Friday 15 July 2011



Solar hot water systems are the best green home-heating technology for households wanting to reduce their carbon footprint says Ethical Consumer magazine in its latest Buyers' Guide.

The guide examines in detail three of the leading renewable home-heating technologies: biomass boilers; ground source heat pumps and solar hot water heating.

It explains what the different renewable technologies are, how much they cost and what carbon savings they offer the homeowner. It also explores the ethical and environmental records of the companies which make them.

Whilst the biggest carbon savings come from biomass boilers, at around £11,000 they are also the most expensive of the renewable heat technologies reviewed. Plus there are concerns around air quality and the long-term sustainability of the biomass feedstock.

In addition, unlike the other technologies covered in the buyers' guide, biomass boilers could actually cost £40 a year more to run compared to a typical condensing gas boiler.

The cheapest renewable technology is a solar hot water system which on average costs around £4,800 to install. Households fitting this technology can expect to make modest carbon savings as well saving around £60 a year compared to a typical condensing gas boiler.

Ethical Consumer Editor Rob Harrison said:

“As the cheapest and easiest technology to install, if households are looking to buy a renewable-heating system in our view the best option would be to choose a solar hot water system.”

In addition the guide also explains in detail what the recently launched Government's Renewable Heat Incentive is and how it can help homeowners with the cost of installing renewable heat technologies.

Ethical Consumer Editor Rob Harrison said:

 “At a time when everyone faces steep price hikes in the cost of heating their homes the launch of the Renewable Heat Incentive means that there's never been a better time for homeowners to think about installing renewable-heat technologies. Over time this initiative will in effect pay for whatever system you choose.”



1 A copy of the renewable home-heating buyers' guide is available here:


2 Launched in 1989 Ethical Consumer is the UK's leading ethical and environmental magazine. In each issue Ethical Consumer examines the ethical and environmental record of the companies behind everyday products and services from bread to banks. For more information visit the Ethical Consumer website: www.ethicalconsumer.org


During office hours call Simon Birch or Rob Harrison: 0161 226 2929