Save money and the environment
Photovoltaic or PV panels convert light energy into electricity (unlike the less effective old-school panels that needed direct sunlight and heat energy to work); the more light converted into electricity, the less electricity you’ll need from your energy provider and therefore the lower your bill at home or at your place of work.
When the solar PV system is generating power it automatically feeds the appliances you are using at the time, avoiding ‘importing’ electricity from the grid, and reducing your electricity bill.
Savings can be maximised by using electrical appliances (such as dishwashers and washing machines), during the day to take advantage of the free solar electricity.
Solar for business makes even more sense, as consumption is highest during the day. This means a greater proportion of the energy generated can be used on site, meaning faster returns.
If your solar panels are not generating enough electricity for your needs, or it is dark, your home will “import” any electricity needed from the grid as normal. You won’t notice any change in the way electricity is delivered to your property.
Fantastic free electricity - save money and the environment.
Solar Hot Water
Solar thermal systems generate hot water by collecting free heat from the sun.
These systems tend to come in flat plate or evacuated tube collectors mounted on flat/pitched roofs, or walls, the systems then link into your existing hot water system with minimal disruption to supply you with hot water.
They can save you as much as 60% on your hot water bills.
This means you will save money, reduce your reliance on energy suppliers and reduce your Carbon footprint - win, win all round.
Rainwater harvesting systems
A rainwater harvesting system is connected to services and appliances to use rainwater for toilet flushing, laundry and garden irrigation. Rain falling on the roof of a building is channelled via the existing gutters and down pipe to a filter which removes leaf litter and other debris before diverting the water into a storage tank. When an appliance demands water a pump is automatically activated and draws water from the tank or a header tank dependent on the type of system employed.
Rainwater utilisation should be a practical and affordable conservation measure for all buildings.
It takes energy to retrieve and clean water for your building it takes energy to supply water to your building, why not use water that falls from the heavens to help you save money and reduce your carbon footprint at the same time.
Ultra Slim Wall Tank System
1 Rainwater filter, diverter, tank overflow and back flow prevention.
2 Rainwater tanks with steel support frame.
3 Insulated tank outlet and cable to float switch.
4 On demand wall mounted pump package.
5 Rainwater main to services.
6 Garden watering via rose gun.
7 Mains top up valve connected to float switch at the tank base.
Air source heat pumps
An air source heat pump (ASHP) absorbs heat from outside air at low temperature into a fluid, then boosts it to a higher temperature by passing the fluid through a compressor, and transfers its higher temperature heat to the heating and hot water circuits of the house. The pump needs some electricity to run, but it should use less electrical energy than the heat it produces. Alternatively you could consider using solar photovoltaic panels or a wind turbine (if you are in a suitable area) for a greener source of electricity.
There are two main types of ASHP systems.
An air-to-water system distributes heat via your wet central heating system. Heat pumps work much more efficiently at a lower temperature than a standard boiler system would. This makes them more suitable for underfloor heating systems or larger radiators, which give out heat at lower temperatures over longer periods of time.
An air-to-air system produces warm air which is circulated by fans to heat your home. They are unlikely to provide you with hot water as well.
Depending on the type of system you install, this heat can then be used:
The benefits of air source heat pumps:
Ground source heat pumps
Ground source heat pumps (GSHPs) use a loop of pipe buried in the garden which extract heat from the ground. They circulate a mixture of water and antifreeze around the loop of pipe (a ground loop), which absorbs heat from the ground, this then passes through a heat exchanger into the heat pump, and from there into the heating and hot water circuits of the house. The cooled ground-loop fluid then passes back into the ground where it absorbs further energy from the ground in a continuous process as long as heating is required. The ground stays at a fairly constant temperature under the surface, so the heat pump can be used throughout the year.
The length of the ground loop depends on the size of your home and the amount of heat you need. Longer loops can draw more heat from the ground, but require a larger garden. Normally the loop is laid flat or coiled in trenches about two metres deep, but if there is not enough space in your garden you can install a vertical loop down into the ground to a depth of up to 100 metres for a typical domestic home. Heat pumps have some impact on the environment as they need electricity to run, but the heat they extract from the ground, the air, or water is constantly being renewed naturally.
These systems can be used to:
The benefits of ground source heat pumps:
You can generate electricity at home with small-scale wind turbines. Wind turbines use large blades to harness the power of the wind. When the wind blows, the blades are forced round, driving a turbine which generates electricity. The stronger the wind, the more electricity produced. About 40% of all wind energy in Europe blows over the UK, making it an ideal country for domestic turbines (known as microwind or small-wind turbines). A typical system in an exposed site can easily generate more power than your lights and electrical appliances use.
The benefits of wind turbines:
Hydro technology uses running water to generate electricity, whether it's a small stream or a larger river. All streams and rivers flow downhill. Before the water flows down the hill, it has potential energy because of its height. Hydro power systems convert this potential energy into kinetic energy in a turbine, which drives a generator to produce electricity. The greater the height and the more water there is flowing through the turbine, the more electricity can be generated.
The amount of electricity a system actually generates also depends on how efficiently it converts the power of the moving water into electrical power. Small or micro hydroelectricity systems, also called hydropower systems or just hydro systems, can produce enough electricity for lighting and electrical appliances in an average home.
The benefits of hydro systems:
Cut your electricity bills
A hydro system can generate 24 hours a day, often generating all the electricity you need and more.
Be paid to generate energy
If eligible, you'll get payments from the Feed-in Tariff for all the electricity you generate, as well as for any surplus electricity you sell back to the grid.
Cheap heating and hot water
A hydro system may generate more electricity than you need for lighting your home and powering your electrical appliances - so you can use the excess to heat your home and your hot water too.
A cheaper option for off-grid homes
Cut your carbon footprint
Hydroelectricity is green, renewable energy and doesn't release any harmful carbon dioxide or other pollutants.
Micro - CHP (Combined Heat and Power)
Heat your home and generate electricity at the same time with a micro-CHP unit.
Micro-CHP or micro combined heat and power is a technology which generates heat and electricity simultaneously, from the same energy source. Domestic micro-CHP systems are currently powered by mains gas or LPG; in the future there may be models powered by oil or bio-liquids. Although gas and LPG are fossil fuels rather than renewable energy sources, the technology is still considered to be a ‘low carbon technology’ because it can be more efficient than just burning a fossil fuel for heat and getting electricity from the national grid.
The main output of a micro-CHP system is heat, with some electricity generation, at a typical ratio of about 6:1 for domestic appliances.
A typical domestic system will generate up to 1kW of electricity once warmed up: the amount of electricity generated over a year depends on how long the system is able to run. Any electricity you generate and don't use can be sold back to the grid. The only difference to a standard boiler is that they are able to generate electricity while they are heating water.
There are three main micro-CHP technologies (the difference is the way in which they generate electricity):
The benefits of micro-CHP
Wood-fuelled heating systems, also called biomass systems, burn wood pellets, chips or logs to provide warmth in a single room or to power central heating and hot water boilers.
A stove burns logs or pellets to heat a single room - and may be fitted with a back boiler to provide water heating as well. A boiler burns logs, pellets or chips, and is connected to a central heating and hot water system. A wood-fuelled biomass boiler could save you hundreds of pounds a year compared to electric heating.
Affordable heating fuel
Although the price of wood fuel varies considerably, it is often cheaper than other heating options.
Wood fuel boiler systems could benefit from the Renewable Heat Incentive.
A low-carbon option
The carbon dioxide emitted when wood is burned is the same amount that was absorbed over the months and years that the plant was growing. The process is sustainable as long as new plants continue to grow in place of those used for fuel. There are some carbon emissions caused by the cultivation, manufacture and transportation of the fuel, but as long as the fuel is sourced locally, these are much lower than the emissions from fossil fuels.
Choosing a wood-fuelled heating system:
Boiler or stove?
Chips, pellets or logs?
Do you have a local fuel supplier?
Do you have space?
Do you have somewhere to put the flue?
Do you need permission?
Radiators Vs underfloor heating
To make your fuel bills even cheaper, install underfloor heating, which is much more efficient than heating with radiators. Underfloor heating is most cost-effective when installed in a new build property and works especially well with a ground source heat pump.
Underfloor heating produces more comfortable, evenly spread warmth at a lower temperature than radiators, which makes it more efficient. On average, underfloor heating in a modern home would cost around 25-30% less to heat than a home with radiators.
EcoFrenzy has researched the market and to the best of our knowledge, figures and data are accurate at the time of publication. EcoFrenzy is not responsible for any inaccuracies and will not engage in correspondence, but will update facts and figures when necessary or appropriate.
The data we use to work out energy and water costs come from a range of reliable international sources to give an average figure. Figures are rounded up or down to the nearest whole number.
* Total amounts potentially saved do not include lighting in individual rooms, or use of secondary heating.