Electric heating is 100% more eco-friendly than oil or gas because it doesn’t produce any harmful emissions. However, the true efficiency and environmental impact of an electricity source can only really be determined by where its power comes from – so let’s look at some different types.
How Eco-Friendly Is Electrical Heating?
Electric heat is an efficient and environmentally responsible means to keep your house warm, but it’s not always simple. When you consider how much energy goes into producing the electricity that powers this form of heating, then deciding whether to switch over from fossil fuels can be daunting at best (though let me assure you there are many reasons why doing so might make sense).
Electric heat is more efficient than fossil fuels when it comes to generating electricity, but the efficiency drops significantly because of transmission losses.
Burning coal or natural gas for power generation only results in around 3060% effectiveness. This means there’s still significant waste from transmission lines before you even look at your home heating system. Electric-powered systems are typically much better at producing energy without any loss – up to around 80%.
Heating with electricity from renewable resources like wind, solar or hydro is better for the environment than generating it by burning fossil fuels.
Thankfully, the percentage of green energy in America has been increasing steadily over time due to new records being set every year. In 2018, 742 million megawatt hours were generated by solar panels, providing 17% of all generation needs on its own. An added advantage was that this also considerably cut down carbon dioxide pollution levels which cause global warming.
The rise in renewable electricity generation has been impressive. Solar and wind rose from 55 million MWh to 275 over 6.5 years, respectively – with solar outpacing all other sources by a margin that was more than twice as large (292 vs 125). Hydroelectric also had its own share of the pie with 292 million MW hours’ worth produced.
As you can see here, nearly 90% or so of this increase came courtesy of onshore winds at just under 100 MMWs annually from 2008 to 2018 (6%).
Canada is a leader when it comes to renewable energy and sustainable development. Canada currently gets around two-thirds of its electricity from non GHG emitting sources, which makes them the world’s second largest producer behind China with hydroelectric power being one example.
New technologies are changing how we heat our homes. Electric heating is a great option for those looking to reduce their carbon footprint, but in new or renovated buildings with high efficiency Green electricity generation as an option, you should consider using it.
As more renewable sources come online – like solar panels – your default carbon footprint will become lower than before. These new clean power options help offset old dirty fuels that used too much of this precious natural resource.
Sources Of Electric Heat
Heating with electricity is not just a matter of noisy baseboard heaters or an electric force-air furnace. Efficiency and BTUs delivered through radiators, furnaces, convection heaters or boilers for hydronic radiant floors all fall within the category called “electric” heating. These are equally efficient on a BTU per watt basis. They also have about as much punch to them as you would get from using your stovetop burner, hair dryer or toaster.
Heating your entire home with electric radiators spread throughout a house is not very efficient, but that has more to do with how well it’s distributed.
Electric radiators are convenient because they can be turned on and off remotely, but heating an entire home with electric ones will be only slightly more efficient than turning your oven up to full power.
The main reason for this is heat concentrated in one place which causes an increase of losses through walls near the source, or as warm air rises from floor level where it escapes out via stove hoods.
Centralized heat sources can be a bit of an issue. For example, they leave some areas in the house cooler. As most people tend to keep their homes at about 72 degrees Fahrenheit (22 Celsius), it creates hot spots throughout your home rather than just one area being warmer or colder than average.
This means that if you have electric resistance heating – from cooking with an oven or stovetop – then this will add even more energy costs.
You might not know that a hair dryer is just as efficient at heating your house as an electric furnace. The same amount of energy spent on running something like this will do the same job in terms or BTUs per watt, but it comes without all those fossil fuels which are harmful for our environment.
This exception to “equal” efficiency only applies if you’re using electricity and not gas because there’s no air resistance involved when operating condenser fans with liquid cooling systems powered by renewable resources such as solar panels.
Types Of Electric Resistance Heaters
Forced Air Electric Furnace:
Before you decide on an electric furnace as a way to heat your home, make sure that it’s not going to cost more than the oil or gas versions. Electric furnaces require costs which can add up – installing duct work for air circulation purposes (which isn’t cheap) and running heating element cables throughout different parts/rooms within the house. All this requires regular maintenance, such as filter replacements & cleaning out any obstructions.
Electric furnaces are often the first thing people think of when they need to heat their home. But just because an electric furnace is efficient doesn’t mean that bigger is better. A larger model will spend more time warming up and then cooling off, which means less efficiency in comparison with smaller ones- so you might want to consider sizing down for this important investment decision.
Electric Baseboard Heaters
Electric baseboard heaters are an excellent way to keep your home warm without using up too much energy. Unlike other heating methods, electric baseboards distribute heated air through metal fins that provide better distribution than radiators or convection ovens do.
The thermostat system makes controlling the temperature easy – you can set it at different levels for each room in need of specific temperatures. This means less overall consumption because infrequently used areas won’t be too high, plus there’s no risk or installing wiring everywhere like with gas-powered units (they’re also much safer).
The perfect installation spot for baseboard heaters is underneath windows, because that’s where you’ll experience the greatest loss. They should also be installed an inch above floor level in order to allow air intake through their bottom – a much more effective way of heating your home!
Electric Convection Heaters
A convection heater is like a baseboard, but with an extra fan. There’s no difference in efficiency; however, you will notice the difference when delivering heat to your room.
They can reach higher temperatures quicker and distribute it more evenly than traditional heating methods such as radiators or electric fireplaces (although we don’t recommend using either).
On top of this each type has pros and cons: A furnace stirs up lots of dust while humidity causes electrical problems for some reason. The convection heater includes features similar those seen on standard baseboard heater.
Choosing between baseboards and convection heaters is more of an opinion than anything else. They’re both affordable, with their own benefits to consider; but in reality, the choice comes down mostly personal preference or what type you need for your home: the costs are similar either way.
Electric Radiant Floor Heaters
Heating cables can be run under both tiles and engineered hardwood. This is not a cheap system to install, but it’s very comfortable way of delivering heat.
Radiant in-floor hydronic heating systems require more plumbing when houses are built, and that is ideally when they should be installed. The same number of BTUs per watt results from this type of installation compared with what you’ll get by using convectors or electric baseboards exclusively.