People are making the move to traditional fuels. Maybe it’s because we had so much bad weather throughout 2012, not to mention the high cost of oil, but people seem to be talking more about the need for heat in their homes.

We are the seventh most oil-dependent country on earth, with over 60% of our energy coming from oil. But, because oil, coal and gas reserves are being depleted worldwide, we’re constantly being told to look to renewable energy sources, with wood being most obvious.

In 2013, we’ll be hearing more about biomass fuel, which includes not only wood (chips, pellets and forest shavings) but also grasses, agricultural crops, human and animal waste and materials that normally go to dumps. You simply burn it.

Biomass can be used to create heat and electricity and people have also installed biomass boilers purely for domestic purposes. Also beginning here are district heating systems (DH) in towns and cities, with the aim of providing tens of thousands of people with hot water through a pipe network.

These systems can significantly contribute to national and EU policies to reduce carbon emissions. One of the first is in Dundalk, Co Louth, while others are planned for Dublin, Cork, Clonakilty, Tralee and Killarney. We are behind the rest of Europe as these systems are well established in other countries.About 60% of the Danish demand for heat is supplied by DH. Most European capitals have large-scale DH systems, one of the main advantages is that consumers have instant hot water with no requirement for boilers or hot water storage. This also frees up space, saves energy and reduces maintenance costs.

The ordinary Business or household can make huge savings if they make the move to biomass. Although the boiler will be an expence to install they will make savings over time as oil prices continue to rise biomass remains steady.

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