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Scotland takes lead in renewable heat

When you live in an area without mains gas, options for heating your home are limited, especially when taking efficiency into account. Being able to heat your home and hot water without taking a large financial hit is a concern for many in rural areas or inaccessible places. With no access to mains gas, talk turns to renewable energy instead to heat these homes.

The two main options given are heat pumps and biomass boilers for general household heating. But often the cost of installing these systems can be prohibitive for the average family, despite the mooted cost savings on fuel in the longer term. Scotland is taking the lead on supporting householders in the area of renewable heating. 

A recent report by Dougie Vipond for BBC Two Scotland’s Landward programme features a couple considering updating the heating system in their 100-year-old Argyll home, which consists of an oil-fired range, a wood burner and various old heaters. When the couple moved in 14 years ago, oil was 12 pence a litre, it now costs them 60 pence a litre, which equates to £600 per tank – and they need to fill this at least twice a year. So Helen and Stan looked at alternatives to oil and sought impartial advice on options from Home Energy Scotland, which is funded by the Scottish Government and delivered by the Energy Saving Trust. 

The couple went out to suppliers for quotes to install a wood pellet stove. The quotes they received were between £20,000 and £27,000 to install the system in their home, including basic radiator central heating. This was beyond what the pair wanted to spend. Brian Barker from Home Energy Scotland, explains the funding support:

"The interest-free loan from the Scottish Government is up to £10,000 and the Renewable Heat Incentive starts paying once the system is installed, and there is a payment each quarter for seven years."

Anyone interested in renewables can view a system already in place through the Green Homes Network, a scheme run by the Energy Saving Trust in Scotland. In the Landward programme, the couple visited Green Home HI763, a late 20th century bungalow in Lochgilphead, Argyll, where the owner has had a biomass (wood pellet) boiler installed. The home’s owner, Amanda Hampton, explained to Helen and Stan how the funding worked  and the benefits of the system:

"We got a £10,000 interest-free loan from the Government, which we pay off over 10 years. We pay this monthly, but have more than enough funds because the renewable heat incentive is giving us £2,300 per year for having made the change.The benefits are that we save money, are greener and best of all we can be warm."

So, the prospective renewables adopters didn’t need much convincing after seeing Amanda’s renewable system in action and hearing the truth about the funding figures.

"Yes, I believe we are convinced, concluded Stan. The idea of using wood in our house instead of oil and getting financial incentives to do so is a very attractive offer."

 To find out more about the renewable scheme in Scotland, call the advisors at Home Energy Scotland on 0808 808 2282.    

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