Determining what is the best heating system for a new build home can be a confusing and daunting process.
For one thing, the choice of energy sources is wider than ever before. New build homes can now be heated using mains gas, oil, wood, LPG, and electricity, as well as renewables such as air source heat pumps, ground-source heat pumps, solar PV, solar hot water systems, and biomass boilers.
Secondly, the heating systems themselves have advanced significantly too. Now there are not just traditional radiators and electric storage heaters to consider, but underfloor heating and low surface temperature radiators and mechanical heat recovery ventilation systems too!
The key thing to remember when choosing, and then specifying, the best heating system for a new build property is that it always requires an individual, yet holistic ‘Fabric First’ approach. You can’t make such an important decision without having a full understanding both about the nature of your new property and your own individual needs and situation.
So, before you rush into any decision it’s important to think about:-
1. WHAT ARE THE DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION DETAILS OF YOUR PROPERTY?
- How is it to be constructed, and how energy-efficient and airtight will it be? Have you considered all your options?
- How large is it and what is the proposed internal layout?
- Could any improvements be made to boost energy efficiency?
- What amount and types of windows and doors are you installing, and what is their orientation? Will you get solar gain?
2. WHAT IS THE LOCATION AND ORIENTATION OF YOUR BUILDING PLOT?
- Are you in a sheltered urban setting or an exposed rural location?
- Do you have access to a mains gas supply?
- What size is your plot? Is it large or small? Is it clear and level?
- Is your plot heavily shaded by trees or does it have an open aspect?
- What direction will your property’s roofs face?
3. WHAT IS THE MAKEUP OF YOUR HOUSEHOLD?
- How many people will live in your home, and how will the property be occupied throughout the week?
- Do you have children, elderly relatives, or people with limited mobility living with you?
- Will your home be empty during the day? What will be the peaks and troughs of your heating and hot water requirements?
4. WHAT IS YOUR FINANCIAL POSITION?
- Are you planning to live in your home for a number of years, or is it a short-term investment?
- Do you have a very limited budget for your heating system?
- Would you be able to invest in more expensive infrastructure upfront, to then benefit from grants and save on running costs in the long run?
5. WHAT IS YOUR ATTITUDE TO THE ENVIRONMENT?
- Are you keen to reduce your carbon footprint?
- Do you have an interest in renewable technologies?
These questions will probably give you a lot to think about!