As concern for the environment and the future of our civilisation increases, many are turning their attention to eco-friendly alternatives to the old-fashioned ways of doing things. And this is just as true for heating. So, if you’re considering an environmentally friendly heating solution, what are your options? Let’s take a look!
Note: If you live in England or Wales, you may be eligible to have the cost of a heat pump installation reduced by £7,500 per the Boiler Upgrade Scheme. This potential £7.5K reduction is an increase from the prior reduction offered, with this new figure being possible since October 2023.
To start with, there is a growing interest in heat pumps throughout the UK. A heat pump harnesses energy from the environment (i.e. the air or thermal energy from beneath the ground) as a way of heating up a home.
As alluded to, there are different types of heat pumps. One way of categorising these is based on their energy source, with those being the options of air source heat pump or ground source heat pump.
Beyond that, air-source heat pumps can be defined as air-to-air and air-to-water heat pumps. In the case of air-to-air, warm air is used to heat the home directly, whereas air-to-water heat pumps involve water being heated up and distributed to radiators or an underfloor heating system to then heat the home.
Another potentially eco-friendly option is that of an electric boiler. However, it’s important to note that an electric boiler is only eco-friendly if powered by environmentally friendly electricity.
After all, if an electric boiler is powered by electricity sourced from the grid, in most cases, the electricity used will have been generated with the burning of fossil fuels.
With that said, there are a couple of ways to power an electric boiler that are eco-friendly. On the one hand, you could source electricity from a green energy provider that uses renewable sources of energy to produce energy.
Alternatively, you could power your electric boiler entirely or at least partly with solar panels or another type of on-site renewable energy system if suitable to your property.
For particularly large homes, a biomass boiler may be a viable option. Biomass boilers burn organic material (e.g. wood pellets and any other material suited to the specific biomass boiler in question) in order to produce the energy needed to heat a home.
Given that biomass boilers are large installations designed for large homes, it will come as no surprise that they are significantly more expensive than average boilers. In fact, a biomass boiler (on average) could cost anywhere from £4,000 to £20,000, with that factoring in both the price of labour and supply costs.
However, the Boiler Upgrade Scheme can also allow eligible households in England and Wales to benefit from a £5,000 reduction from the total cost of having a biomass boiler installed.
As already touched on, it’s possible to power a heating system with solar panels. However, this isn’t limited to having an electric boiler powered by solar-generated electricity.
Another popular option is that of solar water heating. Solar water heating systems involve the use of solar thermal panels designed to heat up a fluid, which in turn can heat up water so that the heated water can then be used for direct use (e.g. showering, hot tap water, etc.) one suitable and installed properly.
Infrared Heating Systems
Infrared heaters work by heating up objects rather than the air in the room. There is some evidence that infrared heating systems can reduce heating bills.
Where true, a lower heating bill also generally means a lower carbon footprint; thus, infrared heating systems are generally considered relatively eco-friendly.
To figure out whether a given infrared heating system could lower your carbon footprint, either analyse the details of the given system or consult with a heating engineer for their professional opinion/advice.
While not a heating system in itself, a smart thermostat can still be considered a great eco-heating option. After all, a smart thermostat, among other benefits, can increase the energy efficiency of your home, thus making it an eco-friendly option.