Climate change and the debate on the effect of the use of fossil fuels and the adverse effect our environment, shined the spotlight on our lifestyle and how we contribute to a healthier environment. The way we use energy for cooling and heating came under scrutiny and we are all under pressure to use more environmentally friendly heating methods. In this article, we will look at some different types and the current UK position on environmentally friendly heating systems to assist you when deciding on the best system.
Current UK Position
According to recent UK statistics on electricity usage, heating and cooling of homes on average contribute to about 47% and water heating to 14% of total electricity usage. This equates to 61% of total electricity usage by UK households.
The UK Committee on Climate Change identified that the UK’s buildings during 2017 contributed about 19% of the total UK carbon emissions and the need to find a low-carbon heat source for an estimated 85% of UK households, currently using fossil fuel based energy.
Statistics show that the environment is under increasing pressure and that climate change will be responsible for more extreme climatic conditions, strengthening the argument for switching towards more environmentally friendly heating systems. Changing is complicated by the time, effort and costs initially involved in resorting to a more environmentally friendly solution. It is a known fact that despite a high initial cost, the systems pay for themselves over a period with the substantial savings generated. The UK government initiated a financial incentive to encourage households to use renewable heat. This will assist in meeting renewable energy targets and curbing carbon emissions. The incentive known as the Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (Domestic RHI) makes quarterly payments for 7 years to qualifying beneficiaries.
Environmentally Friendly Heating Systems
We will briefly describe and highlight some key benefits of some systems below.
Biomass Heating System
This system burns wooden logs, pellets, or chips to centrally heat buildings or separate rooms. Water can also be heated with the system. Some of the key benefits are the lower cost of heating fuel and the availability of certain financial incentives to reduce the cost of installation. The environment benefits as the carbon-dioxide emission are deemed to be equal to the amount absorbed by the tree during its growing cycle with sustainability dependent on the planting of replacement trees and local sourcing of the fuel.
Air Source Heat Pumps
Air source heating provides the most efficient conversion of energy to heat of all systems calculated to be up to 300% more efficient than electricity and up to 500% more effective than a conventional boiler. Air source heat pumps (ASHP’s) absorbs more than 70% of the warmth they generate from outside air, with no negative environmental impact. The clean, ecologically friendly heat produced can be used to heat your building, provide hot water without requiring much more maintenance than air source heat pump servicing. There are two types of AHSP’s namely Air-to-Water and Air-to-Air heat pumps.
Using of ASHP’s have the following key benefits:
• Lower installation cost than ground source heat pumps.
• Low maintenance with regular air source heat pump servicing required.
• The versatility of use with low running costs and carbon emissions.
• Qualifies for the UK governments Domestic RHI financial incentive.
Other available environmentally friendly systems like Ground Source Heat Pumps can be used to heat radiators, underfloor and warm air heating systems. Solar Water Heating systems can also be used to heat water for domestic use.