Biomass boilers for business: your FAQs

 

We’ve tried to answer some of your most frequently asked questions here – for the full lowdown on the commercial benefits of installing a biomass boiler, and to ask as many questions as you like, call 0115 952 0263 or 07890 022002, or use our contact form.

How much will it cost my business?

The cost of a biomass boiler depends on the size of your business premises and whether you want it to provide all of your site’s heat and hot water – typically for a smaller business the investment would be around £25,000. This is for a small heating requirement though. For larger premises the investment could be upward of £60,000.

Whatever size your premises require, you are guaranteed to receive your initial investment back in a handful of years thanks to the government’s Renewable Heat Incentive – the income far outweighs the outlay at the moment.

The figures quoted above are only typical examples – the best thing to do is get in touch and talk to us about it. We’d be happy to give you a free, no-obligation, no hard sell quote for your business.

How much money could my business save on fuel bills?

How much you could save on your energy bills depends on how the system you’re currently using is fuelled as well as the amount of heat your building requires. Check out our Save and earn with biomass boilers page for full details.

How much money could my business make?

Again, how much you could make or earn will depend on how much energy you use. Check out our Save and earn with biomass boilers page for full details, but payback can be less than 3 years thanks to the RHI scheme – and as this scheme runs for 20 years, a biomass boiler could generate up to 17 years of guaranteed tax-free income for your business.

Does the government offer any grants or financial incentives?

Yes. Your biomass boiler installation will qualify for the government’s commercial Renewable Heat Incentive scheme, which pays you for every kw of heat your boiler generates. These payments are paid tax-free every quarter and are guaranteed for the next 20 years.

How long does the installation take? How much disruption will there be?

For a small, straightforward installation using your existing heat distribution system, it generally takes 4 days and we always keep disruption to an absolute minimum.

If we install your new biomass boiler in a different place to your existing boiler, your heating will only be off for 6 hours.

Of course larger installations will take longer, but we’ll always confirm start and finish dates as part of any proposal we provide.

Where do I get the wood fuel from?

There are plenty of suppliers of fuel for biomass boilers and just like oil suppliers, they’ll deliver at regular intervals to ensure you always have a steady supply. We can help you find a competitive pellet supplier – and, of course, we can supply you with our own high quality wood chip.

Will it look after all of my heating and hot water needs?

Yes – when sized properly, a biomass boiler will take care of your business in the same way that a traditional boiler does. It just takes care of the planet a lot better at the same time…

How controllable is the temperature?

Very. A biomass boiler can be used to regulate the heat of your home to within 1 degree – they use a fully automated control system that allows you to control the temperature, fuel used and operating hours on a timer.

Can I use a biomass boiler with a solar thermal system?

These two technologies work brilliantly together – solar thermal panels are the most energy efficient way to generate hot water during the summer months, and in the winter your biomass boiler can be programmed to cut in if your solar thermal panels aren’t generating sufficient heat for your water.

Can a biomass boiler be connected to my existing heating system?

Yes, a biomass boiler slots into your system easily, just like replacing any old boiler with a new one. It might be necessary to add a heat plate exchanger between the biomass boiler and the rest of your system, as biomass boilers operate at much higher temperatures than fossil fuelled boilers, but that’s the only slight complication.

Do biomass boilers smell or smoke?

Not at all – biomass fuel is burned in a closed, flued system and a biomass boiler is therefore no smellier or smokier than a standard gas boiler.

Are biomass boilers noisy?

No – a biomass boiler makes no more or less noise than your standard gas boiler.

Are biomass boilers as safe as gas boilers?

The government wouldn’t be incentivising people to put biomass boilers in their business and homes if they weren’t completely safe. A biomass boiler is no more ‘dangerous’ than a gas-powered boiler, however any process that involves combustion in the home comes with a small level of risk. Just as with gas boilers, these risks are mitigated by the quality of the biomass boilers we install, the safety measures they include and our commitment to safety and service every step of the way.

Is burning wood environmentally sound?

Wooden biomass fuels are classed as carbon neutral. While they’re growing, trees absorb CO2. When they die, this is released back into the atmosphere. This CO2 would make it back into the atmosphere whether the dead wood was left to decay on the floor of a forest, or burned in your biomass boiler – it makes no difference at all, hence the carbon neutral status.

Is it ethical? Does the demand for wood fuel threaten woodlands?

Not at all. Quite the opposite in fact – as well as creating a commercial use for timber by-products that would otherwise end up in landfill, the demand for biomass provides financial support for woodland management activity. When managed properly, every woodland can provide a sustainable yield of timber that can be harvested indefinitely without posing any threat to the future of that woodland.

Is biomass wood fuel expensive?

No – in fact, when you look at the annual savings, it’s significantly cheaper than using oil, LPG or electricity to heat your business and marginally cheaper than using gas. Given the way fossil fuel energy prices are rising, we’re expecting the savings gap between biomass and traditional fuels to widen significantly over the coming years – and the government’s commercial Renewable Heat Incentive will make sure your system pays.

How often do you have to load the boiler with fuel?

This depends on the time of year and the demands placed on your boiler, but you’ll typically refuel your biomass boiler once a week.

How often do you have to empty the ash?

This all depends on the demands you place on your boiler, but typically you’ll need to empty the ash tray once a week.

Do biomass boilers need any special maintenance?

They’re slightly more labour intensive than a gas or oil boiler. You’ll need to load the fuel hopper and check the flue is clear every week and empty the ash bin every couple of weeks, but then they just need an annual service, like any other boiler. We offer your first annual service totally free of charge, and after that charge a servicing fee – currently £150 + VAT at 5% only.

Do your biomass systems come with a guarantee or warranty?

Yes. As well as coming with a manufacturer’s guarantee, we’ll also cover your whole installation with a two-year, no questions asked guarantee covering our workmanship. Because we take care over our installations and real pride in our work, we’re reasonably confident you won’t see us on site again until your first free annual service.

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