Renewable Energy options are available for homes, businesses and community buildings. They range from solar panels heating hot water just with the heat of the sun, through to hydro turbines, heat pumps, and wind turbines with many others in-between. It is not recommended to start looking for a renewable energy device until you have done an evaluation and made best efforts to save energy first. Grants and 0% loans are available for home owners, and the UK Gov are due to implement new Feed In Tariffs FIT’s. See : http://www.fitariffs.co.uk/ and also http://www.rhincentive.co.uk/
New builds are an ideal time to fit renewable energy solutions, but retro fitting existing buildings is also possible.
So have a look at your energy usage today and then take a look at the range of technology that’s available. The Energy Saving Trust can provide a free consultancy audit of your home to recommend home improvements and then to explain what renewable options might be best for your home and how you live in it.
What can I do ?
- Solar Thermal (Hot water) – perhaps the simplest technology to fit. Free hot water in the warmer months. Will save you running your boiler. Note that this does NOT heat your radiators and you need a HW cylinder with at least 2x coils.
- Solar PV – these generate electricity and are supported by the new Fed In Tariff scheme, so you could get 41p/kWh back for fitting and also an extra 3p/kWh for any electricity fed back to the grid.
- Biomass – a log/pellet burning stove or boiler. Special chimney liners required.
- Ground Source Heat Pump – takes heat from the soil to warm your home. Best used with underfloor heating. Can be horizontal or vertical pipe but you will need planning permission.
- Air Source Heat Pump – takes heat from the air outside your home. Less efficient than GSHP’s but easier to fit.
- Wind Turbine – a good option if you live in a rural location away from other buildings or trees, but only work when it’s windy and in areas of good average wind speeds.
- micro-Hydro – if you are lucky to live beside a river or stream.
Renewables sub-group aims : To research opportunities for the local community and to present them for consideration. To help support those wishing to install renewables.
Examples of Energy Audits :
CAT energy audit for the village of Malhamdale, Yorkshire
http://www.sgurrenergy.com/ – Glasgow based Renewables Consultants
http://www.onsitegeneration.co.uk/ – Training services for Renewables
http://www.communityenergyscotland.org.uk/ – Lists of real examples already installed
http://www.free-energy.org.uk/ – Fintry tapping into a wind farm and getting 1x turbine for their community.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/video/2008/may/19/wind.powered.com… – Video on building your own wind turbine.
http://www.advancedplasmapower.com/ – Energy from Waste
http://www.yougen.co.uk/ – general advice on renewables
Excellent initial Advice on Hydro Power
Biomass. Is it clean or not ? Depends how its grown and manufactured. See this full report.
While not really renewables, Voltage Optimisation is seen as one element in saving energy and reducing CO2 emissions. http://www.voltageoptimisation.com/
Units are fitted to large buildings to reduce voltages to 220v removing harmonics and fluctuations in supply. This helps a number of devices to be more efficient, motors, lights, but might not make any improvements in certain situations because of modern power supply designs.
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