Incentives, Regulations and Grants for Wood Burning Stoves

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Grants and Incentives for Installing Wood Burning Stoves

There are numerous government sponsored schemes and aid packages aimed at encouraging people to install environmentally friendly technologies such as wood burning stoves and wood burning boilers.

You could be pleasantly surprised at not only the cost savings from operating your wood burner, but also the amount of financial assistance towards the initial installation costs you might be eligible for. In the UK these wood burning stove grants and related schemes schemes are were operated under the Low Carbon Buildings Programme (LCBP) .

Note:The Low Carbon Buildings Programme fell victim to the spending reductions introduced by the UK Coalition government and was closed to new applications from the 24th May 2010. In a statement on the site the government reiterates it’s commitment to decentralising energy, including microgeneration technologies (basically individuals such as you and me), but is less than clear about when it intends to offer further financial incentives.

The UK government agency DEFRA considers wood chip boilers to be the most cost-effective microgeneration technology in terms of energy saving potential and award financial incentives for installing wood burning systems. Under the terms of the LCBP, administered by DEFRA, the maximum grant available in the UK is was £1500 (regardless of the size of the wood boiler) with an overall limit of 30% of the total cost (exclusive of VAT).

Additionally, the UK Energy Saving Trust estimates that a “biomass boiler could save you around £470 a year on heating bills”, although there is a caveat that it depends on what you’re replacing (hint, the savings are considerably less if you currently use a gas boiler). The EST also recently supervised the Boiler Scrappage Scheme (now closed) which offered an incentive of £400 to anyone considering decommissioning an old boiler in favour of a new energy efficient, carbon friendly replacement and specifically recommended biomass boilers as a means of taking advantage of the scrappage scheme.

More recently the UK government has continued to demonstrate support for biomass boilers (a term which now seems to encompass all forms of wood burner) through the Renewable Heat Premium Payment scheme which paid £950 towards the cost of installation (but essentially only if you were not replacing a gas fueled system). This ends 31st March 2012 but a further scheme called the Renewable Heat Incentive follows on from August 2012 and is expected to use something akin to the “feed in” model that has brought down solar energy costs.

Make It Easy On Yourself – Employ An Expert

In the UK, you can go your own way and apply to your local authority building control department for a building notice which will cost anything up to about £300. Upon completion of your wood burner installation, you will also have to notify the authority who will inspect your installation to ensure it is fully compliant with building regulations.

Failure to comply can lead to enforcement and serious problems for future house sale and can be unpleasantly expensive to rectify, so if you don’t actually know how to fit a wood burning stove (and why would you?) then forget the DIY approach and read on.

Needless to say, when faced with the daunting question of how to install a wood burning stove, most people quite sensibly adopt the easier and safer route of employing a HETAS registered installer who will not only install your wood burner but also issue a Certificate of Compliance and notify the local authority on your behalf.

Finding a reputable approved installer to both plan and carry out your wood burner installation is simply a matter of choosing a local installer from the list of approved solid fuel installers at the HETAS website (which gets a 5 out of 5 star rating from Kat).

HETAS is an acronym for Heating Equipment Testing and Approval Scheme. It is a UK certification body and any local HETAS accredited installer of wood burners should be able to provide answers and advice relating to supply of wood, installation options, local regulations and how to apply for grants.

A similar organization exists in the USA – the NFI or National Fireplace Institute and you can likewise locate a local NFI certified woodburner installer.

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