Alternative Ways to Heat Your Home That Don’t Cost the Earth

Heating bills will always represent a sizeable amount of the yearly budget in any home, especially in the winter. The average home only utilizes roughly only 40% of its living space so heating it all becomes expensive and superfluous. Reducing your heating bill usually brings to mind installing geo thermal or solar energy, but these are expensive and out of many peoples budgets. But there are many ways to reduce your homes heating bill without going out into the cold or into the red, and all of them are worth considering.

Zone heating costs relatively little but allows you to control where and when the heat is directed. One of the first things you should do to reduce you energy consumption on heating is to fit thermostats in every room and set zones to differentiate between areas that are used frequently from those that are only used occasionally. You can divert the heat to those rooms that are used and occupied, and save between 20-40% of your winter bill at the same time.

One thing many people think about when looking to produce green heat, is a wood fire. Wood fires are not green as they destroy forests that have taken decades to grow, produce inefficient heat that literally goes up in smoke as the majority of the heat travels up the chimney, and they produce gases and pollution that are harmful to the environment.

Fire inserts are a great way to go green as they can be run on earth friendly fuels. They can look beautiful and although they won’t heat a whole room, they will supplement the heat in the room they are in and effectively create zone heating without adding thermostats. Inserts can be run on pellets, bio fuel and electricity. You will save money by installing an insert even if you never switch it on as it will seal off the fireplace at the damper area and keep the hot air in the room and the cold air outside where it belongs.

Bio fuel fireplaces or inserts are extremely earth friendly as they burn a fuel made from fermenting sugars in agricultural crops, which is highly sustainable. Burning bio fuel produces no smoke, toxins or pollution, so the fireplace does not need a chimney or flue. This means all the heat goes into the room and one fireplace can heat up to 375sq ft.

The only bi-product from bio fuel is a little water vapor and CO2 emissions equivalent to those a human body produces. No pipes or adaptations are needed for a bio fuel fire so they are easy to install and good for the environment. In financial terms bio fuel fireplaces cost as much as pellet stoves or wood burning fires.

Electric fires are also an earth friendly option as they also require no pipes or lines and produce heat with no negative emissions. They are easy to install and look good, and can be run on solar if adapted to and many have their own thermostats. They are also fairly economical to run and modern electric fires emulate real flame or modern constructions.

Pellet stoves are another option. They run on bio matter that would otherwise end up in landfill, like sawdust, corn waste or wood shavings. They are compressed until the water is removed and shaped into one inch pellets. The stove burns a small amount of pellets at the heat is circulated into the room by an electric fan. Pellet stoves can be installed almost anywhere as they need a smaller hole and no flue like a conventional fire, and modern stoves have automatic hoppers that feed the fire all day so can be run all day and night if necessary.

Choosing the right eco-friendly fire becomes easy when there are so many options to select from. Consider cost and availability of fuel and the size of the house and rooms that need heating before purchase. Consult a professional who cares about the environment for the best advice, or for other options that may be available.

Like what we’re doing? Want to share your story or tell others? Do you have a green business in Calgary and want to get in front of a large local audience? Let’s build a green community together!