The business arm of the Green Deal initiative is intended to help businesses get financing for implementing more eco-friendly ways to generate heat and power in their properties. Like the Deal itself, some of the technologies under discussion have been clouded with hearsay. So we thought we’d knock down a few myths for you. This month – biomass.
Biomass is used to generate heat in a biomass boiler – which, some sceptics have claimed, is no different to generating heat using oil or coal. After all, biomass boilers tend to used wood as their basic fuel, which generates carbon dioxide when it burns.
In reality, biomass is considered to have a neutral carbon footprint – for two reasons. First, trees are planted to replace the ones being burned, which means they use up an equal amount of carbon dioxide (roughly) as is created when the biomass is incinerated. And second, biomass itself is created from offcuts and compressed sawdust. In other words – it is reclaimed from processes using trees that have already been cut down – so it uses material that may otherwise have been consigned to the dustbin.
One major concern about the biomass boiler is that it is hard to install and keep running. This is only true where installation is done improperly. A biomass boiler requires a flue, which may either be fitted to the existing chimney system in a property, or drilled out through a wall in the same way that domestic wood burning systems are fitted.
If the latter case is true, you will need to get planning permission before you can start work on retro fitting a biomass boiler to your heating system. All new flues must be granted planning before installation – and must be inspected and signed off by the relevant buildings officials once installation is complete.
Using the Renewable Heat Initiative, businesses may expect to see a return on the investment cost of installing a biomass boiler in 5-10 years. As with other Green Deal financing options, this cost is spread through energy bills.