Infrared Heating is Low Carbon and Sustainable Heating

Infrared can be incorporated with green energy production

The decarbonisation of heating is an essential step in the response to climate change. If we are to meet our carbon reduction targets, the way we live must change. A crucial step in this change is the phasing out of gas and oil boilers in our homes and businesses, in favour of low carbon heating solutions. 

  • Fossil fuels (gas and oil) are not long term options, and so we must make a permanent change towards sustainable heating options. 
  • Simply put, the more steps you take to limit heat loss in your home or business, the less energy you will use to heat it. 

Incorporating infrared with green energy production

  • Electric heating is carbon neutral when powered by renewable electricity. 
  • Although it is not a renewable energy in itself, infrared heating can be incorporated with green energy production such as that from solar panels, to produce an even more carbon efficient approach to heating a particular space.
      

Combining infrared heaters with solar PV battery storage

  • Battery storage is a rapidly evolving technology, and is typically used alongside solar photovoltaic panels (PV). Surplus electricity generated by your solar panels can be stored for later use (e.g. at night and when it is raining), rather than being exported to the National Grid. This means that your infrared heaters can be entirely heated by your solar-generated electricity, reducing both your running costs and the environmental impact. You can be entirely independent from the grid. 
  • By charging your batteries during off peak times (typically 12am to 7am) you can avail of cheaper electricity, and then use the stored energy to heat your house and power your appliances. 

What makes infrared a more sustainable option than some other heating systems?

  • Air or Ground Source Heat Pumps (ASHPs and GSHPs) are an impractical option for many people  for a number of reasons, including the high cost of install, ongoing maintenance, and the noise and space requirements. ASHPs may also struggle to provide sufficient heat on particularly cold days in winter. And because ASHPs are central units, they suffer similar drawbacks to boiler-based central heating, as they do not allow for effective zoned heating. 
  • Traditional convection heaters must heat the air in a room, while infrared heaters heat the objects and people in the room directly. This important difference results in a significant contrast in the amount of energy used by the two heating systems. For instance, air– which convection heating relies on– is not a good insulator. A lot of energy is therefore needed by convection heaters to constantly reheat the air in the room, because once the room becomes cold, our bodies will lose heat also. This is why convection heating results in energy wastage, compared to infrared heating.
  • With traditional heaters, 30-35% of the heat is lost through the roof, and 18-25% through the wall. By contrast, infrared heating will not pass through building material because the infrared wavelengths are too opaque. 
  • Infrared panels are electric, and convert all the electricity they use into heat, leading to low energy usage. This means they are more energy efficient, and create a smaller carbon footprint, than traditional convection heating. 
  • Another reason infrared heaters are energy efficient is that very little energy is required to heat the surface of a panel. Once the room is warm, the infrared heater only needs to maintain the surface temperature, rather than having to heat all of the air in the room as a traditional heater must do.
  • Infrared heaters do not emit any harmful chemicals like carbon monoxide into a room. Essentially, they do not add anything to the environment, and don’t take anything from it either.
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