Renewable Energy’ is energy that comes from a constant and sustainable source, which does not harm the environment.
Save money by generating your own energy. Feed-in tariffs enable households to install renewable energy technologies to claim payments for low carbon electricity they produce.
As an example, a typical domestic solar electricity system with an installation size of 2.7 kWp could earn around:
This gives a total saving of around £670 per year.
This assumes a well oriented, un-shaded system, and 75% of the electricity generated exported. This figure will be lower for less ideal installations, and slightly higher if more of the electricity is used directly in the home.
Fossil oil took 500 million years to be created from plant substances, hermetically sealed and under high pressure. Fossil energy has a high energy content compared to what is gained with renewable energy. In the last 100 years more than half of the known resources have been used. Recoverable resources are expected to last around 40 years for oil, 60 years for gas and 130 years for coal.
Visible installations will probably not be allowed on listed buildings or in a conservation area however panels may be able to be hidden in valley of ‘M’ shaped Georgian roofs.
Solar eating provides hot water at 55-65ºC and can provide all hot water needs in summer. It can be mounted on the roof or integrated into the roof covering (this is especially viable when roof cover needs replacing). A system comprises solar panel or tubes, a heat transfer system and a hot water storage cylinder.
There are two types of solar heating: a flat plate (most common, slightly less efficient, bigger and cheaper), which turns 65-70% of the solar energy into usable heat or evacuated tubes (slightly more efficient and slightly smaller but more expensive), which have an efficiency of 80-85%
Biomass stoves and boilers supply heat or hot water to buildings. The term biomass includes a variety of organic material, such as trees and organic waste. Biomass creates CO2 emissions. However, burning wood only emits as much CO2 as the tree absorbed while growing, making it ‘carbon neutral’. A biomass stove may be located in a living room, whereas a biomass boiler is larger and may be located in a separate utility room.
Consider in advance the location and the size of the boiler including the flue and the feeder, and the space for storage requirement of fuel, such as logs, pellets and woodchips.
You can retrofit your wood burning stove in your unused fireplace; vents can be installed in the ceiling to provide heat also to the rooms upstairs.
Heat pumps use the warmth from the air or ground to create heat for heating and/or hot water. A heat pump uses electricity but uses only 1 unit of electricity compared to the 3-4 units of heat it provides (a conventional boiler will only produce about 0.8-0.9 units of heat from a unit of electricity). The reverse process can be used for cooling.
A heat pump runs constantly and uses constantly electricity. For a GSHP you will need access and space to drill a borehole or dig a trench.
The heat from the generation of electricity is used for space heating, which is otherwise lost at large power plants. Domestic CHP units vary in size and output. It is a renewable system when running by biomass; gas or oil can also be used and there will be a higher gain from the fuels.
These generate electricity from wind and they can be roof-mounted or stand alone. Their potential output depends on the location, the surrounding environment and its average wind speed, which needs to be at least 4m/s to be economically attractive.
A wind turbine was installed on the roof of the John Hope Gateway building at the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh.
Micro-hydro systems use the natural water courses and are capable of continuous generation (unlike wind generators for example). Although water flow is likely to be low in summer, hydro systems are very energy efficient.