Should the construction industry be embracing the use of clean energy?
Right now more than ever, there is a huge push for trying to go “greener”. With the construction industry playing a large part in wasted energy, we need to look for more efficient and sustainable methods.
Renewable technology has come a long way in the last couple of years, becoming more accessible and cheaper to buy than ever before.
With that being said, we’ve decided to take a basic look at some of the renewable technologies available and some of their many benefits.
Solar is arguably the most well known form of renewable tech, and one of the more popular options. Solar energy is produced through 2 different systems, solar PV and solar thermal.
Solar PV (photovoltaic) panels soak up the rays from the sun and convert it directly into electricity, converting the light to usable energy. This clean energy can then be used to provide power to a property, greatly reducing the cost of energy bills.
These panels are installed on the roofs of properties, ideally in a position that receives a fair amount of sunlight. The amount of energy produced depends on the size of the system installed, but producing your own energy will lead to a decrease in the amount of electricity needed to be imported.
Solar thermal works differently to solar PV in the way that is uses the energy from the sun to produced heat energy that can be used throughout a property.
A solar thermal system will convert the light rays to heat up a property’s heating systems, providing up to 70% of the property’s hot water in the process. These systems come in 2 forms, with evacuated tubes and flat plate collectors.
Through the introduction of battery storage, it makes even more sense to install a solar energy system as any unused energy can be stored to use for a rainy day (literally).
Heat pumps are an efficient way of providing a low cost heating system for any property, and there are generally 2 main types of heat pumps, ground source and air source.
Ground source heat pumps are buried underground and use the temperature from the ground to provide heating across the property. A GSHP uses the evaporation and condensation to move heat throughout the pipes, taking the heat from the water and giving it to a hot water tank.
Air source heat pumps work by extracting heat from the air and converting it to heat energy, which is distributed to other heating systems throughout the property. An ASHP will take latent heat from the air and compress it, turning it into a gas. Once the gas heat ups, the heat is transferred to a heat exchanger and sent to a property’s heating system.
The introduction of heat pumps will result in lower fuel bills, a reduction in carbon emissions and a potential return on investment thanks to incentives.
Biomass is a term that refers to the use organic materials as fuel instead of the less sustainable option of fossil fuels.
Biomass boilers come in various different forms, with log, wood chip and wood pellet boilers being amongst the most popular. These boilers work by using these organic materials and burning them to produce heat.
This heat is then transferred into a heat exchanger and into the heating circuit.
Wind turbines have been around for a long time, and convert wind energy into electricity.
These turbines work by taking the wind and using the energy to spin the blades around the rotor. This rotor will be connected to a main shaft, which will spin the generator to create the electricity.
Harnessing the power of wind energy and converting it into usable electricity is a very popular option, and is a great alternative to burning precious fossil fuels.
With all these advances and incentives like the Feed-in Tariff (FiT) and Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), it’s making more and more sense for people to invest in a cleaner way of doing things.
Does the construction industry need to make more of a conscious effort to introduce some of these forms of renewable tech into our every day work? How can construction projects benefit from the implementation of these systems from the get go?
If you’d like us to look in more detail about the pros and cons of switching to a more renewable option, let us know!