Before you start...
If you're thinking about installing a system to generate your own heat, make sure your home is as well insulated as it can be so your heat-producing system can be most efficient.
Stop wasting energy; start taking action! This is the section to get you started on energy-saving, whether it's changing your habits or improving your home – save energy and save money!
The better insulated your home is, the less money you'll spend heating it. Find out more about different types of insulation, including draught-proofing, double glazing, and insulation for lofts and walls.
The latest on energy-efficient boilers to save you energy and money, and the right controls to use as little energy as possible, whatever the age of your boiler. No boiler? Find out about controls for electric systems too.
Renewable and low-carbon technologies are good for the environment and good for your pocket too - with government financial incentives, it’s never been a better time to install. Find out more now!
Get inspiration for your own community projects from a range of case studies in PDF and video format; find extensive advice about funding your project; and explore our range of project tools.
Renewable energy systems are great investments in your home, but they are not cheap to install, so it's worth taking care finding an installer.
We strongly recommend that you choose a system and installer that are certified by an appropriate body; this will help you to ensure the quality of your installation and the level of customer care that you receive. If you want to get payments through Feed-in Tariffs or Renewable Heat Incentive, you must use an installer and system with current accreditation from the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) or Solar Keymark.
To find certified products and installers in your area:
For you to be eligible for Feed-In Tariff or Renewable Heat Incentive payments, both the system and the installer must be accredited under the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS). Solar water heating systems only can also be accredited the Solar Keymark.
Beware of heavy-handed sales techniques, such as pressure to sign on the day, high prices with large discounts for signing on the spot, or bogus monitoring scheme discounts. (All MCS-certified installers agree to a code of conduct that bans high-pressure selling techniques - the REAL Assurance Scheme.)
All installers or suppliers should be able to provide a detailed breakdown of the specification and costs of their proposed systems. They should also be able to:
Get at least three installers to specify and cost some potential options for you. Use the checklist below to help you choose an installer:
Pick a supplier with experience. Ask them how long they have been in business, and how long they have been installing systems similar to the one you are considering.
Choose a local installer where possible. Ask for a list of references and local installations and check them.
Check any professional credentials you are shown with the organisation that issued them. Many competent and experienced installers do not have relevant professional qualifications, so ask if they are a member of a trade organisation - if so, ask the association about its membership criteria. Be aware that uncertified installers will not be able to provide a system eligible for Feed-in Tariff or Renewable Heat Incentive payments.
Get lots of information on system options and potential problems so that you can talk confidently to installers. Ask for:
Ask about what happens once the system is installed. Get details of:
Do not compare installers on cost alone: the cheapest may not be the most appropriate.
Always get quotations in writing on company headed paper.
Check quotations for detail. Ask about:
For heating systems, ask whether the cost of integration with your home's heating system - or a proposed heating system - is included.
Here are REAL's top tips:
Make sure the company give you in writing:
Make sure that you read all the information carefully and that you understand it.
Never pay more than 25% of the contract price up front, and check it will be protected.
Remember that you have the right to cancel the contract within seven days with no penalty; make sure you don’t waive this right by signing a waiver.
If you make any changes to the contract make sure these are agreed in writing and added to the contract.
If the company makes any changes to the contract make sure you agree them in writing; remember if you are not happy with them you have the right to cancel the contract within seven days with no penalty.
Once the job has been completed, remember to go to the REAL website to send REAL Assurance your feedback.
Generating energy – what suits your home? Use our online tool to find the technologies that will work for you.