Climate scientist on a mission to cut CO2 at his own home

Met Office scientist and global-warming specialist Jeff Ridley (pictured below with his biomass boiler) has been taking measures to reduce his own home’s CO2 emissions.After having solar PV and solar thermal systems installed at his Exeter home, Jeff’s next step was to ensure that all of his winter heating and hot water came from renewable energy sources.Jeff had been involved with the Met Office Energy Centre’s solar PV system, which was carried out by expert SunGift Energy, and was so impressed with the work that he asked the firm to design and install a bespoke biomass system.He said: “I wanted a heating system that is not only carbon neutral but also provides all of the heat and hot water that my house needs throughout the winter, and SunGift provided the ideal solution. It’s clean, simple to operate and connected to my existing heating system.”Jeff’s previous heating system was fuelled by gas, but his Windhager biomass boiler uses wood pellets, which reduce his CO2 emissions by 1,420kg per year.SunGift’s biomass specialist, Mark Howard, said: “Wood pellets are locally-sourced, clean, low in moisture and sourced from sustainably-managed forestry, so they are very efficient and have no carbon footprint.Government paymentsMr Howard continued: “They also benefit from the government’s renewable heat incentive (RHI), so Jeff receives a payment of 10.98 pence for every unit of heat his boiler generates. Perhaps more importantly, as gas and electricity prices continue to be volatile, the price of Jeff’s wood pellets will remain steady and are not likely to rise unexpectedly.”So, while many people continue to rely on the ‘big six’ energy companies, Jeff can look forward to a future where his is in control of his own energy needs. He said: “I’m already seeing huge benefits from my renewable energy technologies. In addition to my biomass boiler, my solar panels generate more electricity than I use and my solar thermal panels provide me with free hot water in the summer months.”Choosing a company that would provide a high-quality installation and proven after-sales service was also extremely important to Jeff, so he chose SunGift after witnessing the quality of the firm’s work at the Met Office. He said: “SunGift have an excellent reputation and well-informed staff who are experts in their field. I chose SunGift to design and install my biomass system because I knew I could trust them to do a first-rate job and provide me with a high-quality heating solution.”SunGift designed and installed a Windhager 10kW BioWIN 2 pellet boiler with a manual feed, which provides 100% of Jeff’s space heating and hot water requirements. The system has a 100kg capacity fuel hopper and took five days to install.Quick stats
  • Total income from RHI (after seven years): £6,435
  • Carbon savings per year: 1,420kg
  • Boiler: Windhager 10kW BioWIN 2 pellet boiler
  • Annual fuel requirement: 2,026kg of wood pellet


30 March 2015


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