Tarquin Henderson examines what we can do to improve energy management in our homes.
In a recent survey of 200 homeowners, an overwhelming 85 percent said they would consider installing a renewable energy system only if it was going to lower their energy bill. “I’d like to save the world but I need to save my own money first,” said one homeowner.
Like many early stage markets, the renewable energy sector can be a minefield for the average consumer. The temptation is to jump straight in, with solar in most cases being the de facto choice.
renewable energy systems However, anyone wanting to consider whether a renewable energy system could work for them should review from the ground up and in three stages:
1. Demand management – we need to review how we each use energy and what steps we can take to reduce daily consumption.
2. Energy efficiency – over 80 percent of energy used in UK homes is for heating and hot water. Improving the efficiency and insulation of our homes as they currently are has to come before any thought of installing a renewable energy system.
3. Renewable generation – the key here is to find a solution that is right for a specific situation. The latest forms of solar energy (both for hot water and electricity) are terrific but only if you have enough roof space pointing in the right direction.
Factors such as available outside space, local planning, proximity of neighbours and integration with existing gas/ oil-based heating systems will govern the potential for other renewable systems such as biomass boilers, ground and airsource heating and wind turbines.
With government help renewable energy can be economically viable today and will undoubtedly play a significant part of future energy supply. Just remember to look before you leap.
Tarquin Henderson is a director of ReEnergise Renewables.