Are you entitled to over 3,000GBP a year to heat your home? Pounds that is, English or Scottish pounds. Probably not, but at least one family, living in Scotland, is. And there may be others who actually get paid to keep themselves warm.
The UK climate is generally considered mild by world standards, yet every year hundreds of the elderly, infirm, or those with chronic illnesses, die during the winter. Afraid to use the heating in their poorly insulated homes, they sit wrapped in shawls or blankets, because they can’t afford the heating costs. For a first world country in 2015, that’s a shocking state of affairs.
The Renewable Energy Programme:
The case of Mr and Mrs Thomas, the Scottish couple who actually get PAID over 3-grand to heat their home, is no doubt the exception. They decided to take full advantage of UK government subsidies for using renewable energy, the GREEN programme.
Steven and Anne Thomas have a five bed house in Inverness, Scotland and have gone green to the max. Moving to the house from London some eight years ago, they had already installed a small wind turbine to provide household electricity. In 2013 they added solar panels, and had a ground source heat pump installed; which heats the home, and provides all their hot water.
Prior to their aspirations of a negative carbon footprint, they relied on oil for all their heating, a system which cost them an average 3,000GBP in heating bills.
Of course, for every upside, there’s a downside. In this case they had to speculate to accumulate. The installation of the ground-source heat pump, and solar panels cost a total of 14,000GBP. The difference between ground-source heat pumps, and air-source pumps, is one draws air from deep in the ground, which is invariably a few degrees warmer than the air temperature, making it more efficient. They are also substantially more expensive to install. However, check out the deals, loans are available to cover some, or all, of the cost of installation.
So where does the money come from:
Using the governments Green Subsidies Policy, payments are made depending on the number of kilowatts per hour for heat generated by the heat pump. Further payments then come into play, depending on various subsidies tied to the solar panels, and are paid quarterly by Ofgem. In the Thomas’s case, these payments amount to over 750GBP a quarter.
The whole scheme runs for seven years once you have been accepted. So, having laid out 14,000GBP initially, the Thomas’s are set to receive around 26,000GBP over the seven years, recouping double the initial outlay. On top of that of course, they are also saving the 3,000GBP they were paying when heating by oil.
Does this Work for Everyone:
Sadly no; not unless you have a property like the Thomas’s, but the UK government has 125-million pounds available in subsidies and grants to help anyone improve the insulation and heating of their home. So far, just over 5-million has been taken up.
The UK is at the bottom of the property insulation league when compared to the rest of Europe, and is trying hard to catch up. Whether you live in an older terrace property, semi-detached, or detached house, or a 10th storey flat, you could still qualify for insulation and heating grants.
The range includes bio-mass boilers (water heaters using woodchip pellets or logs), solar panels, air or ground heat pumps, plus a whole range of insulation products to retain the heat within the property, and help keep the bills down.
The Green Deal initiative, and insulation grants are separate entities, one run by the government, and the other falls under the mandate of local councils. If you find yourself constantly worrying about heating your home in winter, or believe you’re paying far too much in electricity, or gas bills, then check out the energy grants calculator, and find out what’s available. Even if you don’t qualify for cash back, you can certainly save yourself hundreds of pounds a year.
Images care of: By KVDP (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
By Calderoliver (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
A McCarron [CC BY-SA 2.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
By Gunnar Bach Pedersen (Own work (Own photo)) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
A British expat who has lived on this Island of Tenerife for over twelve years.A full time freelance writer, most of my time is spent article writing. I also write on D2C, Writedge, and wherever takes my fancy. For fun I try to increase my portfolio of short stories, with a view to eventually getting them published.