We want to install a community woodfuel stove or boiler and what else could be better tha the help of the Government?

News flash: Government is giving £950 vouchers to households that install woodfuel boilers.  To be eligible, the home must not be on mains gas, it must be well insulated, and the new boiler must be operational by 31 March 2020.  This is an excellent and one-off opportunity, similar to the early high feed-in tariffs for photovoltaics. Wood pellet boiler (and proud friend) at Stadhampton primary school

How a wood stove is more efficient than an open fireplace?

A wood burning stove or boiler is much more efficient than an open fireplace.  Burning wood in an open fireplace wastes more than 80% of the heat.  Burning it in a stove or boiler, instead, uses about 80% of the heat.  A stove provides direct heat for the room it is in.  A boiler heats water and pumps it through pipes to several rooms or several buildings (‘district heating’).

Who can benefit from the wood boiler?

Wood burning stoves/boilers take a long time to get going, and so are unsuitable for venues that are used only sporadically or for only a few hours per day.  However community buildings like schools, hospitals and shops that are in use for many hours per day can benefit from a wood boiler.

Wood VS Oil?

Switching to a woodfuel boiler will be particularly attractive for community groups whose boilers are nearing the end of their lives, and who would anyway have to pay for a new boiler.  Wood is also particularly good value compared to heating oil: English Wood Fuels provides a useful cost comparison between different fuels.

Think of the amount of heat

If you decide to get a woodfuel stove/boiler, you will need to think about the amount of heat you need, how much space you have, how much time and energy you have to handle the fuel, and the cost of the stove and fuel.

How to know the size of the boiler that is appropriate for you?

Wood burning stoves/boilers come in all shapes and sizes, from small stoves that can heat a single small room to large boilers that can heat large buildings or clusters of buildings.  The Forestry Commission leaflet Woodfuel burning systems gives many examples.  Wood stove providers will be able to help you decide on the size and type that you need.

One big choice that you will need to make is whether your system should burn logs, woodchips or wood pellets:

Logs are easiest to provide locally (say from a community woodland) but require a lot of handling to store and move, and most log-burning stoves require regular stoking.

Wood chips are logs that have been chipped by a fuel grade chipper.  The kind of chippers used by tree surgeons do not produce the consistent length chip that is required, so providing chips from a community woodland may not be possible. Wood chip boilers are typically larger, more expensive, automated systems that work best where heat demand is high and there is plenty of storage space.

Wood pellets are typically made of waste sawdust which is dried and shaped into pellets, using the specials techniques and tools.  The nearest wood pellet manufacturers are in the Surrey Hills and Andover (Hampshire), so ‘woodfuel miles’ can be an issue.  Wood pellets are more expensive than logs or chips, but provide more energy per volume or weight than Logs are easiest to provide locally (say from a community woodland) but require a lot of handling to store and move, and most log-burning stoves require regular stoking.the other fuels. Pellet boilers arerelatively compact, automated and closest to fossil fuels in terms of convenience.