The UK government estimates that 60% of the country’s energy consumption goes to indoor heating spaces and while another 15% goes to boiling water. With so much energy going to heating, the imperative is on home and property owners to look for heating solutions that conserve energy and reduce environmental impact. Green boilers are one of the sustainable ways of generating heat for heating water and space.
What are the green boilers?
Green boilers save energy when heating so that their environmental impact is minimal. Such boilers have a rating of 88% and above and fall under class A or B. However; you should be looking for a class A boiler with a rating of 90% and above because this is the benchmark for energy efficiency. Such boilers convert almost every ounce of fuel you put into useful heat. Green boilers are attractive to property owners in the UK because the Department of Energy and Climate change offers incentives for homes to use sustainable energy sources.
Biomass boilers use logs, wood pellets or chips, and waste from different industries as the fuel content. Such boilers are suited to people who can source the fuel locally because of the cost and environmental impact increase with distance. Biomass is a carbon-neutral energy source because the carbon dioxide released during burning can be sequestered by planting other trees to replace those harvested for fuel. The main advantage of biomass boilers is that the fuel is cheaper than oil and gas, though their energy efficiency is much lower. However, they can only work in properties with plenty of parking and space to store the fuel.
Condensing boilers consist of a combustion chamber, a heat exchange system, and a water tank. When you switch it on, hot gases from the burning fuel pass through the heat exchanger. The exchanger then transfers the heat to the water in the boiler. They have another heat exchanger in the flue pipe that extracts heat from the flue gases. This heat is transferred to the water from the mains coming into the boiler. The cooling of exhaust gases produces a condensate hence the name condensing boiler. The two heat exchange devices enable the boiler to achieve 90% energy efficiency. They work best in homes or properties that have enough space to accommodate a hot water tank.
It is possible to upgrade a conventional boiler to a condensing boiler by installing a heat recovery system in the flue pipe. The plumber will set it up in a way that it transfers all the captured heat to the water coming into the boiler for heating. When installed properly, it can claim 30% of the heat in the exhaust gases.
Micro-CHPs produce both heat and electricity by burning gas. They are more efficient than conventional boilers and are suited to moderately large homes that are hard to insulate but have a high heat demand. They have a base heating load that they must supply for several hours because they cannot operate intermittently. They work best in properties with a hot water storage tank to save the excess heat for heating the property with hot water pipes. Consumers can also use them as a backup power source to supply electricity during power cuts. Users can also sell excess power to the grid to reduce their power bills.
Combination boilers are boilers that do not have a cylinder or a water tank and heat water on demand. They consist of a central heating system that is integrated into the water pipes to ensure heat efficiency. A-rated combi boilers have a condensing system and can achieve a heat efficiency of 90%. However, they only produce between 10 and 20 liters of hot water. They are most suited to small properties that do not have space for a water tank.
Now that you have an idea of the different types of green boilers you can use on your property, you can proceed to procure one. You should consult a certified plumbing agency to help with the selection and boiler installation on your property. They will assess your facilities and power consumption and recommend a suitable option that achieves your energy conservation targets. They will then send a safe gas engineer to complete the installation.
When installing green boilers, you should include smart systems to improve heat efficiency. Some of the smart devices and systems include thermostats, flue gas heat recovery devices, heat controls, air conditioning, and ventilation controls, insulation, hot water controls, pipework, and hot water cylinder insulation. Programmable thermostats enable you to only heat facilities that need heating and hot water. And if you install a Micro-CHP boiler, ensure that it is connected to the grid to minimize your energy costs. Most gas safe engineers are skilled in installing and servicing the above systems.
Green boilers need regular repair and maintenance to keep then in great shape and ensure maximum energy efficiency. For you to achieve high fuel efficiency, you need to ensure that the boiler controls are working correctly. You should have a contract arrangement with boiler repair experts to conduct regular servicing. The boiler repair service should include checks into the boiler interlock system consisting of programmable thermostats and time switches to ensure that it only switches on when there is a need for heating. Make sure the contract includes 24-hour boiler repair and same day boiler repair because you might need them urgently during emergencies.
Tip: Central heating and boiler installation grants are available through the ECO3 initiative for households who are in fuel poverty and meet the criteria. Warma UK can help you apply for a central heating grant. To read through their in depth guide on how to qualify, click here.