Sustainability is a priority for so many of us now, and with gas and electricity prices rising sharply this year, it offers a way to reduce our carbon footprint and save money on utility bills. There are numerous renewable energy options to choose from that work well for UK properties – we’ve compiled our guide to renewable solutions that could be right for you.
What is renewable energy?
Since the Industrial Revolution, the world has depended on the likes of coal and oil to fuel our economies, fossil fuels that emit huge quantities of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. In the current climate emergency, sustainable or green alternatives such as solar and wind have become increasingly popular. These are renewable resources as they are constantly being replenished, plus they’re kinder to the environment.
How is renewable energy generated?
There are several options when it comes to generating renewable energy..
Solar power utilises sunlight to produce electricity and it does this through solar panels, or photovoltaic cells. They’re best suited to south-facing roofs which aren’t blocked by tress or other buildings, but east and west-facing roofs can also benefit, though the results won’t be as strong. Solar PV systems are cheaper to install than many other types of renewable energy. The energy they produce can reduce your energy costs considerably, especially if you have high daytime usage and an area large enough to install the right size of system for your needs. .
There are three types of heat pump systems – air source, ground source and water source. Air source heat pumps are popular for residential properties. They are a sustainable option and work by capturing heat from the air circulating outside of your home using a refrigerant. A compressor in the system raises the temperature to a point where it can provide heat and hot water. Air source heat pumps use less electricity than conventional electrical heating, but can be more expensive to run than a standard has boiler. However, installing an ASHP alongside Solar PV can reduce your bills considerably and create a much more sustainable, self-sufficient property.
Ground source heat pumps and water source heat pumps work in a similar way, but they collect heat energy using loops of pipes in the ground or a lake. The heat collected is cycled through glycol which passes through the loop and passes through a compressor to increase the temperature and transfer it to the circuits of your home. The cooled glycol then returns to the loop and the process is repeated. These systems are suited to larger residential and commercial properties.
Biomass boilers burn organic materials in a boiler or wood burning stove which then produces heat and hot water. They’re an environmentally friendly solution as they emit the same level of carbon dioxide as the plants absorbed when they were growing, so they are classified as carbon neutral. Another benefit of biomass boilers is that they burn fuel incredibly efficiently so they are typically more cost-effective than a standard fuel powered heating systems.
How to use renewable energy in your home or business
In order to choose the right energy source for your needs, you need to assess your current energy use and the practicality of each system for your property and location. For example, solar panels are an effective solution but if your roof doesn’t receive a lot of sunlight or is blocked by other tall buildings, and you don’t have space for a ground mount it may not be the most practical option.
Calculating your electricity needs will help you identify the size of the system required and how your energy needs fluctuate over the course of a year, or even per day, they will also show you any areas where you may be able to reduce your energy needs. Working with a reputable provider who has experience in this field can really help ensure that you make the right decision when you invest.
Renewable energy is a great investment to make as part of your efforts to be more sustainable– in some cases, it can even help to increase the value of your property. But it’s a decision that requires research and careful consideration to ensure that you’re purchasing a system that works with your budget, your property and your energy needs.
Inspired to switch to renewable energy? Geo Green Power can help. We have over 10 years’ experience in the renewable energy sector, and we’ve worked with countless customers around the country to supply, install and maintain green energy systems. Contact us today to find out more or to receive a quote.