You’ve probably heard people talking about renewable energy as everyone starts to get more aware of the damage that carbon emissions are doing to the environment. But do you know where to start?
We’ve put together this handy article to explain what renewable energy is and how you can get started.
What is renewable energy?
Renewable energy is generated from natural resources like the sun, wind and water. It’s produced using technology which ensures that energy stores are naturally replenished without producing harmful carbon emissions.
You can generate your own energy using renewable technology instead of buying it all from suppliers.
Benefits of installing renewables
There are lots of fantastic reasons to start generating your own renewable energy:
- Reduce your dependence on non-renewable energy
- Reduce your carbon footprint
- Making use of local resources
- Reduce your energy bills – renewable energy is free to produce and you can even generate income from some technologies.
Generating your own electricity
There are lots of different ways you can generate your own electricity:
- Solar panels: Generate electricity from the sun that hits panels on your roof
- Wind turbines: Large blades catch wind and drive a turbine that creates electricity
- Micro-CHP: Micro combined heat and power generates heat and electricity at the same time from one energy source
- Hydro: Uses running water to generate electricity.
Generating your own heat
As well as electricity you can generate your own heat. The top ways to do this include:
- Air source heat pumps: Generate heat from the air outside, even when it’s cold
- Ground source heat pumps: Generate heat from deep in the ground
- Biomass: Use wood chips, pellets or logs as fuel for a boiler
- Solar: Use solar panels to generate heat for your water
- Thermal stores: A way of storing renewable heat until it is required.
How to get started
If you want to generate your own energy, you need to make sure your home can make the most out of it.
Before you invest in a renewable technology, consider a few important things:
Make your home energy efficient
- Insulate your home wherever you can
- Use your appliances responsibly
Find out your options
You might not be able to have every type of renewable technology installed, so you should do your research before you make a final decision on what to get. Consider:
- Solar thermal, heat pumps and biomass need space inside and outside your home
- Solar PV and solar thermal requires you to have enough space on your roof and have a roof facing a certain way
- Hydro needs a stream or river nearby
Make sure you know what you want from renewable energy
Think about what you want to achieve. Do you want to save money? Reduce your carbon footprint? Both? There are other factors that affect what kind of technology to choose:
- If your top priority is to reduce your carbon emissions, consider biomass or a large solar PV system
- If you’ve not got much money but want to reduce your carbon footprint, you could choose a cheaper option like solar hot water
- If you need to replace your boiler or central heating system anyway, it becomes cost-effective to get a new biomass boiler or heat pump.
Do your research
Once you’ve narrowed down your options, you should do some research and start gathering quotes for the products you’re interested in. If you’ve got neighbours with renewables at their property, ask them for their opinions to help you decide.
There are plenty of contractors in our network that will be able to provide quotes for renewable energy technologies. Simply fill in our online form and we can put you in touch with up to 4 qualified companies.