In recent weeks the costs of electricity and gas have soared, and further price increases are predicted for the autumn. What can be done to reduce energy consumption today? What are the best sources of clean and renewable energy for the future? Here are our thoughts on saving energy and a greener future for buildings.
What can you do to save energy today? Our top five energy saving tips…
- Switch devices off
- Wash full loads
- Put out the lights
- Turn the thermostat down
Navigating alternative sources of energy
We are surveyors and architectural designers, and believe that we have an important role to play in choosing renewable energy sources for new buildings and existing buildings that are being adapted.
The benefits of renewables are:
- It is energy generation that produces no greenhouse gas emissions and can reduce some types of air pollution
- They give a wider choice of energy supply and reduce dependence on imported fuels
With these benefits in mind, here is our quick guide to the renewable energy sources currently available for buildings:
Solar panels convert sunlight into electricity and currently have a life span of about 25 – 30 years
Air source heat pumps transfer heat from the outside air into water, which then heats rooms using radiators or underfloor heating. These have a life span of up to 20 years
Ground source heat pumps transfer heat from the ground outside to heat the inside of a building using radiators or underfloor heating. These have a life span of 20 – 25 years
The solution lies in a combination of approaches
We know that one solution is not going to work for every building and in every situation. Currently it is easier and more cost-effective to install renewable energy equipment when a building is being built, extended or adapted. We also know that regardless of the energy source being used, good buildings insulation is vital for a building to be energy efficient and help reduce costs.
What does the future hold?
The future use of renewables depends on developments in technology, like hydrogen-fired boilers which burn hydrogen rather than natural gas. The development of hydrogen-fired boilers will mean that millions of existing heating systems can be adapted, rather than replaced. Experts consider that using hydrogen will be the best way to decarbonise heating systems and the boiler manufacturing industry is looking to roll out hydrogen-ready boilers from 2025.
We look forward to seeing how the future of renewables unfolds.
We recommend watching this video from RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors), Improving energy performance in both commercial and residential properties