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What is the most eco-friendly heating for your house?

Everyone is looking for ways to save money and help save the planet, so it's no wonder people are looking for eco-friendly heating solutions. Let's take a deep dive into the most eco-friendly ways to heat your home.

What is the most eco-friendly heating system in the UK?

Heating your home contributes to greenhouse gas emissions more than you think. In the UK, 17% of carbon emissions come from heating in buildings, and 13-14% of those are from domestic homes (source: catapult.org).

However, there are several ways to heat a home that doesn’t put undue stress on the planet. Let’s take a look at a few of the options.

Water source or ground source heat pumps

The greenest options for eco-heating systems are either water-source heat pumps (which take heat from a large body of water) with a heat battery or a ground source heat pump. Both of these pumps operate with equal efficiency night and day.

Geothermal heating systems

Geothermal heating systems are also one of the most eco-friendly ways to heat a home. These systems use the earth’s constant temperature as a source of heat in the winter and a sink for warmth in the summer. They’re highly efficient, with a coefficient of performance (COP) rating as high as 5. This means that for every unit of energy used to power the heat pump, five units of heat energy are provided to the home.

Additionally, geothermal heat pumps don’t burn fossil fuels, meaning they don’t produce any direct greenhouse gas emissions, which is a win-win for the environment.

Air source heat pumps

Another popular and eco-friendly option for heating a home is the installation of an air source heat pump.

These systems work similarly to ground source heat pumps, but instead of using the ground as a heat source, they use the outside air. They’re also highly efficient, with COP ratings as high as 3.5 (and don’t produce direct greenhouse gas emissions either).

Air source heat pump in back garden - eco friendly heating solution

Biomass boilers

Another eco-friendly option for heating your home is with a biomass boiler.

Biomass boilers burn organic materials, such as wood pellets or chips, to produce heat. Because the fuel is a renewable resource and often sourced locally, these systems have a lower carbon footprint than fossil fuel-burning systems.

Passive solar design

Finally, passive solar design is a cost-effective and environmentally friendly way to heat your home. This approach involves designing the home to take advantage of the sun’s energy to provide sustained heat during the winter. This can be done using large south-facing windows, thermal mass, and properly placed insulation.

Each of these options offers significant energy savings and will reduce your greenhouse gas emissions. However, it’s essential you ask a professional to determine what option is best for your specific home and location. This will save you time, help you avoid costly mistakes, and give you long-term peace of mind.

Read our advice article on smart green energy.

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Eco friendly boilers

If you’re keen to keep your home running on central heating, you might consider replacing your gas boiler for an eco friendly alternative.

When we talk about environmentally friendly boilers, we’re generally talking about boilers that can convert the majority of the fuel they burn into heat energy. While many of these boilers still burn fossil fuels and so can’t be considered 100% ‘eco friendly,’ they harness energy in a much more environmentally conscious way than traditional boilers.

What are the most eco-friendly boilers?

Biomass boilers

We mentioned biomass boilers earlier. Although they burn fossil fuels like wood pellets or chips, they make a fantastic green alternative to a gas boiler as they offer a form of renewable heating (as long as new trees are planted to replace those used for the fuel). They’re also very efficient.

Biomass boilers are a key form of eco heating for old houses that would require a lot of upgrading in order to install heat pumps.

Electric boilers

If your house runs on renewable electricity, electric boilers can be the most eco-friendly boilers around. However, if your house isn’t supplied by a renewable energy provider or source (like solar or wind power), an electric boiler couldn’t be considered 100% eco-friendly. That’s because fossil fuels will still be needed to create the electricity used to run it.

Still, electric boilers are certainly more energy efficient than gas boilers.

Hydrogen-ready boilers

Hydrogen is seen as a promising low-carbon fuel that could help the government to reach its goal of making the UK a net zero country by 2050. After all, when hydrogen is burned, it only produces water and heat.

Unfortunately, it’s not yet possible to heat your home using hydrogen. So, hydrogen-ready boilers are boilers that currently operate as gas combi boilers but can be easily modified to run on hydrogen when the time comes. In other words, they’re not eco-friendly right now but they’ve been made so they can be in the future!

Condensing boilers

Condensing boilers can’t be considered entirely eco-friendly, as they’re fueled by gas or oil. However, they have condensing technology inside, including a Flue Gas Heat Recovery System, which uses heat exchanges to retain energy and return it to the main heat exchanger.

In this way, they’re able to reuse heat that would otherwise be wasted, making them a greener alternative to traditional gas boilers.

What’s the typical eco friendly boiler price?

Eco friendly boilers tend to cost more than their traditional gas or oil-powered counterparts. For instance, while a typical combi boiler is likely to cost at least £3,000 for supply and installation, you’re looking at closer to £16,000 for a biomass boiler.

Just remember that they’ll cost a lot less to run – while an oil-fired combi boiler might have a fuel cost of 6.5p per kWh, a biomass boiler might have a fuel cost of 4.11p per hWh.

The exception will be electric boilers, which are some of the cheapest boilers to install. However, unless you’re getting your energy directly from renewable sources like solar or wind power, your running costs will be higher.

Eco friendly boiler scheme

If you’re keen to swap to an eco-friendly boiler, grants may be available. The Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS) is set to run until 2025 and could give you £5,000 towards a new biomass boiler. Most homes are covered by the scheme.

The scheme would also offer £7,500 towards an air source heat pump or ground source heat pump. One grant is available per property.

Low-income households may also be able to get funding from the Energy Company Obligation (ECO). An ECO boiler grant could see you get your old, inefficient boiler replaced from as little as £240. You’ll need to contact your energy supplier to apply.

What are the most efficient radiators?

Central heating is probably the most popular and easy-to-maintain option for heating your home, especially when you compare it to electric and underfloor heating solutions.

However, the type of radiator design you choose has a big impact on its efficiency. Let’s take a look at the most eco-friendly options on the market.

Panel radiators

One of the most efficient radiator options is a panel radiator. These radiators are made of metal panels that are heated by hot water or steam. They’re highly efficient because they have a large surface area, which allows for more heat to be emitted into the room. They also heat up quickly and can be controlled through smart apps to heat specific areas of your home.

Column radiators

Another efficient radiator option is a column radiator. These radiators are similar to panel radiators but have a more compact design. They’re also highly efficient due to their large surface area and can heat up quickly.

Towel radiator

A third efficient radiator option is a towel radiator. These radiators are designed to heat up quickly and have a large surface area. They also have the added benefit of being able to double up as a towel rack, which is useful in bathrooms or kitchens.

Low-temperature radiators

Lastly, low-temperature radiators are also considered efficient heating options. They’re designed to work with low-temperature heating systems, such as heat pumps, and have a high heat output. They can also be controlled, so they only heat specific areas of the home instead of the entire house.

Most efficient radiators and eco friending heating systems for your home

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What is the most efficient electric heater?

Electric heaters are considered almost 100% efficient due to how most of the electricity that powers them is converted into heat, making them the most eco-friendly heating solution on the market. Let’s take a look at a few of the more popular types below.

Electric heat pump

Electric heat pump systems extract heat from the air or ground outside and then transfer it into the home. They’re highly efficient, with a potential COP rating as high as 3.5, meaning that for every unit of energy used to power the heat pump, 3.5 units of heat energy are provided to the home. Another bonus is the fact they don’t produce any direct greenhouse gas emissions.

Electric radiant heater

These systems use electric resistance coils to produce heat and are typically installed in a central location, such as a hallway or living room so that they can provide warmth throughout the home. They’re super efficient, with reported COP ratings as high as 1.5.

Infrared heaters

These heaters use new and upcoming technology to revolutionise how we heat our homes. They work by emitting infrared radiation, which objects in the room absorb and use to heat themselves up. They’re highly efficient and can enjoy COP ratings as high as 1.2. They also have the advantage of being able to heat up a specific area or person, rather than the entire room.

Convection heaters

These heaters are considered the most efficient electric heaters as they use electricity to heat up a fluid, such as oil or water, which is then circulated through the home to provide warmth. They’re highly efficient and can have COP ratings as high as 1.1. They also have the advantage of being able to provide heat for an extended period of time, even after the electricity is turned off.

Read our blogs: storage heating cost guide and energy efficient heating solutions for your home for more information.

Cheapest heaters to run - eco-friendly heating solutions for your home

Cheapest heaters to run

In addition to being eco-friendly, another important factor to consider when choosing a home heating system is cost-effectiveness. The cheapest heaters to run are often those that are the most energy-efficient.

In that vein, electric resistance heaters convert electrical energy directly into heat and are relatively inexpensive to purchase and install. However, they’re not as efficient as other options, and electricity prices can vary depending on your location and the time you use your heaters (e.g. peak times are more expensive).

A natural gas furnace is a cost-effective option because natural gas is typically less expensive than electricity. Natural gas furnaces also have a higher efficiency than electric resistance heaters. However, it’s important to note the cost of natural gas can fluctuate, so it’s important to monitor prices and budget accordingly.

A third cost-effective option is a heat pump. Heat pumps don’t burn fossil fuels, meaning they don’t produce any direct greenhouse gas emissions, which can lead to lower energy bills in the long term.

NB: It’s worth noting the upfront cost to install these pumps is quite high. However, grants are available to help offset the costs.

Finally, a wood-burning stove or fireplace can also be a cost-effective option for heating your home, particularly if you have access to a source of free or low-cost firewood. However, it’s important to note you may need to reload the fuel frequently.

The most environmentally friendly way to heat your home

What is the most sustainable form of heating?

In conclusion, the most environmentally friendly way to heat your home would be through the use of renewable energy sources such as solar, wind or geothermal energy. Biomass boilers and passive solar home designs are also environmentally friendly and sustainable heating options.

What heating will replace boilers in 2025?

It’s difficult to predict with certainty what heating technology will replace boilers in 2025. It will depend on factors such as technology advancements, government regulations, and market trends. However, a few heating technologies are likely to gain popularity in the coming years as alternatives to boilers. These include:

  • Heat pumps
  • Micro-CHP (Combined Heat and Power) systems, which generate both heat and electricity by burning natural gas, propane, or other fuels in a small-scale power plant
  • District heating systems that use a central heating plant to generate heat, which is then distributed to multiple buildings through a network of underground pipes

Are eco boilers any good?

Eco boilers are great alternatives to traditional gas or oil boilers. Not only are they better for the planet, but because they’re more efficient, they tend to be better at heating your home and cheaper to run too!

How can I heat my house without fossil fuels?

Using any of the technologies we’ve discussed in this article! With the government’s Net Zero Strategy for a greener future by 2050, sustainable heating systems for your home will likely become mandatory at some point. That’s why it’s important to get ahead of the curve and future-proof your home.

Talk to a professional to determine the best option for your home and location and ensure the installation and maintenance of your chosen heating system are done correctly.

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