The most common view is that central heating systems are efficient, however when you understand the laws of physics and how heat is produced and transferred within a central heating system, you realise there are more efficient ways of heating your home. However most homes in the UK would have to make a greener transformation, replacing gas and oil boilers for electric ones. The advantage the electric boiler has is that it’s nearly 100% efficient in producing the heat, but because the central heating systems use heated water to heat the air, the transfer of heat is not 100%- it’s close to 75%. With that being the case, we believe the better way of heating homes that already have central heating, and that want to make a transformation to zero carbon by using electricity, is to go the hybrid way. Let me explain what the hybrid way is.
Most existing homes would have their central heating on for 2 hours in the morning and 6 hours in the evening- the issue with that is that the remaining 16 hours is unheated, which means the temperature of the house drops within that period. If you start your heating at 6am, your house may be at 10 degrees Celsius; so to shift the temperature from 10 to 22 degrees Celsius would take a long time, and cost a lot of money. This process is again repeated in the evening. The hybrid way would be, in an average 3 bedroom property, to install just two temperature-controlled storage heaters to maintain the property’s temperature at 15 or 16 degrees Celsius. Therefore, when you stick to your central heating programme of 2 hours in the morning and 6 hours in the evening, your boiler would use less energy and warm your home quicker, giving you greater comfort. This is particularly useful in the UK, where temperatures can fluctuate even in winter, as much as 8 degrees colder or warmer. If you have a temperature-controlled storage heater, your starting temperature is always 15 or 16 degrees, despite outdoor temperatures.
The myth of having two different heating systems in one home means it will cost you more is not true. What matters is the temperature you heat your home to everyday- that’s what will determine the cost. You may say “but then why can’t I keep my boiler on so that a 15 degree temperature is maintained at all times”. You could do that, but it’s not efficient because heat transfer on that is 75%, due to heat being transferred from water to air. Whereas temperature-controlled storage heaters heat the air directly- this reduction in the number of energy transfers increases efficiency to 100%. When you consider that for 16 hours of the day, where you’re likely to be keeping your home at 15 degrees Celsius, it is better to use temperature-controlled storage heaters.
Sustainability by definition is the avoidance of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance. As our global population has grown exponentially within the last 75 years, the demand for certain finite resources has grown, and the rate at which we are using finite resources or polluting the environment to meet this demand is negatively affecting the environment we rely on to sustain life as we know it. It’s going to take a lot more than an individual’s actions for the entire world to be living sustainably, but collectively as consumers, we have the power to change what we demand. Here we’ve listed 8 ways to live in a more eco-conscious manner.
- Eat less meat
The meat and dairy industry generates as much greenhouse gas emissions as all automobile emissions combined. The western diet is very heavy with animal products, and an increased consumption of meat has been linked to obesity, cancer and heart disease. The fact that eating less meat both helps the environment and our own health makes it a no-brainer. We’re not saying everyone should adopt a completely meat-free diet overnight, however reducing our overall consumption, perhaps by doing meat-free Mondays, would be a great idea.
- Don’t waste food
In the UK, we throw away about 6.6 million tons of household food waste annually- of the 6.6 million tons we throw away, almost three quarters is food we could have eaten. Ways to reduce food waste include using produce in order of the closest use by date or freezing leftovers. This not only helps the environment, but saves you money too.
3. Cycle, walk or use public transport where possible
Apart from having zero carbon emissions, cycling and walking are obviously great forms of exercise, so if you’re able to cycle or walk to work or wherever you need to go, it’ll help to improve air quality for all of us.
4. Use reusable alternatives
There has been a big push for this in recent years, with people wanting to move away from single-use plastic. Supermarket chains now charge for carrier bags, and many coffee shop chains and restaurants have switched from plastic straws to paper straws. Plastic is essentially non-biodegradable and will remain in the environment for millions of years, taking up space in landfill and even getting into ecosystems, killing many species that are already under threat.
- Recycle and reuse!
This isn’t anything revolutionary, we all know about the importance of recycling to decrease the rate of depletion of natural resources. Buying second-hand is an easy way to avoid being wasteful, but if not, there are more and more new brands popping up that are selling sustainably made or sourced products.
- Use Renewable energy
The use of renewables is growing , from wind to solar, they produce electricity with virtually zero carbon emissions. Shifting from fossil fuels to renewables will reduce air pollution and stop further environmental damage caused by global warming.
- Grow your own produce
If you have the time and space in your garden, growing a variety of produce means that you’re relying less on imported supermarket produce, which has a much greater carbon footprint.