We've just finished renovating my parents old house, its an old house circa 1820's and we totally gutted it, the only things left were the roof, four walls and windows. We spent a considerable sum on the heating/hot water system, it was actually our single biggest expense costing us around £20k. We're in a small village in Cornwall, so no mains gas, so we've got an oil boiler 90 odd % efficient, a pretty decent wood burner 82% efficient all plumbed in to one of these babies http://www.jaspi.co.uk/thermalstorage.html a 700l thermal store. We've done basically everything we can to save on energy, we've changed all our downlighters to LED (we have nearly 30 and at £20+ for 50w equivalents its not cheap!) we spent a lot on top notch efficient Siemens appliances, we've stuck over £3k worth of insulation in the house, the walls are solid stone so we've battened them all off and filled them with 50mm celotex and we've got more than enough insulation in the loft. We've got underfloor heating in the main downstairs living space, again more efficient than rads, and rads upstairs.
Now the thermal store has plenty more inputs and we have already put the coils in for solar thermal, BUT as we live in a fecking conservation area I have to get planning permission to put the panels up, and I can see us being knocked back on this as we have plenty of fecking moaners in the village. We're in a really good location SE facing large roof area, etc and in the summer it should provide most if not all of our hot water. So I'm minded just to put them up anyway, or I can put them on a frame in the garden, and if I'm told to move them I'll stick them in the garage over the winter and them bring them out again the next spring! If the government are serious about renewables they need to sort the planning out, we're already at a major disadvantage living where we do, energy wise with oil at 60p/l (I was paying 18p/l 6 years ago)
Time this country woke up, if the attitudes that are around now were around in the Victorian era we'd have feck all in this country as nothing would ever get built!.