Renewable Energy for UK Homes

Renewable energy offers a lasting alternative for reduced energy bills and environmentally respectful fuel consumption. The government is also encouraging people to consider renewable energy through schemes such as the Renewable Heating Incentive.

So what does this mean for installers and suppliers of heating systems? Can we expect to see a significant impact on consumer demand? Read our discussion on the advantages and disadvantages of some of the most popular renewable heating systems on the market.

Biomass heating systems

In the most basic form of biomass heating a wood burning stove will produce concentrated heat to a single room within the property. The fuel for stoves is both cheap to source and renewable. Stoves feature in the Government’s carbon reduction targets as they provide ideal seasonal domestic heating.

Wood fuelled biomass boilers are connected to the central heating and hot water system to produce energy at a cheaper rate than some other boilers. High demands on resources for biomass fuel has raised concerns for carbon neutrality and sustainability, due to increased need for land material production and raised carbon emissions from transportation.

wood chippings

Air source heat pumps

The heat produced from these systems can be used to function in conjunction with various heating systems, working particularly well with underfloor heating. Air source heat pumps have a lower heat supply than oil or gas boilers meaning that extra costs can be incurred to replace existing radiators. These pumps absorb warmth from the outside air into a fluid. This fluid then moves through a compressor where its temperature is increased then transferred to the heating and hot water systems.

These do require electricity for power, meaning there is some negative impact on the environment, but they can also be used with sustainable energy sources to lower carbon emissions. They are particularly efficient in the summer as they utilise heat from the ground.

Ground source heat pumps

Ground source heat pumps function similarly to air pumps however they produce heating and cooling from utilising geothermal energy as a continual system. These pumps also require electricity to be powered which could result in costly bills. The installation process is much more disruptive than air source heat pumps; however they are more efficient to power.

These work most effectively at lower temperatures than traditional heating systems so require installation in well insulated properties.

Solar water heating/Solar thermal energy

Solar heat uses available energy from the sun to produce domestic hot water. The installation of solar panels offers the possibility to continually save money on electricity to heat water. They are particularly effective in summer, however during winter solar powered systems may require a conventional boiler or immersion heater to produce sufficient hot water. Solar energy is not the most efficient in colder climates such as the UK.

Thermal Stores

A thermal store collects and manages renewable heat to be used on demand. Easier to install with an existing heating system, thermal stores provide a simple alternative for renewable energy.

They are increasingly popular for domestic use because of their ability to store excess heat. Thermal stores can be used with either a conventional boiler or immersion heater. They can even be used with other sustainable mechanisms such as solar or biomass.

Thermal stores enable renewable heating systems to work at an improved efficiency; they also provide the property with heated water at mains water pressure.

thermal store