Renewable Energy Technology and Your Home

With the recent launch of the Renewable Heat Incentive and Green Deal schemes, the spotlight has been firmly drawn back onto renewable energy technology and how it can benefit your home.

There are a number of factors to consider before you decide to have any kind of energy-saving technology installed in your home or garden and this guide will take you through the basics;

Air Source Heat Pumps

These pumps work by absorbing heat from the air which is then turned into a fluid. This is then passed through a compressor which increases in temperature, transferring this heat back into the hot water and central heating system of the house.

  • Benefits

Air Source Heat Pumps don’t require any external fuel sources in order to work and once they are installed, they pretty much run by themselves with very little maintenance.

  • Easy to Control?

Initially you may notice that radiators and such do not reach the same levels of heat as they did with your standard central heating systems. This is because Air Source Heat Pumps are a ‘long and slow’ option and work better when left to operate over longer periods of time.

Solar Panels

Typically, the solar panels you see on top of houses are of the PV type, which means that they are made from semi-conducting materials. During the day, these panels create an electric field across the surface, which is then converted into electricity that you can use in your home.

  • Benefits

If you sign up to the government’s Feed-In Tariffs you can earn money for any excess energy you produce, while still powering your own home. When the sun is out, it doesn’t cost you anything to take advantage of it so once your solar panel installation is complete, you will start to reduce your energy bills right away

  • Easy to Control?

As with wind energy, you can store up any excess you may get over very sunny days and either sell it back to the grid, or keep it ready for when you need it

Wood-Fuelled Heating

Most wood-fuelled burners are fitted in the living room or kitchen, although you can have them installed in a bedroom or outbuilding as well if you so choose. They use pellets or firewood to create heat which is then transferred to the rest of the house via the central heating and hot water systems.

  • Benefits

Aside from the rather pleasant look that wood-burners give your home, they are also generally cheaper to run than modern central heating options.

  • Easy to Control?

Wood-burners are messy and will require cleaning on a regular basis and you will need to have patience, wood-powered heating and hot water will take a while to get going. In the end how much energy you produce depends on how much fuel you burn.

Wind Turbines

Wind Turbines can be free-standing on a pole or fitted to your property, depending on how much space you have to spare. Simply put, when the wind blows it turns the turbine which creates energy. This energy can then be used or stored for your home.

  • Benefits

This is one of the cleanest forms of renewable energy and, as wind doesn’t cost you anything, once the initial installation is complete you won’t have to pay anything to get it running.

  • Easy to Control?

The obvious one – when there is no wind, the turbine won’t turn. However, this can be circumvented if you set up the correct storage solution and reserve any energy you don’t use from particularly windy days.

For more information about renewable energy and the options available to you, visit the Department of Energy & Climate Change.