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Social housing to get green heaters

A £3 million scheme has been launched to help install eco-heaters in the homes of social housing tenants. Heating equipment including biomass…

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government


A £3 million scheme has been launched to help install eco-heaters in the homes of social housing tenants.

Heating equipment including biomass boilers, solar hot water panels and heat pumps will be available under the new scheme.

Registered Providers of social housing, such as local authorities and social housing associations, will be able to bid for a share of the £3 million, part of the £15 million Renewable Heat Premium Payment budget, to make home heating improvements to tenants’ homes.

Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker said:a?ª

“Improving and greening Britain’s homes must make strong financial sense if we are to provide a real sustainable alternative to expensive old heating systems. If people choose to go green, they want to see real savings.

“This new programme is directly targeted at many of the people who will be struggling to pay their heating bills next winter. It will drive the take up of new heating technologies in social housing and help slash their dependence on big energy companies and expensive tariffs.

“In the face of rising gas and electricity bills, the Premium Payment scheme is a valuable way for people to get involved in energy generation at a local level, insulating them from volatile fossil fuel costs and ensuring homes are heated in a greener, more sustainable way.

“The Renewable Heat Incentive for householders will be up and running next year making it even more attractive to get involved.”a?ªa?ªa?ª

Philip Sellwood, Chief Executive of the Energy Saving Trust, said:

“The only way to tackle the energy efficiency of our housing stock is to make it possible for everyone in our society to take action, and low carbon heating systems are a major part of this. The Renewable Heat Premium Payment scheme goes a step further in bringing these technologies to more households.”

David Orr, Chief Executive of the National Housing Federation, said:

“The National Housing Federation welcomes this specific allocation of £3 million from the Renewable Heat Premium Payment budget to assist social housing providers, such as housing associations to increase their use of renewable heating technologies and so to reduce emissions.”

From today, bids are invited for funds of up to around £175,000 per housing provider to support proposals which should in total finance at least 17 social housing projects. The deadline for bids is 15th of September. The scheme will be managed by the Energy Saving Trust.

The bids will be evaluated by a panel of experts on criteria including value for money, the number of individual eco-heaters installed, the opportunity for learning and the number of homes not supplied by mains gas. Successful applicants will be informed in early October and can therefore start installing renewable heat equipment as soon as they receive confirmation of their winning bid.

Notes for editors

  1. Further details on how to apply and the terms and conditions for the competition can be viewed on the Energy Saving Trust: Renewable Heat Premium Payment web page from 10am on Monday 15 August 2011.
  2. Eligible technologies include biomass boilers, solar thermal panels, ground source heat pumps, air to water source heat pumps and water to water source heat pumps.
  3. Bidders will be restricted to Registered Providers of social housing.
  4. The assessment panel will be made up from representatives from DECC, the Energy Saving Trust and the devolved administrations.
  5. Social landlords taking part in the scheme will have to agree to provide sufficient information to be compatible with European state aid legislation. The maximum amount that can be bid for under these rules is €200,000 (this currently equates to around £175,000).
  6. This competition is open in Scotland, England and Wales.
  7. More information about the Renewable Heat Premium Payment scheme can be found on our Renewable Heat Premium Payments: Factsheet page.
  8. Currently half of the UK’s carbon emissions come from the energy used to generate heat. The Government’s renewable heat financial support mechanisms will provide average savings between now and 2020 of 4.4 million tonnes of carbon per year, equivalent to the annual carbon emissions of 2 typical new gas power stations.

Renewable heat technology fact sheet

Heat pumps (air and ground)

Heat pumps work like fridges in reverse. They extract warmth from the air or ground which is used to heat the home. The system is made up of liquid-filled pipes which absorb the heat from the air or ground, the liquid is then passed through a heat exchanger which warms the air or hot water supply. The cooler fluid is then re-circulated.

  • Air source heat pumps (ASHPs) are usually mounted on the outside of a building and domestic models are around the same size as air conditioners.
  • Ground source heat pumps (GSHP) extract heat from the ground from a series of pipes buried in the soil either in a horizontal network or in deep vertical holes.

Solar thermal

Solar thermal technologies are usually roof-mounted panels, which contain a network of liquid-filled tubes that are heated by the sun. The liquid can then be used directly to provide hot water within a building, or an exchanger can transfer the heat from the liquid to the building’s hot water system.

Biomass boilers

Biomass boilers generate heat through burning organic matter such as wood. The heat can either be used directly for heating, or to produce hot water. Most domestic installations would run on wood logs or pellets and have a storage area or a container, known as a ‘hopper’, located next to the boiler. Pellets can be manufactured from wood, sawdust, straw and crops specifically grown for energy purposes, such as willow and elephant grass and are designed for use with hoppers which automatically feed the boiler as more fuel is needed.

Published 15 August 2011