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.
So you want to stop wasting energy but don't know where to start? You've come to the right place. There are lots of helpful links and easy tips here to help you stop wasting energy and money too.
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.
Information, advice and resources about energy-saving travel – how you can avoid using the car, and how to drive more efficiently when you can't avoid it.
You may not need planning permission to install a wood-fuelled boiler, but you should always check - permitted development rights have made installations much simpler. All new wood heating systems have to comply with building regulations, and the best way to ensure this is to use an installer who is a member of a Competent Person Scheme.
Installing renewable energy technologies, such as biomass boilers, has been made a lot simpler thanks to permitted development rights. Read about these at the government's site for UK legislation:
You must check with your local authority in case other conditions apply, but in general wood-burning boilers and stoves are permitted as long as:
If the project also requires an outside building to store fuel or related equipment the same rules apply to that building as for other extensions and garden outbuildings.
The government's Planning Portal has useful information:
All new wood heating systems have to comply with Building Regulations. The government's planning portal has a PDF of the Domestic Building Compliance Guide 2010 (see section 5).
However, the simplest way to comply is to use a member of a Competent Person Scheme such as HETAS. You can find a list of all the relevant schemes here. If you use a member of an appropriate scheme your installer will ensure your system is safe and legal, and certify that your system complies, so there will be no need for you to contact the local building control office.
If you live in a smoke control area, you will need to use an exempt appliance. These are available for all types of wood heating system. To find out whether you are in a smoke control area, contact the Environmental Health or Protection department of your Local Authority. Find out your local authority throughout the UK at the DirectGov website.
The Energy Saving Trust recommends that you choose a certified wood fuel system and a certified installer. Both the system and the installer will have to be accredited under the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) for you to eligible for any support under the Renewable Heat Incentive.
For advice on certified products and installers available in your area:
Check that the installers are members of the Renewable Energy Consumer Code (RECC). Members of the scheme agree to abide by its Consumer Code. The code covers issues such as pre-sales activity, contracts including deposits and payment schedules, completing the order and after-sales activities. In particular, sales staff must not use any high-pressure selling techniques, including:
For MCS certification, a company must belong to a Consumer Code which is backed by the Trading Standards Institute. The Renewable Energy Consumer Code (RECC) is currently the only approved one within this industry sector. The Code sets out high standards in relation to consumer protection, and requires installers to provide protection against excessive deposit payments and workmanship warranties. For more information visit the RECC website .
The installer should also be a member of a Competent Person scheme or you will have to get approval from the local Building Control Office for the installed system.
All wood fuel installers should be able to provide a detailed breakdown of the specification and costs of their proposed system. They should also be able to explain how they have calculated the size of the system to be appropriate for your needs, supply good quality user documentation/ operating manual and details of actions you will need to do to maintain your system. Get at least three installers to specify and cost some potential options for you. Use the checklist below to help you choose an installer:
Check any professional credentials being quoted. Ask if they are:
Pick a supplier with experience. Ask how long they have been in business, and how many years they have been installing systems for.
Choose local where possible. Ask for a list of references and local installations and check them. Get lots of information on system options and potential problems. Ask for recent manuals and brochures. Check the time limits of any guarantees and warranties and find out what they cover.
Ask for details of:
Do not compare installers on cost alone; the cheapest may not be the most appropriate.
Ask for details of:
Check quotations for detail. Ask about: