Housing tenants trial Baxi biomass boiler

30th Apr 2012

A household in West Berkshire has demonstrated the benefits of biomass central heating after an old coal-fired boiler was replaced at the property.

Tony Cossington and his wife Tracey have lived in Hampstead Norreys village for a number of years. The Sovereign Housing Association tenants had volunteered to participate in a test installation of the Baxi Bioflo, a compact, pellet-burning biomass boiler, in an effort to improve Mrs Cossington’s health.

Mr Cossington had become concerned about his wife’s allergy to coal dust. He was also keen to save money on energy while reducing his carbon footprint. A biomass heating system seemed the perfect choice, so Mr Cossington contacted Sovereign Housing Association last year to discuss the possibility of change.

An engineer working for Sovereign visited Mr and Mrs Cossington’s home. He recommended installation of the Baxi Bioflo on a trial basis. One of the main advantages of the Baxi Bioflo is that it is compatible with most central heating systems, so existing pipes, radiators and controls need not be replaced.

After the boiler was installed, Mr Cossington said: “Before, we were using six bags of coal a month at £20 a bag. At the moment, we are paying £3 for a bag of wood pellets and using roughly a bag a day. So, over the course of a month, we are saving around £30 on our heating”.

Mr Cossington also explained that his wife’s health has improved markedly. The Sovereign Housing Association resident added: “Another selling point was the fact that this is green technology. It was important for us to do something to reduce our environmental impact”.

The environmental benefits of biomass heating are somewhat controversial. The technology is described as carbon neutral because, although carbon emissions are produced by burning pellets and other non-renewable sources of fuel, the gases are equivalent in volume to the amount of carbon absorbed by the fuel before it was fossilised. This means that the carbon balance remains even.

Critics argue that maintaining existing levels of carbon emissions is insufficient if global warming is to be slowed or stopped. Households ought to embrace renewable technologies such as solar PV and geothermal heat pumps and boilers. Biomass heating systems are, however, more environmentally friendly than many natural gas and coal-fired boilers.