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Can gas central heating be eco-friendly?

With money-back incentives for renewable energy, Nigel Griffiths asks whether the humble gas boiler still has a place in modern homes

The Worcester Greenstar CDi compact combi boiler is available in a range of sizes to suit different households

Many people who come to see me at the Build It Live exhibitions are keen to learn the best way to heat the houses they’re about to construct. Quite understandably, they want to be ecofriendly and reduce their impact on the planet – but they’re faced with a raft of competing information from suppliers about very different systems. These include heat pumps, woodburners, biomass boilers and solar panels. Many self-builders are also concerned with cost, of course; though this isn’t always the top priority.

The conversation will normally start with people telling me they’re considering installing some sort of renewable technology – but they’re not sure which will suit them best and want impartial advice. My first move is to ask whether they have access to mains gas. If the answer is yes, then I’ll tell them to stick with a gas boiler.

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About Build It

Get the advice and inspiration you need to complete your home building project on time and on budget with the March edition of Build It, including: - How to get more for your money - Is gas central heating energy efficient? - Getting sunroom extensions right - Ultimate guide to garage conversions - Do you need an architect? ... and more!