Before you consider renewable energy systems for your home, make sure you have addressed the cheaper and more cost effective energy efficiency measures first. The more you reduce your energy demands at source, the greater the proportion of your energy will be met by the new renewable system.
Find out more and links to useful guides provided by the Centre for Sustainable Energy, below.
To install renewable energy technologies in your home, you may need planning permission.
Solar power captures energy from the sun to power items around your home. The two main types currently used are:
- solar water heating systems
- solar photovoltaic (PV) systems
Solar water heating systems
Solar water heating systems use thermal energy from the sun to heat water in the home. On average they can provide a third of the home’s hot water usage in a year – typically the majority of this is supplied in the summer with significant top-up heating required in the winter.
Solar photovoltaic (PV) systems
Solar PV panels convert sunlight into electrical energy. PV panel performance depends greatly on their location, with even minimal levels of shading from chimney breasts or nearby trees having a significant impact on performance.
It is unlikely that you’ll be able to meet all your electrical demands through PV because they generate in the day when lighting and energy use tend to be low, but the energy they produce can be more cost effective than buying from an energy provider.
download: solar PV guide (PDF)
Wind turbines convert wind energy into electricity. Despite being a clean and low carbon method of producing energy wind turbines are unlikely to work well in a built up area such as Camden because urban density creates wind turbulence that slows wind speed. Planning permission is also likely to be problematic.
If you do want to install a wind turbine, the first step should be to determine the available wind speed at the proposed location using the Energy Saving Trust’s wind predictor tool
Biomass is a renewable, low carbon fuel which can be burnt to generate heat. In Camden the most common biomass fuel is wood (logs, pellets or chips), although biofuels such as biogas may also be considered.
Although the process of burning releases CO2; biomass retains a closed carbon cycle – it takes carbon out of the atmosphere while it’s growing and returns it when it’s burnt. It therefore produces significantly fewer carbon emissions than fossil fuels.
The main issue with biomass in Camden is its impact on local air quality and in some instances a full air quality assessment will be required before installation. If you are considering a domestic scale installation please refer to our guidance on using wood burning stoves
Heat pumps: ground source and air source
Ground source heat pumps (GSHP) use heat from the ground to raise the temperature of a liquid contained in a coil or “loop” which is buried in the ground. The liquid is then passed through a compressor to raise its temperature and heat the home. You will need to have a garden if you are considering a GSHP.
download: ground source heat pump guide (PDF)
Air Source Pumps (ASPs) work by extracting warm air from the atmosphere, before compressing it to provide usable heat.
download: air source heat pump guide (PDF)
Although the pumps use electricity, the heat they extract from the ground and air is constantly being renewed naturally which is considered to outweigh the carbon impact of the electricity being used.
Micro combined heat and power (CHP)
Micro combined heat and power (CHP) units use natural gas to generate both heat and electricity for the home. Although not strictly speaking a renewable technology they can help reduce emissions.
Renewable energy grants and incentives
We are committed to helping you make sustainable energy improvements to your home.
Find out if you could benefit from financial assistance to help make your home more energy efficient: