alternatives to fuel burning heating in the med regions

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safronsue
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alternatives to fuel burning heating in the med regions

Post: #267447 safronsue
Fri Oct 12, 2012 7:51 am

As diesel prices here are amongst the highest (apparently) in the eu and we're all skint anyway the locals turn to wood burning boilers and wood is being burnt in crazy amounts. for example my neighbour is stacking 30 tons as i type. THIRTY??!! i asked him . yes 30, for one house and it's not an atypical amount. it's oak from bulgaria apparently. But this is madness is it not!! we also burn wood, 2.5 tons bought last year and some is still in store. our place is smaller and extremely well insulated but we are interested in finding another more sustainable method ....
Photovolteic is out of our price range atm. our solar system works a treat and we have a huge roof area to use. could we not heat water like this and use that for radiators? this would obviously be dependent on suitably insulated storage tanks. Bearing in mind winters here are harsh but we don't go for many days without sun. if this is just a daft idea please tell me!
what else can be done and why the heck aren't people doing it in these austerity stricken countries like greece? they just have to be smarter than resorting to deciding to cut down all the forests in the balcans. that thing up in the sky, shining down more days than not, needs to be used surely :banghead:

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Re: alternatives to fuel burning heating in the med regions

Post: #267474 The Riff-Raff Element
Sat Oct 13, 2012 7:13 am

I think a large enough heat store (big hot water tank!) and enough collectors would be expensive. Do you have radiators? If so, how about looking into a heat pump?

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Re: alternatives to fuel burning heating in the med regions

Post: #267475 safronsue
Sat Oct 13, 2012 7:36 am

Hi jon, yes, we have radiators. what's a heat pump?

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Re: alternatives to fuel burning heating in the med regions

Post: #267476 The Riff-Raff Element
Sat Oct 13, 2012 8:33 am

Basically it's a fridge in reverse. It takes lower grade heat from a source such as the air, ground or water and sort of concentrates it to give a usable stream of heat. It does this by expanding a gas to collect the energy and then compressing it to release it. It consumes electricity to do this - to run the compressor - but it moves more energy than it consumes. Typically, modern units can move around 4 or 5kw for 1kw consumption.

Air source heat pumps are very popular around here for new builds, but they are also being retrofitted on existing buildings. We use one for pool heating for our gites. They can work down to temperatures way below zero - friends of ours have one heating their home that will work down to -21°C, which may be cold to us, but is still 250°C above absolute zero, so is "hot" in thermodynamic terms.

The initial cost is in the thousands of euros, but the running costs in a well insulated house can be very low. The one we have for the pool is quite a powerful one - pulls about 3.5 kw for 16kw heating and cost €4500, but compared to other approaches (which would be oil in our situation) it pays for itself in about 5 years. Heating oil here is about 95 cents a litre at the moment. For domestic central heating we use wood, but I'm considering saving up for a 2kw unit to tie into the system to take advantage of low overnight electricity prices and cut our wood consumption.

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Re: alternatives to fuel burning heating in the med regions

Post: #267482 okra
Sat Oct 13, 2012 11:39 am

What about attaching radiators to your wood burning stove?

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Re: alternatives to fuel burning heating in the med regions

Post: #267493 safronsue
Sun Oct 14, 2012 4:41 am

thanks for the explanation jon. to be still reliant on electricity after paying for the unit would be a sticking point really but i can see it is a step in the right direction.
the wood burner is only a hunter herald 9 and apparently too small to consider connecting to the radiators, although i wanted to do this and still do really as surely even if a few radiators are powered it is something for nothing. getting a bigger wood burner would mean joining the ranks of those burning obscene amounts of forest

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Re: alternatives to fuel burning heating in the med regions

Post: #267495 contadina
Sun Oct 14, 2012 6:02 am

B-B-Blimey, does your neighbour have Raynaud's Disease or something similar? That's a ridiculous amount of wood :shock: .

If Greek houses are anything like Italian ones then insulation will be non-existent: changing doors and windows has made a huge difference to our house. Also, most Italians use spectacularly inefficient built-in stoves with built-in boilers or open fires with windows and doors left open. Before overhauling your heating system look at areas where you can improve insulation.

Here in southern Italy, which can have either cold or very wet winters, the prunings from just six secular olive trees provides enough for wood for all our heat, hot water and cooking in the winter as well as for the BBQ and pizza oven in the summer. We have a back boiler on our woodburner (6kw with 2.9kW backboiler). This heats a couple of radiators too. We'd been told by experts that our stove was way too small, but the house is toasty in the winter, much to the relief of a Christmas visitor from London who has both Raynard's Disease and central heating. She said our house was warmer than her flat.

We have a solar panel too, but while it provides enough hot water for a shower or two in the winter it's nowhere near warm enough to heat the house. If it's cold during the day we'll light a range cooker.

If it's bedrooms, which are cold I'd recommend getting an efficient electric blanket and put it on for half an hour before you go to bed and switch it off when you retire for the night. If you shop around and get a good one it will only cost a cent or two per use.

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Re: alternatives to fuel burning heating in the med regions

Post: #267496 The Riff-Raff Element
Sun Oct 14, 2012 8:11 am

Sue - I'd have thought you'd be able to run at least a couple of radiators off the stove, assuming that it has a back boiler. Our stove is integrated into the heating & hot water systems (to complicate matters we also have a pair of solar panels in the set up which provide at least some hot water during the winter) and we run 10 radiators off this. This is a big family house, and we also have a stand-alone wood burner at the other end for when things get really cold, plus we have a gite next door that is let over winter and burns wood too, and we get through about 10 tonnes, which I'd like to reduce even if it does come from local, managed, forest! Hence my interest in further complicating life and testing the ingenuity of our plumber by adding a heatpump to the mix.

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Re: alternatives to fuel burning heating in the med regions

Post: #267525 gregorach
Mon Oct 15, 2012 10:26 am

Well, the best answer would be passive solar, but that's the sort of approach you need to design in from the start for best effect... There may be some tricks you can retro-fit though. Insulation and draught-proofing are the first steps, then perhaps you might think about something like a thermospyhon. There's a whole range of ideas here.
Cheers

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Re: alternatives to fuel burning heating in the med regions

Post: #267538 safronsue
Tue Oct 16, 2012 4:57 am

i just got a quote of 400 quid for a clip in boiler for the stove, including delivery to greece. that would heat 3 rads, so not many but surely it is worth it in the long run. our house is pretty sound for draughts already.
neighbour is healthy but the house certainly isn't as it's chronically draughty and it's just like it leaks like a sieve despite being a new build. Greek architects need to be looking elsewhere for help in eco house design as their people are going to be mighty cold through these times.
I've never liked the idea of an electric blanket, preferring a hot water bottle but now you mention it, and unplugging the thing before i actually snuggle down...maybe it's a good plan.
I am off to look at dunc's links now. thanks all

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Re: alternatives to fuel burning heating in the med regions

Post: #267550 Skippy
Tue Oct 16, 2012 11:46 am

I can't help but think that the answer to why people are doing what they do is actually in your original post. If people can't afford to buy the diesel then it's going to be unlikely that they will be able to fork out for solar panels, heat pumps or whatever. It's a sort of cruel irony that most of these things are affordable when you have the cash to pay for the other options such as diesel.
Dunc I do like that thermospyhon and as I've got all the bits to make one lying around I think I'm going to give that a go just to try it out , thanks for that link.


Pete

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Re: alternatives to fuel burning heating in the med regions

Post: #267552 gregorach
Tue Oct 16, 2012 12:08 pm

Skippy wrote:Dunc I do like that thermospyhon and as I've got all the bits to make one lying around I think I'm going to give that a go just to try it out , thanks for that link.


Let us know how it goes Pete, I've never known anyone who's actually made one...
Cheers

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Re: alternatives to fuel burning heating in the med regions

Post: #267571 safronsue
Wed Oct 17, 2012 4:45 am

brain overload! so much to read. well yes skippy, money is tight but to take my example of the silly neighbour, he spent 3000 euros on wood that wil go up in smoke in one season.

maybe i didn't ask my question right but anyway, what i was thinking about does exist. a thermal store is what we need i believe.

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Re: alternatives to fuel burning heating in the med regions

Post: #267599 The Riff-Raff Element
Thu Oct 18, 2012 6:10 am

€100 per tonne? That's not exactly cheap! I'm amazed that a new build house can be so poor in energy efficiency terms.

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Re: alternatives to fuel burning heating in the med regions

Post: #267613 gregorach
Thu Oct 18, 2012 8:50 am

Even where there are half-decent energy efficiency building standards, they're rarely effectively enforced. I've heard tales of new build houses in the UK where the loft insulation was technically there - but still rolled up and in it's original packaging. :roll:
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Dunc


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