Further Renewable Energy Options

Air Source Heat Pumps

Air source heat pumps (ASHPs) use the same principles as GHPs but draw low grade heat from the surrounding air using a fan to pull the air over a heat exchanger.  This energy is then upgraded and the heat released via another heat exchanger. Due to variation in the air temperature in Ireland these systems are less efficient than the ground source heat pumps but the systems can have a lower capital cost. It is also likely that this system would need to be used in conjunction with a conventional system.

Life Expectancy: Unknown
Payback Period: 8-15 years

Biomass - Wood Chip / Wood Pellet

Biomass in the domestic sector nearly always refers to wood fuelled systems, which can burn logs, wood chips or wood pellets from sustainable forests. This can be considered a clean and highly efficient alternative to fossil fuel systems. The two main types of biomass heating devices are radiant heat stoves or boilers.

They can be used to provide space heating or a combination of space heating and hot water. The occupants of a house which uses a biomass system can benefit from lower energy costs, and a secure supply of clean, environmentally friendly fuel, since wood chips and wood pellets are carbon neutral. Wood pellets and chips to fuel the stove are priced similar to oil or gas and can be bought in bulk. These are generally low risk and reliable technologies.

Life Expectancy: 25 years  
Payback Period: 12 years for wood pellet boilers at current prices


The energy in wind is converted to electricity by a wind turbine. Most domestic scale technologies are like miniature versions of the wind farm machines. These small scale wind turbines can be installed near/on your house but need strong foundations. Domestic wind turbines should be located high up, on the side of a building, facing the prevailing wind and away from chimney or flues.

The installation of a wind turbine on your home or on your land usually requires permission from the local authority, so it's important to always check with your local authority about planning issues before you have a system installed. It is also advisable to consult with a building engineer to make sure the property is suitable structurally.

Life Expectancy:

Up to 20 years with occasional maintenance and a mid life overhaul

Payback Period:

c.15 years

Funding for Renewable Energy in the home

Home renewable energy systems are relatively new technologies. While they are more widespread overseas, they are not yet very common in Ireland. Initially, the Greener Homes Scheme provided grants to help homeowners to buy home heating systems that used a renewable energy source. It was administered by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), although it closed to new applicants in 2011.

Subsequently, a national upgrade programme called 'Better Energy' was launched in May 2011. Under the Better Energy programme, the Better Energy Homes Scheme provided grants to homeowners to improve energy efficiency in their homes. For more information on the grants available visit the website here.

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