Which renewable energy heating solutions are right for you?
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We all know the benefits of installing solar panels at your home to generate your home’s electricity and the potential to earn money from the... The post Which renewable energy heating solutions are right for you? appeared first on My Green Home Blog .
We all know the benefits of installing solar panels at your home to generate your home’s electricity and the potential to earn money from the surplus energy by feeding it into the national grid. But how much do we know about the eco-friendly heating options available to save you money and reduce your carbon footprint? Here is a list of 4 of the heating solutions available along with their advantages and considerations to help you choose which option is best suited to your home because household heating bills are often the biggest cost out of all the utility bills.
Ground source heat pumps
A ground source heat pump works by pumping a combination of water and anti-freeze through a looped pipe buried under the ground. The naturally occurring heat in the ground increases the temperature of the water inside the pipe. This warmer water is then pumped into a heat pump at ground level which then heats the water up further to be used as your home’s heating in radiators, underfloor heating and hot water supply. The pipe work of the ground source heat pump can be laid horizontally in a trench over a large area or vertically inside a borehole.
Ground source heat pumps do require electricity to power them but they are still consider a renewable energy because 1 unit of electricity used to power the heat pump helps to generate up to 4 units that can be used. Installing a heat pump means you qualify for lower energy tariffs and some providers offer special rates for using a heat pump. According to the Energy Saving Trust you can make savings of £180 per year if you are replacing oil fired heating with a heat pump or £480 a year if you are replacing other forms of electric heating. This is a considerable saving!
To help with the costs of installing a ground source heat pump there are government funding and incentives available, such as, you can claim back £2300 with the Renewable Heat Premium Payment scheme and there are Renewable Heat Incentives in addition to help offset the initial costs.
Air source heat pumps
Unlike ground source heat pumps, air source heat pumps use energy absorbed by the outside air to heat your home. Similarly to the ground pumps, the heat generated can be used to heat radiators, underfloor heating, warm air convectors and hot water. Air source heat pumps are more suitable for homes that do not have enough land to have a ground system to be installed.
The air heat pump can work in temperatures as low as minus 15oC and also requires electricity to function. Therefore, heat pumps do have some impact on the environment but because heat extracted by the air and ground is naturally occurring your carbon emissions are greatly reduced. The air source heat pumps also qualify for funding and lower energy tariffs.
Solar thermal systems harness the sun’s free solar energy to heat cold water that has been pumped into the solar thermal panels that are positioned on your roof. The heated water is then pumped into your hot water cylinder where it is stored until you need it or it can be used straight away for your home’s hot water supply, underfloor heating and central heating.
Solar thermal systems often need to be heated further by a boiler or immersion heater to bring the temperature of the water to the temperature on the thermostat. Therefore, a solar thermal heating system works most efficiently in the summer months, where up to 100% of your hot water can be supplied purely by the solar thermal system. However, in winter when there is less sun, the system needs to be backed up with a boiler or immersion heater to ensure your hot water requirements are met. Despite the lower efficiency over winter, solar thermal will save you money all year round.
To help with the installation of a solar thermal system at your home there is funding available in the form of the renewable heat incentive and the renewable heat premium payment.
High efficiency boilers
A high efficiency boiler is also known as a condensing boilers, these boilers are water heaters that can run at higher than 90%, a conventional boiler runs at an efficiency of around 70-80%. A high efficiency boiler works by reusing the waste heat that would have been expelled from the flue into the atmosphere from the combustion process of a conventional boiler. The high efficiency boiler condenses the waste water vapour (hence the name condensing boiler) and then uses the heat generated from the condensation. The left over water vapour aka the condensate is either expelled through a flue or drained off at a drain point. Therefore, a high efficiency boiler produces less gas emissions, lower flue temperatures and lowers fuel consumption.
Since April 2005, new regulations stated that all new boilers have to be high-efficiency A or B rated condensing boilers. Therefore, if you have a boiler older than 2005 and needs replacing, then you need to get in touch with your local high efficiency boiler installer.
Condensing boilers are initially more expensive to buy and install than a conventional boiler you will recoup costs with a couple of years due to reduced fuel consumption and save around 30you’re your heating bills every year. These savings carry on throughout the boilers lifespan.
Article written by Naomi Stevens who works for Optiheat Renewables, who design, install and service renewable energy heating solutions for homes in Devon.
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