Installing bio-mass boiler has saved family farming enterprise 'fortune'
While many agricultural businesses have been badly affected by the recent rise in fuel prices, Cornish farmer Adrian Coombe has protected himself from any future hikes by having a bio-mass boiler installed, fuelled by the wood off his farmland.
Dupath Farm has been in his family since the 1940s, but he and wife Lyn took over the farmhouse, barn and conference centre just two years ago, used for weddings, functions and corporate events for large companies.
Keen to make the business as cost-effective as possible, Mr Coombe investigated a commercial bio-mass boiler and was pleased to find out that it not only would it save a great deal on his extremely high electricity bills, through using his own logs, but also it had the potential to generate more than £6,000 a year in payments from the Government's Renewable Heat Incentive.
"When we moved into the farm it was heated solely by two wood burners and an array of inefficient electric storage heaters, so we had to spend our time in a couple of rooms to keep warm," said Mr Coombe. "But now our whole farm is cosy, we're saving huge amounts on our fuel bills, and the system looks due to pay for itself within just a few years.
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"Bio-mass is the perfect solution for us, as we have our own large supply of wood," he added. "And the Renewable Heat Incentive means that we actually get a healthy reward for going green."
The 60kW Vigas bio-mass boiler, installed by South Molton-based Source Renewable, provides both heat and hot water for the business and the farmhouse's new central-heating system.
Mr Coombe added: "Although the Renewable Heat Incentive was a major reason, it also makes practical sense for us to use our own wood, rather than relying on fossil fuels from energy companies, particularly as prices are continually rising.
"When your home is your business every penny counts, and with a nine-month-old daughter it was also very important for us to ensure that the farm was constantly at a comfortable and controllable temperature."
Mr Coombe started his search for a bio-mass boiler through farming co-operative Mole Valley Farmers, who put him in touch with recommended installer Source Renewable
Thanks to the commercial Renewable Heat Incentive Mr Coombe will receive 8.3p for every unit of renewable heat his bio-mass boiler generates for the first 1,314 hours it operates each year, and 2.1p per hour for every other hour it is in operation. This means that the system should pay for itself in just a few years.