There is no doubt that if oil and gas have been the primary sources of heat energy in the past, renewable energy is most definitely the way of the future. While renewable energy is good for the environment, your renewable energy investment will also pay for itself over time, through genuine savings on your energy bills. And there are also excellent renewable energy grants currently available in the UK.
Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme
The Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme provides financial support to encourage homeowners, businesses and communities in England, Scotland and Wales, to switch to renewable heating technology. The aim of the incentive is to increase heating generation from renewable energy sources to 12 per cent by 2020, which could save up to 60 M tonnes of CO². It’s worth noting that heating currently accounts for 60 per cent of average domestic energy bills and 47 per cent of the UK’s CO² emissions.
What is Renewable Energy?
Renewable energy comes from energy sources which are considered to be environmentally friendly, non-polluting, renewable and sustainable. An important point to consider is whether a natural resource is being depleted in order to obtain the required energy. Fuel sources such as oil, gas and coal can be described as fossil fuels. Once they have been consumed in order to produce heat or other forms of energy, they cannot be replaced, unlike renewable energy sources such as Wind Energy, Solar Energy, Geothermal Energy, Biomass Energy and Hydro / Tidal Energy.
Renewable Energy Sources
Renewable energy is available in many forms, including the following:
Wind energy can be captured through the installation of domestic or commercial Wind Turbines. Wind Turbines convert the kinetic energy of the wind into electricity, and this power can then be used to provide for the electricity requirements of your home or commercial property. The power generated by a Wind Turbine can either be stored in a Battery Pack (Stand Alone system) or released to the Electricity Grid (Grid Tied system), as well as being available to meet your ongoing, day-to-day electricity needs.
Solar energy is collected from the sun. In the renewable energy sector, there are two main types of solar panels which provide distinct benefits to customers: (i) Solar Thermal Panels, which are primarily used to provide Daily Hot Water, but which can also be used for heating, and (ii) Solar PV Panels, which are used to generate electricity. Solar energy is a renewable energy source as we have a continuous supply every day.
Evacuated Tube Solar Thermal Panel
Heat Energy from the Ground (Geothermal), Air or a Water Source
The natural heat energy from the Ground has long been used in Scandinavian and European countries as the renewable energy source for Ground Source Heat Pumps, which can be installed as part of either a Horizontal or a Borehole system. In a similar manner, Air Source Heat Pumps can derive heat energy from the ambient Air temperature and Water Source Heat Pumps can be connected to a nearby Water Source.
In the renewable energy sector, Biomass usually refers to the use of renewable materials such as Wood Pellet, Wood Chip, Wood Logs, Wood Shavings or any other organic, renewable materials to fuel a Heat Source for a domestic or commercial property, such as a Boiler or a Stove. Biomass energy is generated through the burning of these materials or even plant crops such as miscanthus (elephant grass).
Biomass Fuel Source - Wood Logs
Hydro / Tidal Energy
Hydro power is one of the oldest forms of renewable energy, generating power from the movement of water. In perhaps its most common form, water is moved through turbines located in Dams to generate energy, which is renewable, as the water can be reused or returned to its natural state once the energy has been created. Increasingly Hydro, and in particular Tidal energy, is being harnessed by the renewable energy sector in order to generate electricity from tidal movement, which can then be distributed via the National Grid.
Mechanical Heat Recovery Ventilation
Perhaps less well known than the renewable energy sources mentioned above, it is nonetheless worth highlighting the “renewable” aspect of Heat Recovery Ventilation systems. These systems effectively extract moisture and odours from areas such as kitchens and bathrooms in a property and expel this into the atmosphere. However, before the stale air is expelled, over 90% of the heat energy is captured and used to pre-heat the incoming fresh air, so the building remains warm. So, while the HRV system is powered by electricity, the heat remains and is used time and time again within the property.
There are many different forms of renewable energy, so there is sure to be at least one that suits your home, property or particular circumstances. Click on any of the links above to read more about the different options available.
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