Environmental assessment of energy systems for heating in dwellings

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So far economical aspects have been highlighted when choosing heating systems in dwellings. However, with today’s increased environmental awareness also requirements on environmental aspects are important. It is not enough to have a low energy demand; it must also be supplied by a source with low environmental impact. It is, however, a big difference between KWh and kWh since the environmental impact depends on many factors such as, type of used heating system, effectiveness of the system and energy source. The large number of influencing factors makes it difficult to estimate and assess the environmental impact and the lack of methods and tools for an easy comparison.

Within the research programme EFFEKTIV a method has been defined for environmental assessement of heating systems and an Internet tool for fast estimation has been created. The tool intends to be a support for environmental advice in choices between different heating systems and thereby increase the market for systems that are using renewable energy sources, such as sun, wind or bio fuels. The method is based on assessement of environmental impact from emissions. All emissions during the energy source’s complete life cycle are considered ”from cradle to grave”. The emissions are divided inte categories dependent on their impact on global warming, acidification, photochemical ozone formation, eutrophication, and fine particles.

The free-to-use Internet tool EFFem give a fast, transparent and objective overview of the environmental effects for different heating systems, but negative environmental aspects from nuclear power will not be reflected.

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