Renewable energy is the term used to describe energy flows that occur naturally and continuously in the environment, such as energy from the wind and sun. In contrast to use of fossil fuels such as coal and gas, these energy sources are effectively inexhaustible. Using forms of renewable energy such as solar and wind also does not produce carbon dioxide emissions which cause climate change.
After maximising energy efficiency, use of renewable energy can offer a means to further reduce the carbon dioxide emissions generated by the use of a building. Making your building as energy efficient as possible, for example by installing high levels of insulation and double glazing, before investing in renewables will ensure you get the maximum benefits from any renewable technology.
Islington Council strongly supports the use of renewable energy technologies in all new developments and also supports retrofitting renewables to existing buildings wherever appropriate. Renewable energy technologies that may be appropriate for buildings in Islington include:
- solar hot water panels - these capture and store the sun’s heat via water storage systems)
- photo-voltaic panels - these convert energy from daylight into electricity
- ground source heat pumps - these extract the heat from the ground via a refrigerant fluid (or water) and transfer it to a heat sink where it can then be circulated through the building via a heating system; they can also be operated in reverse to provide cooling
- biomass boilers – these boilers burn organic matter to produce heat and/or electricity; use of biomass is generally considered to be ‘carbon-neutral’ because the carbon dioxide released during the generation of energy is balanced by that absorbed by plants during their growth.
Installation of renewable energy technologies must comply with national and local planning legislation and policy to ensure that they do not negatively impact on the environment or other people. For more information on Sustainable Design, including guidance on what types of renewables technologies you may be able to install on your home without requiring planning permission, please see the Sustainable Design webpage.
For more information on renewable energy technologies, including grants, see: