Advice needed, folks.

Anything to do with environmental building projects.
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Green Aura
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Advice needed, folks.

Post: #166646 Green Aura
Wed Sep 02, 2009 11:44 am

I know I've mentioned this before but now feel like we've got a realistic plan.

Ok, we currently have a chuggy old coal-fired central heating boiler (Franco-Belge) which is very inefficient and costs a fortune to run. Last winter we spent a minimum of £35/week on coal, plus the electricity to run the pump. And all summer we've had to use the immersion heater, which I think is a waste.

The other problem with it is that since we had double glazing installed the house often gets far too hot - we're SW facing and so it warms fantastically on a sunny day, even in the depths of winter - and of course we can't turn off the boiler. Passers-by must think we're mad wearing sleeveless vests and thin trousers on a cold winters evening :shock:

Apart from the boiler we're all electric. We have found a supplier for wood fairly close by. LPG, oil, propane etc are not options.

So, having lived with it for a couple of years, we've come to some conclusions and have the money (so we need to work quickly while we still have it :lol: ). Some advice about whether these will work is very much welcome/needed.

What we've decided, more or less, is to get rid of the boiler and immersion heater. Replace these with a central heating only (something like the Heatrae Amptec - we'd need two) to run the central heating on a low thermostat - 16-18 degrees C.

Then we replace the boiler with a multifuel stove - we'd still need coal occasionally to keep it in overnight and when it's particularly cold. But we're looking at one with an oven so that when it's lit, or in the event of a power cut, we can still have warm food/drinks. We also have another stove (an old Portway Tortoise) for the other end of the building, to keep the whole house warm.

We'd replace the immersion heater with undersink water heaters so we only heat water that we're using. We'd need several, but I think they'd pay for themselves fairly quickly.

I think that these measures would drastically reduce our electricity use, which at the moment is huge because everything we have is so inefficient.

My ultimate plan is to produce at least some of our own electricity - we're perfectly placed for wind power, I'm just waiting for planning regs to be eased. And being SW facing we could also have solar PV. Both of these will have to wait so we need a system that will be compatible with any future plans.

Does any of that seem reasonable/ make sense?

Thanks folks.
Maggie

Never doubt that you can change history. You already have. Marge Piercy

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage. Anais Nin

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Odsox
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Re: Advice needed, folks.

Post: #166870 Odsox
Fri Sep 04, 2009 8:58 am

It sounds like you are heading in the same direction that we are going here.
When we moved here 15 years ago the first thing I did was install oil fired central heating .... this year I ripped it all out again :scratch:

Our house is also south facing with the sea about 500 yards away and 100 feet lower. During the winter months the sun is low enough that we not only get direct sunshine in our rooms but we also get it reflected off the water as well, so we get nearly double the sunshine.
On a calm winters day our sitting room gets to 25 degrees C and now that I've insulated everywhere, it stays above 20c all evening.
We have a small multifuel stove in the sitting room which is more than man enough to keep us comfortable on days the sun doesn't shine, and the back of the house has a couple of electric storage radiators with another tiny one in the bathroom, which are reasonably economical to run.

The multifuel stove burns wood briquettes (birch) and on really cold (for us) nights it's banked up with anthracite type ovals, so that it's still nice and warm in the morning.
The net result is that our house is always nice and toasty, but the down side is you have to think about what needs doing and more work involved than turning a switch on ... not a problem for me of course.

Also this autumn I am installing a wind turbine, mainly to power my hydroponic greenhouse and my ham radio room, but I think that there will be enough power left over to run all our lights as well. The plan is that once I get a bit of experience with wind generation I may well get a bigger turbine and run all our house with maybe the exception of the kitchen sockets.

So, it's just my long winded way of saying ... yes, go for it.
There is one important fact that you can be 100% sure of, when all industrialised countries come out of recession oil prices will go through the roof again, so what ever money you spend now on improvements can only reap big rewards in a few years time.
Tony

Disclaimer: I almost certainly haven't a clue what I'm talking about.

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Re: Advice needed, folks.

Post: #166874 TheGoodEarth
Fri Sep 04, 2009 9:26 am

Green Aura - you need to ask the experts on this one. Try posting your question on the Green Building Forum. These solutions are debated all the time by people who know what they are talking about and who care for the environment. The first thing they will tell you is to super insulate as much as you can.

http://www.greenbuildingforum.co.uk/newforum/
No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery

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Green Aura
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Re: Advice needed, folks.

Post: #166911 Green Aura
Fri Sep 04, 2009 12:42 pm

Thanks folks.

We're already really well insulated, and since replacing the old barracks windows (you know the small panes in metal frame things) as I say it can get very toasty in here even in the depths of winter.

The other thing I maybe should have mentioned, is that my 84 year old mother lives with us, so we need the minimal central heating to make sure she doesn't get hypothermia (she's not taken her fleece of all summer :lol: ).

the down side is you have to think about what needs doing and more work involved than turning a switch on ... not a problem for me of course
. Not a problem here either, Tony. We're all at home all day - except when we manage to shunt t'old lass up to her luncheon club :lol: - and the current boiler is our sole method of heatng at the moment. It's amazing how organised you can be when the alternative is freezing!

Anyway I'm now going to copy my original post and try the other forum, thanks.
Maggie

Never doubt that you can change history. You already have. Marge Piercy

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage. Anais Nin


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