How to sustainably heat your home


According to the Energy in the Residential Sector report by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, the average household in Ireland already uses 7pc more energy than the EU average.

Ireland’s household CO₂ emissions are also the highest in the EU, 58pc higher than the EU average. With heating costs rising as the months get colder, the work required to upgrade our homes not only enables householders to save on energy costs now and in the future, it also helps the environment.

Barry Gorman, National Renewable Sales Manager at Grant, says, “The three Cs are what we strive to offer the customer - comfort, cost savings and carbon savings. It is always possible to achieve two of the Cs, but to get all three can be challenging. That’s what we at Grant set out to achieve.”

The Government has made a commitment to the Climate Action Plan 2019. This aims to complete 500,000 home retrofits to achieve a Building Energy Rating of B2/ cost-optimal equivalent and roll out 600,000 heat pumps in residential buildings by 2030. They also have a commitment to promoting the widespread adoption of renewable heating options. So, now is definitely the time to rethink your home heating.

There are many types of heating systems to keep your home warm and comfortable. Just a few of these include:

  • Air to water, air source heat pumps - An air to water heat pump extracts heat energy from the outside air, in order to heat your home. It also typically costs less to heat your home than a traditional fossil fuel system. The energy source (electricity) used by heat pumps can also be entirely renewable, thereby reducing the carbon footprint of the home.
  • Condensing oil boilers - Condensing oil boilers are reliable and efficient heating and hot water solutions. Depending on the age and make of the old boiler, choosing a condensing boiler can help you save up to 25% on your heating bills compared to using a non-condensing oil boiler.
  • Biomass - A biomass boiler can provide a sustainable, low carbon heat source for your home. Using indigenous wood pellets to fuel the boiler offers a truly environmentally friendly heating system.

“While there are grants for heat pumps and other heating systems, it is vital for homeowners to discuss the best system for their home with professionals,” says Barry. “This is especially the case if the home is retrofitted, as sometimes it’s not possible or simply not suitable to fit one heating system over another.

"That’s why we have conversations with our customers. We want to make sure that they understand the benefits of each type of heating system available and ensure they get the best solution to suit their requirements.”

Under the EU Nearly Zero Energy Building (NZEB) Regulations, new dwellings will typically require a Building Energy Rating (BER) of A2. This means that newly built homes require a certain amount of renewable and energy-efficient technologies to be incorporated into the property.

So, if you are building a new home, it is essential to look into a range of integrated heating packages from a trusted supplier of home heating products like Grant. A Grant-integrated heating package is bespoke to every new build home and the type of property, in line with homeowners’ preferences. Such a heating package will ensure that homeowners can have lasting comfort and long-term financial and carbon savings.

Each of these packages typically includes a main heat source, such as the Grant Aerona3 air to water, air source heat pump, a hot water storage system and heat emitters including Grant Afinia radiators or Grant Uflex underfloor heating, or both. You can also add smart heating controls.

Barry adds, “Our heating packages can help a new build property achieve compliance with regulations, whilst also being highly efficient and sustainable.”

But it’s not just new builds that can be given an upgrade in heating. If you find your current house is not energy-efficient, you can choose to retrofit your home. This means updating various elements of your home to improve its energy-efficiency and save money on energy costs. A retrofit could consist of upgrading your boiler and your heating system in order to create a low-carbon heating system.

But it can be tough to change existing structures into sustainable and renewable home heating technologies. The good news is that Grant is removing barriers to ensure all heating technologies, such as existing oil boiler heating systems, can move to zero carbon, enabling them to be adapted to use with biofuel blends. Barry says that Grant founder, Stephen Grant believes this will be key in decarbonising home heating.

“When the company started over 40 years ago, we worked with solid fuels, then moved to condensing oil boilers and air to water, air source heat pumps. We are continuously developing new heating technologies to stay ahead of the curve.”

According to the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), simply adding heating controls to your home can reduce your energy usage by up to 20pc. This can also help to reduce your home heating bills. Heating controls have many other benefits such as splitting your heating zones between upstairs and downstairs, to further efficiencies.

Becoming more energy-efficient not only helps the environment, it also significantly reduces costs in your home. If a system is efficient, it retains heat and prevents heat from escaping, meaning it takes less time and effort to heat the home. This alone will reduce the costs of heating.

Saving money is a big reason why homeowners want to update their heating system. This is why it’s useful that SEAI offers grants for upgrading heating systems, installing air source heat pumps, and replacing an old oil boiler.

Grant’s free home heating design service can also help homeowners save time and money. “We like to ensure that our customers are under as little stress as possible,” says Barry. “That’s why we offer Grant’s free-of-charge home heating design service."

The service involves those building a new home or undertaking a deep retrofit, sending their house plans to Grant. Grant’s technical specialists will then do room-by-room heat calculations, in line with SR:50 guidelines, and size and specify the full heating solution for the property. This is all part of the Grant service.

“I think Irish homes can easily heat their properties in a sustainable way. By taking a few steps in choosing the right heating packages. Homeowners can begin the journey to zero carbon and reduced costs.”

Source – The Irish Independent