With a global push to reduce carbon emissions, many people are wondering if they should continue to use gas to power their home heating, as it’s one of the most significant gas consumers in most households. Or, should they go in search of a non-fossil fuel alternatives, or equipment such as hydronic heat pumps. In Australia there are local councils pushing their state governments to back a ban on gas connections in new homes in the hope of meeting carbon emission reduction targets.
While it’s true that natural gas is a fossil fuel, when burned it is the cleanest of them all, producing less greenhouse emissions than coal, which is currently burned to generate the majority of Australia’s electricity.
In this article we’re looking at a few alternatives to gas heating, so you can factor what makes sense for you and your household when it comes to climate control under your roof. A few alternatives we’ll look at are:
A popular option of energy source for many Australian homeowners is solar power and with many parts of the country being sun soaked for much of the year, it’s no surprise.
What Are the Benefits of Solar Energy?
First and foremost, solar energy is renewable, as it is powered by the sun. Using solar energy will undoubtedly reduce your power bills and once installed solar panels are a low maintenance system.
By installing panels on the roof of your property, you could also be increasing the value of your home, should you be considering putting it on the market. There’s also the possibility of government schemes both locally and nationally that can provide renewable power incentives.
Is Solar Energy Cheaper Than Electricity?
A 2020 report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) stated that in most countries, electricity generated by solar panels was cheaper than electricity generated by power plants using coal or natural gas. With this in mind, yes, solar energy is cheaper than electricity.
Is Solar Energy Reliable?
If you have panels that are properly installed, a battery to store the solar energy, and you live in an area that gets adequate sunshine, you should find solar energy very reliable..
The dependence on weather is the largest factor to having reliable energy source from solar panels, with a cloudy day potentially reducing electricity produced by more than 80%.
If you are living in a predominantly sunny area, it is well worth considering solar panels to enjoy a consistent source of energy to power your home – particularly if you have adequate batteries to make the most of those sunny days.
For many homeowners, electricity is their fuel of choice to power their home heating and cooling, but there’s a few points to clarify when comparing it to natural gas.
Where Does Australian Electricity Come From?
While the process of converting electricity to generate heat is clean, it is important to understand where the electricity comes from. In Australia, most of our electricity is created via the burning of coal at power stations. Considering that coal covers approximately 75 percent of our electricity and the burning of coal generates high rates of carbon emission, simply stating the electricity is a ‘clean’ fuel choice isn’t accurate.
Which is cheaper, natural gas or electricity?
Natural gas is up to 40% cheaper to use than electricity in Australia.
In 2020, 24 percent of the total electricity generated in Australia was from renewable sources (Solar, wind and hydro), so improvements are certainly being made, but if you’re looking for an alternative to natural gas, it’s worth taking the time to understand the source of your electricity.
Hydronic Heat Pumps
If you’re looking for a gas alternative to fuel your heating and want it to be energy efficient, then hydronic heat pumps may be just what you’re looking for.
Which is Better, Heat Pump or Boiler?
Boilers are cheaper to buy, but heat pumps can be cheaper to run based on how heat pumps work. Heat pumps are certainly clean and efficient and can provide significant savings on your heating bill. In addition to this, they can also work to cool the home as well as meaning you may be able to have your heat pump for heating and cooling, as opposed to having a boiler for heating and refrigerated system for cooling as an example. That means one installation cost instead of two, and more importantly, one ongoing service cost instead of two.
If you want the benefits of hydronic heating, but are either concerned about the upfront costs of a heat pump, or not sure you’ll be in the property long enough to realise the benefits of having the heat pump over a boiler – then a gas boiler will most likely be right for you. However, if you’re installing hydronic heating, plan to be in the house for a while and can manage the upfront costs – installing a hydronic heat pump will probably be the best solution.
Which energy source is right for your heating?
There are several factors to consider when making the decision to switch your fuel source for home heating and cooling and only you can decide what makes sense for your household. As you can see, there are times gas heating may actually be the most cost effective and environmentally friendly solution for you. Of course, if you want to get creative, you could combine energy efficient solutions such as Hydronic Heat Pumps, with renewable energy sources such as solar power so you have a heating and cooling solution that is environmentally friendly and economical to run.
At Hunt Heating, we have been supplying eco-friendly climate control solutions in homes across Australia since 1982. If you want to explore your options for healthy, environmentally friendly heating and cooling for your new or existing home, contact us today, or drop into our Melbourne or Sydney showrooms.