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To do this Crusader has teamed up with the Energy Saving Trust (EST), the UK’s leading independent expert on home energy efficiency and renewable energy generation across the UK. Here we outline the pros and cons of each system so consumers can get up to speed at time when the market is in transition with new technologies, making decisions for households even harder.
Any system you decide on will need to last for years, and be capable of being upgraded, so getting to grips with the choices, based on suitability, needs and budget, as well as finding a qualified installer, is an essential first step.
Twenty-two per cent of UK carbon emissions come from housing stock, with 15 per cent of this coming from heat. Householders across the UK will need to move toward and adopt low carbon heating solutions to help the country reach its net zero carbon emissions target by 2050.
The EST offers advice and support around these decisions, illustrating that there are various types of renewable heating technology homeowners can install, such as a heat pump or solar photovoltaic panels.
Choosing the right installer for a renewable system
Heat pumps are the most widely talked about low carbon heating alternative to a gas boiler
These need space and investment. However recent consumer advice from Energy Saving Trust on debunking the myths around heat pumps can be found here – https://energysavingtrust.
1. Heat pumps are an attractive option for longer term planning as they run on mains electricity, which is becoming increasingly decarbonised. Ultimately, they have the potential to reduce carbon emissions from household heating to very close to zero
2. The two most common types of heat pumps – air source and ground source – that work by extracting heat from their surroundings (from the ground, the air, or from water) and transferring it to a liquid, which is compressed to increase the temperature further. The heat is transferred from the liquid into water which is used to provide heating, either through radiators or underfloor heating
3. When installing an air source heat pump to replace a gas or oil boiler, Energy Saving Trust advises homeowners to consider the following questions to find out if it is right for you:
o Do you have somewhere to put it?
o What type of heating system will you use?
o Is your home well insulated?
o What fuel will you be replacing?
o Do you need planning permission?
Ground source heat pumps
· Ground source heat pumps (GSHPs) use pipes that are buried in the garden to extract heat from the ground. This heat can then be used to heat radiators, underfloor or warm air heating systems and hot water in your home
· Installing a typical system costs around £14,000 to £19,000. Running costs will depend on a number of factors including the size of your home and how well insulated it is
· How much you can save will depend on what system you use now, as well as what you are replacing it with
· While the upfront costs of installing a ground source heat pump is greater, this type of pump is more efficient at heating your home, which results in higher fuel savings and lower energy bills
· For more information, visit – https://energysavingtrust.
Air source heat pumps absorb heat from the outside air to heat your home
Air source heat pumps
· Air source heat pumps absorb heat from the outside air to heat your home and hot water. They can still extract heat when air temperatures are as low as -15°C
· There are two main types of air source heat pumps: air-to-water and air-to-air and which you choose will determine the type of heat distribution system you need
o Air-to-water heat pumps are the most common model in the UK and distribute heat via your wet central heating system
o Air-to-air heat pumps require a warm air circulation system to move the warm air around your home, and do not provide hot water as well
· Air source heat pumps need electricity to run, but because they are extracting renewable heat from the environment, the heat output is greater than the electricity input. This makes them an energy efficient method of heating your home
· Installing a typical air source system costs around £9,000 – £11,000. Running costs will vary depending on a number of factors including the size of your home, how well insulated it is, and what room temperatures you are aiming to achieve
· For more information, visit – https://energysavingtrust.
Solar panels generate renewable electricity by converting the sun’s energy into electricity
Solar photovoltaic panels (SPVs)
· Solar photovoltaic panels generate renewable electricity by converting the sun’s energy into electricity. They are an effective measure that will cut electricity bills and your carbon footprint
· Most PV systems are made up of panels that fit on top of your roof or can be installed on the ground. You can also fit solar tiles or slates.
· Energy Saving Trust advises that a roof area of 10-20 square metres would be enough to deliver between 20% and 45% of the typical household’s electricity needs. Your roof will ideally be South facing, unshaded, and at a pitch angle of about 30 or 40 degrees
· When considering whether solar photovoltaic panels are suitable for your home, you will need to ask yourself if you have enough space and check with your local authority whether there are any limits or restrictions applicable
· The average domestic solar PV system is 3.5kWp and costs around £4,800 (including VAT at five per cent)
· For more information on solar panels, visit https://
You could increase the number of panels on your roof to provide more electricity for your hot water
Solar water heating
- If you have a hot water cylinder, instead of sending surplus energy to the grid, you could power the immersion heater in your hot water tank using a PV diverter and store hot water for use later
- While on its own, excess energy is unlikely to meet all your hot water needs, it can help reduce your bills. Your installer may suggest increasing the number of panels on your roof to provide more electricity for your hot water needs
- Another option for renewable hot water is solar water heating. To see if solar water heating is right for you, ask yourself the following questions
o Do you have a sunny place to put solar panels?
§ You will need around five square metres of roof space, which faces East to West through South and receives direct sunlight for the main part of the day
o Do you have space for a larger, or an extra hot water cylinder?
o Is your current boiler compatible with solar water heating?
o Will you need planning permission?
- Use the solar panel energy calculator to get a better idea of the benefits you may see from installing a solar PV system – https://energysavingtrust.
- The cost of installing a typical solar water heating system is £4,000 – £5,000. Bear in mind that the system can provide most of your hot water in the summer, although much less during the winter months
- The amount you could save will vary depending on your circumstances. Typical savings from a well-insulated and properly used system are £60 a year when replacing gas heating, and £70 a year when replacing electric immersion heating
- For more information on installing solar panels, visit energysavingtrust.org.
Energy storage systems allow you to capture heat and store energy
- Energy storage systems allow you to capture heat and store energy, link up renewable energy and sell energy back to the grid
- Heat storage systems fall into two categories – thermal stores and heat batteries. The type of heat battery you need, and its cost, will depend on your heating needs and on the heating system you already have
- Electricity batteries can help you make the most of renewable electricity from a solar PV system
- A typical 4kWh system would be able to power your kettle 37 times and will cost between £4,000 to £6,000
- For more information on heat storage systems, visit https://
New homes tend to have solid concrete floor which can have rigid insulation laid on top
- One of the first steps homeowners can take towards making their home more sustainable is to check it has good levels of insulation
- A quick and effective measure to consider is insulating water tanks and hot water pipes. Adding insulation here reduces the amount of heat lost, saving money on heating water
- Boiler jackets are available on open market to purchase. Cost savings per year dependent on various factors such as other energy efficiency measures installed in the home. Various boilers no longer need boiler jackets. Due diligence by customer is advised
- Find out more here – energysavingtrust.org.uk/
stay-warm-in-winter-five- areas-to-add-insulation-in- your-home
Solid / cavity wall insulation
- Around a third of all heat lost in an insulated home escapes through the walls, therefore by adding insulation here, you can significantly reduce the cost of your heating bill
- Most homes in the UK have either solid walls, that can be insulated from the inside or outside, or cavity walls, that have a gap that can be filled with insulation
- Typical installation costs of solid wall insulation can vary as follows:
o external wall insulation: around £13,000*
o internal wall insulation: around £7,400*
o * based on a typical semi-detached house in Great Britain. You might be able to reduce these costs by carrying out the work at the same time as other home improvements or by not tackling the whole house at once
Roof and loft insulation
- A quarter of heat from homes is lost through the roof in an uninsulated home, therefore insulating your loft, attic, or flat roof, is a effective and simple way to reduce heat loss, carbon emissions and your heating bills
- Loft insulation is effective for at least 40 years and it should pay for itself many times over
- Typical insulation costs*:
o Detached house – £395
o Semi-detached house – £300
o Mid-terrace house – £285
o Detached bungalow – £375
*Estimates based insulating a gas-heated home with a totally uninsulated loft (0mm) with 270mm of loft insulation. The recommended depth of mineral wool insulation is 270mm, but other materials need different depths. The average professional installation cost is unsubsidised, but prices will vary. Figures are based on fuel prices as of April 2019.
Ground floor insulation
o If your home has a ground floor, ground floor insulation is an option to consider
o Newer homes tend to have solid concrete floors which can have rigid insulation laid on top
o The most common type of flooring in older homes is suspended timber floors. Installing insulation under floorboards on the ground floor will save you around £40 a year on your heating bills
o If you do not feel confident lifting your floorboards yourself, you can hire a professional to do this as well as fit the insulation and replace the boards afterwards (due diligence by customer is strongly advised). A typical installation could cost you between £520 and £1,300 depending on the circumstances. Costs will vary depending on the size of your house and how accessible and easy the floorboards are to lift and replace.
Support and advice available to households across the UK
- Check with the Energy Saving Trust and if you live in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, advice and information on the schemes and grants available can be found through the following:
o Scotland – Home Energy Scotland homeenergyscotland.
o Wales – Welsh, Government Warm Homes Nest Scheme nest.gov.wales/en
o Northern Ireland, Northern Ireland Energy Advice nihe.gov.uk/Community/