Off-grid living has received plenty of press over recent years – but as well as being an eco-friendly lifestyle choice, it’s also a fact of British life, whether you have any aspiration to live in a more environmentally friendly manner or not.
An estimated 13.9% of UK housing stock is off-grid, representing 3,744,000 households throughout England, Scotland and Wales, and it’s mostly (though not exclusively) found in more rural areas. Where mains gas is available, it’s usually utilised – because it’s often the most cost-effective solution both in terms of up-front and running costs. The other benefits of mains gas include a large network of maintenance engineers available, the ability to deliver large heat loads for heating hot water quickly, low noise, small space requirements, and no need for regular fuel deliveries.
Whether you’re looking to develop a plot in an off-grid location, or retro-fit a replacement off-grid heating system, the choices can be daunting. You could choose from air source or ground source heat pumps, oil boilers, LPG boilers, or biomass boilers, but the suitability of all of these will depend very much on the specifics of your property or scheme, so some specialist input is invaluable. Manufacturers and installers of alternative fuel heating systems are of course experts, and they make various claims and promises, but they have a vested interest in recommending a specific product – how can you be sure you’re getting the right solution for your needs?
An independent energy consultant can undertake a heating assessment on the project, and review all these options for you, helping you to make an informed decision free from bias.
It is particularly important that any potential payments from the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme are factored in correctly, as well as capital costs and running costs. We have reviewed many payback calculations provided by manufacturers and installers, and find that these can often be misleading, and with savings greatly over-exaggerated. Common issues we have found with such calculations are:
- incorrect fuel costs, to show low annual running costs for the proposed system
- high capital costs for compared systems, to provide a quicker payback
- early plant replacement for compared systems, to make these other options seem more expensive
Whether it is a replacement off-grid heating system, or a heating system for a new build scheme in an off-grid area, it is important that the most appropriate solution is selected – not just for the individual or company paying the capital cost, but for the comfort and energy bills of the end user, and also for the greater good in the form of carbon reduction.
To find out more about how we can help you to choose the best off-grid solution for a property (or properties), please call us on 01206 266755 or email email@example.com.