Being good to the Environment
Let’s face it, as we look out our windows in winter at the smoke billowing from neighbouring chimney stacks we must conclude that this can’t last forever. Whatever your thoughts on saving the environment, if you push the fast forward button it’s hard to see our cars let alone our houses being fueled by fossil fuels. These fuels are both limited in stock and responsible for large amounts of the CO2 emitted into our skies on an annual basis.
So what’s the alternative? There have been quite a few in recent times. Wood-pellet burners were all the rage a few years ago with people frantically seeking the space in their homes to store all the pellets required. There seem to have fallen off the radar since. Geothermal is still popular but there are large upfront costs (either a larger excavator taking strips off your land or boring a series of vertical cores). The upfront cost is eventually offset by years of energy savings. But is there a half-way house?
Air to water is essentially the inverse of an air conditioning unit. In simple terms an air to water source creates heat from the air using a series of mechanical and chemical processes. It therefore transfers hat form the outside to inside your home either to your central heating system or hot water store. Air to water (or ‘heat pumps’) have recently caught up with geo thermal heating systems in terms of efficiency and given that their upfront costs (no diggers required!) are considerably less they are becoming very popular.
Air to Water
Essentially you heat your house by means of the air to water unit (sited outside you house) and you receive a modest electricity bill to run the unit. You no longer need gas or oil. Effectively if you were happy with an induction hob you could cut out gas altogether. Admittedly you would therefore need to assume that at some point your electrical supplier would generate electricity from a renewable source.
Air to water systems work at a lower operating temperature to gas or oil systems so they work particularly well with underfloor heating due to the large surface area of heating vessel. In radiator applications rads are generally oversized to compensate.
Generally speaking the units would be set to maintain an ambient temperature in your home. Many air to water units now come with an intelligent outdoor sensor which alerts the unit to a rise or drop in outdoor temperatures to it can get a head and adjust the interior climate accordingly.
So, as you look out the window at the smoke in the sky, let’s hope it’s not generated by your local electricity supplier!