Mark Cleaver, National Sales Manager at Calor, talks about the different renewable heating options available to fuel your rural home.
If you live in the countryside or are searching for your dream rural home, you’ll have to take into consideration how best to heat it, now and in the future.
Traditionally, oil was the default fuel used in rural areas with no connection to mains gas. Yet, there has been a recent push for cleaner energy, and the Government’s Clean Growth Strategy is promoting a green future and looking to phase out high-carbon fossil fuel heating systems over the next decade.
Because of this, a new wave of renewable options - such as BioLPG, Air Source Heat Pumps and Ground Source Heat Pumps - are growing in popularity. So, what are the pros and cons of each of these systems, how much do they cost, and how easy are they to install?
BioLPG is a renewable off-grid gas that can reduce your carbon emissions by 38% in comparison to heating oil. It’s chemically identical to standard LPG, however it is created from a mix of renewable and sustainably sourced raw materials.
And just like standard LPG, it’s versatile and convenient, performing a number of household fuel needs. It can not only fuel your heating and hot water but also enables you to cook with an instant controllable gas flame rather than electricity, which is a preference for many people.
As a ‘drop in fuel’, BioLPG works perfectly with all existing LPG appliances such as boilers and cookers, so no additional investment is required if you’re already using LPG. All existing LPG boilers can run on BioLPG and these are on average £900 cheaper to purchase than an oil alternative. They are also highly efficient, achieving efficiencies of 90% or more, so making the switch to BioLPG can be both kinder to the environment and your bank balance.
There are a range of LPG storage options to suit every need. For those who want to preserve their view and free up space in the garden, an underground tank is a popular option as all that you can see is a circular, green tank cover which allows access to for our delivery drivers. Alternatively, we offer an above-ground tank, or gas cylinders which can be neatly tucked away at the side of a property.
Whether you’re considering switching your current fuel type, or if you are already experiencing the benefits of LPG and want to find out more about BioLPG, just contact us and we can talk you through the switching process - it’s easier than you might think to switch!
Air Source Heat Pumps
ASHPs are often a popular renewable choice for new build rural properties and can also be retrofitted in older homes. They function by utilising the heat from the air via a cylinder system which is then pumped into the property to provide heating and hot water.
Properties with underfloor heating are perfect for ASHPs rather than radiator-based systems because of the lower water energy temperatures required.
ASHPs provide environmentally friendly technology, yet the initial outlay can be costly to purchase and require specialist installation, which isn’t always as efficient when retro-fitted. Also, they perform optimally in warmer climates and need to be controlled accurately to deliver the efficiencies required.
Ground Source Heat Pumps
GSHPs utilise the natural energy from the ground, in comparison to its air counterpart. Ground source is a more consistent energy for your home all year as the temperature underground has less fluctuation than the air.
A GSHP extracts its energy using a ground collector through the heat pump and into a thermal-store in your home. For optimum performance, installing larger radiators and under-floor heating is beneficial.
The ground collectors require a large space underground, twice the total amount of your floor space at a depth of one metre. You do have the option of an alternative method if space is at a premium, which involves boring a hole, however this normally requires planning permission. The systems are very costly to install and set-up, and will involve excavating your garden.
Also, a secondary energy source may still be required as a back-up during extreme cold weather, and providing hot water will also affect the efficiency of the pump so a separate electric heater may be required to help meet all of your heating and hot water needs.
There are two main types of active solar panel systems, Photovoltaic (PV) solar panels and solar water heating. Solar PV converts the energy from sunlight using semi-conducting materials to energise and produce electricity for your home. You should take into consideration the size of your roof to the type of solar panels you require, as there are four varying types with different efficiencies.
Currently, solar panels cannot store energy, so a backup energy source is required for 24-hour electricity. Solar batteries are an option, but they are an expensive add-on. However, research suggests that properties with a solar panel system reduces the home’s value.
If you would like to learn more about renewable BioLPG, visit http://www.calor.co.uk or call 0800 121 4531.
 Atlantic Consulting, 2017 ; BioLPG’s Carbon Footprint Savings
 Calor Comparative Pricing Feb 2016 – based on RRP at boiler merchants