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Energy sources for heating

Solar hot water systems depending on your climate, can provide up to 90 percent of your hot water for free using the sun's energy. Solar systems may be less appropriate in smaller households, in colder parts of the country, or where access to sunlight is restricted.

  • Natural gas water heaters generate far fewer greenhouse gas emissions than standard electric storage systems
  • Gas storage systems have quicker heat recovery times and generally use a smaller tank than a comparable electric storage system
  • Instantaneous systems usually use natural gas as it is cheaper for this application than LPG and electricity
  • To compare the energy use of gas storage and instantaneous gas water heaters, check the star rating label
  • Electricity can be used for standard storage heaters, for heat pump systems or for boosting solar systems. An expensive three-phase electricity supply is needed for instantaneous systems
  • Electric heat pumps are an efficient type of electric storage water heater that extracts heat from the environment to heat water. They pay back the extra initial investment more quickly in larger households
  • Heat pumps that draw heat from the air use only about one-third of the energy of a standard electric system and can be made even more efficient by using a solar booster. Electricity is not used to heat the water directly but to move heat from one place to another. The heat is carried by a refrigerant
  • Ground source (or geothermal) heat pumps use a water body, shallow trench, or deep bore instead of the air as a heat source. They usually provide both space heating and water heating. Electricity is used to pump water around a loop buried in the ground or immersed in a water body. The enclosed water absorbs heat from the surroundings. Geothermal heat pumps can produce more than four units of heat energy for every unit of electrical energy used
  • Heat pumps can be located and designed to utilise waste heat from air conditioners and refrigerators
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