If you live in a new-build home, the chances are that you have a gas-fired central heating system. But, if you’re worried about the environment, what other options have you got for keeping your home warm throughout the colder months of the year? Keep reading to find out about the low-carbon heating solution that’s best for your home.
What is defined as low-carbon heating?
A low-carbon heating system is defined as one that emits little or no carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
As carbon dioxide has been identified as a key driver of climate change, there has been an increasing effort in recent years to encourage homeowners and businesses alike to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide they release into the atmosphere.
Around 15% of the UK’s total carbon emissions come from the energy we use to heat our homes – so as you can see, there’s a lot that individual homeowners can do to help reduce the UK’s impact on climate change.
Low-carbon heating options for new build homes
So, if you’re keen to help reduce carbon emissions, what low-carbon heating solutions are open to you?
At present, there are several solutions which will keep your home warm whilst emitting little to no carbon emissions:
- EcoDesign pellet stoves.
- Ground source heat pumps.
- Air source heat pumps.
- Solar thermal panels.
- EcoDesign stoves.
We’ve taken a look at each of these solutions in more detail below.
EcoDesign pellet stoves
Pellet stoves are a truly eco-friendly home heating solution. They are stoves which burn compressed wood or biomass pellets to create a source of heat.
The pellets are fed from a storage container into a ‘burn pot area’, which makes it easy to adjust the temperature of the fire.
Whilst they do produce some carbon emissions, these are greatly reduced compared to other types of home heating.
Pellet stoves also have a number of other characteristics which mean they are good for the environment – the primary characteristic being the fuel that they use.
Wood pellet fuel is typically made up of sawdust and/or other small wood particles which are a by-product of wood milling. These products would normally be sent to landfill, so by using a pellet stove, you’ll be helpful to reduce the amount of waste that’s sent to the world’s landfills.
What’s more, wood is a renewable resource – so, if you source wood pellets from sustainably managed forests, you’ll be helping to conserve the world’s resources.
Oh, and did you know that wood is carbon neutral? That’s right, it won’t produce any more CO2 than is already present in the wood.
To add to their green credentials, many pellet stoves are now EcoDesign ready. EcoDesign refers to a set of regulations that were introduced in January 2022 which are designed to make pellet and traditional wood-burning stoves more environmentally friendly.
Guide – you can find out more about the EcoDesign regulations in our guide here.
The best low-carbon EcoDesign pellet stoves
Do you want to combine modern convenience with a traditional wood-burning fire? Then a pellet stove will be perfect for your new-build home.
Plus, if you buy an EcoDesign pellet stove you can be assured you’re purchasing a home heating solution which is low-carbon and gives off minimal emissions.
Duroflame Rinus Plus Pellet Stove
Featuring an elegant, cylindrical design, the Duroflame Rinus Plus will complement any modern, stylish home interior.
With a large heat output of 7.3kW, and very low emissions, the Duroflame Rinus Plus offers wood burning that’s suitable for the 21st century. Plus, with an efficiency rating of 85.7%, the Rinus Plus is highly efficient, providing maximum heat for minimal fuel input.
The Duroflame Rinus Plus is also handmade in Holland, so you’ll know you’ll be getting a high-quality, lovingly designed and manufactured stove that is sure to provide years of reliable service. It’s all backed up by a 2-year guarantee too.
With it being EcoDesign ready, the Duroflame Rinus Plus is also suitable for use in smoke control areas.
Duroflame Abel Pellet Stove
Duroflame’s design philosophy is focused on elegance. Whereas some pellet stoves are big and clumsy appliances, Duroflame aims to make pellet stoves that will seamlessly fit in with your home’s decor.
And, that’s exactly what they’ve achieved with the Duroflame Abel. This is a stove which is both beautiful and practical. It features a cylindrical design that is accentuated by clean, simple lines, as well as hidden controls.
It’s no mere looker either. The Duroflame Abel is also immensely practical with an impressive 5kW heat output and an almost unbelievable 95% efficiency.
If you want to bring the beauty, cosiness and heat of a real fire into your home, but with none of the mess and hassle of a traditional stove, then the Duroflame Abel pellet stove is definitely for you!
La Nordica Marilena Plus Ad Pellet Stove
Hailing from the hills and valleys of Italy’s North East region, La Nordica has a proud tradition of manufacturing the very finest pellet stoves.
The Marilena Plus pellet stove is no exception.
Being highly efficient, clean burning and with app-based control, this is the perfect stove for sleek, modern new-build homes.
It’ll bring the authenticity of a real fire into your home, but in the most modern way possible.
The Marilena Plus has an enormous 8kW heat output along with a very impressive 91% efficiency rating, meaning it’ll keep you and your family warm without costing you an enormous amount of money.
It’s also available in two colour options; black, and black and white, which makes it super simple to select a colourway that matches the rest of your home’s decor.
If you want the very best in pellet stoves, then it has to be a La Nordica pellet stove!
Ground source heat pumps
Ground source heat pumps have recently made headlines following the UK Government’s announcement that it’ll be encouraging more people to install them via its Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI).
But, what exactly is a ground source heat pump?
A ground source heat pump is an appliance that harnesses natural heat from the ground around your home by pumping water through a series of pipes laid underground.
Whilst they need electricity to run, the idea is that they produce hot water which can then be used to heat your home.
With that being said, ground source heat pumps aren’t suitable for all homes. They require a considerable amount of space around your home, with trenches typically needing to be dug.
What’s particularly off-putting though is the cost. Ground source heat pumps can cost between £10,000 and £18,000 to install. Additionally, they’re generally not suitable for homes that already have a gas-fired heating system in place.
Air source heat pumps
Air source heat pumps operate in a similar fashion to ground source heat pumps – only they harness heat from the air around your home, rather than the ground.
In this way, they operate like refrigerators in reverse.
Like ground source pumps, air source heat pumps require electricity to operate, but will generate more heat than the electricity required to produce it.
The heat produced from air source heat pumps is normally used to provide hot water for your home’s radiators. Additional heat that’s left from this can be used to provide hot water for your bathroom/kitchen – provided you use a hot water cylinder.
Whilst they are a low-carbon heating solution, air source heat pumps come at a significant cost. On average you should expect to pay between £9,000 and £11,000 for an air source heat pump. In addition, you’ll also need to factor in the cost of upgrading your radiators.
Solar thermal panels
If heat pumps sound a bit too ambitious for you, then another low-carbon heating solution for your home is solar thermal panels.
Solar thermal panels are fitted to the roof of your home and are filled with a fluid which is heated by the sun throughout the course of the day.
Once heated, this fluid circulates through pipes to a heat exchanger, where the heat is transferred to your hot water storage tank. From there, the hot water travels throughout your hot water system, heating the radiators in your home.
Whilst you’ll be getting ‘free’ hot water using the power of the sun, you’ll have to factor in the considerable expense of having the solar panels fitted in the first place. Thermal solar panels can cost anywhere between £4,000 and £7,000.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that solar thermal panels are not suitable for every home. The aspect of your home (where it faces in relation to the sun throughout the day), may not provide sufficient exposure to the sun for the panels to work properly.
EcoDesign wood burning stoves
Wood burning stoves offer a brilliant way of keeping your home warm, whilst reducing your environmental impact.
Stoves are relatively simple devices, consisting of a firebox, stove pipe, stove door and air vents.
However, there’s a particular development which makes them even better for eco-conscious homeowners…
This month a new regulation came into effect which has made compliant wood burning stoves some of the most low-carbon heating solutions around.
The EcoDesign 2022 regulations set out stringent rules in relation to the emission of particulate matter, CO2, NOx, OGC and CO from stoves.
Stoves which are compliant with the EcoDesign regulations will not only emit only very tiny amounts of these things, but will also be much more efficient.
For a stove to be EcoDesign compliant it must have an efficiency rating of at least 75% (although you’ll find stoves on the market with even higher efficiency ratings than this).
Environmental benefits of wood-burning stoves
Aside from only emitting a small amount of emissions and being highly efficient, EcoDesign wood burning stoves also have a number of other environmental benefits:
- Stoves are simple! – by their very design, stoves are incredibly simple appliances, meaning there’s little to nothing that can go wrong with them. As a result, you’ll get an incredibly long-service life out of a stove compared to other types of heating appliances – thus conserving the world’s resources. Compare this to heat pumps and solar panels which require rare earth elements and carbon-intensive manufacturing processes, whilst not lasting as long as stoves.
- They burn a renewable resource – stoves burn wood, which unlike oil and gas is a renewable resource. Even better, if you source your firewood from sustainably-managed forests, you’ll guarantee that what you are burning is being replaced.
- Stoves produce less CO2 than alternatives – compared to gas and electric appliances (which produce 0.198kg and 0.517kg of CO2 per kWh), wood-burning stoves produce only 0.008kg per kWh.
- Stoves produce a lot of heat – it’s possible to buy wood burning stoves that have very high heat outputs (some models can achieve outputs of as much as 12kW). As a result, you can heat large sections of your home using a stove, reducing the need to turn on your central heating.
- They are (effectively) carbon neutral – other than the carbon that’s involved in their manufacture, stoves are effectively carbon neutral. Why? Because, as we mentioned earlier, when wood is burned it’ll only give off the CO2 that’s embodied in it – no more.
The best low-carbon EcoDesign wood burning stoves
So, if you want a truly low-carbon way of keeping your new-build home warm, then it has to be an EcoDesign wood-burning stove.
Below, you’ll find a selection of our most popular EcoDesign wood-burning stoves.
Esse One Wood-Burning Stove: EcoDesign Ready
Esse is a British brand with a long history of manufacturing innovative stoves. The likes of Shackleton, Scott and Florence Nightingale depended on them – and, so can you.
The Esse One is a brilliant all-round stove, and is EcoDesign ready, meaning that it’ll provide your home with environmentally-friendly, low-carbon heating.
And it’ll provide plenty of it too, thanks to its 5kW heat output.
The Esse One features a hugely improved design over its predecessor, boasting 82% efficiency over the old model. That’s largely thanks to its primary, secondary and tertiary air supplies which means that it not only burns incredibly efficiently, but achieves an ‘emission of combustion products rating’ of 0.08%.
Thanks to its clean-burning operation, the Esse One can be used in smoke control areas without issue. And, with a 5-year guarantee, this stove will give you years of reliable, faultless service.
Saltfire Peanut 3 Tall Wood Burning Stove: EcoDesign Ready
Many stoves on the market feature a traditional, almost rustic aesthetic. But, what if you want a more contemporary, modern looking stove for your new-build home? In that case, the Saltfire Peanut 3 has got you covered.
Featuring a sleek, minimalistic design, this stove will fit easily in the most modern and stylish of living rooms or kitchens. It’s large viewing window will provide an excellent, unobstructed view of the fire inside, adding to the ambience of your room. At 16-inches wide, it’s also particularly compact, making it ideal for narrow chimney openings.
With a 4.7kW heat output and an efficiency rating of over 82%, the Saltfire Peanut 3 will not only generate sufficient warmth to keep you and the family nice and cosy, it’ll do so without harming your wallet (or the Earth!).
It’s also a highly versatile stove. That’s because you have the option of adding a cooking plate to the top of the stove. So, whether you want to boil the kettle or roast some chestnuts, this stove will do the job.
Being EcoDesign ready, the Saltfire Peanut 3 has an ultra-clean burn and is suitable for use in smoke control areas.
Henley Burnbright DEFRA-Approved Wood Burning Stove: EcoDesign Ready
One of the most appealing things about a wood-burning stove, is the ability to gaze upon a real wood fire in the comfort of your living room.
With the Henley Burnbright, you’ll get arguably the best view of a fire than you will with any other stove. That’s thanks to the Henley Burnbright’s frankly enormous viewing window.
You won’t just have a great view of the fire though. You’ll really be able to feel it as well.
That’s because the Henley Burnbright has a heat output of 4.9kW, with an efficiency rating of 78.4% – meaning that more of the wood that you put in the stove turns into heat for you and your family.
The Henley Burnbright is also available with a log store option. So, if you’d like to keep a supply of logs beneath your stove, select that option when making a purchase. It’ll save you having to make repeated trips outdoors to your log store.
Direct Stoves: the home of eco-friendly stoves
So, there you have it – our guide to low-cost heating solutions for new-build homes. We hope you’ve found it useful.
As you’ve now seen, if you want to keep your home warm without breaking the bank (or the Earth), then you can’t do better than an EcoDesign wood-burning or pellet stove.
Reduce your carbon footprint today, and explore environmentally friendly stoves at Direct Stoves.
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