Renewable Energy

This covers everything that does not involve burning fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas which produce carbon dioxide, and so one of the main causes of climate change. The other reason for moving away from fossil fuels is that we are running out of them. Renewable energy on the other hand will be around as long as the sun keeps shining as it’s not just responsible for solar energy but also biomass (mainly wood), wind, wave, tidal and hydro energy.

Ground-Source Heat Pumps

Ground-source heat pumps use pipes buried under the garden to extract heat from the ground. These pipes circulate a water/antifreeze mix which absorbs the ground heat and then passes through a heat exchanger into the heat pump. This can then be used to heat radiators, underfloor, warm air heating systems or the hot water in your home.

There are numerous benefits to using ground source heat pumps, such as:

–          Lower fuel bills

–          Lower Carbon Dioxide emissions

–          Eradicating the need for fuel deliveries

–          Minimal maintenance

However, unlike oil and gas boilers, heat is delivered over much longer periods and at a lower, steady temperature. For this reason, radiators don’t feel as hot when touched.

Ground-source heat pumps are more costly and difficult to install than air-source heat pumps, but they are more efficient. Most systems have a minimum operational lifetime of 20 years. Recommended maintenance guidelines suggest that you undertake annual system checks, with professional installers carrying out detailed checks/services every three to five years.

Finally, whilst ground-source heat pumps are generally allowed to be installed without the requirement for planning permission, please check with your Local Authority before undertaking any work.

Call us on 0800 622 6110 to find out more about Ground-Source Heat Pumps.

Air-Source Heat Pumps

Similar to ground-source heat pumps, heat is absorbed from the air outside and used to heat radiators, under floor, warm air heating systems or hot water.

Heat from the air is absorbed and turned at low temperature into a liquid which passes through a compressor, increasing its heat and transferring it to the heating and hot water circuits of the house. This can either be done by air-to-water or air-to-air. Heat can be extracted when the air temperature is as low as -15oc.

Benefits of using air-source heat pumps include:

–          Lower fuel bills

–          Lower Carbon Dioxide emissions

–          Eradicating the need for fuel deliveries

–          Minimal maintenance

–          They are easier and therefore cheaper to install than a ground-source heat pump

Most air-source heat pump systems have an expected operational lifetime of 20 years. Recommended maintenance guidelines suggest that you undertake annual system checks, with professional installers carrying out detailed checks/services every three to five years.

Unlike ground-source heat pumps, you must apply to your Local Authority to determine whether approval will be required for the siting and external appearance of air-source systems. As with all planning permission applications, it will need to be supported with a range of information and will have to meet several other conditions.

Call us on 0800 622 6110 to find out more about Air-Source Heat Pumps.

Wind Turbines

Turbines generate electricity using the wind. As an island based on the edge of the vast Atlantic Ocean, the UK receives significant amounts of wind (the Energy Saving Trust estimates we receive about 40% of all wind energy in Europe), making the UK a suitable place for the installation of domestic turbines. Large blades are forced round by the wind, which in turn drives a turbine that generates electricity. The stronger the wind, the more electricity is produced.

Domestic turbines are currently quite an expensive option – with two main types available on the market. Pole-mounted turbines are free standing, and are typically 5kW to 6kW in size. Building-mounted turbines can be mounted on a roof, and are typically 1kW to 2kW in size

Benefits of using wind turbines include:

–          Lower electricity bills

–          Lower Carbon Dioxide emissions

Wind turbines are typically expected to last more than twenty years. However, maintenance checks are necessary every few years. If the system is off grid, batteries (for the storage of excess generated electricity) will also need replacing as their lifetime is often significantly shorter than that of the turbine itself.

Call us on 0800 622 6110 to find out more about Wind Turbines.

Solar PV Panels

Solar panels , also known as solar photovoltaics or solar PV, use photovoltaic cells to generate electricity by capturing and converting the sun’s energy. Despite popular belief, they don’t require direct sunlight to work, and can generate electricity even in overcast and cloudy conditions.

Benefits of using Solar PV include:

–          Lower electricity bills

–          Lower Carbon Dioxide emissions

–          The ability to sell surplus generated electricity using the Feed-in Tariff

Solar panels require little maintenance other than being kept clean and free from sunlight obstruction (such as the gradual shading caused by tree growth). If the panels are above the ground and tilted at more than 15 degrees, they will be less likely to accumulate debris and will be cleaned by rainfall. Household PV systems typically last approximately 25 years but often require the system inverter to be replaced as the lifetime of this is often significantly shorter than that of the panels.

Call us on 0800 622 6110 to find out more about Solar PV systems and the Feed-in Tariff.


Renewable Energy Support

There are two government schemes that help support renewable energy systems:

The Feed-in Tariff – for solar electricity pays an index linked amount for 20 years for every unit of electricity you produce, even if you use it yourself, plus an additional amount for what you supply into the distribution network.

The Renewable Heat Incentive – for biomass (wood) heating, heat-pumps and solar water heating. They do not give an up-front grant for installation, but payment for up to 20 years based on the amount of electricity or heat produced.