As the effects of fossil fuel heating become more apparent in our everyday lives, many homeowners are seeking eco-friendly alternatives to traditional heating systems. Low carbon heating options offer a way to significantly reduce carbon emissions and energy bills, making them an attractive choice for those looking to make their homes more sustainable.
In this guide, we explore some low carbon heating systems that can transform your home into an energy-efficient and eco-conscious haven.
Traditional boilers, fueled by oil or gas, are gradually being replaced by low-carbon heating alternatives. Here are two noteworthy options:
Electric boilers use electricity to provide both heating and hot water. They are usually compact, making them suitable for homes with limited space. While highly efficient, they can be considerably more expensive to run than a gas boiler, and may struggle to meet the needs of larger households.
What’s more, electricity is still largely supplied from thermal power plants, which are extremely harmful to the environment. Using solar panels to power your home electricity is the best way to ensure that your heating runs on clean, renewable energy.
With that being said, an electric boiler is still preferable since it won’t create any air pollution, and the grid-power we use is increasingly supplied from renewable sources.
Biomass boilers burn sustainably sourced wood pellets, offering an eco-friendly alternative to gas or oil boilers. They are considerably more expensive, however, which is why it’s always a good idea to check if you’re eligible for any grants, and compare boiler quotes from multiple installers.
These systems are best fitted into rural homes where there’s plenty of space for the boiler unit, and plenty of shelter for the wooden fuel. While a biomass boiler is far less harmful to the environment than fossil fuel burners, it will still release some air pollutants as it burns.
Additionally, it’s important to make sure that your wood is supplied by sustainably managed forests, since excessive deforestation is another source of environmental harm.
Micro combined heat and power (micro-CHP) is an innovative technology that produces both heat and electricity. These systems are typically powered with natural gas, liquified petroleum gas (LPG), oil or bio-liquids, including biodiesel.
Despite often being run on fossil fuel sources, the technology can still be considered a low carbon technology since you would be generating heat and electricity from a single source, making it far more efficient than traditional heating and power supplies.
A typical domestic micro-CHP system has the capacity to generate up to 1kW of electricity once it’s fully warmed up. The amount of electricity produced over the course of a year is contingent on the system’s runtime. This means that the longer the system can operate, the more electricity it will generate to offset your household’s energy needs.
Heat pumps are versatile low carbon heating systems that transfer heat to or from an external source to provide efficient heating and cooling. There are several types of heat pumps to consider:
These systems draw heat energy from the outdoor air and can be either air-to-air for space heating or air-to-water for hot water. Air source heat pumps are cost-effective to install compared to other heat pump types.
Air source heat pumps are highly efficient. For every 3-4 units of energy produced, only 1 unit of electricity is used. Therefore, while electricity costs considerably more than gas per unit, these efficient systems will actually save you money in running costs compared to an old gas boiler.
Ground source heat pumps rely on the stable temperature of the earth, making them efficient year-round. While installation costs are higher, they provide consistent heating performance.
Ground source heat pumps can be installed horizontally or vertically, depending on the available outdoor space. It’s worth noting that a horizontal system will require significantly more time and resources to install.
Although they do cost more upfront, and installation might be more intrusive than some other options, these are highly efficient systems with efficiency rates of 400%, meaning you’ll save even more per month compared to a gas boiler.
These systems use a water source, such as a lake or pond, for efficient heating. They offer steady heating but require proximity to a water body. Backup heating may be needed in freezing conditions.
It’s essential to have a nearby water source to minimise energy consumption for pumping, allowing for potential long-distance sourcing with appropriately sized pipes, especially in a downward direction, for increased efficiency and savings.
Low-carbon heating systems offer a highly practical solution to the monumental climate issues facing us all. These systems not only help lower your carbon footprint but also contribute to substantial energy bill savings over time.
Although many low-carbon heating options might cost well over what many people would like to spend compared to the cost of a new boiler in the UK, there are various government initiatives that can help cover costs for many of these heating systems.
With the right low-carbon heating system, you can enjoy cheaper, more reliable energy for many years to come.