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What Is The Best Renewable Heating System?

When it comes to heating your home, you ideally want the best heating at a reasonable price. Not only this but you want to make sure that your heating system will be long lasting and suitable for your home. Another aspect that is quickly becoming apparent is that people want more sustainable heating, and to achieve this a renewable heating system must be used.

There are quite a few options when it comes to renewable heating, each option with its own advantages and disadvantages, so finding the best renewable heating for your home can be somewhat daunting; after all, whatever you choose will be keeping you warm and your house running smoothly.

Hopefully through this article we can help you find that green alternative to the conventional heating that you have been hoping for. Below we will cover what renewable heating is, the options you have and the pros and cons of each, take a look at the approximate costs, and see what the potential is for the heating systems being eco-friendly.

 

What Is Renewable Heating?

Of course, if you are thinking about getting a renewable heating system then you need to know what renewable heating is and what you will be working with in future. Standard heating in the majority of British homes is either electric or a mains gas boiler, but after learning about renewable heating more and more people are making the change to a different source for their heating.

Renewable heating takes advantage of sources of heat that are based in nature, not finite like fossil fuels are, and uses resources that can be replenished and found in most places. This means that these systems can be incorporated almost anywhere and will be run in ways that do not increase in cost or deplete in amount. A huge positive of renewable heating is that your carbon footprint is reduced, meaning that you are living in a more environmentally friendly way which helps with sustainability on both a local and a global scale.

Using sources other than gas and electric can give your home a constant supply of heating, often requiring less hassle than the conventional methods that are in place. There can be a lot to know about renewable heating but at its core it is a highly beneficial option for you and where you live, especially with the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI).

 

What Is The Renewable Heat Incentive?

Something to encourage you and help you to take that step into renewable heating territory is the Renewable Heat Incentive. This is provided by the government as a way to incentivise you to make the switch; it involves signing up to the scheme and meeting certain criteria with your heating system, with the potential for you to receive payments for the amount of eco-friendly energy that your renewable heating system provides you.

The scheme allows payments to you quarterly for 7 years, meaning you are getting money for your use of a sustainable option for heating. There is also a non-domestic option of the RHI which allows such payments for up to 20 years. By the end of the incentive, you should be reimbursed for making that choice to utilise a renewable heat system.


Read more about the Renewable Heat Incentive with our Complete Guide To RHI


 

What Are Your Options For Renewable Heating? And the Pros/Cons Of Each?

There are some main options when it comes to viable renewable heating solutions, this is great as it gives you some freedom to evaluate what will work best for you and see how the heating systems work. What you are able to select will depend on your budget, your home layout, and what you personally want to choose. Having a renewable heating system installed in place of your current source for heat can also affect what is possible, with a new build house or building it is more likely that your options will be wider because things can be more fit for purpose. That being said, there are still excellent outcomes when it comes to installing a more sustainable heating system for your home. Here are the top renewable heating options to take into consideration.

Ground Source Heat Pumps:

As the name suggests, ground source heat pumps extract heat from the ground through pipes called ‘ground loops’ that are buried a few metres under the ground in what land is available, such as your garden or through boreholes piled 100’s of metres vertically into in the ground. The heat is taken into a compressor to increase the temperature and then used in the home to heat radiators, water, and underfloor heating. The ground source heat pump varies depending on your property, for example a larger home would require more ground loop so that enough heat can be obtained and provided throughout the home.

Advantages:

  • Requires less work and maintenance than conventional heating
  • Saves money over time, costs less to run than gas boilers
  • Takes up little space, no need to store fuels
  • High RHI rate
  • Very good for the environment, efficient and sustainable form of heating

Disadvantages:

  • Quite pricey to install, though will save money over time
  • Installing causes some disruption to the land it is installed in
  • If done poorly, the pumps will be less effective

 

Air Source Heat Pumps:

This renewable heating system functions by taking heat from the air outside and absorbing it as a fluid which is moved into a compressor, much like with ground source pumps, where the temperature is raised and then pumped around your property to either be used in the water and central heating circuits, or via a fan system that will heat rooms.

Advantages:

  • Can provide heat even when air temperatures are as low as -15 degrees Celsius
  • Potential to operate for a long time, up to 20 years
  • Cheaper than some other options
  • Faster and easier installation when compared to ground source pumps
  • Safe to run

Disadvantages:

  • Space is needed on an outer wall to hold the external unit
  • Running costs increase during colder times
  • More insulation may be required for heating to be efficient

 

Biomass Boilers:

A biomass boiler utilises wood pellets, chips, or logs to generate heat. The boiler burns the wood that is fed into it, converting that into heat to be used in one room or pumped around the home via a central heating system.

Advantages:

  • Very environmentally friendly as it can use waste wood and the fuel is renewable by growing more trees
  • Efficient and can compete well with gas boilers
  • Cost-effective and prices that are stable compared to fossil fuels

Disadvantages:

  • Maintenance and care is required more so than other options
  • Can take up quite a bit of space, including storage for the fuel
  • Initially expensive to get up and running

 

Solar Thermal System:

Using the heat radiation from the sun, a solar thermal system is a great way to gain renewable heating without the need to find fuel. Panels can be placed on the roof of your home to collect heat from the sun and send that heat through the house.

Advantages:

  • Low maintenance cost and long life
  • Highly sustainable
  • Can bring savings on energy bills

Disadvantages:

  • Consistently expensive
  • Need other heaters just in case during winter
  • Can only provide so much, not a complete solution. Mostly for water heating

 

What Is The Greenest Way To Heat Your Home?

Though these renewable heating systems are all green and eco-friendly, some are more so than others. To find the greenest way to heat your home effectively you must look at the carbon footprint for the source that you are gaining heat from, and how well the system performs.

We can see that solar thermal heating is theoretically great due to it using the suns heat, but ultimately it is outperformed by a biomass boiler or a heat pump. Heat pumps do require some electricity to run but this could be assisted by using wind or solar energy, whilst biomass boilers use up wood from trees which are an essential part of the eco system even if waste wood is reused and more trees are planted.

At the moment there is no ultimate renewable heating system that will sort all of our heating problems and each application will present itself with a different solution. Careful analysis and design will ultimately define the most effective and sustainable route to go.

 

So, What Is The Best Renewable Heating System?

Looking at all of the areas covered in this blog post, it can be seen that there are many benefits of installing a renewable heating system for your home, utilising renewable heating brings savings for you and the satisfaction that you are doing something positive for sustainability. There is not an ultimate option that will be the best solution for everyone’s heating needs, instead you can look at the factors that will affect the system and which will be most effective for you.

Perhaps the best option for renewable heating will be the one that you can get the most heat out of and gain money through the Renewable Heat Incentive, ensuring that your switch to using a renewable heating system is worthwhile. You will also want your heating to last and have little need for maintenance, luckily all options are good for this as they are built and installed to last well and use a source of heat with a supply that will not cease.

 


If you would like to find the best renewable heating system for you, then please contact us here at A Greener Alternative and we can help you to decide on what the best renewable heating system will be for your requirements. We offer free onsite surveys and can provide our expertise on renewable heating all across the South East of England. You can get in touch with A Greener Alternative by using our Contact Form, by emailing us at: info@agreeneralternative.co.uk or by calling us on: 01273 455695. Discover more about A Greener Alternative and what makes us a leading installer of renewable heating systems in Sussex and The South East today…