Produce Energy at Home

Produce Energy at Home

Once you have taken action to improve the use of energy at home, it's a good idea to see if you can also generate electricity or heat from your house. The energy produced can be used for heating the building or generating electricity. It's usually called renewable energy as it's created from naturally occurring renewable sources but it's also sometimes known as microgeneration.

Main ways of producing energy at home

There are three main ways to produce renewable energy at home, that could be used in most British houses:

  • Solar power uses the sun’s energy either to directly heat water (solar water heating) or to generate electricity (Photovoltaic or Solar PV).
  • Biomass (plant products or animal waste) can be burned to directly heat your home or to heat water - the most common fuel used is wood, although plant oils and other crops can also be used.
  • Heat pumps extract energy in the ground, water or air, and concentrate it into a form that can be used to heat homes or water. Ground source heat pumps make use of heat that has been left by the sun's rays warming the ground; water is then pumped through pipes buried in the ground and the heat is captured and transferred to radiators or to a hot water tank. Air source heat pumps suck in air from the outside, and lower its temperature by a few degrees (a bit like a fridge); the heat extracted can also then be used to heat water.

Other ways of producing energy at home

In addition, there are two other, more rarely used ways:

  • Wind power can be used to generate electricity using turbines (windmills), although the evidence is that micro-turbines mounted on a home's roof in towns are not usually worth installing - you need to mount them on a pole or mast in a relatively exposed location.
  • Running water can also be used to generate electricity using a turbine (small-scale hydropower) if your home has a convenient mill stream or similar.

To learn more about each of these types of renewable energy and the technology to make it happen, see our page: Renewable Energy Technologies.

Incentives to producing energy at home

There are the following incentives for people to produce renewable energy at home: