Is it better to heat house with gas or electricity? We have gas insert and gas heating but am looking at other options for sustainable energy use. Thank you!
If you have access to electricity that comes from renewable sources (sun, wind, hydro, waves, biofuel) or from nuclear, then I would recommend getting a heat pump. Simply said a heat pump takes energy from the outside and puts it on the inside, sort of like a refrigerator, but done the other way around.
Heat pumps lower the electric usage significantly compared to heating with electricity directly, which you don’t really want to do. It can reduce your electric heating bill to a quarter . I have one taking energy from the bedrock with two 100 m deep drilled holes, connected to my water bourne heating system. But you can take energy from the soil or a lake. If you have a heating system that doesn’t have water radiators then you can take the energy from the surrounding air.
If you have access to enough green electricity to heat your home (and you will need a lot) then electric will be better. If you're grid connected then almost certainly gas (possibly even wood, especially if you burn oxygen starved and bury the biochar) is better. Consider that increasingly gas is a power source used on the grid, so if you use electricity you're going
gas -> heat -> electricity -> heat whereas if you use gas directly that's just
gas -> heat, cutting out several steps which introduce efficiency losses.
Unless you have your own or community biogas reactor then gas is not a renewable resource.
Since the 1970s, China has been promoting the use of underground, individual household scale, anaerobic digesters to process rural organic wastes. There are approximately 5,000,000 households using anaerobic digesters in China. The digesters produce biogas that is used as an energy source by the households, and produce fertilizer that is used in agricultural production.
Furthermore, you may be paying for both a line charge for gas as well as the line charges for electricity with dual connections.
Heat pumps are also the most efficient way to heat your house in most, but not all climates, and run on electricity.
Ultimately it depends on how the electricity is generated, and if there is a significant component of that power generation from non renewable resources then you may be better off with gas.