Global warming is a critical concern for all of us, and so awareness of our responsibility to care for our planet has never been greater. One of the biggest contributing factors to global warming is carbon emissions, a large portion of which comes from the fuel we use to heat our homes and industry, i.e., coal, gas, and oil. To tackle climate change, we all need to make significant changes to the way we live and that means adopting new heating systems. If you are looking to reduce your carbon footprint, here is an introductory guide to environmentally friendly heating systems you may want to consider for your home.
Wood burning stoves
A wood burning stove is a steel or cast iron stove that burns wood in a fiery chamber. The fire produces heat for the room it is installed in and can also heat more rooms if it is connected to a wet central heating system. Burning wood logs is a carbon-neutral form of heating which means no additional carbon is released into the atmosphere through its use. When a tree is growing, it absorbs carbon from the atmosphere and expels oxygen, so when the tree is burnt, only the carbon it absorbed originally is emitted. Visit stonewoods.co.uk for more information on wood burning stoves and fireplaces.
Biomass boilers work on a similar principle to wood burning stoves as they burn a form of wood such as wood pellets or wood chips. The fuel is fed into the boiler either manually or via an automatic hopper. Boilers can produce enough heat for an entire home.
Heat pumps extract latent heat from the natural environment, compress it, and use it to heat water for your home. There are several types of heat pump depending on the heat source it uses. An air source heat pump takes heat from the air surrounding your home, whereas a ground source heat pump takes heat from the ground around and below your home. Alternatively, you could opt for a water source heat pump that extracts heat from a natural body of water such as a river or lake.
Heat pumps use a small amount of electricity to operate, so they are very cheap to run and for every kW of energy used, they produce 3-4 times that amount in heat for the home. They produce no carbon emissions when in operation which makes them a very environmentally option for homeowners.
Solar thermal panels
While solar photovoltaic (PV) panels convert the sun’s energy into usable electricity, solar thermal panels convert it into heat and use that heat to produce hot water for your home. The panels are installed on the roof of the home where they will be exposed to as much sunlight as possible. In each panel, there are tubes of fluid which absorb the heat so it can be transferred to a hot water cylinder via a heat exchanger.
While solar thermal panels usually cannot produce enough hot water for a home’s total hot water demand, they can significantly reduce how much you need to use via a traditional heating source, such as gas or electricity. This reduces both heating bills and a household’s carbon footprint.