Back to the Future

A recent post on this site discussed how we might power our homes in the future. That article highlighted the increased role that new technologies will play in our lives and flagged up the new power sources that will be needed to power these technologies. Renewable sources of energy are highly likely to play an ever more important role in our lives; it is not too difficult to imagine a future where newly built homes come with solar energy capturing and storing technologies as standard.

So solar energy may go some way towards powering our homes in the future but what of warmth and comfort? How might we heat the homes of the future?

Use of biomass-fuelled boilers is growing and it is likely that, with concerns about climate change increasing, their use will continue to grow. But what is biomass?

According to the Biomass Energy Centre, it is ‘…biological material derived from living, or recently living organisms. In the context of biomass for energy this is often used to mean plant based material, but biomass can equally apply to both animal and vegetable derived material.’

Biomass might sound like a new form of heating material but, of course, it is not. It is the oldest form of heating we know and you may well be using it now. If you have a log burning stove or an open fire and you burn wood on it then you are using biomass materials.

Energy Saving

What is changing is the way that we might use biomass materials in the future. Already, wood chip and pellet boilers are on the market and they are likely to grow in popularity over the next few years. This is due to number of factors. These include the facts that biomass materials are renewable (thus reducing the ongoing reliance on fossil fuels) and owners of biomass boilers can receive a quarterly cash sum under the Governments Renewable Heat Incentive (see http://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk for further information).

It is not all good news and as with all new initiatives, there are pros and cons. The cost of installing a pellet fed boiler is expensive (between £9,000 and £21,000 according to the Energy Saving Trust) and you will need to have space for a fuel store. You will, however, reduce your carbon emissions.

The fuel itself may be old but the technologies employed to use the fuel are still young. It is likely that they will become more efficient and lower in cost as the technologies develop and take up increases.

However we heat our homes in the future, we at John Conroy and Son will continue to be on hand to advise you with whatever building project you have in mind. If you’re thinking about an extension or a new build (with or without a biomass boiler) then give us a call on 0800 3118 321.