Biomass Boilers

Biomass Boilers save carbon by replacing fossil fuels with biomass fuels to generate heat. From a financial point of view, the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) provides a tariff payment for each kWh of renewable heat produced for a fixed time after joining the scheme.

Estimates for the costs and savings associated with this technology were derived from data given in the NHS Energy Efficiency Fund (Final Report February 2015) and also data from EEVS’ database of energy efficiency projects in the NHS. Two different sets of costs and savings were used across different organisation types to reflect the differences in procurement and economies of scale for larger organisations such as Acute Hospital Trusts versus smaller stand alone buildings such as General Practice Surgeries. In general, it would be expected that the smaller stand alone buildings have a higher technology cost per square foot compared to an NHS Trust, which is likely to have greater buying power.

The cost and carbon savings associated with expected reductions in kWh consumption were extrapolated over time using the cost and carbon intensity projections provided by the DECC/HM Treasury Green Book guidance on valuing energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.

The resulting figures were sense checked by stakeholders with experience of building energy efficiency interventions.

Case study sources

NHS Energy Efficiency Fund Report

Green Book supplementary guidance: valuation of energy use and greenhouse gas emissions for appraisal

Financial Calculations


Energy savings were normalised using the energy spend of the NHS trust from which the various data sources were taken. This gave an average saving of £75,000 annually per trust based on the expected Renewable Heat Incentive tariff payment in 2015. Smaller buildings such as General Practice Surgeries, an average saving of £500 was used, based on expected kWh savings for a building size of 400m2. This was then scaled according to floor size for other segments including Dental Practices and Adult Social Care. Values for both were extrapolated over time using costs from the Treasury Green Book guidance.


Average capital costs per NHS trust normalised by energy spend were taken as £900,000. Average costs for smaller stand-alone buildings (GPs, Dental Practices) were taken as £10,000.

Carbon Calculations

Average carbon savings per trust were calculated using carbon intensity for typical biomass fuels. The carbon savings derived from the expected kWh savings were 450 tCO2 per annum for NHS Trusts and 3.1 tCO2 per stand-alone building.


Building energy efficiency interventions will have a wide variation in their scope, likely costs and savings, depending on factors such as the existing technologies and the funding sources used for the project. The results are therefore indicative rather than definitive, and are intended to give a sense of scale for the potential savings.