How much does wood biomass heating cost?

Published: 5th February 2016

One of the questions we are most often asked by homeowners considering switching to an environmentally-friendly wood-burning biomass boiler is: how much are our heating bills likely to be? 

Lots of factors influence how much energy a household uses to provide it with heating and hot water - including usage habits and the level of insulation and other energy-saving measures in place - so an arbitrary calculation of a total bill is not much help to anyone.

However, it is possible to compare wood with other fuels based on the cost per kWh. At the time of writing in February 2016, prices per kWh were roughly:

  • Wood Pellets - 4.7p
  • Wood Logs - 5.5p
  • Heating Oil - 2.9p
  • Electricity - 16.1p
  • Mains Gas - 5.5p
  • Coal - 5.8p
  • LPG - 6p

For those on the grid, mains gas is likely to remain the most attractive package in terms of ease and cost. Although if you are concerned about your carbon footprint, it is worth remembering that the emissions of a home heated by natural gas could be as much as 12 times greater than one heated by a wood pellet-burning biomass boiler.

At current prices, heating oil has a major advantage over wood for fuel bills, but the cost of oil is much more volatile than that of wood and it will not remain lower over the whole life of a boiler. CO2 emissions from oil-fired heating can be as much as 20 times those of wood.

Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) payments

One other major factor to consider when deciding which fuel type to go for is the Domestic RHI - a Government scheme designed to encourage homeowners to switch to clean renewable energy.

If you install an eligible system - such as a wood-burning biomass boiler - and use fuel from an accredited source, you should be entitled to quarterly payments from the Government for the first seven years of its life. 

Payments vary depending on fuel usage and the output of the boiler, but typically amount to thousands of pounds a year. They should be enough to pay for the initial cost of the system and fuel bills, making the total cost of ownership of a biomass boiler lower than the other options for homes not on the gas grid.

For more information about the cost of wood-burning biomass boilers, subsequent heating bills and RHI payments, please contact Denby Dale Energy to arrange an initial no-obligation site survey.