Category - Green Homes
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Will Scholfield, Engineer

21 Mar : Updated 1 May ● 9 min read

The best green ways to heat your home (+ extra tips for green living)

As the world moves towards a greener future, it's important to start reducing our individual carbon footprints. One of the biggest contributors to excess greenhouse gas emissions is heating our homes.

The good news is that there are plenty of environmentally-friendly ways to heat your home and ensure you stay warm in the winter without hurting the environment.

In this post, we look at a range of energy-efficient heating solutions, some of which you might never have considered. From the obvious options like solar panels to newer technology such as hydronic heating systems, there are various green options that can work in conjunction with your reliable gas boiler. Let's get started.

1. Solar power

Solar thermal panels convert sunlight into electrical energy to power your home or business. Solar water heaters use the sun’s energy to heat water, which can then be used for domestic or commercial purposes.

Solar power is a clean and renewable energy source. It’s a free, abundant source of energy, and it doesn’t produce harmful emissions.

Solar water heaters are a great way to heat your house while being environmentally friendly. They use the sun's energy to heat water, which is then stored in a tank.

This hot water can be used for showers, washing dishes, and doing laundry. There are two main types of solar water heaters: active and passive. An active solar water heater has a pump that circulates the water through the system, while passive solar water heaters rely on gravity to circulate the water.

Solar water heaters are an excellent choice for those looking to be more eco-friendly, as they do not emit any greenhouse gases. They are also very efficient, with some models providing up to 80% savings on your monthly energy bill. Solar water heaters typically have a lifespan of 20 years or more, making them a wise investment for your home.

Those with forced air heating systems might consider making the switch to a solar air heating system. The installation costs won't be high if you already have this system in place, and you'll see savings on your energy bills in no time.

Likewise, those with a radiant heating system can switch to a solar liquid heating system fairly easily.

2. Geothermal energy

Geothermal energy is a type of renewable energy that comes from the heat inside the earth. It can be used to heat your house in several ways, including:

  • Ground source heat pumps: A ground source heat pump (GSHP) system uses pipes buried in the ground to exchange heat with the earth. This exchange of heat can be used to provide heating and cooling for your home.

  • Direct use: Direct use of geothermal systems uses hot water from springs or reservoirs to provide heating directly for homes, businesses, or other buildings.

  • Geothermal power plants: Geothermal power plants generate electricity using the steam created by hot water below the earth's surface to spin turbines.

3. Hydropower

Hydropower is a renewable energy source that can be used to heat your house. It uses water stored in dams to make electricity, so it relies on the water cycle. 

There are many benefits to using hydropower; mainly, it’s a clean and renewable energy source. Additionally, hydropower is very efficient and can be used to heat your house in a variety of ways.

One way to use hydropower to heat your house is through a hydronic heating system. This type of system uses water to transfer heat to your home. Hydronic heating systems are very efficient and can be used in radiators, towel rails, and more.

4. Wood-burning stove

If you're looking for an environmentally friendly way to heat your home, a wood-burning stove is a low-carbon alternative to using fossil fuels. Wood is a renewable resource, and wood stoves are very efficient at heating a space.

There are a few things to remember if you're considering a wood-burning stove. 

  • Make sure that your stove is certified by the local building authority department; this means that it meets strict emissions standards. 

  • Be sure to burn only dry, seasoned wood in your stove; wet or green wood will create more smoke and pollutants.

With these tips in mind, a wood-burning stove can be a great way to green up your home heating.

5. Pellet stoves or pellet fireplaces

Pellet stoves are a great way to heat your home in a green and sustainable way. Pellet stoves burn wood pellets, which are a renewable and sustainable resource. Pellet stoves are also very efficient, meaning they will use less fuel than other types of stoves.

Pellet stoves come in various sizes and styles to fit any home. They can be used as a primary heating source or as a supplemental heating source. Pellet stoves can also be used to cook food, making them a versatile addition to any home.

If you are interested in adding a pellet stove to your house, you should keep a few things in mind.

  • Pellet stoves require electricity to operate, so you will need to have an electrical outlet nearby.

  • Pellet stoves produce ashes, so you will need to have a place to dispose of the ashes safely. 

  • Pellet stoves should be cleaned regularly to prevent a build-up of creosote, which can be a fire hazard.

Keeping this in mind, pellet fireplaces are a highly efficient, green way to heat your house.

6. Heat pump

If you're looking for green ways to heat and cool your home, you may consider a heat pump. Heat pumps are electric devices that transfer heat from one place to another and can be used for both heating and cooling.

While traditional heating and cooling systems rely on fossil fuels like natural gas or oil, a heat pump doesn't use any fuel at all. They simply move heat from the ground or air into your home. This makes them a very efficient and environmentally-friendly option.

There are two main types of heat pumps: air-source heat pumps and ground-source ones (which we already mentioned above). 

  • An air-source heat pump is the most common type. Air-source heat pumps work by transferring heat from the outside air into your home. 

  • Ground-source pumps (also known as geothermal heat pumps) transfer heat from the ground into your home.

There are also water-source heat pumps.

All three of these types of heat pumps are extremely efficient and can save you significant money on your energy bills. They might save you up to £1000 annually in heating costs. 

However, they are considerably more expensive to install than gas boilers, so it will take some time before you really feel the savings.

7. Biomass boilers

As the name suggests, biomass boilers burn organic matter to generate heat. This can be anything from wood chips and logs to plants.

The great thing about biomass is that it's a renewable energy source, so it doesn't strain the environment. It also tends to be cheaper in the long run than other green heating options, like solar panels or ground source heat pumps.

Installing a biomass boiler is a big investment, so you'll need to ensure it's the right option for your home and your lifestyle.

Here are a few things to consider before making the switch:

  • Do you have enough space to store the fuel? Wood needs to be dry and well-ventilated, so an outdoor shed or garage is ideal. If you're using food waste as fuel, you'll need a specialised digester unit which takes up less space.

  • How much time are you willing to devote to maintaining the boiler? Biomass boilers need regular cleaning and servicing to stay efficient. If you don't have the time or expertise to do this yourself, you'll need to factor in the cost of hiring someone else to do it for you.

  • What are the local air quality regulations? Burning wood can produce smoke and pollutants, so there may be restrictions on how often and when you can use your boiler, depending on where you live.

How to improve the efficiency of your home heating system


Not strictly a way to heat your home, but a sure fire way to ensure your home retains heat to help save money. In the winter, insulation keeps heat from escaping, and in the summer, it helps keep your home cool.

There are several types of insulation available on the market, including:

  • Fibreglass

  • Cellulose

  • Rock wool

  • Spray foam

Each type of insulation has pros and cons, so be sure to do your research before making a decision. Once you've selected the correct type of insulation for your home, the next step is to install it properly.

Improper installation can reduce the effectiveness of insulation, so it's crucial to hire a professional if you're not confident in your ability to do it yourself. Insulation reduces your carbon footprint, and if you want to start living greener, you can start by insulating your home.

Green home building materials

Again, not strictly a green way to heat your home, but something to keep in mind if you’re looking to live a greener life. There are many green home-building materials that offer good insulation available on the market today. Some of the most popular include:

  • Recycled materials: Recycled materials are a great way to reduce your carbon footprint and save money. There are a number of recycled materials that can be used in construction, including recycled steel, glass, and insulation.

  • Sustainable wood: Sustainable wood is another great option for green home building. There are a number of sustainable forestry initiatives that supply builders with certified sustainable lumber. This lumber is typically harvested from responsibly managed forests and is often FSC certified.

  • Natural stone: Natural stone is an excellent choice for green home building because it is durable, low maintenance, and recyclable. Stone can be used for a variety of purposes, including floors, countertops, and walls.

  • Bamboo: Bamboo is an extremely versatile material that can be used for various applications, including flooring, cabinetry, and furniture. Bamboo is also one of the most sustainable resources available, as it grows quickly and does not require pesticides or herbicides to thrive. It's 100% biodegradable.

There are some more unusual materials like cork, sheep's wool, and cob, which can all be used to insulate your home. Take a look into these alternatives to see if they suit the style you are going for.

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Final thoughts

There are a few different options for a heating system, but gas boilers are still the best option if you are seeking efficiency and reliability. If you are looking for a way to heat your house that is both efficient and environmentally friendly, then consider one of these green heating systems discussed above.