How low-carbon heating can shrink your footprint
More and more of us are looking to reduce our carbon footprints. So in this article we’ll look at some of the best ways of doing that – either through making your home more energy efficient, or by switching to innovative low-carbon heating methods like heat pumps and solar thermal panels.
But first: what is low-carbon heating?
Traditional heating systems rely on carbon-rich fossil fuels like oil or gas. The more you use them, the more CO2 they pump into the atmosphere.
And because CO2 is a greenhouse gas, this contributes to the problem of global warming and climate change – one of the biggest challenges the world currently faces.
The good news is that low-carbon heating can offer just as much warmth as oil or gas-based heating systems, but it emits significantly less CO2.
Five ways to reduce your carbon footprint
Make long-term savings with a heat pump
Air source heat pumps use a little electricity to take heat from the air outside – and then use it to warm your home. The most common kind are air-to-water heat pumps.
These transfer the heat from the air outside to water, which is then distributed around your home via your wet central heating system. They can be used for hot water as well as heating.
Compared to standard boilers, they’re more efficient, produce fewer carbon emissions and can last a lot longer.
A heat pump will typically cost between £6,000 and £15,000. That’s significantly more than a new boiler, but you could save hundreds of pounds per year on running costs.
The government is also offering up to £9,000 financial help through the Renewable Heat Incentive – although the scheme is expected to close 31st March 2022.
Our friends at British Gas are already offering installation if you’re thinking of getting an air source heat pump soon. But if you’re still at the research stage, you might want to read this handy myth-busting article.
Go greener with a new boiler
If your boiler is more than five years old, the chances are a new boiler will be more energy efficient. That won’t just save you money on your energy bills – you’ll also be shrinking your carbon footprint.
If you’re unsure how energy-efficient your current boiler is, have a look on the boiler itself. Often there’s a sticker that tells you its rating. If not, a quick internet search of the model should tell you what you need to know.
Every new boiler fitted by Local Heroes is A-rated for energy efficiency – anything less than this and you could save on carbon and energy bills by investing in a new boiler
Our boiler installation packages start from £1,499 – or jut £31.47 a month if you prefer to spread the cost.
Pay for energy when it’s cheaper with a storage heater
If you’re on a multi-rate (or time-of-use) energy tariff, an electric storage heater is worth thinking about.
Storage heaters work through the night while electricity’s cheaper. They store heat in a bank of ceramic bricks, then release the heat over the course of the following day.
If your electricity tariff is zero-carbon – like every tariff offered by our friends at British Gas – you can keep your home cosy knowing you aren’t contributing to carbon emissions at all.
They’re also a good sustainable choice because storage heaters do their work at night, when there’s less pressure on the electricity grid.
Heat your home with solar thermal panels
When people talk about solar power, they’re generally referring to solar PV panels that generate electricity.
But did you know you can also get solar thermal panels that use the sun to generate heat? They’re super-efficient, work in cold climates and can even store energy.
Solar thermal panels are mounted on your roof and use sunlight to heat water in a cylinder. There are two types:
- Flat-rate collectors look like normal solar PV panels for electricity. They’re composed of a dark absorbing surface, a transparent cover, a heat insulating backing and a fluid that transports heat from the absorber to a water tank.
- Evacuated tube collectors are made up of glass tubes which fluid flows through. They’re much better for colder climates but can sometimes overheat when it’s very warm.
On average, solar thermal panels will supply 60% of your hot water needs and vary in price between £3,000 and £6,000.
Invest in cavity wall insulation
First popular in the 1920s as a cheap and very effective at blocking rain, cavity walls are essentially two walls with a gap – or cavity – between them.
Cavity walls are not particularly efficient at conserving heat, but that can be solved by pumping a special insulation material into the cavity.
The average house loses up to a third of its heat through the walls. Cavity wall insulation improves the efficiency of the home's heating system. This can significantly reduce heating bills and also help shrink your carbon footprint.
Cavity wall insulation requires professional expertise and costs between £300 and £725 depending on the size of your home.
We’re ready when you need us
So what do you think? Ready to make improvements that will make your home more sustainable? If you decide to go ahead, we’re always on hand to help.