Air pollution is an ever-growing concern, both on a global scale and nationally. The main contributors people often associate with air pollution and harmful emissions are vehicles and factories. Whilst these factors do contribute significantly to pollution levels, people are overlooking a significant contributor to air pollution that is present in our homes.
The problems surrounding gas boilers and the pollution that comes from them is well documented. However, people still seem to overlook significance of their role in emission levels. Air pollution from gas boilers is a huge problem, and as the government continues to set carbon targets it is imperative that we find ways to make the switch from outdated systems to greener ones soon.
Effects of Nitrogen Oxides (NOx)
Gas boilers are a major source of local pollution, accounting for 21% of the total Nitrogen oxide emissions across Greater London. This is a significant proportion of pollution that cannot be ignored. Exposure to Nitrogen oxides has serious health implications, namely:
Decreased lung function
Increased chance of respiratory infections.
The presence of NOx in our atmosphere also has a significant atmospheric affect; NOx is a precursor to the formation of Ozone and acid rain, and when deposited into fresh water and land it harms sensitive biodiversity. NOx pollution presents a huge problem for the government and the public. Nitrogen oxide levels in the UK still remain above legal and safe limits, despite the UK government being sanctioned by the European Court of Justice.
What can be done?
The government has been actively pushing targets and mandates in order to combat our growing air pollution crisis. Their push for ‘Net-Zero Carbon’ by 2050 is the most popular example of this, and mandates such as the Future Homes Standard have been introduced in order for us to be able to reach these targets sooner.
The focus of the Future Homes Standard is eradicating gas boilers in newly-built homes by 2025. This particular mandate exemplifies the government’s awareness of the harmful pollution that comes from using gas combustion heating in our homes. However, many homeowners are still reluctant to make the switch to greener home heating options. One researcher has stated that she thinks homeowners are reluctant to change from gas boilers due to a lack of awareness. Many homeowners are unaware of the health implications gas boilers contribute to; there is overall less awareness or harmful pollutants coming from within our homes.
Air pollution from gas boilers doesn’t just harm our health – it also has drastic implications for the health of our environment too. The harmful emissions released by gas boilers is contributing massively to global warming and climate damage. Fossil fuel heating accounts for around 15% of the UK’s greenhouse emissions, and this number can easily be reduced through simply switching our heating to greener alternatives.
The route to Net Zero Carbon has never been clearer; we must act now if we want to begin reversing the damage done to our environment by harmful gas emissions. By making the switch to cleaner home heating solutions, we can begin the journey on the road to net zero carbon and a healthier future for the planet and for us.
The demand for electricity in the UK is growing constantly. Electricity is all around us, and without it we would struggle to continue our everyday tasks.
As the demand of electricity rises, so does the pressure on our power stations and energy generators. Many of the power stations in the UK still rely on fossil fuel consumption to generate energy, thus polluting the planet by releasing harmful carbon emissions during the process.
In the face of a global climate emergency, it is imperative that the UK government calls into action regulatory targets surrounding the use of fossil fuel. We have already started to make impactful changes to lessen our carbon emissions – 41.6% of the UK’s total electricity generation is produced via renewable sources.
At time of high demand the electricity grid relies on old power stations to deliver the needed energy. This leads to increased pollution during these periods, as old power stations consume fossil fuel to generate energy. In order to avoid excess pollution during these high demand periods the UK government has devised an energy strategy – Demand Side Response.
Demand Side Response (DSR), also referred to as energy demand management, is an energy strategy targeted at businesses and industries in order to reduce energy demand during peak times. Businesses are provided with a financial incentive to reduce the use of turn off non-essential electrical processes during peak demand times. Some examples of potential DSR participants are:
Commercial and Public Buildings
DSR works as to help the energy grid to balance supply and demand without additional electricity generation being required, therefore diminishing the use old power stations. Demand Side Response aims to limit the amount of time these power stations need to be used by maximising the use of renewable generation instead. This decreases the overall pollution levels of the energy industry, aiding the UK government in reaching their carbon targets.
Through the implementation of DSR we are able to manage and share our electricity consumption more intelligently, rather than simply generating more to meet the demand. Some examples of non-essential processes that large energy users can turn down are air-conditioning, heating and ventilation. Demand Side Response aims to reduce peak time electricity rates through decreasing the demand and sharing energy during these times.
DSR can reduce consumer bills, lower harmful emissions and make more intelligent use of our electricity. All of these benefits seem so enticing, so why aren’t more businesses electing to involve themselves in this scheme?
Demand Side Response is a voluntary program that large energy users must opt into if they wish to participate. Many businesses are hesitant to join the DSR scheme as some associate it with tight capacity margins and restrictions, but this isn’t the case. DSR isn’t a forcibly restrictive regime in which the energy that businesses use is closely regulated.
Rather, it is simply a scheme implemented to better manage and share electricity during peak times in order to reduce energy price rates and keep pollution levels low. Large energy consumers are still able to utilise energy during these times, they are just required to simply reduce their consumption slightly in order to not over-exert our energy generators.
The positive effects DSR has on the energy industry has been well documented. Research conducted by Good Energy found that the wholesale price of electricity was reduced by £1.5 billion just through the reduction of fossil fuel consumption in the generation of energy.
There must be more conclusive education around Demand Side Response in order for businesses to choose to implement the scheme into their energy regime. With more large energy consumers implementing DSR into their businesses, reaching a net-zero carbon future will be easier than ever.
The popularity of electric vehicles in the automobile industry has skyrocketed in recent years. More and more consumers are choosing greener vehicles as the government pushes towards its target of net zero carbon by 2050.
Various industries around the global are choosing to become more eco-conscious in an effort to reverse the damage done to our planet due to pollution. The government has stated that by 2030 the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles will be prohibited, whilst they also plan to introduce a £20m funding pot for innovation in the electric vehicle industry.
The automobile industry is one of the biggest contributors to air pollution around the world. Road transport has been estimated to account for 22% of the total emissions of carbon dioxide CO2 in the UK. With global pollution levels rising everyday due to the consumption of fossil fuels, it is imperative that the transport industry introduce electric and hybrid vehicles into the mainstream.
The automobile industry experienced a massive decrease in sales during the pandemic, suffering a loss of £22.2 billion in sales over the course of 2020-2021. However, despite an overall decrease in the sales of vehicles during the pandemic, a demand for greener vehicles surged. The sales of battery electric cars and plug-in hybrids accounted for 13.9% of the automobile market in 2020 – an increase of 7.3% from the previous year.
The increasing interest in electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids is fantastic news. It shows how we are becoming more eco-conscious as a nation, and are helping the government achieve their net zero carbon targets. As of 2020, almost 1 in 10 new vehicles in the UK are now electric vehicles. With increasing environmental awareness and eco-consciousness this number is only set to rise.
And it is not just the UK making the important switch to electric and hybrid vehicles. Countries all around the world are beginning to adopt greener vehicles into the mainstream – lessening their carbon footprint and beginning their journey to reverse climate damage.
The interest in purchasing electric vehicles in Britain is below the global average. However, a survey of 18,000 car users across 18 national markets found that the UK is one of the most advanced electric vehicle markets in the world. As the UK electric vehicle industry continues to innovate and develop as an industry, the interest in electric vehicles is only set to increase.
Electric vehicle and green vehicle innovation is not unique to Britain. In large automobile markets, such as the USA, are announcing strategies for an all-electric transport future. In November 2020, automobile giant General Motors reported that they are committed to introducing 30 new electric vehicle models by 2025. Working together to reach a greener future is not just up to us as nation, it is a global effort in which each of us has our own part to play.
It has never been clearer that achieving a green future is possible as more and more drivers consider electric vehicle options. Making these impactful changes has massively positive consequences for our global environment. By choosing green options and working together, we can begin to reverse climate damage and achieve a net zero carbon future.
Carbon emissions, Global warming and the UK’s Net zero carbon target.
With the UK Government banning the installation of gas and oil boilers in all new homes by 2025, highlights the detrimental effects of using fossil fuels on the environment. As a country, we have depended on fossil fuels for centuries, and this sudden ban has left people frantically looking to upgrade their outdated heating.
Recently, hydrogen has propped up as an alternative for homes heated by gas and oil boilers. But on account of it being a relatively new concept, people are uncertain whether Hydrogen boilers are the future of domestic heating and car-charging. Although hydrogen is a much cleaner fuel to heat your homes, there are numerous reservations about this concept: Are Hydrogen boilers safe? Is Hydrogen efficient? Is Hydrogen cost effective?
Types of hydrogen and how do we extract it?
Grey hydrogen: This is made with natural gas, which when heated reacts with steam to produce hydrogen (and significant carbon emissions). This is how most of the world’s hydrogen is currently produced.
Blue hydrogen: Blue hydrogen production is similar grey hydrogen, but the resulting carbon emissions are stored underground – a process known as carbon capture and storage. Some “fugitive” emissions will still escape, but it is a greener process than grey hydrogen production.
Green hydrogen: This is the greenest way of producing hydrogen. It works by using electricity to power a process of electrolysis, where water is separated into hydrogen and oxygen. However, hydrogen produced this way is up to three times more expensive compared to grey hydrogen and requires large amounts of electricity.
Advantages of Hydrogen energy
Hydrogen is a renewable source of energy unlike fossil fuels; hence we cannot run out of it. It is a great source of energy- it is all around us. Hydrogen is also non-toxic and does not pose a risk to the health of humans, unlike natural gas and nuclear energy.
Hydrogen is highly concentrated with energy and has a great amount of power. It is approximately 3 times more powerful than other fossil fuels. On account of hydrogen being such a powerful energy source, it is now being tested to fuel aircrafts and spaceships.
Hydrogen is also a clean energy source. It has no harmful by-products released into the atmosphere. During the process of electrolysis to create hydrogen, water is the main by-product.
Disadvantages of Hydrogen energy
Hydrogen is difficult to store. Hydrogen must be compressed into a liquid in order to be stored, as it is a much lighter gas than gasoline. It also has to be stored at a low temperature. The immense amount of pressure required to store hydrogen is what makes it difficult to transport (especially in larger quantities).
Hydrogen is volatile and can be a dangerous fuel. Hydrogen is highly flammable and does not have any natural smell to indicate if there is a leak. As mentioned before, Hydrogen has a great energy content, which makes it a very volatile fuel, and numerous precautionary measures need to be taken to minimize risks of handling this fuel.
Hydrogen is expensive to produce. As stated earlier, the types of hydrogen we need to produce for home heating are blue and green. And ideally, we need to push for green hydrogen, which is the cleanest form of hydrogen that we can produce. It has no fugitive emissions and has a safe and re-usable by-product: water. In order to produce this type of hydrogen, large amounts of electricity is required to undergo the process of electrolysis. Hence mass-producing hydrogen using this method would be wasteful and not sustainable.
Recent research: Hydrogen – a viable option?
In order to create minimal disturbance and upheaval in the UK heating industry (consumers included), a great amount of research is being conducted on the viability of hydrogen as a fuel for domestic heating. Using the existing gas-network pipelines is a plus, but the disturbance ‘Net Zero Carbon’ will cause inevitable. Although, this is a change is for the betterment of our own lives and planet as a whole.
Recent research conducted by Germany’s Potsdam Institute of Climate Impact Research has deemed hydrogen too expensive and inefficient for the domestic heating industry. Hydrogen is one of the most abundant elements in the atmosphere, but it usually comes bonded to another element. Producing zero carbon hydrogen from water – so-called ‘green hydrogen’ – is currently expensive and requires a large amount of electricity.
For most sectors, including home heating and cars, it would be cheaper and greener to use electricity directly, the researchers say. That is because making hydrogen to power a car or heat a home generally requires much more electricity than simply running an electric car or using electric heating solutions.
Taking all the factual research and evidence into account, Hydrogen seems to only provide a fragile climate benefit. In the UK, our share of electricity being generated by renewables, has increased over 20% over the last 5 years. Seeing such an immense progress over such a short period of time, we could soon enjoy 100% renewable electricity in our homes. From an unbiased standpoint, fairly-priced renewable electricity sure does seem like the future.
Our country has depended on gas central heating for aeons now, and on account of this, we deter from the mere thought of switching from gas heating to electric; and rightly so.
We have been so comfortable using gas heating. The research on our planet’s sustainability has brought to light the ill-effects of using gas heating, along with the negative impact it has on our environment. The more ecological and environment-friendly choice is electric heating. As there are many misconceptions in the minds of people regarding switching from gas to electric heating, we provide you with a thorough guide on the reasoning behind switching to electric, as well as the steps it will entail.
Why should you switch from Gas to Electric?
It isn’t unheard of that humans have significantly contributed toward global warming and are harming the environment through our ill-actions. This in-turn has led to the UK Government taking strict, immediate action to ensure the UK’s emissions are net zero by the year 2050.
One of the Government’s new rules is a complete ban on installing gas-boilers and heaters in all new homes by 2025. The fact we have been using gas central heating for so many years has caused us to become reliant on it, and such a stringent Government-mandated regulation only highlights the urgency of our responsibility to take ownership of our actions and begin conserving the environment. As gas heating is one of the biggest contributors to increased carbon emissions, it makes electric heating not only the next, but also the most suitable course of action.
Electric heating not only takes a toll off the environment (when powered by a renewable energy source) but it is also easy to install and often, virtually maintenance-free. It is a versatile heating option because of the flexibility in the adjustment of temperature from room to room, depending on your heating needs. It is also very simple to program and is a reliable, often cost-effective and efficient alternative to older gas central heating.
Is making the switch from gas to electric an easy process?
The assumption that the switch from gas to electric heating being a hassle for you isn’t completely incorrect. The process of the decommissioning of the gas boiler and the removal of pipes and radiators around the house is definitely a time and money consuming task. It involves hiring a qualified gas engineer to perform the job, but the process of the installation of the new electric radiators is comparatively simple.
The installation of electric radiators is a straight-forward process which only requires a connection to the mains. Unlike gas central heating, this eco-friendly solution requires minimal servicing and repair. It efficiently heats up your kitchen, bathrooms, bedrooms and even conservatory separately. A little dusting every now and again keeps it in top-notch condition.
What are the benefits of electric heating in your home?
There are many reasons for switching from gas to electric heating in your homes, the most obvious ones being a more efficient and green choice. By powering your electric heating with renewable energy, you instantly make it a better option from an environmental point of view. The fewer parts required for the functioning of electric heaters reduces the risk of it breaking down, saving costs on servicing and maintenance of the heaters.
It also eliminates the chances of carbon-monoxide leaks due to the removal of gas, and is therefore a much safer option for your home. The switch to electric heating in your home will also provide you with the ability to control the heaters individually, which means you can turn the heating off in rooms which are not in use, while maintaining optimal heating in the most frequented areas of your home.
Is electric heating as effective as gas?
The principle that gas central heaters function on is combustion – providing radiant heat directly to objects and people in its vicinity. Electric heaters use the principle of convection and radiation (without the combustion) and provide the same level of effective heating in your home.
Electric heating facilitates the equal convection of heat throughout all corners of the room. Many electric heaters also come with precision thermostats which allow you to program the heaters depending on your usage and temperature requirements.
If you work a 9 to 5 job, you can set the heaters to turn on a few minutes before you arrive home so that when you enter your home, you experience a nice toasty home. This is not a fancy technological add-on, but a requirement for your home in order to achieve maximum comfort.
Why should ‘FISCHER’ be your first choice while opting to switch from gas to electric heating?
Fischer is a renowned brand in the electric heating industry, with over 70 years of experience in manufacturing heating solutions. Here at Fischer, we cater to our customer’s needs and pride ourselves on our commitment to complete customer satisfaction.
In reference to the removal of your existing gas system, we make this process easier by ensuring our trained engineers remove and discard your existing system and install your brand-new Fischer electric heaters for you.
Each of our heaters come with a programmable wireless thermostat to control the temperature in each room effectively. Our heaters can also be controlled using Wi-Fi, making the control of your heaters accessible to you even when you’re away from home, for example at work or on holiday.
Unlike other electric radiators on the market, we provide our customers with a 40mm chamotte clay core, which aids better heat storage and distribution throughout your home. We also provide a 10-year warranty on all of our radiators, along with a Complete Heating Guarantee to ensure you are warm all winter long. We also make it a practice to replace rather than repair, if there happens to be any fault in the heaters.
Making the switch from gas to electric heating in your home with Fischer by your side will ensure a hassle-free and potentially a more environment-friendly change.