More Ways to Save Heat & Fuel at Home

More Ways to Save Heat & Fuel at Home

If you're prepared to take a long-term perspective and make a sizeable monetary investment, it's possible to achieve significant financial and CO2 savings on the heat and fuel you use at home.

Once you've done the simple things to save energy and fuel at home, you might want to move on to the more substantial and expensive things you can do.

See how you can make your home more energy efficient.

Install a condensing boiler

Payback time: 10-50 years. C02 savings: 0.5- 1 tonne per year. A condensing boiler is a high efficiency modern boiler that incorporates an extra heat exchanger so that the hot exhaust gases lose much of their energy to pre-heat the water in the boiler system. When working at peak efficiency, the water vapour produced in the combustion process condenses back into liquid form releasing the latent heat of vaporisation. You can purchase condensing boilers whether your fuel is mains gas, LPG or oil.

Heat your water from the sun

Payback time: 10-50 years. C02 savings: 0.5- 1 tonne per year. Solar energy can be captured by solar thermal panels. These panels absorb the energy from the sun and transfer it to heat water. Solar power water heating systems are the most popular form of solar energy used in the UK. The system is connected to the hot water system. Solar water heating systems can provide over half of a household's hot water requirements over the year. There are two types of solar water heating collector: flat plate and evacuated tubes.

Heat your house from the ground

Payback time: 50+ years. C02 savings: 1+ tonne per year. When the sun shines on the ground its heat energy is absorbed. Ground source heat pumps extract this energy, to use for space heating. So strictly speaking, the energy source that is used for ground source heat pumps is the sun and not the heat from the earth.

Heat your house with wood

Payback time: 50+ years. C02 savings: 0.1- 0.5 tonne per year. In order not to increase the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, it's important that the wood burned as a fuel comes from sustainable sources. This means that as trees are felled to be used as a fuel, more trees should be planted. That way, the carbon released during the combustion of the wood is reabsorbed by the new trees growing and the process is carbon neutral. Wood can be used as logs, wood chip and wood pellets in wood/pellet burning stoves or wood chip/pellet boilers for space and water heating.

Fit double glazing

Payback time: 50+ years. C02 savings: 1+ tonne per year. Double glazing is the UK's most popular energy-saving measure. If your windows need replacing, make sure that you specify 'Low-e' glazing, which has a special heat-reflective coating between the two panes of glass. This will reduce heat loss through the glass by nearly half. You can also ask for Argon gas-filled windows. Argon is a gas found naturally in ordinary air, but it transmits heat much less readily than the other gases in air, so helps you save even more money. Finally, look at the air gap between the panes; 6mm or 8mm are not really adequate, but 12mm to 20mm are much better are stopping heat losses (and also for reducing noise transmission).

Generate your own power from the sun

Payback time: 50+ years. C02 savings: 1+ tonne per year. Solar energy can be captured by solar panels. Photovoltaic (PV) or solar electric panels transform the solar radiation directly into electricity. PV or solar electric offers the ability to generate electricity in a clean, quiet and renewable way. The variety of applications for solar electric are numerous. Photovoltaic (PV) cells are used in simple applications e.g. calculators and watches and also for domestic and larger applications. Large PV systems can be integrated into buildings to generate electricity for export to the national grid.

Generate your own power from the wind

Payback time: 50+ years. C02 savings: 0.1- 0.5 tonne per year. Wind power has been used for many years to produce mechanical power for milling grain and pumping water. In recent times, wind turbine technology harness wind to generate electricity. The electricity is then exported either to the grid for use locally or to power a stand-alone application. This renewable source of energy has great potential in both onshore and offshore wind farms. Wind power is one of the cleanest and safest of all the renewable commercial methods of generating electricity.

Generate electricity using water

Payback time: 50+ years. C02 savings: 0.1- 0.5 tonne per year. The energy potential of moving water has been harnessed for thousands of years, originally using water wheels to drive mills and machinery. Hydropower currently produces 2% of the UK electricity needs. Whilst most of this comes from large dam projects installed many years ago, there is still an untapped small hydropower potential in certain parts of the UK.