Low-cost and eco-friendly heating

Tips for efficient heating from the Austrian Ecolabel

The current heating season reaches its peak in December. To save energy costs, it depends on the fuel and the heating system. Heating with wood is the cheapest and at the same time the most eco-friendly. Those who use another form of heating can still effectively reduce energy costs with tips from the Austrian Ecolabel.

Focus on wood

In this country, wood is the cheapest form of heating. As a renewable energy source, wood is also the most environmentally friendly fuel with the lowest CO2 emissions. For pellets and wood chips, the Austrian Ecolabel has issued the guideline "Fuels from Biomass UZ38". Among other things, it guarantees that the wood sources used are natural and that at least 70 percent of the wood comes from sustainable forestry. For more and more households, security of supply is also a crucial point: wood heating systems make people largely independent of power cuts or supply bottlenecks for oil and gas.

Investing in wood systems

Wood stoves are classically thought of as a heating appliance that provides heat for a room. They can be installed quickly, but tiled stoves, pellet or lump-wood central heating systems can also heat the entire house and provide hot water. Concerns that wood-fired heating systems lead to higher particulate matter pollution no longer apply to modern systems. Above all, heating systems that bear the Austrian Ecolabel "Holzheizungen UZ37" are low-emission and have a high energy yield: more than 1,200 wood-fired heating systems from about 50 companies have been awarded the Ecolabel.

Insulate optimally

The heating requirement depends to a large extent on the quality of a house's construction. The outer wall, ceiling and base of the building should be optimally insulated so that the building stores more heat and requires less heating energy. Whether insulation materials are made from fossil, mineral or renewable raw materials, there are sustainable alternatives with the Ecolabel to choose from, with strict restrictions on chemicals that are hazardous to the environment and health. With the right insulation, you can ensure comfort in winter while at the same time keeping energy consumption low, which contributes to climate protection. A good guideline for climate-friendly building with the Ecolabel is provided by the klimaaktiv building standard.

Heating properly

Replacing a heating system is a big investment that pays off, but is not possible in all cases. With simple measures that can be implemented quickly, heating can be used efficiently and thus more cost effectively:

  • Reducing the room temperature by 1 degree Celsius brings heating cost savings of about 6 percent.
  • Radiators should not be covered with furniture or curtains to prevent heat build-up.
  • Short bursts of ventilation (Stoßlüften) result in less energy loss than constantly tilted windows.
  • Windows and doors should be sealed to prevent heat loss.
  • If radiators do not get warm when they are in full operation, air in the heating system could be the reason. Opening the air vent valve can quickly solve this problem. (Attention: Have a container ready for the water!).
  • Deposits can be prevented by cleaning the boiler annually. Just 1 millimetre of soot increases fuel consumption by up to 5 percent.

More information on heating with renewable energy sources can be found on the Ecolabel website under "Products/ Green Energy".

You can find even more tips on environmentally friendly heating, on choosing the right heating system for your building and on current subsidy offers at https://www.klimaaktiv.at/heizen.html

The switch from fossil-fuelled heating to a more sustainable alternative (district heating connection, biomass heating or heat pump) is financially supported by the BMK's "Domestic Environmental Promotion". In addition, there are also supplementary subsidies for boiler replacement in the federal provinces.

More information on this can be found here: https://www.umweltfoerderung.at/privatpersonen/raus-aus-oel.html.