Keeping warm in Belgium is a vital need. Our dependence on fossil fuels is increasingly costing us dear. We must adapt our behaviour and consider less expensive and more environmentally friendly solutions.
Fossil fuels and climate change
The most common fuels such as oil, coal or gas are fossil fuels. They are in limited quantity on our planet. Scientific studies show that their combustion generates large amounts of greenhouse gases (GHG). These gases are a major cause of climate change (desertification, storms, cold waves, etc.) and continue to increase. Their main sources of emission are the transport and construction sectors (mainly originating from heating systems).
Stay warm better!
Meanwhile, the prices of fuel and energy in general are soaring. More and more households are having trouble paying their energy bills. It is urgent to adapt our behaviour with regard to the manner in which we stay warm so as to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions as quickly as possible.
Thermostatic radiator valve
How can this be done?
By insulating our homes better (www.energivores.be and insulation).
By selecting a correctly sized heating system. Most older systems with 35kW capacity are no longer being used. Today, in majority of new buildings, systems with 15 KW or less capacity are installed.
By controlling one's heating system to avoid any unnecessary consumption (some tips on www.climat.be).
By regularly maintaining one's boiler. One millimetre of soot reduces boiler efficiency by 3% (some tips on www.climat.be).
By opting for the most green heating system possible.
And by not forgetting to compare the combustion gas emissions when purchasing a new equipment. Coal, wood and pellet based equipment can emit several unhealthy particles. Fuel-oil and gas based equipment can also emit some nitrogen oxides.
Do not hesitate to seek advice from:
• your architect
• your fitter
• an EPB specialist (Energy Performance of Buildings) or an energy consultant
Select a suitable mode of heating
By observing these tips, one shows concern not only for one's heating bills but also the effect on the environment.
In Belgium, there are criteria that determine the selection of a heating mode. The first two criteria are:
• fuel availability: for example, the natural gas network is underdeveloped in the Ardennes, whereas wood is more easily available;
• configuration of the habitat: one does not keep warm in the same way in the city (in an apartment) as in the countryside (in a single family home).
After considering these aspects, the most environmentally friendly heating system needs to be selected. Very often we limit this choice to gas or fuel oil. But alternative solutions exist, which involve non-fossil fuels.