Eco Heating Systems

Published on: 17 August 2021

We all need some form of heat to make us comfortable and in our churches, we often need to offer a welcoming warmth.

At the same time, we need to address the climate change emergency and consume as little energy as we can.

This short article won’t give you the perfect solution but will set out some steps needed to get to the best solution for your church.

The principles for low carbon heating are:

  • Demand should be reduced.
  • Supply should equal demand.
  • Lowest possible carbon source.

To reduce demand, work out what is needed in terms of heat, where and when is it needed?

Reducing demand could mean heating a smaller space, heating for less time, sharing spaces. It could mean insulating and stopping draughts.

Then you need to work out how to supply the heat so that demand is matched as closely as possible. That doesn’t mean under-sizing a system necessarily, just making sure you deliver heat just when and where it is needed. You can heat people, not fabric, sometimes, which is often good where use is infrequent. Sometimes a steady heat is good where use is high, or buildings have a need for conservation. Good controls are recommended.

Then you need to consider how you supply that heat. In the future, more and more of our electricity will be generated from renewable energy such as wind and solar power. You can generate electricity through photovoltaic panels and get some “free” heat, power and light.

You can benefit now from low carbon electricity by choosing a true “green” tariff.

The main thing is to be forwardthinking and plan for a low-carbon future. That might mean not locking yourself into a high carbon source for the next 15 years by replacing an oil boiler like for like. It could mean planning a replacement heating system which could take a lower carbon heat source such as a heat pump in the future. Heat pumps are most efficient generating heat at lower temperatures, typically 35-50°C. Conventional boiler systems are often sized for 80°C so clearly the design will be different for the heat emitters.

Funding is always an issue – look out for Church of England seminars coming up in September on funding for environmental projects.

Where to get more help?

  1. DAC heating Adviser, if your diocese has one.

So, in conclusion, what is eco heating? It is whatever uses the least carbon for the required effect.

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