UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson set out firm future goals at last year’s COP26 event which saw leaders from countries around the world pledging to do more to tackle the worsening global warming crisis. One of the biggest greenhouse gas contributors in the UK is our households, with home heating responsible for approximately 14% of carbon emissions. This staggering statistic led the government to commit to making all of the nation’s heating systems low carbon by 2035.
Play your part in making UK households more environmentally friendly by taking measures to improve the efficiency of your home heating system. Leading green heating options include biomass boilers which burn wood to produce energy or heat pumps which move heat from outside into your home, but this relatively new technology is not widely commercially available and comes with a fairly high price tag. A more affordable eco-friendly option is to use a system operated by solar thermal heating panels fitted to the roof of your house.
While these environmentally friendly heating systems are the best way to drive towards carbon neutrality, they do not combat the main reason that home heating in the UK is so inefficient. The major problem is that British homes leak heat far more quickly than residential properties in Europe, driving us to use more energy than necessary to keep them warm. Therefore, before you make the decision to do a drastic overhaul of your current heating system, take steps to better insulate your home and install new radiators to heat rooms more efficiently. These changes are simple to implement but will nonetheless significantly reduce your energy use and the cost of heating your home.
Discover the various eco-friendly home heating systems that are currently available and decide which option is the best for you and your household.
There are various kinds of ‘green’ boiler available which are not without carbon emissions, but which are much less damaging than traditional gas boilers. Electric boilers are increasingly popular, with many electric combi boilers having achieved an 100% efficiency rating as no energy is wasted during the heating process. You could also consider a more unusual biomass boiler which is considered a carbon-neutral practice as it burns natural materials to create heat. Non-condensing boilers are a strong contender for a temporary fix: these are still operated by gas, but they waste less energy than traditional models.
Solar panels can be used to generate electricity and to heat water but there are different types for each purpose so double-check the model at the time of installation. Solar thermal heating panels trap radiation from the sun and use this energy to heat the water that supplies your kitchen and bathroom appliances and central heating system. In the UK, solar is unlikely to provide enough energy to guarantee a reliable source of hot water, so while this is a leading green option it will need to supplement rather than replace your existing heating system.
As radiators age they rapidly become less efficient. Initially some of these issues can be combated with simple fixes such as ‘bleeding’ the radiators to release air trapped inside the system, but after a few years they become corroded which causes irreversible damage to their functionality. Studies have shown that a new radiator can be twice as efficient as a twenty-year-old equivalent, and there are also models available that have been designed with effective energy use in mind. Electric radiators are another great option, especially if you are heating a small space.
Although not widely known about, heat pumps are likely to play a major part in meeting the UK’s target of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 with an estimated 19 million set to be installed at properties across the country. Heat pumps transfer external heat, from the air or the ground, into our homes. Operated by just a small amount of electricity, they are one of the most eco-friendly heating systems available. Hybrid options are also on offer which can be used to support existing heating systems.