Although Portugal is a sunny country, in winter it can be very uncomfortable to live in a house without a proper central heating system or at least water heating. Also, if you don't have efficient equipment, you will spend more electricity, increasing your carbon footprint.

To reach more consumers, DECO together with ADENE (energy agency) created a joint project, called HARP, with the aim of sharing information about the best equipment for heating the home and water. In addition, they have an online platform that evaluates heating systems and identifies the most suitable alternative solution for each home.

Within the scope of HARP, the universe of equipment includes only appliances used in the centralised heating system; therefore, portable heaters such as radiators are not included in the list.

Energy efficiency is eco-friendly

Energy efficient appliances are those that by using less energy, produce the same desired result, which means that the equipment consumes little to produce the same result.

Therefore, Portuguese buildings are one of the biggest “consumers” of energy in the European Union, 40 percent of total energy consumption and 36 percent of CO2 emissions. This makes it even more important to have better appliances to properly heat homes in an eco-friendly way.

In addition to investing in efficient appliances, in terms of buildings, home construction should also be taken into account. A poorly insulated house globally reduces the energy efficiency of the property overall, even with good equipment.

Which appliances are efficient?

Although there is a lot of equipment and it will always depend on the budget you have, where you live and the conditions you have at home, there are some devices that certainly will allow you to save a lot on bills, explained Celina Santos from DECO, Portuguese Association for Consumer Protection.

“Each case is different from the other. In the HARP project, the equipment analysed is indeed the most efficient on the market and the recommendations are generally a worthwhile investment, but it always takes a big investment”, Celina added.

Among the most efficient, there is “solar thermal systems for water”. In fact, in Portugal “solar thermal systems are a great technology in the sunniest country in Europe, and allow access to an unlimited source of energy that is the Sun. The only thing you need is an available roof. But be aware that even though south orientation is perfect, but between east and west can also work, it just cannot be north.

In addition, there are two very efficient options: geothermal heat pumps that convert heat stored underground into energy, and aerothermal systems designed to provide winter heating, summer cooling and hot water, extracting ambient energy from the air through a thermodynamic cycle system.

Then, “we have pellets boilers that burn wood”. Regarding “the pellet boilers, they are located in a storage room and then have a pipe that distributes the heat throughout the house. In terms of footprint, wood is neutral if it is considered that it releases the CO2 that it absorbs in its growth. Also, the wood used in pellets often comes from industry leftovers”, she explained.

Last but not least, “we have gas condensing boilers that, in addition to the heat of combustion, the heat present in the exhaust gases, allows the preheating of the boiler and subsequent use for showers or underfloor heating”. In addition, they are more than 90 percent efficient and for those who have little space, it is a very good solution, as it fits in a kitchen.

Energy advice and funding

DECO has also set up an energy support office where they support those who want to reduce energy poverty in their properties and the feedback from consumers has been incredible. “It is a service that has helped many people to understand how they can change their homes through interventions that improve the home and reduce energy waste,” Celina Santos told The Portugal News.

If you are looking for this type of change in your home, you can count on DECO's support. In addition, they can help you with the paperwork if you want to apply for a state funding, for example, Fundo Ambiental (Environmental Fund), which returns 85 percent of the expenses made to improve the energy efficiency of the building in some specific cases.

“Those who have investment capacity can recover this amount. Also, the support was extended until June. To ask for support and gather the documentation, it is also possible contact the energy support office”, she said.

For further information please contact or 213 710 224.


Paula Martins is a fully qualified journalist, who finds writing a means of self-expression. She studied Journalism and Communication at University of Coimbra and recently Law in the Algarve. Press card: 8252

Paula Martins