Company hopes people will warm to eco burners

First published in News by , Chief Reporter

A COMPANY which delivers green heating is unhappy with the lack of support it says it has received from Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council.

Nick Manuel and his wife Irene have run their business from Richmond Road, Basingstoke, for around six years.

Although they have attracted interest in surrounding areas such as Newbury, Andover and Winchester, the couple said there are only two properties in the borough where they have installed their eco-friendly wood-chip burners.

Mr Manuel said: “There’s no drive here at all. It’s very poor for what’s supposed to be a leading, expanding town.”

Mr Manuel was responding to The Gazette’s Green Town, Green Borough campaign, in which we aim to make Basingstoke the green capital of Hampshire by 2020.

Although Mr Manuel said his wood-chip burners are expensive, they could be installed in community buildings and businesses – but he believes the council’s lack of overt backing is hindering the potential impact.

He said: “If the council leads, then people will follow.”

The green heating is called biomass and uses wood or another fuel such as straw to create heat.

Mr Manuel said: “The theory is that if you grow wood, as the tree is growing, it absorbs carbon dioxide and when you burn it from a carbon point of view, it’s at its most effective.”

The benefits include carbon savings and being less expensive to run than other heaters, but the downside is there is a large capital investment to install the systems, in comparison to replacing a boiler.

The company has installed burners at the end of streets, for several houses to share, splitting the cost of the installation.

Mr Manuel said: “Winchester council has taken a street of houses on oil or coal and converted it to wood pellet boilers at the end of the street, connecting the houses together. Other councils burn all their green waste.”

Mr Manuel claims developers will only install green heating if they are encouraged to do so by the planning authority, adding: “They will do it if there’s pressure, but they won’t if there’s not. I feel the council needs to put that pressure on.”

Those with biomass boilers have wood pellets delivered in trucks, which are then stored and fed into the system. The company also installs ground-source heat, which takes energy from the ground.

Andrew Hunter, policy manager for planning, policy and infrastructure at the borough council, said: “We are positive about green initiatives and support these where possible through our climate change work.

“We have also been developing new planning policies which will further aid the use of renewable forms of energy in the future.

“However, from a planning perspective, it is not in our remit to recommend individual businesses to developers, nor prescribe the type of technologies installed and used on specific sites, unless the site specifics mean a particular technology would be the most effective.”

Comments (5)

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10:30pm Mon 28 Jan 13

Best_Name_Ever says...

Is this company asking the council to carry out the marketing and advertising for their products?
Is this company asking the council to carry out the marketing and advertising for their products? Best_Name_Ever
  • Score: 0

10:34pm Mon 28 Jan 13

Jonty11 says...

There are quite a few green companies operating out of the area - is the Council supposed to buy from all of them even if they are in competition with each other?

I am genuinely interested in the environment having given my time up on Saturday mornings to collect papers for recycling as a youngster (before the days when the Council would do it) but this just sounds like sour grapes!
There are quite a few green companies operating out of the area - is the Council supposed to buy from all of them even if they are in competition with each other? I am genuinely interested in the environment having given my time up on Saturday mornings to collect papers for recycling as a youngster (before the days when the Council would do it) but this just sounds like sour grapes! Jonty11
  • Score: 0

3:13pm Tue 29 Jan 13

Sam_Walker123456 says...

Best_Name_Ever wrote:
Is this company asking the council to carry out the marketing and advertising for their products?
I think The Gazette article has already done that for them :-)
Indeed I was interested enough to do some investigation and for me a biomass boiler is not a viable option. If I wanted a system which was the least trouble in terms of feeding the fire and cleaning away the ash afterwards then the cost of installation would be c£11,500. The annual saving over my existing gas boiler would be about £100 in cash and 3 tonnes in CO2 emissions (larger savings against other fuels). So it would take 115 years to recover the cost of installation, although I would save the planet from 345 tonnes of CO2 during the same period. Even if I went for a more basic system it would still take over 40 years to get my money back.
The other drawback is that I would need somewhere to store the fuel.
I think that the most viable option is the use of district biomass boilers. This is quite common on the continent where one boiler house provides heat for many houses. They are now often built along with the new housing estate which keeps installation costs to a minimum.
[quote][p][bold]Best_Name_Ever[/bold] wrote: Is this company asking the council to carry out the marketing and advertising for their products?[/p][/quote]I think The Gazette article has already done that for them :-) Indeed I was interested enough to do some investigation and for me a biomass boiler is not a viable option. If I wanted a system which was the least trouble in terms of feeding the fire and cleaning away the ash afterwards then the cost of installation would be c£11,500. The annual saving over my existing gas boiler would be about £100 in cash and 3 tonnes in CO2 emissions (larger savings against other fuels). So it would take 115 years to recover the cost of installation, although I would save the planet from 345 tonnes of CO2 during the same period. Even if I went for a more basic system it would still take over 40 years to get my money back. The other drawback is that I would need somewhere to store the fuel. I think that the most viable option is the use of district biomass boilers. This is quite common on the continent where one boiler house provides heat for many houses. They are now often built along with the new housing estate which keeps installation costs to a minimum. Sam_Walker123456
  • Score: 0

1:00am Wed 30 Jan 13

BugBear says...

It's my intention to create as much Co2 as possible, not that it will make one iota's difference to a debatable increase in climate change but because I want to keep warm and as any 3 year old child could tell you, warmth means life, cold means death.
It's my intention to create as much Co2 as possible, not that it will make one iota's difference to a debatable increase in climate change but because I want to keep warm and as any 3 year old child could tell you, warmth means life, cold means death. BugBear
  • Score: 0

2:12pm Wed 30 Jan 13

Bes Co-op says...

Hi All. Bes Co-op is a local company that installs renewable energy systems (solar panels and heat pumps). We are a co-operative and owned by our customers (and not by shareholders). We are not solely driven by making profits and are happy to give sound advice.

Firstly before anyone installs any new heating system there are three things you must do. 1. Insulate your home 2. Insulate some more. 3. Do some more insulating. Loft, cylinder and cavity wall insulation is by far the simplest and most cost effective thing to do. It is far better to save energy before thinking about generating it from renewables. Once you have done that then look at alternatives for renewable generation.

The best three are solar electric (makes electricity), solar thermal (makes hot water) and heat pumps (heats your home). The co-op sells them all.

BUT if you already on gas than the best thing to stay on gas and get a modern gas boiler (we don’t sell them) and think about solar electric panels. Renewable heat (biomass or heat pumps) won’t make economic sense for you if you already have a gas connection to your home.

If you use coal, oil or electricity to heat your home then the best thing to do is look at using heat pumps (or biomass). This could reduce your heating bills by up to 50%. There are government grants to help pay towards their installation. It will also cut your carbon footprint.

If you want to find out more see www.bes.coop or contact us. We won’t try to sell you something you don’t need. Our owners (our customers) do not like us doing that!

And yes Sam Walker community heating systems are a great idea. We are talking to the council about that as well.
Hi All. Bes Co-op is a local company that installs renewable energy systems (solar panels and heat pumps). We are a co-operative and owned by our customers (and not by shareholders). We are not solely driven by making profits and are happy to give sound advice. Firstly before anyone installs any new heating system there are three things you must do. 1. Insulate your home 2. Insulate some more. 3. Do some more insulating. Loft, cylinder and cavity wall insulation is by far the simplest and most cost effective thing to do. It is far better to save energy before thinking about generating it from renewables. Once you have done that then look at alternatives for renewable generation. The best three are solar electric (makes electricity), solar thermal (makes hot water) and heat pumps (heats your home). The co-op sells them all. BUT if you already on gas than the best thing to stay on gas and get a modern gas boiler (we don’t sell them) and think about solar electric panels. Renewable heat (biomass or heat pumps) won’t make economic sense for you if you already have a gas connection to your home. If you use coal, oil or electricity to heat your home then the best thing to do is look at using heat pumps (or biomass). This could reduce your heating bills by up to 50%. There are government grants to help pay towards their installation. It will also cut your carbon footprint. If you want to find out more see www.bes.coop or contact us. We won’t try to sell you something you don’t need. Our owners (our customers) do not like us doing that! And yes Sam Walker community heating systems are a great idea. We are talking to the council about that as well. Bes Co-op
  • Score: 0

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