My partner and I are in the process of buying a late 17th century Malt House, it’s in a village which is off mains gas and is oil fired. It’s not a listed building but is in a conservation area.

We would like to have a more green energy system heating the home and wonder what our best options are? I’ve searched online and all I seem to find is converting to LPG, can you tell me more about our options?

Many thanks


  • Mark Harrison

    Hi Sally,
    Before looking to invest in new less carbon intensive options than oil, you should make sure that your home is as well insulated as it can be. The general rule for efficiency is to invest in making the house as thermally efficient as possible first. No point in investing in new technologies if your house will still then leak the heat, thereby continuing to cost you more to keep the house warm. Doing this should also reduce your existing bills from the oil-fired heating, thereby allowing you better monthly cash-flow, and may reduce the need to invest in new heating systems, or at least mean you may need less new energy to do the same job.
    There is currently grant funding available for subsidising the insulation work to your home – the Government-driven ECO programme forces the energy companies to set aside money to be used in home insulation projects, so you only pay for a fraction of the normal costs, or it could even be free depending on the carbon savings calculated from insulating your home. Your property’s age means that it probably doesn’t have cavities in the walls, but it could benefit from a loft insulation top-up.
    Have a look at the link here for more info: http://www.sustain.co.uk/home-insulation//

    Other things to consider are secondary glazing on the inside of your existing windows, and even internal wall insulation. Have a look here for internal wall insulation options: http://www.kingspaninsulation.co.uk/applications/application/Walls.aspx

    Finally, you can consider moving from oil heating to biomass (basically wood-chip). This is much less carbon intensive than oil, and should be cheaper to run (especially if you’ve insulated your house first..!) There is a growing market in this and there are lots of heating systems on the market that are designed to be direct oil replacements.

    Good luck with your plans whatever you end up doing.


  • Stuart Tavener

    Getting a Heatloss Calculation done by a professional would also give you some idea of the heating requirements. Many heating installers would do this for you once you commit to a project with them, but there are a few people around who might do it independently – which then gives you the choice of supplies/systems to look through.

    Also, bear in mind the Renewable Heat Incentive deals – but beware that they also require a high level of insulation and a good EPC value/report before they will payback.

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