Increasing pressure on energy resources is the fourth important risk in this sector. Buildings will need to become increasingly energy efficient with changes in energy availability and increasing energy cost, particularly energy from finite fossil fuels, may lead to a less reliable supply.
Biomass and wood fuelled heating
Ground source heat pumps
Insulation and draught proofing buildings
Solar electricity and photovoltaics
Solar hot water systems
Variable frequency drives
Biomass is a form of stored solar energy and is available in a number of different forms. These include wood, straw, energy crops, sewage sludge, waste organic materials and animal litter.
Although burning biomass releases carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, this is offset by the carbon dioxide absorbed in the original growth of the biomass, or captured in the growth of new biomass to replace the materials used. As a result, using biomass for heating results in very low net ‘lifecycle’ carbon emissions relative to conventional sources of heating, such as gas, heating oil or electricity.Close
The building fabric refers to the ceiling, walls, windows, floors and doors of a building. Optimum design of building fabric can minimise potential heating requirements, which may lead to the downsizing of heating systems or sometimes eliminate the need for them at all. Increasing insulation properties either with, cavity wall, roof, solid wall or underfloor insulation and controlling air tightness of the building from poorly fitting windows, doors or joins in walls will reduce requirement for mechanical heating.Close
Solar panel electricity systems, also known as solar photovoltaics (PV), capture the sun's energy using photovoltaic cells. The cells convert the sunlight into electricity, which can be used to run appliances and lighting. The cells don't need direct sunlight to work – they can still generate some electricity on a cloudy day. Although for the best results, the PV arrays should face within 45° of south and be inclined at an angle of 30° of the horizontal plane.Close
Solar thermal or solar hot water systems work by absorbing energy from the sun and transferring it, using heat exchangers, to heat water. It can be used to provide hot water at temperatures of between 55 and 65°C. There are three main types of solar heating collector that are suitable for mounting on buildings.Close
Variable Frequency Drive (VFD) vary the frequency and voltage supplied to an electric motor. They can be used in electro mechanical applications from small appliances to large installations. By varying the speed of a motor connected to a fan for example considerable energy savings can be achieved.Close