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How to switch from natural gas to renewable heating?

Last updated on 22 February 2021

Heating with natural gas is a good start. But nothing beats renewable energy! Gradually replacing gas heating with even cleaner alternatives is a good idea from an economic and environmental perspective.

Natural gas: a transitional solution

  • Consuming natural gas emits 30–50% less CO2 than other fuels
  • The use of natural gas cuts down significantly on other pollutants such as nitrogen oxides (90% less) and fine particles (77% less).
  • It also takes less energy to transport it to our part of the world than oil transport.
Natural gas is therefore a cleaner fuel than other fossil fuels. However, natural gas is still a carbon-based energy, which means that it is still polluting. It also depends on the exploitation of a natural stock, which is necessarily finite.

It therefore remains a transitional solution in our gradual switch towards a carbon-free energy world. The world beyond the energy transition.

Why switch to renewable energy?

Gradually, the price of natural gas will rise, either in the wake of political decisions taken to encourage us to make the right choice, or driven up by the laws of the market: any resource that becomes scarce becomes more expensive.

On the other hand, electricity will become cheaper as it is increasingly produced by renewable technologies.

It is therefore worthwhile, for our budget, the quality of the environment and the stability of the climate, to already start considering other heating solutions to complement or replace natural gas.

Renewable solutions, as the name suggests, are not based on reserves. They will therefore be infinitely available, for as long as the human race sticks around.

What are the options for renewable heating?

Using the electricity generated by your solar panels

Producing electricity means having energy available for every possible use, including heating.

One solution is to install a photovoltaic heater at your home, an electronic system that optimises the energy generated by solar panels: if an excess amount of electricity is generated, it redirects it to the boiler and heats domestic water.

Installing a solar water heater

Solar water heaters, with their special boiler, have paved the way for solar technology in our country. They have shown that energy falls free of charge from the sky and that it only needs to be retrieved.

Today, solar water heaters are installed much less frequently, because a thermodynamic boiler, possibly supplemented by photovoltaic panels, makes it possible to obtain hot water at lower cost using more straightforward technology.

Recovering heat from the air or the ground

The heat pump is ideal for very well insulated new houses. This technology recovers stored solar energy in the form of heat from the air and the ground, even in winter.

Another option is the thermodynamic boiler, a miniature version of the heat pump. This boiler extracts heat from the outside air to heat domestic water (which, though it cools the atmosphere, is imperceptible, due to the large quantity of air...)

The thermodynamic boiler can be easily combined with an existing gas boiler. It will relieve the boiler by producing cheaper and less polluting domestic hot water and thus reduce gas consumption.

Opting for underfloor heating

As it operates at low temperatures, underfloor heating consumes less, as it does not rely on a boiler, which can reach temperatures of 80°C. The low operating temperature of the heat pump suits it down to the ground.

Installing a space heater for the spring or autumn

A pellet stove, for example! Of course, these stoves produce smoke, particles and CO2. But CO2 from wood.

The CO2 emission during combustion is exactly the amount of CO2 that the trees absorbed during their lifetime. According to German studies, CO2 emissions are much lower than with a heat pump. It is even a more CO2-friendly fuel than natural gas. Per kWh of fuel consumption, burning pellets releases 0.02 kg of CO2, compared to 0.29 for natural gas.

Making your heating more efficient

How? By taking the necessary measures to avoid energy losses!

  • Good thermal insulation reduces the amount of energy needed to heat your home. 
    Remember: energy we don't consume comes at an unbeatable price: € 0. And emits pollutants in unbeatable amounts: 0.
     
  • Investing in a water softener is also a way of reducing the power use of electrical heating appliances. All electrical resistors gradually decline in performance and consume more and longer if they become covered with limescale. Preventing this means saving energy and saving on the cost of repairs.

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