Energy

“WHY WE ARE REPLACING OUR BOILER WITH A FREEZER”

Rob Smith, TLG Supporter and local Councillor, shares his latest blog...
March 2021

“Inside our freezer it’s a chilly -20C, but behind it, its quite warm. The freezer takes heat out of the food, and pumps it out as heat. This is all done with a clever system of compressing and expanding gasses. The same reason why aerosol cans get cold, and bike pumps get warm.

You can heat a home like this too. The system, called a heat pump. It’s the same technology as a freezer – but the other way round. It takes heat from outside and puts it inside. It works best with underfloor heating because it doesn’t have to pump the heat to as high a temperature. But with a well insulated house and efficient radiators, a heat pump will work ok. Heat pumps can pump heat from the ground (Ground Source Heat Pump), from nearby water (Water Source Heat Pump), or from the air (Air Source Heat Pump – ASHP). Air is the hardest source to pump heat from – but ASHP are the easiest to install. ASHP look like air conditioning units. You’ll be seeing a lot more of them. As they become more common, their prices will come down.

Pumping heat from somewhere else uses less energy than making heat. A heat pump using 1kWh of electricity is equivalent to over 3kWh of conventional heating. This makes heating your home with electricity competitive with gas.

So why are we going through the upheaval of a new heating system with replacement radiators? We’re cutting our use of fossil fuels and trying to power our home entirely on renewable electricity. Global warming can’t be stopped until we stop burning fossil fuels. Where boilers can’t be replaced, fossil fuel gas will be replaced with bio-gas, or hydrogen created with renewable electricity.

Our new air source heat pump won’t be very expensive to run but it is quite an expensive purchase.  However, there is help available. We were successful in applying for a Green Homes Grant (GHG) which covers much of the cost up-front. If we hadn’t been successful, we could still receive the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) – a payment over a period of 7 years which should roughly cover the cost of the system.

In 8-10 weeks, we should have a something like a small air conditioning unit at the side of our house, and we’ll bid farewell to that caged pipe outside puffing hot CO2 into the atmosphere. And we’ll gain some extra cupboard space where the boiler once lived.”

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We look forward to hearing how Rob gets on with his heat pump. Below is a summary of sources for grants to help you save money with improvements to energy efficiency in your home

Green Homes Grant 
We have been hearing about the Government’s flagship programme for a green recovery for some months; but we have also been hearing that it falls well short of expectations in terms of making it simple for consumers and installers to obtain the Grant and proceed with the work.  There is confusing news about the future of the Grant. The latest is that it has been extended until March 2022, but uncertainty on whether the £2bn funding will be rolled over into the new financial year.  Hence, speed is of the essence and it would be a good idea to check if you meet the criteria for the Grant, and that the project you have in mind is suitable, ie. you will need to install what the Government calls a primary improvement as follows:
Insulation, including solid wall, cavity wall, underfloor, loft or roof insulation
Low-carbon heating, including air source, ground-source and hybrid heat pumps, solar thermal systems and biomass boilers, which provide renewable ways of heating your home.
For most recipients of the Grant, the vouchers will be worth about two-thirds of the cost of the project, up to a maximum of £5,000 per household.  However, if you are on a low income or certain benefits you can receive vouchers of up to £10,000 to cover the entire cost.
There is lots of easy to follow information on Martin Lewis’ Money Saving Expert’s guide “How the Green Homes Grant works in a nutshell” click here.
Here is a link to apply to the Government’s Green Homes Grant Scheme, Click Here
March 2021

Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)
This is another government financial scheme to promote the use of renewable heat which is administered by Ofgem. You pay upfront and you could receive quarterly cash payments over seven years if you install or have already installed an eligible renewable heating technology.  The types of heating you can apply for are as follows: biomass boiler, solar water heating and certain heat pumps. A good starting point to explore this option is the Energy Savings Trust.
March 2021

Healthy Homes Dorset
Ring Healthy Homes for free impartial energy advice  – 0300 003 7023 – and to find out about their grants for free insulation for cavity walls and lofts  and installation of new heating systems.  Here’s the link to the website.
Tenants, owner-occupiers and landlords can all apply and help is available for families on low incomes or benefits, and also if someone in your household meets any of the following criteria:

  • has a cardiovascular or respiratory condition, or a mental health problem
  • has a disability
  • is pregnant
  • over 65 years of age or has a child under 5 years
  • is living with an addiction
  • recently attended hospital due to a fall
  • a recent immigrant or asylum seeker
  • on a low income
    March 2021