Renewable energy at home

January 19, 2023

With growing focus on going carbon neutral, how can you make your home more sustainable? There may be more options than you think…

Solar Panels

Solar panels are ideal if your home offers a sunny aspect, and you have the roof space. Many homeowners with solar panels benefit from lower energy bills and a lower carbon footprint.

You may be wise to wait to install solar panels if you are thinking of moving. The cost of installing them is usually recuperated within 15 years, so to reap the rewards, it’s best to plan ahead. Some new homes are sold with solar panels already.

Many solar panel users find the most efficient method of use is to charge them during daylight hours when being on-grid costs the least, and then use the stored energy during the evening.

Wind Power

On and offshore wind power is the UK’s most significant contributor of renewable energy. Wind power provided 26% of the total electricity supplied in the last quarter of 2021.

Placed in the right location, a 6 kw. turbine could create reductions in carbon dioxide totalling 1.9 tonnes per annum, plus savings of £610 a year. Used along with batteries, you can store the energy for less breezy days.

If you generate excess renewable energy and export to the grid, you could receive some financial return through the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) tariff, from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

Battery Storage

Perhaps undervalued, storing your renewable energy is proving to be an efficient, cost-effective method going forward.

Batteries have developed into home system solutions now, with smart features capable of automatically switching from one energy supply to another. Depending on the battery type, they can be used in multi-stacks for saving additional power, too.

Air Source Heat Pump

This lesser-known energy solution offers a way of heating your home and water and can be used with radiators and underfloor heating. An outside unit absorbs heat from the air through a liquid, then cycles this through a heat exchanger and pump, which raises the temperature and transfers it to your water. Becoming more and more widely used, air source heat pumps are available locally.

Renewable Energy Supplier

Whether you add a renewable energy solution to your home or not, it makes sense to choose an energy provider that you know uses a sustainable source.

If you already have an electric car with a car charging port at home, making a good choice of energy supplier means you’re not leaving behind one carbon issue, to replace it with another.

Conserve Water

With the exploding population and finite resources, it makes sense to conserve water too. On average, 30% of water supplied to homes is simply flushed away. Whilst it is good to keep your toilet updated with a water saving, modern dual flush, you can also purchase flush bags for older cisterns. If you keep taps in good repair too, you’ll avoid wasteful leaks. Water companies offer freebies such as shower heads, that might help save a little water, too.

Water butts are a great way of collecting rainwater, suitable for watering plants, and it helps to use a moisture retaining mulch, like bark chippings. Remember to water early in the morning or later at night when there’s less chance of water evaporation.

Your appliances make a difference, too. When choosing a new washing machine or dishwasher, look for energy ratings A-C and one with a manual or automatic half-load setting. Running machines on a full load and lowering the washing machine temperature to 30 degrees will save energy, water, and a few minutes of your time, too.

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