Going Green: Eco-friendly heat pumps to combat rising fuel prices

By Chris Page
Saturday, 26th March 2022, 12:00 pm
Updated Saturday, 26th March 2022, 12:02 pm
Installing an eco-friendly heat pump (photo: adobe)
Installing an eco-friendly heat pump (photo: adobe)

The latest article from Angela Terry

Green Green campaigner and consumer expert, Angela Terry, separates climate change facts from fiction and here she explains how you can take simple, practical steps to help save the planet. Follow @ouronehome & visit https://onehome.org.uk/ for more advice.

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Q: With rising fuel bills I want to install an eco-friendly heat pump, but how do I get my home ready and find a good installer?

A: This is a timely question, as the UK Government’s new heat pump grants become available in April for homeowners in England and Wales.

The Scottish Government also recently announced a £300 million fund for homes and commercial properties.

In Northern Ireland, you can call ‘NI Energy Advice’ for info on grants.

And you’re right, with a heat pump, preparation is key.

Here are my tips ...

Insulate

Heat pumps are designed to keep your home at a steady temperature, rather than the short sharp blasts of heat provided by gas boilers.

That’s why the first step is to check your home is properly insulated.

Focus on your walls, roof, windows and doors.

Much of this can be done as simple DIY jobs, like lagging pipes or sealing leaky windows with inexpensive rubber trim.

Laying insulation in the attic is also straightforward.

Just make sure it’s 30cm thick.

However, wall insulation will require a professional installer.

Wall insulation

For a detached house you can save around £425 per year on energy bills with wall insulation.

There are two types.

For properties built since 1930, cavity wall insulation involves foam or beads being injected into the gap between the inner wall and outer brickwork.

Properties built before then may well have solid walls.

These will require the fitting of foam boards to the inside of your home’s external walls.

Insulation can be added externally but it is more expensive.

Which kind of heat pump?

They come in two formats.

Air source heat pumps look like an air conditioning unit attached to the outside of a property.

They work like reverse fridges, extracting warmth from the outside air then transferring it to a refrigerant, which is compressed to increase its temperature.

Ground source heat pumps work in a similar way but use a network of pipes in the ground to collect heat, so they are more efficient but also more costly to install.

Which one you go for depends on factors like ...

The size of your home, your budget, the size of your garden and access.

Both work best with larger radiators or underfloor heating.

Seek the advice of an accredited installer.

How to find a good installer

The main UK quality assurance scheme for low-carbon energy technologies is the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS). Through its website, you can find accredited installers.

It’s best to get three quotes.

Celebrity spot

Baywatch star and well-known animal activist Pamela Anderson (photo: John M. Heller/Getty Images)

Baywatch star and well-known animal activist Pamela Anderson has launched a range of eco-friendly handbags in partnership with Parisian fashion brand Ashoka.

Bags are made from apple skin ‘leather’ – revolutionary material made from food industry waste.

It isn’t just vegan but also biodegradable – meaning it will break down naturally without hurting the natural world.

Even the bags’ lining is made from recycled plastic bottles – and also features a stylised image of Pammy’s pout.

Green swap

Swap your mobile phone for, well, your current mobile phone.

Hang onto your mobile (photo: adobe)

If your phone company offers you an upgrade, try to see how long you can hold off.

Smartphones have huge environmental impacts, not least when it comes to the mining of precious minerals.

Walking is good for the environment ... and you!

Car culture has become the norm.

So many of us jump into our cars for short journeys without even thinking about it.

Nearly two-thirds of all car journeys are under five miles.

The next time you’re popping to the shop, taking a teen to an activity or visiting local friends, see if you can ditch the car.

Walk for health (photo: adobe)

Here’s why ...

Air pollution

Air pollution is one of the UK’s biggest killers.

Every year, it’s linked to 36,000 early deaths.

All of us are exposed to toxins.

Children are especially vulnerable because their lungs are still developing.

Air pollution also makes respiratory and heart conditions worse, particularly in older people.

What’s more, poorer people in urban areas are disproportionately affected, as they tend to live near main roads.

As cars have been so normalised, it’s hard to wrap your head around the thought that every time you drive you’re contributing to this pollution.

Even when you’re sitting in your car, you’re breathing in dangerous toxins.

In fact, you can be exposed to almost eight times as much as a cyclist outside.

Your health

NHS advice is that walking is free, simple and one of the easiest ways to get more active, lose weight and become healthier. It can help you burn calories and improve your heart health.

Mentally, a walk can do wonders for your wellbeing by providing a vital break and helping reduce stress.

Emissions

Transport is the fastest-growing contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions.

In the UK it’s the largest emitting sector, accounting for 27 per cent of all emissions.

Most of this comes from road vehicles.

To meet our climate targets and ensure a viable world for our kids, the Climate Change Committee – the UK

Government’s independent adviser on tackling climate change – estimates around 60 per cent of the changes required to reach net zero will require individuals to act.

Weaning ourselves off car dependency is a key part of this.

Biodiversity

By reducing toxic emissions and cutting noise pollution, switching to walking for short journeys helps protect the plants, trees and wildlife in your local area.

Each year, somewhere between 167,000 and 335,000 hedgehogs are killed on our roads – as well as 50,000 badgers.

On Scottish roads alone, at least 12,000 deer are killed annually. We are dependent on healthy ecosystems, so this is much more than being altruistic. It’s about protecting and saving ourselves.

Fact or fiction

Our homes are overheated. Yes!

People set thermostats at 25 degrees Celsius and above but recommended temperature is 19 degrees Celsius.

Turning down your thermostat by a degree can save you up to £100 a year on your bills.

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