According to Michael, of leading regional installer Yorkshire Heat Pumps, renewable energy is set to top the shopping list for the perfect home in 2016.
Said Michael: "Minds were focused on the environment as 2015 drew to a close, with the Paris summit on climate change hitting the headlines. We believe 2016 will be the year of renewables as people realise increasingly that if mankind is serious about saving the planet, we all need to embrace sustainable technologies. And we noticed a surge in enquiries in the lead-up to Christmas.
"Using renewables to heat homes is an important way of reducing our carbon emissions and the government's payback scheme, the domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), can offset the cost of going green.
"While the need to reduce reliance on fossil fuels is never going to go away, people are realising that RHI may not be around forever, so in lots of ways it makes sense to act sooner rather than later."
There are four choices of technology for heating and hot water, all of which are eligible for the domestic RHI scheme, which makes quarterly payments based on the energy required to heat your home.
Ground source and air source heat pumps, biomass boilers and solar thermal panels all offer renewable solutions which are suitable for different property types. Biomass is the easiest to retrofit to existing systems and is possibly the best choice for less well insulated properties. Ground source and air source heat pumps are most effective in well insulated homes and work perfectly with large heat emitters such as under floor heating. Solar thermal heats your domestic hot water and is great to couple with another technology.
Said Michael: "Your property will largely dictate which technology is best for you. New builds, conversions and large extensions are perfectly suited to ground source heat pumps, for example. "Domestic RHI is paid over seven years and many people find that this is plenty long enough to recoup the whole cost of the installation."
The different technologies command different tariffs, with solar thermal paying the highest at 19.51p/kilowatt hour, closely followed by ground source heat pumps at19.1p/kwh), then air source at 7.42p/kwh and with biomass boilers bringing up the rear at 5.14p/kwh from January 1 2016.
The Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) keeps the domestic RHI scheme within its budget by lowering the tariffs for new applicants when specific ‘degression triggers' are hit. Biomass has had the highest uptake to date and is the only technology to have reached this ‘degression' point, which is why the amount paid to new applicants has been falling quarter by quarter over the past year. The remaining three technologies still command the rates set when the scheme launched in 2014 and for many people can represent a healthy return on investment.