Renewable Energy for the Homeowner
Many opportunities exist for homeowners to make use of renewable energy resources. Using renewable energy can bring many benefits, such as reducing energy costs, our reliance on fossil fuels and our impact on the environment.
For homeowners, the most practical renewable energy options relate to space heating and domestic hot water which account for over 70% of household energy consumption.
The following Renewable Energy options are available:
Passive solar design
Anyone building a new home should make use of passive solar design principles, which can be incorporated at no extra cost while bringing substantial benefits in energy savings and comfort.
Passive solar design uses the energy freely available from the sun to provide heating and lighting in buildings. Just by changing the orientation of a house to south to capture the maximum sunlight, energy bills can be reduced by 10%. With additional measures such as extra insulation, high energy performing windows / doors, this saving can be trebled. Passive solar designed houses can look like conventional houses and need cost no extra to build than similar houses that have not been designed in this way.
Passive ventilation and cooling techniques, an extension of passive solar design, help to eliminate the requirement for wasteful artificial ventilation and cooling.
Guidelines for the Design and Construction of Passive House Dwellings in Ireland
Low energy, low carbon and passive houses: A Consumer Guide
Passive Solar Design, Solar Homes Catch the Sun
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Using wood fuel instead of peat, coal and gas to heat our homes is a sustainable choice, and makes a positive contribution to the environment.
Wood is ‘CO2 neutral’, the amount of CO2 wood releases during burning is equal to that which is absorbed during growth. In contrast, burning fossil fuels releases the global warming gas carbon dioxide, as well as other damaging pollutants.
Wood fuel also takes just 5-20 years to grow, whereas peat and coal were formed over hundreds of thousands of years.
Modern, highly efficient stoves and boilers make wood fuel a practical and sustainable option for today’s lifestyle.
Domestic wood burning stoves consumer guide
Domestic wood burning boilers consumer guide
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Heat Pumps collect heat from the environment (e.g. air/ground/water) and are ideal for the Irish climate. They are an excellent energy source for underfloor heating in particular.
Heat pumps use a small amount of electricity to upgrade the heat gathered from the environment to a usable level indoors. Installation costs are similar to those of a conventional heating system but running costs are much lower.
Domestic Heat Pumps Consumer Guide
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Active solar heating systems can provide economical hot water and space heating. In Ireland , solar panels can provide around 60% of the annual hot water requirements for homes and buildings. In fact, one square metre receives the equivalent of more than 100 litres of oil in free solar energy per year!
A solar water heater produces hot water by transforming solar energy into heat through its solar panels. The heat is stored in a large hot water cylinder so that it is available when you need it. It converts both direct and indirect sunlight into heat so it works even when the sky is overcast.
Domestic solar systems for hot water consumer guide
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