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Pocketmags Digital Magazines
Pocketmags Digital Magazines

How to combine renewable heat sources

Sustainability expert Nigel Griffiths gives his inside advice on which technologies make the perfect partners for heating and hot water

A key goal for many self builders is to create a comfortable home with minimal running costs – and critical to achieving that is getting the heating strategy right. There’s a host of technologies out there to choose from, so how can you select an effective combination that will help to cut your energy bills and reduce your household’s environmental impact?

There are three main functions to consider when it comes to creating a comfortable living environment, namely water heating, space heating and cooling. In this article, I’ll look at the key principles of linking different renewable resources to effectively deliver these services. Selecting the best system for your project will depend on your budget, eco priorities and how far you want to go in reducing running costs.

The basics

The two key elements to bear in mind when combining renewables are seasonality and time of use. With the former, the trick is to find heat sources that will complement each other – so one is available when the other is not. A basic example would be to rely on sunshine in the summer months, and then set cosy log fires in winter (albeit an open fire isn’t exactly the most efficient use of fuel).

Daikin’s Altherma hybrid system pairs a gas combi boiler with an air source heat pump. The control centre switches between the two technologies depending on which is more energy efficient or cost effective
This self built eco home features Nu-Heat underfloor heating powered by an air source heat pump – an ideal combination
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About Build It

The March edition of Build It magazine brings you all the inspiration & practical advice you need to complete your home building project on time and on budget, including: • A traditional timber frame house on a quiet Hampshire plot (page 22) • How to build an oak frame home on a budget (page 68) • What you need to know about underfloor heating (page 75) • Windows for renovations (page 78) • How to combine renewables (page 86) • Adding wow factor (page 92) • Common renovation mistakes (page 104) … and more!