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Managing a successful wood fuel installation

Here's a brief guide to help you do the groundwork for a successful wood fuel installation. Detailed specification and installation project management are not covered since they often require skills beyond most end users.

The Biomass Energy Centre has also produced a useful guide: Biomass Heating: a guide to feasibility studies [PDF].

The Carbon Trust has a page of guidance, tools and template documentation to help organisations develop and install a biomass boiler or biomass heating system.

HETAS have developed a series of Consumer Advice Sheets that are free to download from the HETAS website.

  • House with heat flowing out and cold coming in 1

    Review energy efficiency

    Take any steps you can take to insulate your buildings. If you buy a boiler and insulate later, the cost will be higher than necessary and it will work less efficiently.

    More on energy efficiency
  • Large boiler tanks 2

    Work out your heat needs and boiler/stove size

    Getting your boiler size right will save you money. Over specifying your boiler will make it run less efficiently and lead to higher fuel costs as well as higher carbon emissions.

    More on boiler sizing
  • Chopped stacked logs 3

    Find out what woodfuel is available to you

    Using a local supplier is essential to keeping down costs and carbon emissions. The system types you can choose from depend on what type of woodfuel can be supplied.

    More on sourcing woodfuel
  • Woodchip being delivered to store 4

    Think about fuel storage and delivery access

    Wood fuel storage and delivery access are key issues. You need to assess how much storage you need, what space is available, and how accessible it is, before designing a system.

    More on storage and delivery access
  • Chimney giving out smoke 5

    Review regulations

    Get to know the relevant building, planning and smoke control regulations for your wood fuel project at an early stage.

    More on regulations
  • Boiler with feed 6

    Choose the type of heating system

    Once you have completed the first five steps, you should be able to choose the most suitable type of equipment to meet your heat demand, building layout and wood fuel availability.

    More on types of wood fuel system
  • Pipes showing direction of flow 7

    Decide on supply and maintenance contracts

    There are a number of different contract options. Fuel suppliers, equipment suppliers and energy service companies (ESCo's) will all offer varying levels of service.

    More on supply and maintenance contracts
  • Flames 8

    Calculate costs and apply for funding

    You should now have enough information to get estimates and work out whether wood fuel is financially feasible for you, and to apply for funding if you are eligible.

    More on costs and funding
  • Small part of an installation 9

    Specify your system and get it installed

    How you go about specification and installation depends on your own or in-house skills, so you need to look at contract options.

    More on specification and installation
  • Small lit boiler 10

    Maximising Boiler Efficiency

    The efficiency of modern woodfuelled boilers ranges between 70-90% and, if used efficiently, they can deliver carbon emissions reductions of over 90% compared to fossil fuels. There are a number of steps which can be taken to ensure that you are maximising the efficiency of your boiler.

    More on maximising boiler efficiency

Can't manage the project yourself? Talk to an energy services company (ESCo) who can design, install and maintain a wood fuel boiler system for you, as well as supplying fuel.