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Last updated: 26 March 2024


As prices for traditional sources of heating are rising, the time has come to consider renewable heating technologies such as heat pumps, geothermal energy, solar water heating or biomass boilers. Renewable heating solutions can compete with gas and electricity technologies on parameters such like lower costs, decreased carbon emission and improved self-sufficiency. This means that by switching to green energy, your are becoming less dependant on non-renewable energy sources that are subject to increasing public demand, and therefore, are more likely to have unstable and changing prices.

Whether you are just thinking about switching to renewable heating technologies or have already made the decision to go green, there are a few things you need to know before investing in a new heating system.

What about Heating?

Heating, as the name suggests, means all the solutions that enable to heat a building. In addition to this, heating is also about providing a hot water source for domestic and public use. There are a number of heating solutions through which you can generate your own green energy at home. This is possible with low or zero-carbon emission technologies, such as wood burning stoves, heat pumps, geothermal energy or solar heating systems.

What Types of Heating Are There?

There are different heating solutions you can apply to your household if you are looking at renewable heating technology. These are:

Each of these heating installations has different features, costs of installation and work best in different types of settings. Therefore, before investing in any type of heating installation, it is important to calculate our needs and check whether we have the possibility to harness the energy of the sun, ground or simply use biomass.

The Cost of Renewable Heating

Before considering to invest in renewable heating solutions, it is important to take into consideration a long-term view. Green solutions may seem like an expensive alternative to traditional heating technologies, but as the cost of gas and electricity rises, the return on investment on green sources of energy gets more tempting.

Renewable heating technologies come in different types, sizes, with various scopes and complexities. Therefore, pinpointing the exact cost of each solution is not an easy task. However, it is possible to give an overall estimate of the costs of each heating system:

  • Heating with air source heat pump: between £6,000 and £10,000.
  • Heating with ground source heat pump: between £9,000 and £17,000.
  • Heating with biomass boiler: around £12,000.
  • Heating with solar water heating (solar thermal) panels: around £4,700.

Heating with Wood Burning Stoves

Technically, wood burning stoves are known as biomass systems, and they produce heat in the process of burning organic material - wood logs, pellets or chips. By burning the material in a boiler or a stove, the wood burning stove can provide you with heat and hot water. Generally, stoves are used as a stand alone unit that heats only one room, and not the whole building. However, incorporated with or connected to a boiler, a stove can provide heating solutions for the entire building.

What Are the Benefits of Such Heating Solution?

  • Financial support: this heating technology is eligible for incentives (see below) and provides general savings on heating bills.
  • Affordable heating fuel: although prices of wood vary depending on the time of the season, it is usually a more affordable solution, compared to other heating solutions.
  • A low-carbon option: wood burning stoves produce very little emissions and this heating technology is highly environmentally friendly.

Heating with Heat Pumps

There are two kinds of heating solutions that use heat pumps:

  • heating with a ground source heat pump.

Heating with air-to-water absorbs the heat from the outside air, which can then be converted in underfloor heating systems, radiators or as a source of hot water in your home. Heat pumps can convert the heat, even when the temperature outside drops below zero.

Heating with ground source uses pipes, that are buried in the ground to extract the energy and convert that into heat. This can be used in heating radiators, under-floor, or warm water. The most important benefit of this solution is that the heat in the ground stays the same throughout the year and this heating solution is very reliable.

Heating with Solar Power

A solar water heating system is also known a solar thermal system. This system harnesses the power of the Sun and converts that energy to heat water for use around the house. 

What Are the Benefits of Such Heating Solution?

  • Cut your bills - solar energy is free! After paying for initial costs of installation, you can enjoy free heating all year round.
  • Hot water all the time - solar panels convert the energy of the Sun throughout the whole year, though you might need to use a boiler in the winter season.
  • Environmentally friendly - solar heating produces no harmful substances to the atmosphere and is one of the best renewable energy sources provided to us.

Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)

The domestic RHI is a young government incentive scheme in the United Kingdom, designed to reward those who use renewable energy in order to heat their buildings. The scheme comprises two categories: heating for residential houses (domestic), and heating for commercial buildings (non-domestic).

The scheme for domestic heating has been just launched in April 2014. Renewable Heat Incentive programme offers regular payments on quarterly bases for seven years and the program is eligible for people who use renewable heating technologies in order to cover their heating needs. The amount of money paid is dependent on the technology used - solar thermal, heat pumps or biomass boilers. Below you will find some questions and answers that will help you to learn more about RHI:

How Does The RHI Payments Work?

The payments for renewable heating incentives are given in three month intervals during seven years of using these kinds of heating solutions. This means, that for every kilowatt hour (kWh) of renewable energy our heating system produces for seven years, we earn an amount of money. The rates vary depending on the type of heating system.

1. What Heating Technologies are Eligible?

The scheme supports the following technologies:

  • Air-to-water heat pumps
  • Ground and water source heat pumps
  • Biomass-boilers and biomass pellet stoves with black boilers
  • Flat plate and evacuated tube solar thermal panels

2. Am I Eligible?

There is a certain prerequisite for all renewable heating technology owners, and this is that the heating systems must be installed after 15th July 2009. If your system was installed before this date, you will not be eligible for this kind of incentive.

3. How Can I Apply For Incentives in Heating?

There are certain requirements you have to meet in order to receive incentives for using renewable heating solutions. All applicants need to complete a Green Deal Assessment and must ensure they have a correct isolation of the building. In addition to that, all installations and installers must be MCS certified. It is important to note that the RHI scheme covers only England, Scotland and Wales.

Would You Like to Invest in Renewable Heating Technologies?

If your are considering switching to renewable heating technologies, we can assist you with the process of finding the right quotes. All you have to do is to fill out the contact form located on our website and we will find the best quotes for your individual needs. You will receive several quotes from us and you can chose which one suits you best. And what is most important, our service is free and without obligation.

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