BY KATIE - MYGREENPOD, 11 October '15

With decent insulation, home appliances would produce enough heat to keep your house warm

The heat given off by home appliances including your fridge and TV could be enough to keep your home warm, making central heating systems all but redundant.

The claim has come from an expert at Max Fordham, one of Britain’s leading engineering consultancies.

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Slashing bills

Effective insulation would mean the heat produced by these common appliances should be enough to keep people warm all year round, with central heating only needed on the very coldest days of the year.

Reducing the amount of energy needed to heat our homes would not only slash fuel bills for consumers, but would also cut CO2 emissions and improve Britain’s fuel security, making the country less dependent on imported oil and gas.

‘Our priority must be insulating our homes. Good insulation reduces the amount of energy required to keep our homes warm. It also ensures that all of the heat generated internally – by the kitchen fridge or even your own body heat – remains trapped inside, further reducing the need to import any additional heat energy into the home.’

Bill Watts, senior partner at Max Fordham

Misguided regs

Still, rather than providing incentives for people to insulate their homes effectively, Max Fordham believes ‘misguided’ planning regulations have resulted in £1bn ‘going up in smoke’ and being wasted on ‘supposedly eco-friendly heating systems’ that actually consume far more energy than conventional systems.

Combined Heat & Power (CHP) schemes that use heat produced as a by-product from power generation and District Heating, where a centralised heating system distributes heating to multiple dwellings, are favoured by planning regulations despite Max Fordham saying they can be hugely inefficient and waste enormous amounts of energy. 

Because they deliver heat constantly to multiple buildings, these systems burn energy all year round even when it is not needed, leading to much higher heating bills for consumers and producing large amounts of carbon emissions. 

‘Instead of installing complicated heating systems, developers should insulate new builds more effectively. A well-insulated home should only need to be heated for a few days a year. These complicated heating systems are on all year round, producing 52 weeks of heating bills for heat that customers don’t use or need.’

Bill Watts, senior partner at Max Fordham

Adding upfront costs

Over a lifetime of 25 years, Max Fordham has calculated that CHP and District heating can add up to £50,000 to the base build cost of a new dwelling. Installed in 21,000 dwellings in London alone, these systems have taken over a billion pounds out of development funds. 

‘These systems add a huge upfront cost to new developments which might be acceptable if they actually saved energy. The absurd fact is that not only are they a waste of money, but they’re a waste of resources too.’

Bill Watts, senior partner at Max Fordham

Heating currently represents nearly half of the UK’s energy consumption. Around half of that is household consumption.

Click here to find out more about Max Fordham.