What are examples of alternative energy

Alternative energies for heating: an overview


The reasons why owners choose alternative energies vary. Environmental awareness is not always the main motivation. Alternative heating systems often also make sense from an economic perspective. Anyone who opts for an alternative energy source is spoiled for choice: solar thermal, heat pump heating or would you prefer pellet heating? What options are there and what owners should consider.

The advantages and disadvantages of renewable energies

The comparison shows that alternative energies can reduce CO2 emissions by over 90 percent. The greenhouse gas emissions of an electric heating system are over 20 times higher than those of a wood heating system.

By doing without crude oil and natural gas, the earth's fossil resources are conserved. Renewable raw materials are considered to be trend-setting. But converting to renewable energy sources does not only make sense from an ecological perspective. Heaters such as solar thermal or heat pump heating use the direct environment as an energy source. This means that there are no fuel costs as is the case with classic oil or gas heating. In the following we give an overview of different types of regenerative heating.

Examples of alternative energies

1. Geothermal energy as a renewable energy
Geothermal heat pumps draw environmental heat from the air or the ground. Of course, you use existing energy sources to heat the heating water and the drinking water.

2. Pellet heating
Pellet heating is enjoying increasing popularity. The number of users is increasing in Germany, but the development in other countries - for example Austria with 20 percent (as of 2012) - is already much further. Other forms of wood heating are wood chip heating and log boilers.

3. The solar thermal system as an effective alternative
The use of solar radiation has one great advantage: solar energy is free. If you combine the heating of the heating / drinking water with the generation of electricity, you will maximize the savings through alternative energies. Since solar heat is not always available depending on the solar radiation, the solar heating is usually supported by an additional heating system.

Renewable energies as the fuel of the future

The world market prices for fossil fuels fluctuate greatly. With regard to heating oil prices, price fluctuations of around 900 percent can be observed between 1974 and 2004. As fossil fuels are nearing their end, further price increases can be expected in the future. A change to alternative energy is therefore inevitable in the long term.

The possible combinations in the field of regenerative energy sources

Illustration: Viessmann Werke

Heat pumps draw heat from the air or the ground. Depending on the type of heat generation, the following types differ:

Electricity is required to operate the pump. The electrical energy can be obtained from the grid or through a photovoltaic system. If the latter option produces a surplus of electricity, it will be fed into the power grid and you will receive the monetary equivalent.

Wood heating as a sustainable heating solution


Modern wood heating is an improvement on the stove. While the stove emits the heat directly into the room, the wood heating can be operated as central heating. The heating water and the drinking water are heated by the combustion. The use of wood has several advantages: On the one hand, wood is a renewable raw material. On the other hand, there is waste wood left in the wood processing industry, which can be used effectively. You have the choice between:

  • Logs
  • Pellets
  • Wood chips

You need a storage room for pellet heating as well as for oil heating. The spatial requirements are higher for wood heating than for gas heating, as you should plan for an annual supply of wood. In the case of a one- or two-family house, you need around 4 to 6 tons of wood.

Use funding opportunities to save costs

Alternative energies according to the EEG (Renewable Energy Sources Act) are preferred when feeding into the power grid. You can benefit twice from a heating modernization: Use solar heat to operate the heating and receive financial compensation for the electricity fed in. Whether in terms of heating or electricity:

The state and KfW support measures to modernize the heating system, provided that the energy consumption for the building is reduced and all other criteria are met.