Green your home by following those eco interior design tips and advice.
Here’s part four in the series of elements to consider when you come to redecorate your new home.
Our Sustainability Director at Charlie Laing Project Management looks at green heating.
Efficient heating is an important part of creating a comfortable, eco-friendly interior. Here are some of the best options:
Biomass- These highly efficient boilers burn wood (in the form of pellets, chips or logs), which is a carbon-neutral fuel source. As well as the biomass boiler, you will also need to include a large insulated accumulator (water) tank with a capacity of 50 litres for every kW output of the boiler – sizes of 800 litres plus are not uncommon. This means you only need to perform a burn every four to five days in the average home, even in winter.
Pellets and chip boilers can work best with automatic feeders that help to maintain high temperatures (over 800 degrees Celsius to achieve ‘gasification’). The set-up requires a significant amount of space (and can be noisy), so design a utility room into your plan. You’ll also need super-dry storage for the fuel.
Heat pumps- These move heat from one place to another, extracting it from the ground, water or air and usually transferring into stored water. A pump’s efficiency is measured as its coefficient of performance (COP), which is a ratio of 1kW of electricity used to power the system to the number of kWs of heat it produces. At 35 degrees Celsius flow temperature, ground source is usually 1:4, and air 1:3.
The installation of a ground or water-source system involves significant disruption in the garden – if you’re self building, get this out of the way early on when you have heavy plant on site. The pump itself will usually be housed in a utility or pump room, or possibly a garage. Air source heat pumps involve less disruption for installation. And the appliance typically sits outside the house or in the roof space.
Solar thermal – A great option for providing hot water, solar thermal panels should be installed on a south-facing roof for best efficiency. Heat collected is pumped via a fluid to a coil in the hot water storage tank, where it is transferred into the water.
Design considerations are exterior rather than interior, but it works well in tandem with internal systems. For example, a solar thermal installation can be plumbed into the storage tank for a biomass boiler to extend the time between burns of pellets, chips or logs.
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