Space heating is a power-hungry activity. Environmental harm used to be one of its consequences, but not anymore.
The market has plenty of green home heating solutions to help you stay warm during chilly weather and economize on energy.
Why Is Eco-Friendly Home Heating Important?
Sustainably heating your indoor spaces will reduce your household’s carbon footprint, which helps slow climate change. It can make you feel good, but it makes Mother Nature happier. Making the switch positively contributes to the global fight against air pollution, ecosystem destruction and wildlife habitat loss.
Moreover, eco-friendliness and energy efficiency go hand and hand. Being mindful of your energy usage at home can keep more money in your pocket. Considering space heating accounts for 14% of the electricity American homes consume, you can save a ton using an energy-saving heating system.
How to Choose Green Space Heating Equipment
Pay attention to two factors — fuel cleanliness and energy efficiency. No home heating solution is 100% harmless to the environment, but the most sustainable ones can keep your indoors wonderfully toasty while making the most of the power they use.
Some eco-friendly heating systems may be suitable for specific regions only. All have design limitations, too. Using green equipment inherently incapable of efficiently heating your space is ironically unsustainable. Compare various options to find the most sensible one for your home’s unique requirements.
What Are Your Most Sustainable Home Heating Options?
The secret to sustainable space heating is twofold — achieving your desired indoor climate efficiently and keeping it that way. Consider these seven solutions to hit both goals.
1. Pellet Stove
Wood pellets are biomass derived from trees. A pellet stove pulls cool air in and raises its temperature as it passes over the heat exchange, making space comfortable using convection. The more open your property’s floor plan is, the more effective it is. Each stove also has constant airflow so the flames stay alive.
Compared to burning coal to generate the electricity the power grid distributes, setting wood pellets ablaze for warmth reduces carbon intensity by 77% when locally sourced. Woodburning stoves have become more efficient since the 1970s thanks to various design improvements, so more recent models are more eco-friendly.
Wood is a renewable resource, with new trees join forests as old ones get harvested. This growth cycle ensures a sufficient supply of woody biomass and prevents woodland from going bald.
2. Electric Air-Source Heat Pump
Best for relatively mild climates, this heating solution works like a conventional cooling system in reverse. Its refrigerant removes heat from the outside air, releases it inside and repeats the process until it satisfies the thermostat.
Air-source heat pumps have various configurations. They can be ducted, ductless and standalone, so you can heat your entire property or specific rooms.
Regarding fuels, they’re typically electric, but they can also run on natural gas. There are arguments for and against either source, but electricity is more sustainable when generated from renewable energy.
3. Electric Geothermal Heat Pump
Geothermal energy is a reliable source of heat. Unlike air-source heat pumps, ground-source ones absorb heat from shallow earth, acting as thermal storage because its temperature stays relatively constant all seasons.
In the States, the soil temperature about 30 feet below the surface ranges from 50° to 59° Fahrenheit throughout the year. Wherever you live in the country, shallow earth is almost always warmer and cooler than the ambient air in the coldest and hottest months, respectively.
In terms of configuration, you can bury a geothermal heat pump’s loop vertically and horizontally. Installing one is typically feasible regardless of yard space. It’s compatible with standard ductwork to distribute heat and eliminate pockets of coldness throughout the house.
Since a geothermal system has a constant heat source on tap, running it is generally low cost. It can reduce your home’s energy use by 30% to 60%, dramatically reducing your carbon footprint and lightening the load on the electric grid during peak demand.
4. Solar Hydronic Radiant Floor System
Radiant heating gets its name from radiant heat transfer or radiation, using electromagnetic waves to deliver heat to people and objects. It’s like how sunlight works. Likewise, it relies on the natural tendency of warm air to rise to improve the comfort levels of various rooms.
Hydronic radiant floors are more efficient than traditional forced-air heating. They eliminate the need for ductwork, which can leak conditioned air and trigger your pollen allergies without leaving the house. Instead, it uses tubes to move heated water and regulate indoor temperatures. While it usually serves as a boiler’s heat distribution equipment, thanks to the advent of active solar heating, you can ditch oil and natural gas altogether in favor of clean energy.
Solar heating can use solar liquid collectors to harness energy from the sun. The heated liquid flows rapidly to minimize heat loss. It can go to a heat exchange if you want to heat your home immediately or direct it to a storage tank for later use.
Adopting this heating solution can involve messy installation. However, it’s a sacrifice to take a giant step toward sustainability. Solar is still less dependable than dirtier energy types, so you may need a backup power source if you feel cold on a cloudy day and your storage system has limited juice.
5. Polyurethane Spray Foam Wall Insulation
Adequate insulation is vital in space heating. Installing the most efficient heating system means nothing when your walls can’t trap heat to keep your rooms snuggly. The most sustainable insulation material you can buy is polyurethane.
This foam boasts an R-value of 9 per inch on average, boosting your walls’ insulating qualities. Although not known for its eco-friendliness, this stellar insulator’s latest iterations are significantly greener than ever.
Researchers at Clemson University have tweaked polyurethane’s chemistry to render it 100% biobased and eliminate its toxic chemicals. Meanwhile, scientists at the University of North Texas have invented polyurethane foams that are 90% biodegradable and 12% more insulating.
6. Full-Length Curtains With Thermal Lining
Heat can escape your home through glazed units. Apart from investing in high-performance windows, cover them with curtains with thermal fabric. Their extra layer of material can meaningfully stop drafts and reduce heat loss.
7. Wool Carpets
Wool is the warmest carpet material out there. It exhibits outstanding heat retention because of its coiled buildup. Wool carpeting delivers exceptional insulation, but pairing it with hydronic radiant floor heating brings positive results.
This organic material from sheep is renewable, recyclable and 100% biodegradable. Contrary to popular belief, wool is ethical. Organic wool farmers strive to stay compliant and maintain their certification, so legit wool carpets are cruelty-free.
Heat Space the Eco-Friendly Way
Sustainably regulating your property’s indoor climate is more feasible than ever. Thanks to green, energy-efficient heating solutions and heat-trapping furnishings, you can feel cozy at home without feeling guilty about harming the environment.