its value may be adjusted at formal reviews of the scheme (first due 2013). However, on an annual basis, generators may opt out of the export tariff if they can get a better price from another source.

You would continue to pay for any units you imported from the electricity network (for example at night or in mid-winter). If you generate some of the units that you would have imported before you installed your solar PV, then you would save the cost of the imported electricity, of course.

The generation tariff you start on depends on : (i) when your installation is completed, (ii) its generation capacity and (iii) the technology. A full table is given on page 47 at the link quoted above.

Both the product installed and the installer must be accredited under the Microgeneration Certification Scheme for installations under 50kW capacity. This is intended to deter poor products & installers from giving microgeneration a poor reputation. Remember you only get paid for electricity you actually generate. So, the equipment has to be suitable for your property & its situation and properly installed & maintained !! I've seen solar technology fitted to north facing roofs in Sheffield !

A few other points :

1.In the original proposals, home generators had the right to switch electricity supplier.

2. The tariff income is expected to be free of income tax if the electricity is mainly used on site, so the final tax rules should be taken into account when deciding on what generation capacity to install.

3.DECC states its modelling suggests that the market will provide sufficient financing to pay for the up-front cost of installation without state funding. (Funding has been progressively cut and conditions tightened in the current, state funded Low Carbon Buildings Programme.) Local authorities may also get involved. It is also proposed that the FIT income stream may, optionally, be assigned to a third party. So, a home owner could allow a third party to install solar PV (say) on a suitable roof and receive a rent for the use of the space. In the Sheffield area are looking for suitable properties.

4.This scheme will be the only option for installations under 50kW capacity from April 2010.

5.If a home with generating equipment is sold, it is expected that the equipment will be sold with the home and its value plus that of the remaining FIT payments will be part of the sale price negotiated.

6. Centrica (British Gas), EdF, Eon, RWE npower, Scottish & Southern and Scottish Power will be obliged to offer Feed In Tariffs. Suppliers with less than 50,000 domestic customers such as Good Energy and Ecotricity may participate if they wish.

This is only my summary of what I think are the most important points. Read the full document to check details or if you want to know more. The final scheme may differ in some respects e.g. on arrangements for metering of exported electricity from home generators.

Please bear in mind that home electricity generation should be considered in the context of your overall domestic energy use and finances. Heating & hot water are likely to be a bigger source of CO2 and expense for most households and I recommend you consider the following.

The government has published proposals for a Renewable Heating Incentive (RHI) payable from April 2011. These proposals are open for public comment until 26 April 2010 and, until then, can be found under Open Consultations at

and under Closed Consultations after that date. The rate of return in these proposals appears to be more generous than in the FIT scheme (except for solar hot water systems). If you have limited resources, you may wish to compare possible measures under the FIT scheme with those under the RHI proposals and other appropriate measures such as solid wall insulation. For example, if reducing your CO2 is your priority, you could rank possible measures by cost per kilogramme of CO2 emissions saved. A qualified Home Energy Adviser may be able to help you do this.

Government has also published a strategy for Household Energy Management at
which proposes new ways of helping people with the upfront cost of insulation aswell as renewable heating system technologies.

Rick M

Electricity monitors

I have had a Electrisave energy monitor which I got from Eon a few months ago. They are now called OWL monitors. It has been really useful to raise our awareness of how much energy we use and what really makes a difference. We have reduced our base line energy by about 1p an hour mainly by changing our bulbs to low energy ones. It has also encouraged us to run our washing machine at 30 C. It is interesting to see how high the meter goes when you put the kettle on, and a great way of helping teenagers to realise how they can make a difference. Caroline

Sheffield Libraries have started lending OWL monitors recently (around June 09). You can borrow them just like books. I have also tried a meter supplied by Southern Electric as part of their Better Plan tariff.

Both have a unit which goes near the main electricity meter which transmits data to display unit showing various information to the user within the home. The Southern Electric display unit has to be plugged into a mains socket whereas the OWL works off batteries and can therefore be positioned anywhere convenient & more easily moved. (The batteries came with the OWL).

I found the instructions for both reasonably straightforward. I ran the OWL in Energy mode as suggested in the Quick Start Guide provided by Sheffield Libraries.

I found both monitors didn't show things that used a small amount of power but its the big devices that I think are worth focussing on anyway. (For example, switching on an 18W compact low-energy fluorescent - with nothing else running in the house - does not cause either unit to display 18W. But switching on my "40W" strip fluorscent did register.)

Both monitors show the total power being used by the home at any moment and the temperature where the display unit is. Since space heating is often the biggest energy use in homes, I think the temperature is useful. During warm spells I also used it as a prompt to open my kitchen door & windows to replace warm air with cooler so that the fridge-freezer was not having to work so hard. I compared the temperatures shown by both units against an accurate infra-red medical thermometer and found the OWL better than the Southern Electric unit.

The OWL shows cumulative power use (in kWh) whereas the Southern Electric unit shows electricity used over the last day, 7 days & month plus a graphical display of electricity used during daytime, evening & night periods. The periods are defined in the Southern Electric user guide.

On the whole I prefer the OWL and you do not need to sign-up with Southern Electric Better Plan.

I bought one of these last year and found it useful for discovering how individual much power some appliances actually use over a period. The meter can display cumulative power in kWh.
I used it to find out how much a portable oil-filled electric radiator that was providing night time heating in my bedroom was using. As a result I bought an electric over-blanket and reckon I'll recover the cost of it in less than a year.

Penistone Friends of the Earth have recently given their library a Southern Electric type meter and a Maplins single socket one.
Rick M

Landlords Energy Saving Allowance

What is it?
The Landlord’s Energy Saving Allowance (LESA) is a tax allowance which lets landlords claim on their tax return against the cost of buying and installing energy saving items. Tax relief is for a maximum of £1,500 per property.

What measures are eligible?
The landlord can claim if he/she has installed the following items:

  • draught proofing
  • loft insulation
  • floor insulation
  • cavity wall insulation
  • solid wall insulation
  • insulation for hot water systems

How much can I save?
Here’s an example of how it works. If you’ve installed insulation at a cost of £1,500:
Annual taxable income = £20,000
LESA (cost of insulation) = -£1,500
Total taxable profit = £18,500
Saving at 22% tax = £330
Saving at 40% tax = £60

How does the landlord claim?
It’s simple to do. When filling in the Land and Property supplementary pages of your tax return, you should include the cost of these items in box 5.36C. Guidance on LESA can be found in the supplementary notes for the Land and Property pages of your main self-assessment return.
All installation work needs to be completed by the end of March in order to claim it for that tax year.

Where can I get more information?
To find out more about LESA, the landlord can talk to his /heraccountant or tax advisor, or visit The Energy Saving Trust can provide you with a personalised Home Energy Check report on each of your properties for free. Simply complete the questionnaire today and you should have your report very soon. The questionnaire is available at:
For more information or advice, please call the Energy Saving Trust on 0800 512 012.

Grant finder

Click on the "Grant finder" text above to find energy grants local to where you live (this will take you to an Energy Saving Trust web page)

Renewable Electricity : is it carbon-free ?

I first came across "green electricity" in an issue of Which? magazine in February 2000. The explanation given there is essentially the same as the one currently given by consumer watchdog Energywatch on its website (link given in Sources below). On this basis I switched my electricity supply to one from 100% renewable sources and believed that I my CO2 emissions from my home electricity were therefore zero. The majority of books & carbon calculators I have seen to date also treat this type of green electricity as zero carbon. However, the National Consumer Council published a report late in 2006 which challenged this and led to the regulator for the UK electricity industry (OFGEM) carrying out a review of its guidelines on green electricity.

On 16 July 2008 OFGEM published revised proposals on green electricity after extended consultation. These proposals are likely to be tweaked but not radically altered as a result of final responses from interested parties.

A key point is that tariffs can no longer claim to be zero or low carbon even if the supply is said to be from renewable sources. People should concentrate on reducing their consumption of electricity if they wish to reduce the associated CO2 emissions.

To quote the summary on page 1 of the report "Our concern here is to give a clear message to customers about the carbon content of their electricity use – increased use of electricity will lead to increased greenhouse gas emissions whatever tariff the customer is on. Put another way, there is no direct link between changes in a customers use of energy and changes in the output of generators (renewable or otherwise) that a supplier has contracted with. Therefore, the best available proxy for the carbon content of electricity consumption is the grid mix ..."
The "grid mix" is the average CO2 content of all electricity transmitted over the national grid and is around 0.537 kg CO2 per unit of electricity (kWh or kilo Watt hour).

On this basis grid electricity is the most carbon-intensive form of energy for domestic use.

Grid Electricity 0.537 kg CO2 per kWh
Domestic Coal 0.313
Mains Gas 0.206
Burning Oil 0.258
LPG 0.225
Wood Pellets 0.026

( Source : DEFRA reference below ).

In their proposals OFGEM define "green electricity" as one that incorporates an activity that results in the delivery of an environmental benefit that would not occur under a business as usual scenario. They provide a non-exhaustive list of such benefits which includes

  • installation of energy efficient technologies (outside of an existing programme called CERT)
  • consumer behaviour measures such as active demand management or smart metering (until or unless this is mandated)
  • support for renewable heat installations
  • smaller scale (community based) renewable electricity projects
  • purchase of carbon offsets in line with the governments (DEFRAs) quality assurance scheme for carbon offsetting.
The Energywatch link below can be used to research green tariffs but the market is likely to change in response to OFGEM's proposals.

I assume that if you generate your own renewable electricity it can still be considered zero carbon.

OFGEM Proposals
DEFRA data used for grid mix is rolling average published in Annex 3 at

Post Scripts : OFGEM announced confirmed its position on 4th February 2009.
In July & September 2009 DEFRA & DECC jointly updated the CO2 per kWh figures for different energy sources and there are likely to be annual revisions. However, it is likely that grid electricity will remain the most carbon-intensive common energy source in the UK for a few years at least.

Heat Pumps

General Description

Heat Pumps use the same technology as fridges. Whereas fridges pump heat from their inside, heat pumps take it from outside to heat a home. The heat can come from the air, the ground or a body of water such as a lake or stream. For every unit of electricity used to power a heat pump up to 3-4 units of heat can be produced from a good system.

Air Source Heat Pumps (ASHP)
These can extract useful heat from air that is as cold as -15 Centrigrade.
There are 2 types:
1. Air to Air systems provide warm air for fans to distibute around a ventilation system
2. Air to Water systems heat water instead and pump this through under flooring heating or radiators. The water produced is typically 35 to 40 Centrigrade and this makes under floor heating the most suitable distribution system.

ASHP can be used to pre-heat domestic hot water which can then be further heated by another means such as electric immersion. Some ASHP systems can domestic heat water to full temperature on their own although this takes more electricity per unit of heat to do.

Could I benefit from this ?
1. What are the alternative fuels available ? If its electricity, oil, Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG), or coal, the payback from an ASHP will be more favourable. ASHP is a good option where mains gas is unavailable or a connection to the mains expensive.
2. You will need space on an external wall outside your home for the part of the system that collects the heat from the air. This could be an outbuilding such as garage.
3. It is cheaper and easier to install under floor heating for an air to water system when building a new home or carrying out major renovation of an old one.
4. With all heat pump technologies, it is normally cheaper to insulate your home well in order to reduce the heat demand. This should reduce running costs and may reduce up-front costs as the size of heat pump needed should be smaller. Low Carbon Buildings Programme grants (see later) are also only available when certain insulation measures have been taken.

1. Running costs are likely to be cheaper than for other fuel sources where mains gas is not available.
2. If the electricity used to power the heat pump is from renewable sources, this should reduce your homes CO2 emissions.

1. Gas boilers are currentlly cheaper to install and cheaper to run where mains gas is connected.
2. Poorly designed, manufactured or maintained units can be noisy according to anecdotal evidence.

The Energy Savings Trust website says that a typical 6Kw domestic system, suitable for a well insulated detached property, costs in the range of £7000 to £10000 installed. Savings in running costs depend on the type of fuel that ASHP is being compared against ranging from £185 pa (gas) to £760 pa (electricity). Site accessed 2/8/08 :
On 2/6/08 ASHP became eligible for Low Carbon Building Programme grants of up to £900 or 30% of allowable costs (whichever is lower). But do not assume that the total price for a system with grant will be less than that without. There is some anecdotal evidence of quotes for systems with grants being increased by the amount of the grant. And, as its early days for ASHP under the Low Carbon Building Programme, many installers are not yet registered to install under the LCBP.

1. Energy Savings Trust website as quoted above.
2. Low Carbon Buildings Program
0800 915 0990
3. National Energy Action ( a charity aiming to end fuel poverty in the UK) has been involved in the installation of ASHPs in several homes in the north of England. Search by air source heat pump.

Local Installers
1. Nibe Energy Systems Ltdm Chesterfield 0845 095 1200
2. Trianco Heating Products, Chapeltown S35 0114 257 2300
3. Eco Heat Pumps Sheffield S3 0114 270 3900

Ground Source Heat Pumps
The ground is a more stable source of heat than the air. The temperature does vary slowly with the seasons near the surface but below about 10 metres is stable all year around and typically 10-12C in the UK. Other things being equal heat pumps extract more heat per unit of electricity the higher the temperature of the source. And more heat tends to be needed in homes when outside air temperatures are lower. So a GSHP that uses a vertical borehole to extract heat from 10 or more metres below the surface will tend to have higher efficiency than an Air Source Heat Pump. But a GSHP tends to cost more to install than an ASHP though there is a slightly higher grant ceiling from the Low Carbon Buildings Programme of £1200.

Where there is sufficient land available, collecting heat from a ground coil buried in a trench typically 1 to 2 metres below the surface is an intermediate option both in terms of cost and performance. Temperatures at this depth vary with the seasons but fluctuate much less than the air.

The Energy Savings Trust website quoted below gives a broad range of £6000 - £12000 for a typical 8 - 12 kW system not including the system used to distribute the heat around the home(accessed 30/8/08).

South Yorkshire Energy Centre near Heeley City Farm have installed a GSHP using a borehole to collect heat and over-sized radiators to distribute it around a refurbished house. See for current opening hours. Over-sized radiators are a way of compensating for the lower temperature of the water from a heat pump compared to that from a boiler. However, talking to a senior member of staff on a visit some time ago, I was told that the radiators had not been able to raise the temperature to a high enough level for the comfort of office staff on the first floor. However, thermal comfort is subjective and it would be interesting to find out what others with radiator distribution systems attached to heat pumps feel because this type of distribution system is more easily fitted to existing properties than under floor heating.

Local installers * :
1. Andrews Engineering Ltd, Chesterfield 0845 126 7873
2. Eco Heat Pumps Ltd, Sheffield 0114 270 3900
3. Blue Flag Ltd, Halifax 01422 248613

* 30/8/08 from Low Carbon Buildings Programme, certified installers list for Yorks & Humber.

Sources :
(1) Energy Savings Trust
(2) Low Carbon Buildings Program
Re grants
(3) Renewable Energy, 2nd Edition, Oxford University Press 2004, Edited by Godfrey Boyle p348 and pp364-8. This book can be viewed at Sheffield Central Library in the Business,Science & Technology section.

Water Source Heat Pumps
If you have a spring, stream, river, lake or large pond on or by your land, it is possible to extract heat from the water. However, properties with such natural assets are relatively uncommon, there are no grants from the Low Carbon Buildings Programme at the time of writing (2/9/08) and we know of no local installer - though if you have such an asset you might like to contact one of the local installers of ASHP & GSHP systems to see if they can help and add a comment to this blog.

Source : Energy Savings Trust
Further Info : John Cantor Heat Pumps This is a commercial site but looks comprehensive, worth exploring and although the principal is based in Machynlleth, mid-Wales does consultancy.

Energy Efficient Appliances

Brief description:
Appliances have traditionally been consideably wasteful of the utilities feeding them. It is now law for all new appliances to display an energy label like the one shown opposite. Choosing a washing machine/dishwasher/freezer etc. which is at least A-rated means that your bills will be lower, and usually they are hardly any more expensive than those with lower ratings.

More information:
Database of products to compare -

Energy Efficient Light Bulbs

Brief description:
Everybody knows what they look like and what they do, but most people grossly under-estimate the saving that can be made by fitting your house out with them.....

Energy efficient, or "low-e", bulbs use up to 80% less electriciy compared to their conventional foes, and last around 10 times longer. They are no longer huge and ugly, and you can get them for small lamps as well as ceiling lights. They even now produce varieties which can be used with dimmer switches.

They cost more to buy than the energy sapping variety, but keep reading....

Typically £3 - £6, but you can pick them up for as little as 50p (in Homebase, I recall....)

Each bulb can reduce your annual electricity bill by up to £7, and CO2 by 26kg. That doesn't sound too impressive. But say you need 10 light bulbs in your home, costing £30 for an entire re-fit. You'd save £70 per year, and up to £700 over the lifetime of the bulbs!

You can't miss them. All supermarkets & DIY outlets.

Solar Photovoltaic (PV)

Brief description:
Solar photovoltaic (PV) panels convert energy stored within sunlight into electricity. And contary to popular belief, you don't need direct sunlight - PV will generate electricity on a grey winter day; just less effectively than in the summer.

PV is neat, unobtrusive, and has recently become a 'permitted development' - this means that, within limits, you don't have to apply for planning permission to put them up (see link below). PV panels can be fitted on flat or sloped roofs, and can also be ground mounted, and PV roof tiles can prove cost effective if re-roofing is required. Furthermore, many energy supply companies can offer a buy back scheme where they pay you for any excess electricity generated.

There are a number of requirements for the siting of PV panels (see below), so your property may not be suitable. Some instances exist where planning permission is still required (see 'permitted development link). PV has a very large up-front expense.

The roof must be orientated within 40 degrees of south to be viable, with a pitch ideally less than 30-40 degrees. At least 10 square meters of roof space is likely to be needed, which must not be shaded.

A system providing power of 2 kWp will produce nearly half the annual electricity demand for an average house. A rule of thumb budget for PV is about £5,000 per kWp installed, which includes installation and comissioning.

Grants for PV are available through the Low Carbon Building Programme (see link below).

A well fitted PV system should halve your electricity bills, and can reduce your footprint by over 300 kg CO2 per year displaced per 1 kWp installed.

Local Suppliers:
- Solar Utilities Ltd,, 01709 371144
- Sasie Ltd,, 0115 916 1046
- Sundog Energy Ltd,, 01768 482282

Energy Saving Trust -
Permitted deveopments -
Low Carbon Buildings Programme -

DEFRA launches green homes package

Environment Secretary Hilary Benn has set out a range of initiatives to enable people to 'green' their homes, including:
  • the Energy Saving Trust's 'Act on CO2 advice line,' 0800 512 012 offering free, tailored, impartial advice to anyone in England seeking to reduce their carbon footprint, save water, reduce waste, green their travel, and connect to grants and offers from energy companies;
  • the 'Green Neighbourhoods Initiative' offering a green makeover to up to 100 English neighbourhoods seeking to reduce their carbon footprints by over 60%, with a particular focus on hard-to-treat homes;
  • the reviewed 'Carbon Emissions Reduction Target' scheme, which doubles previous obligations on energy companies to assist households in increasing energy efficiency and reducing emissions.

Loft Insulation

Without Loft insulation you could be losing 15% of your heating costs. Loft insulation acts like a blanket, trapping heat rising from the house below. Current recommended depth of insulation is 270mm.
Advantages: Loft insulation can be carried out as a DIY task or by a professional installer. There are grants and offers available to help you pay for loft insulation. Many types of material available, rolls of fibreglass, sheeps wool, paper including boards that can be walked on.
Disadvantages: Need to be able to access roof space.
Cost: £500 (DIY £250) Grants are available.
Estimated annual £ saving: £ 110 if no insulation already
Suppliers: (South Yorkshire) The Save 'n' Warm Scheme 0800 028 1067

Sources of information: Energy Saving Trust

Draught proofing

Badly fitting doors, windows and loft hatches are all major sources of heat loss. Draught-stripping is inexpensive and simple to install and can greatly improve comfort as well as reducing fuel costs.
Draught-proofing is inexpensive. Easy DIY job.

Cost: £200 per house

Estimated annual saving: £20
Payback: 10 years

Source of Info: Energy Saving Trust

Solar Water Heating (SWH)

One of the most cost effective affordable renewable technologies. Uses the light and heat of the sun to heat domestic hot water.
Solar panels (flat plate) or collectors (evacuated tube) are fitted to the house roof. They absorb heat which is transferred to water in a heat transfer system. The hot water is then stored in a large well insulated cylinder for later use.

'I could benefit from this if'

My house roof faces SE, S or SW, could support 3-5sq m of solar panels and there is space inside the house for a large hot water cylinder ( probably twice the size of the current one)


'Free' water heating during the summer months. SWH can provide 50% of a household's annual hot water requirements.
The boiler will be used less and so will last longer.
Low running and maintenance costs. Some systems use a solar powered pump.
No longer needs planning permission, unless the house is listed, or in a conservation area.


Simplest to install if existing boiler is traditional type with a hot water tank. Most combination boilers do not accept preheated water - although some of the newer, more expensive ones will.
Building regulations apply. (Installer will know about this)
Hot water will be more available at the end of the day.


£3000 - £5000 depending on size and type of installation.
DIY kits are cheaper if you have the expertise. (see the Low Impact Living Initiative (LILI) 01296 714184 for local courses.)

Could pay for itself in 10 years.

Sources of information:

Energy Saving Trust:
Low Carbon Buildings Programme: has information about grants which might be available, and has a list of certified installers.

Grants of up to £400 only available to people who have already installed other energy saving measures such as 270mm loft insulation,cavity wall insulation if appropriate, energy saving light bulbs and basic heating controls eg thermostats and timer.

Solar Trade Association:

Local installers:
A E Solar systems, Sheffield

Eco Heat and Power Ltd, Hebden Bridge

Solar Utilities, Rotherham.
UK Solar Energy Ltd, Sheffield

Carbon Reduction Action Group

Between 40 & 50% of CO2 emissions are from domestic energy use and personal travel including air flights. Sources over which individuals have a large degree of control.

CO2 levels in the atmosphere are currently at around 380ppm. When other man-made greenhouse gases are included the level is equivalent to 420ppm CO2. The threshold for runaway climate change is 450ppm. We are currently adding about 1.5ppm per year.

Sheffield Carbon Reduction Action Group (CRAG) is one of a network of groups in the UK and abroad. Members measure their CO2 emissions on an ongoing basis and work together to reduce them towards sustainable levels. This often leads to improved quality of life as well as saving money. Members from Glasgow, Leeds and Peckham CRAGs recently won an OXFAM competition for the lowest footprints in the UK.

Contact :

Insulation - Tanks and Pipes

Brief description
Insulating your hot water cylinder is one of the simplest and easiest ways to save energy and money. Fitting a British Standard 'jacket' around your cylinder will cut heat loss by over 75%. If you already have a jacket fitted, check that it's at least 75mm thick. If not, it's well worth treating your old cylinder to a new winter coat.
A new, 80mm thick hot water cylinder jacket will save you £20 per year. The jackets themselves cost about half that, meaning that you'll reclaim your initial cost in around 6 months. Insulation for hot water pipes will cost about £10 and save you around £10 a year, which means you could potentially recover the cost of fitting within a year.

Cost £20 per house

Biomass Boilers

Brief description:
Most biomass boilers burn wood in the form of either logs, chips or pellets, but straw and even some animal & food wastes are also suitable. There are a large range available - from small log burners to heat a room, to large auto-fed boilers capable of supplying central heating and hot water to an entire row of houses.

You could benefit from this if:
You have enough space to store the wood, and if you've got the room in your house for the boiler/heater and the associated pipework.

The CO2 released as the wood burns equalls the amount that it had absorbed during it's growth - so as long as you use sustainably sourced wood fuel then it's a carbon neutral form of heat! But it's important that the supply of the wood is local to reduce the reliance on transport. Logs and wood chip are best for this, since there is currently no wood pellet manufacturer within mainland UK.

Although carbon neutral, biomass heaters/boilers emitt particulates (smoke) and other gasses, and as a result may not be permitted where the Environment Agency has defined an 'Air Quality Zone' (i.e. where low air quality has been identified). They take up space within your house, and may require planning permission.

Cost & Funding:
Stove boilers - £5,000
Grants are available at 30% of the cost, up to a value of £5,000

Your energy bill could be reduce by £200 per year
Over 1,000 kg of CO2 could be saved per year

Biomass Boiler Installers:
- Ecotech Environmental Ltd, Grantham, e:
- Eco Link Resources Ltd, Grantham, t: 01476 580146

Pellet Suppliers:
- Heritage Doors & Floors Ltd, Killmarsh, w:, t: 0114 247 4917
- Briquette & Pellet Ltd, Chesterfield, w:, t: 01246 550119

For more information:
- South Yorkshire Woodfuel, w:
- Green Energy 360 website (see separate blog)
- South Yorkshire Energy Centre, Heeley City Farm, Sheffield
- Stoves Online, w:
- Treco Greenheat, w:
- Action CO2, w:
- South Yorkshire Biomass Group

Cavity wall insulation

Cavity wall insulation is a fantastic way to significantly reduce the amount of energy you need to heat your home. The average house could reduce heating costs by 15%. In fact, between 2002 and 2005 around 800,000 households installed cavity wall insulation. It is estimated that this will have saved nearly 400,000 tonnes of CO2, enough to fill the new Wembley Stadium 47 times.
Easy to install, without disturbing occupants -It's a simple process and is normally completed within three hours, without damage or mess to your house or garden. Grants are available
Need to have cavity walls (houses built since 1920s). Installation may create some fumes.
Cost: £ 500.00 each / per house
Estimated annual £ saving: £ 90 Payback: 5 years
Energy saving trust
Cavity Insulation Guarantee Agency

Green Energy 360

We think is brilliant. Answer simple questions on this site and it will recommend the best renewable energy technology for your situation.