There are a variety of options to use as heat generators; solar, heat pumps and boilers.
The heat source that clients are always keen to hear about first is solar. But as solar thermal energy is not always available, it can only be used to contribute towards heating – and then in a greater or lesser degree depending upon its use. Primarily, for domestic hot water (DHW) production, solar thermal energy can make a massive contribution towards a household’s needs. Secondly, it can make a significant contribution towards the heating of a swimming pool; predominantly to extend the swimming season as in mid-winter the smaller number of hours combined with lower external temperatures renders it nonviable. Thirdly, it can be used to contribute towards home heating, but importantly only in low temperature emitter installations.
The most efficient principal heat source is a heat pump. A heat pump is defined by Dictionary.com as “a device that uses a compressible refrigerant to transfer heat from one body, as the ground, air, or water, to another body, as a building, with the process being reversible”. Heat pumps are more expensive to buy initially, but the cost is amortised quickly through reduced energy bills. Heat pumps are available for both high and low temperature installations.
Boilers make up the other principal heat source for buildings; oil, gas or biomass.