Renewable Energy

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PlumbNation Heating Supplies Renewable Energy Guide

Renewable energy is energy derived from natural, renewable resources such as sunlight, geothermal heat and wind, as opposed to fossil fuels such as oil, gas and coal. With increasingly higher fuel prices and climate change many of us are considering renewable energy as an alternative fuel source. Many of us are still relying on non renewable energy for our day-to-day routines, however PlumbNation can offer you a great selection of renewable energy products to help you contribute to living in a cleaner, safer planet.

In 2008 roughly 19% of global final energy consumption came from Renewable Energy Solar Energy being one of them; Renewable Energy in electricity generation is around 18%. Many people around the world are awakening to the negative impact of CO2 emissions on the environment and the problems associated with the nonchalant use of non renewable energy consumption. As a result people are taking it upon themselves to make a positive change for the better of all.

You may think that to make a worthy contribution to cutting down CO2 emissions and your carbon footprint you will need expensive wind powered technology etc. but there are in fact many affordable solutions available for the domestic household that genuinely do work. PlumbNation Heating Supplies have a great selection of useful, accessible and affordable Renewable Energy products from the top manufacturers of the Renewable Energy and Heating industries.

Solar Energy / Solar Power offers a genuine alternative to non renewable energy such as gas, oil and electricity, which typically comes from a highly wasteful nuclear power station (two thirds of a nuclear power stations power is lost). By installing Solar Panels to your roof you can harness the sun’s solar energy all year round even with the UK’s typically overcast skies. Geothermal Energy is another reliable Renewable Energy source because with a Ground Source Heat Pump or Ground Heat Pumps you will be able to procure heat directly from the ground, as you will essentially be tapping heat from the earth itself. Realistically with Solar Power there is a term of 5 – 7 years before you will see a return on your Renewable Energy investment in Solar Energy, but many of us would consider this to be a small price to pay for saving the planet.

With rising fuel prices and an ever-growing consciousness for the environment, more and more people are realising the benefits that Renewable Energy derived from Solar Energy and Geothermal Energy can offer. The sun is here for us every day providing free energy and Solar Powered Solar Panels enables us to harness this energy for the home.

Solar Panels

Solar Panels are one of the most effective Renewable Energy products currently available as they can provide between 50%-70% of your domestic hot water.

Solar Panels / Solar Collectors are the main elements of a solar system. Public misconceptions about Solar Panels are still high with people believing that Solar Panels are powered solely by direct heat from the sun’s rays, meaning therefore that Solar Panels wouldn’t be a feasible Renewable Energy source for use in the UK due to our typically overcast skies. However the real truth is that Solar Panels also operate by diffusing light (as well as heat) from the sun using a special fluid (water and glycol) that is being circulated through the Solar Panel / Solar Collector. The heat gained from this fluid is then transferred to the stored water via a coil / heat exchanger within the cylinder, thus providing a substantial amount of hot water for the home. Solar Panels are therefore a very realistic option for Renewable Energy.

There are two main types of Solar Power Solar Panels used for Solar Water Heating systems; the first being Flat Plate Solar Panels and the second being Evacuated Tube Solar Panels. Evacuated Tube Solar Panels are specially designed to give maximum absorbency and are therefore considered more efficient, however they can also be more expensive to purchase and maintain. Flat Plate Solar Panels however are still highly effective but are also more affordable than Evacuated Tube Solar Panels, making them the more popular choice for Renewable Energy / Solar Energy. Flat Plate Solar Panels are also more flexible for use and can be installed vertically or horizontally.

Solar Panels can be installed on almost any roof type such as Slate, Tile, etc. Solar Panels can either be mounted On Roof, where brackets are fixed and the panels held into place, or alternatively they can be installed In Roof where the panels are set into the roof covering. In Roof Solar Panel applications tend to be used in new build projects rather than existing buildings.

The amount of Solar Power Solar Panels required for your property is determined by the amount of hot water that needs to be heated. We at PlumbNation Heating Supplies recommend that you seek further advice from your installer or manufacturer if you have any doubts about your requirements.

Solar Power Cylinder

Solar Cylinders are specially designed for Solar Power Solar Heating installations. A mixture of water and a special Glycol liquid (specially designed to absorb maximum heat from the sun’s rays) is circulated through pipe work in the Solar Panels. This liquid is then returned to the Solar Cylinder where the heat is transferred to the stored water via an internal coil / heat exchanger, the liquid is then pumped back to the Solar Panels to be reheated.

An additional coil is also required to obtain heat from an alternative source, if the heat from the Solar Energy is insufficient. This is most commonly referred to as Indirect Twin Coil Cylinder. Direct Cylinders can be used for Solar Power, with the added heat source being supplied via the internal immersion heaters. It is advised however to install an Indirect Cylinder, as this provides faster heating and recovery times.

Ground Source Heat Pump

A Ground Source Heat Pump or Ground Heat Pumps procure geothermal energy from the ground itself. Pipes lie underground, i.e. your garden, to draw heat from the ground, as beneath the seemingly cold surface the ground will remain at a relatively constant temperature. This means that a Ground Source Heat Pump can provide your home with safe Renewable energy all year round, whether it be a hot summer’s day or a cold winter’s night. Ground Heat Pumps can be utilised to provide central heating for your Radiators or Underfloor Heating making Geothermal Energy a genuine alternative to a conventional, non renewable energy powered central heating system.

Ground Heat Pumps are electrically powered systems that use the natural Renewable Energy stored within the earth, but how does this actually work? The easiest way to describe how Ground Heat Pumps work is to say that they function similar to refrigerators, except that they do it in reverse. A refrigerator transfers heat from inside itself to the outside of the unit, whereas a Ground Source Heat Pump will transfer heat from outside to inside its pipes, i.e. from the ground directly into its pipes which carry heat to the house. Ground Heat Pumps collect stored Geothermal Energy that is then transferred to the house via a collector system. The Ground Heat Pump will increase the temperature of the stored heat and then distribute that heat throughout the house via Underfloor Heating or Radiators.

With Ground Heat Pumps, there are no direct CO2 emissions, which helps contribute to a cleaner environment. Ground Heat Pumps also help conserve the Earth’s diminishing renewable fossil fuels such as Gas, Coal and Oil. Ground Heat Pumps are one of the best, highly efficient forms of Renewable Energy on the market today. The performance and efficiency of Ground Heat Pumps are measured in COP Ratings (Co-efficient of Performance). The COP rating is a simple calculation that works out how much energy the Ground Source Heat Pump is able to extract from the its Geothermal Energy source compared to the amount of electrical energy required to power the Ground Source Heat Pump. The higher the COP rating, the more efficient the Ground Source Heat Pump.

Ground Source Heat Pumps feature highly efficient and effective compressors, which allow for higher flow temperatures. The high output temperature allows Ground Heat Pumps to be effectively combined with Radiators. Radiators should however be typically oversized by around 30% in order to gain full effect. However PlumbNation recommended the use of an Underfloor Heating System as it this will provide the most compatible heat emitter. Scroll Compressors offer excellent COP ratings.

Mechanical Ventilation

Mechanical Ventilation Heat Recovery Systems (MVHR), also known as Heat recovery ventilation (HRV), help to remove contaminants from an air supply, replacing it with clean fresh air. Mechanical Ventilation Heat Recovery Systems extract hot air and uses its thermal energy to warm up incoming fresh air.

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