Wood fuelled heating systems, also known as Biomass heating systems, burn wood chips, logs, and pallets to warm your home’s interior or provide a source of heat for your central heating or hot water system. Because the wood fuel burned in a biomass heating system absorbs carbon dioxide during its production, the small amount of carbon dioxide that is produced during the burning process is completely offset.
Because of this, using a wood fuelled heating system is a completely green, carbon neutral process. Wood fuel is also known as ‘bioenergy’ or ‘biofuel’ due to its organic nature and carbon neutral benefits. Biofuels fall into one of two different categories: wood fuel produces from forests, energy crops, short rotation croppice, and untreated wood, or non-wood products including industrial and biodegradable products from food processing, animal waste, and high-energy crops such as sugar cane and maize.
Most wood fuelled home heating systems use wood logs, wood chips, and wood pellets as a fuel source due to convenience and affordability.
What are the benefits of wood fuelled heating?
Wood fuelled heating systems have several key benefits for homeowners, ranging from fantastic affordability to low carbon emissions. Many wood fuelled heating systems also qualify for financial assistance under the government’s Renewable Heat Premium Payment and the Renewable Heat Incentive.
- Wood fuelled heating systems are significantly less expensive to run than traditional boilers and home heating systems. While the cost of wood fuel varies depending on the region and season, it’s generally far cheaper than alternative fuel sources.
- Wood fuelled heating produces very little carbon dioxide. Although carbon dioxide is produced when wood-based fuels are burned, it is offset by the amount of carbon dioxide that was absorbed by the plant during the years that it spent growing. While there are additional carbon emissions generated by manufacturing and transporting wood-based fuels, they are significantly lower than the amount of carbon emissions generated by manufacturing, transporting, and burning fossil fuels.
- Some wood fuelled heating systems qualify for financial assistance under the government’s Renewable Heat Premium Payment and Renewable Heat Incentive schemes. This reduces the cost of installing a wood fuelled heating system in your home.
How much does it cost to install and operate a wood fuelled heating system?
A large range of wood fuelled heating systems are available. Pellet stoves cost approximately £4,300 to purchase and install, while pellet boilers typically start from £14,000. Low boilers typically start from £11,000 and can cost as much as £23,000.
The running costs of wood fuelled heating systems vary considerably. Logs and pellets range in price by region. Typically, wood fuel is significantly less expensive in regions without adequate access to gas supplies. Local fuel sources are both cost effective and significantly less hazardous to the environment than wood fuel shipped over a long distance.
Can all UK households benefits from wood fuelled heating systems?
Unfortunately, not all UK houses are suitable for wood fuelled heating systems. Under the Clean Air Act, wood is only allowed to be burnt on specified appliances. Some houses in smokefree zones, as well as houses in developments with strict regulations, are not suited to wood fuelled heating systems. It’s also important to consider fuel storage capabilities, the flue required to vent wood fuel waste, and local planning permissions related to flues.