There are a range of alternative energy installations available to create energy in your own home.
40% of all the wind energy in Europe blows over the UK, making it an ideal country for small domestic turbines. Wind turbines harness the power of the wind and use it to generate electricity. Small systems known as "microwind" or "small-wind" turbines can produce electricity to help power the lights and electrical appliances in a typical home.
Wind is free, so once you've paid for the initial installation your electricity costs will be reduced. If your home isn't connected to the National Grid you can store excess electricity in batteries and use it when there is no wind. If your system is producing more electricity than you need, or when you can't use it, someone else can use it.
Solar electricity systems capture the sun's energy using photovoltaic (PV) cells. The cells convert the sunlight into electricity, which can be used to run household appliances and lighting. PV cells don't need direct sunlight to work - you can still generate some electricity on a cloudy day.
Sunlight is free, so once you've paid for the initial installation your electricity costs will be greatly reduced. A typical home PV system can produce around 40% of the electricity a household uses in a year. If your system is producing more electricity than you need, or when you can't use it, someone else can use it.
Solar Water Heating
Solar water heating systems use solar panels, called collectors, fitted to your roof. These collect heat from the sun and use it to warm water which is stored in a hot water cylinder. Sunlight is free, so once you've paid for the initial installation your hot water costs will be reduced.
Ground Source Heat Pumps
Ground source heat pumps heat your home through using energy absorbed through the ground. Pipes buried in the garden extract in the ground to heat radiators, underfloor heating systems and hot water. Beneath the surface, the ground stays at a fairly constant temperature so a ground source heat pump can be used throughout the year - even in in the middle of winter.
Heat pumps can lower your home's carbon emissions, depending on what fuel you are replacing. They can also lower fuel bills, especially if you are using conventional electric heating. Ground source heat pumps are easy to maintain and are often classed as 'fit and forget' technologies as they need little maintenance.
Air Source Heat Pump
Air Source Heat Pumps allow you to heat your home using the outside air. Heat pumps absorb heat from the outside air to heat radiators, underfloor heating, warm air convectors and hot water. Unlike gas or oil boilers, heat pumps deliver heat at lower temperatures over much longer periods. This means that during the winter they may need to be left on 24/7 to heat your home efficiently. It also means that radiators should never feel as hot to the touch as they would do when using a gas or oil boiler.
Air source heat pumps can lower your home's carbon emissions, depending on what fuel you are replacing. They can also lower fuel bills, especially if you are using conventional electric heating. Air source heat pumps can be easier to install than a ground source heat pump and are often classed as 'fit and forget' technologies because they need little maintenance. However, efficiencies can be lower than ground source heat pumps.
Micro Combined Heat and Power
Micro combined heat and power (Micro-CHP) is a heating technology which generates heating and electricity simultaneously, from the same energy source in your home.
When the Micro-CHP is generating heat it will also generate electricity as a byproduct to be used in your home. By generating this electricity on-site you are saving significant amounts of carbon as there are minimal losses occuring compared with the grid. Installation is easy. If you already have a conventional boiler then a Micro-CHP unit should be able to replace it, because it's roughly the same size.