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HPM April 2015

WWW.HPMMAG.COM Got a story? Ring us on 01732 748041 or e-mail twood@unity-media.com SPECIALREPORT Heating up demand for renewables Paul Joyner, managing director of Sustainable Building Solutions, discusses the growing popularity of biomass and what the future holds for renewable heating systems now that the positive impact of the government’s Renewable Heat Incentive is being felt across the commercial and domestic market... Following the launch of the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) for the commercial and now domestic market, there has been a significant uplift in interest around renewable technologies. This is especially strong in the biomass boiler market, which has accounted for 42% of domestic installation claims since the RHI tariffs were announced in April 2014. GOVERNMENT SCHEMES The upswing in biomass affirms what we have seen in other successful government schemes; a healthy return on investment really is the key driver, especially when it comes to the new and expensive technologies used within the renewables sector. Given that a biomass boiler in a commercial building has an average pay-back period of less than five years and provides a return of around 25%, it’s clear why it has become so popular. For instance, it is currently overtaking LPG and oil, especially in rural locations where there is no option to connect to the mains gas grid. RHI funding normally exceeds the cost of installation, so the boiler pays for itself while the end-user enjoys long-term savings on the cost of the fuel, which is up to 30% cheaper than using gas or oil. With all of these advantages and the backing of the RHI, biomass is moving closer to becoming a mainstream heating solution. This highlights a new challenge for installers; staying ahead of rapidly changing customer demands in an expanding marketplace. With this in mind, installers must be prepared to answer questions about the RHI and be in a position to advise on the best renewable heating choice for the customer, which now also includes biomass. Training is, therefore, central to capitalising on this growth market. Not only must key team members be fully trained, and the correct installation qualifications be gained, but an alignment with a forward-thinking supplier will ensure a consistent source of advice if needed. To encourage this to happen, the industry as a whole must continue to support installers, from helping them to recognise the best solution based on space requirements, to in-branch recommendations of the correct flue and fuel type. Wider training to support compliant and safe RHI installations is vital, which is why Sustainable Building Solutions has developed a range of assessment, training, and mentoring services covering renewable technologies. Microgeneration Certification Scheme accreditation must also continue to be championed by industry figureheads, while making access and course completion as pain-free as possible to ensure the return on investment is clear to the installer. AN EXCITING UPSWING Ultimately, the RHI has the potential to give an exciting upswing in the domestic renewables heating market and contractors must be ready to respond. While the scheme for homeowners is still in its early stages, it’s exciting to see the level of investment that manufacturers, fuel suppliers, finance companies, and the government are continuing to make, which can only be positive for the future of the industry and for biomass as a previously under utilised energy source. Following the launch of the domestic RHI, the biomass market has accounted for 42% of installation claims 42 APRIL 2015 HEATING & PLUMBING MONTHLY enquiry number 133


HPM April 2015
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