Property Type and Location
A large former farmhouse, which has been extended over the years to connect to outbuildings and a conservatory. The property is the also the home of Birds’ Hill Renewable Heating, near Llandeilo in Carmarthenshire. An oil fired boiler and solid fuel Aga converted to oil provided heating and hot water. Unfortunately the system was inefficient, i.e. it consumed a lot of oil and was prohibitively expensive to run. It ran off a large oil tank which was located on the patio outside the back door which was unsightly, smelly and awkward to access for fuel deliveries.
Birds’ Hill Solution
Nick considered a range of biomass boiler options for Birds Hill Farm – a biomass wood logs boiler, an auto feed biomass wood pellet boiler with external silo, a wood pellet biomass boiler-cooker and a manual feed, wood pellet utility biomass boiler.
Nick decided to install a Domusa NG 43 kW wood pellet boiler in his utility room to provide heating and hot water throughout his home. This manually fed wood pellet boiler, manufactured in Spain, is large enough to meet the considerable heat demands of the stone farmhouse, makes the most of redundant space in the utility room (to house the boiler) and in the barn (to store the fuel). This powerful and efficient biomass boiler takes up a relatively small amount of space considering its sizeable heat output. It also retains heat within the house providing a perfect drying environment for clothes during the winter months.
New Renewable Heating System Benefits
- Low carbon heating and hot water through a sustainable fuel source
- Rapid return on investment through the Domestic RHI (Renewable Heat Incentive)
- Free heating for 7 years, plus index linked income circa £1500 p.a.
The installation process – Fitting the new biomass boiler into the original features of the home
Other than edging the boiler and 500 litre buffer tank through the back door, the biggest challenge of the installation was to fit the flue through the existing chimney in the utility room. This required some minor internal building works but resulted in the biomass boiler flue being cleverly hidden within the features of the house’s original heating system – an open range with bread oven and cast water heater.
Running the System
En Plus A1 wood pellets are delivered to the property on a pallet every few weeks by Forever Fuels from Bristol and stored in the barn. The manageable (10kg) sacks and are then batch fed into the biomass boiler hopper on a weekly basis, during winter. The system is clean, safer and easy to operate even Nick’s 8 year old son helps out with refuelling the biomass boiler with the wood pellets from time to time!
A further bonus of the heating upgrade at Birds Hill Farm is that the removal of the dirty oil tank has freed up extra space on the patio, creating a pleasant outdoor eating space, perfect for summer dining.
With his extensive knowledge of the domestic renewable energy sector in the UK, Birds Hill Biomass Director Nick Cater knew that signing up to the Renewable Heat Incentive to install a biomass heating system would provide an excellent return on his investment: Free heating for 7 years, plus index linked income circa £1500 p.a.