Energy Star claims that the average household spends more than $2,200 a year on energy bills, with nearly 50% of this going to heating and cooling costs. In addition, the energy used in an average home accounts for twice as many greenhouse gas emissions as an average car. This is because power plants burn fossils to produce electricity, releasing greenhouse gases. By conserving energy at home, you help reduce these emissions that contribute to global warming.
Green ways to heat your home:
1. Geothermal heating
Energy Star reports that this is the most eco-friendly and efficient way to heat your home, though it requires a rather big initial investment. Geothermal heating relies on the constant high temperature below the earth’s surface to heat your home. Since the geothermal unit is installed underground, it requires less energy to raise your home’s temperature to the number set on your thermostat compared to the energy required to heat cold air using a typical heating system.
Though geothermal systems are quite expensive, the investment decreases your monthly heating bills, plus it usually repays itself within 8 years.
Biomass refers to chips or pellets made from renewable materials, such as switch grass and sawdust – byproduct from timber mills. These products would otherwise be discarded if not turned into a source of fuel that is carbon-neutral, affordable, and better than using fossil fuels. The CO2 they produce when burning is just enough to be absorbed by plants, which is important for maintaining balance.
Biomass is often used with pellet stoves (more efficient than wood burners) or in big biomass boilers connected to a hot water tank and radiators for centralized heating.
3. Solar heating
Houses that receive unobstructed sunlight on most days a year can opt for solar heating systems. They are readily available, and one of the cheapest forms of green energy that you can either purchase as a complete unit, or construct at home. Once you make the initial investment, which includes payments for the solar heating equipment and installation, you will not incur additional costs on that unit.
There are two types of solar heating systems to choose from: one heats a liquid in the hydronic collector, while the other heats air. For convenience, simply choose the one that blends well with your existing heating system.
Other less expensive options that you may consider include installing masonry heaters (similar to traditional wood fireplace but trap heat within their bricks), heat pumps, and under floor heating.