Because heating our homes is becoming increasingly expensive, many people are looking for alternative heating methods. The conventional methods are electric, oil, natural gas, or propane, but these options have some negative repercussions, including high prices, a limited availability of resources, and they make use of non-renewable energy sources.

As fossil fuels, oil and gas are not renewable fuels and their use is not sustainable because they will run out sometime in the future.

Install and insert
Whilst wood-burning fire places aren't very energy efficient they are renewable resources and you can get more out of an existing fireplace by installing an insert. Inserts can burn wood, gas, or wood pellets, and they have an insulated glass door that prevents hot air from escaping up the chimney - offering the most inefficient way to heat your home.

Use fire
If you are planning to renovate your kitchen, or are in the process of building a new home, adding a fireplace to the kitchen is one way to heat up the cooking area. Include a grate to hold a pan over the flames or to hang a kettle. For cooking convenience, install the fireplace at waist height and include a ledge for hot dishes.

For open-plan living, a free-standing fireplace allows you to heat a large open space. This is a great option for a master suite with one side open to the bedroom, and the other to the bath, or a family room with one side open to the kitchen.

A Morso fireplace is an advanced system for burning wood and – if used properly - is among the most environmentally friendly heating solutions in the world. When a wood-burning fireplace is used, an environmentally correct energy source is being used, because wood is a non-fossil natural product.

Burning wood is CO2-neutral, in the sense that the CO2 released by combustion was bound to the tree throughout its lifetime. Wood is moreover one of the few energy sources that are renewable, as opposed to oil and gas. We can always plant new trees to replace the ones we have cut down.

Radiant heat
One of the oldest forms of heating, radiant heat (or underfloor heating) provides comfort and warmth underfoot using an efficient system that uses far less energy than other methods of heating. Radiant energy is totally pure radiation and is absorbed by an object without physical contact with the heat source or by heating the surrounding air, as is the case with convective, forced air systems.

Because radiant heating systems work more efficiently, you end up using less energy, while maintaining a more comfortable living space.

Underfloor heating using radiant heat is the most economical way of heating your home and water-based underfloor heating is widely used as an alternative to electrical underfloor heating throughout the world, primarily because it can use a combination of different heat sources to warm up your home. From environmentally friendly solar power, to electricity and gas.

Use it - don't lose it!
You might not think those small gaps around your doors and windows are a big deal but, even small cracks allow heat to escape. Draught-proofing your home can save up to 15 percent in heating and cooling costs and reduces demand on heating and cooling systems.

The future
Geothermal energy is not a new source of alternative energy, as it has been researched for quite some time. This type of heating and cooling uses a geothermal pump to extract heat from within the earth to heat a home.

Got any more energy-efficient ways of keeping your home warm this winter? Share your ideas in the box below.