Michael McClafferty and his wife live in a bungalow in Burghead, enjoying spectacular views of the Moray Firth. Originally having a wet central heating system with electric boiler, run on off peak electricity, the McClaffertys found that the system was inflexible and very expensive (despite close monitoring of usage), with costs peaking at £250 per month. In addition to this, they were frequently using the wood burning stove as it was too expensive to heat the house outside the off peak electricity period.
Michael used to work as a council housing services manager and saw a lot of renewables technology in its early days, at a time when it was much less reliable than it is now. So when they made the decision to change heating systems, he was understandably cautious. Following a great deal of research he settled on an air source heat pump, as being reliable technology and most suitable for the property – there wasn’t enough space for a ground source heat pump, for example.
“It’s as near as you’ll get to fit and forget technology.”
Using the Energy Savings Trust website, Michael found a number of local suppliers and got three quotes for the work. Black Isle Renewables quickly stood out:
“From the first day I contacted BIR I was well impressed with their approach – no-nonsense, straightforward. When you’re making an investment of that size, you’ve got to have confidence in the people you’re dealing with – and with BIR I had confidence from day one. Any time I contacted them, I got an answer. If someone said they’d phone me back, they’d phone me back.”
Michael’s main concern about the install was that there might be delays, that it would go on for much longer than expected and that after the install there might be breakdowns, or a general lack of reliability. Our team took him through the process:
“Jim came to visit, explained everything. What they said was going to happen, happened.”
There was an initial issue with a delivery, and Michael was worried that the knock on effect would mean that the install wouldn’t be finished in time for Christmas. However, we chased the delivery and managed to resolve the issue, as well as obtaining a discount for Michael. In the end, the install took just four days and was finished in early December. Since then, there’s been one small snagging issue, but it was promptly fixed and there have been no problems since then.
“The comfort level is brilliant, it’s spot on. Even on a windy day, when it’s really cold with the chill factor.”
When we visited, the heat pump had been installed for nearly a year. In that time, electricity consumption has halved, with monthly bills down to £103. Not only that, but the wood burning stove has only been on twice.
The Mcaffertys have embraced renewables technology – and with a combination of Solar PV, insulation and their air source heat pump, have upgraded their bungalow’s Energy Performance Certificate from a category D to category B. They took advantage of both the Renewable Heating Incentive and the Scottish Government’s interest free loan, and they also receive Feed in Tariff for electricity produced by their solar panels. In general they find that the RHI & FIT cover the loan repayments. They’ve recommended Black Isle Renewables to others – and we’ve already installed new heating systems for two of those people.
“It’s a great comfort to know that you’re there if we have any problems.”