Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Heating our homes from now on  (Read 7893 times)

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Heating our homes from now on
« on: September 11, 2021, 07:35:35 pm »



I don't think many smallholders are guilty of leaving their central heating blazing all day 'to keep the budgie warm' and we are used to choosing to wear appropriate clothing for the conditions.  So 'save the planet - wear a woolly pully' isn't news to us.  The question is though, given the current climate crisis, how should we best heat our homes?


When we moved to our house and smallholding over 1/4 of a century ago, we opted for oil fired central heating, in the absence of a gas supply to our area.  Soon afterwards we added a wood burning stove in the main living area. Later again, we vastly improved the insulation and draughtproofing of the whole house.   We have planted loads of trees, partly as a renewable fuel, but also for all the other benefits trees give. For clothing, we keep sheep and spin their fleece - wool is endlessly renewable and considered a by-product today, in spite of its amazing insulation properties.  Of course we don't only wear wool, but it is wool which keeps us the warmest.


Now that 26 years have passed, suddenly everything we do seems to be criticised for damaging the planet.  Oil is bad.  Burning wood is bad. Not having a wind turbine is bad. Living in an old house is bad.  Keeping sheep is bad. Eating meat is bad. Using the car is bad (there is no bus service)


So my question is, where are we at with non-polluting ways of living and heating our homes?


#I have no intention of fitting a wood chip boiler, when I am aware that virgin forest from the western seaboard of the United States is being desecrated to provide the timber for wood chip, which is then transported halfway around the world to reach here.
#I have no intention of having a wind turbine when a) I watch all the turbines installed all around me failing to last their first year, and b)we would never get payback within our projected lifespans.
#I have little intention of getting an electric or even hybrid car when the benefits are doubtful, the production costs are high, there are no local charging points and we hardly drive anywhere anyway, so keeping our current vehicles to outlast us seems the best option (no new production costs).
#I don't want to get rid of my wood burning stove which is one of the biggest comforts of my life, although I would happily swap my oil-fired central heating for something more planet-friendly if I knew what it is


Our Earth is of prime importance to me and finding a way for humans to continue to live here seems like a pleasant idea  :eyelashes:  so I want to do as much as I possibly can to leave as small a mark as I can, but how best to do it?


Does anyone else wrestle with these problems?
"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

There is NO planet B - what are YOU doing to save our home?

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

Glencairn

  • Joined Jun 2017
  • Dumfriesshire
Re: Heating our homes from now on
« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2021, 07:59:46 pm »
Yes, we've been slightly conflicted over how we heat our home, but have been unable to find any viable alternatives.

Living in an old house nowhere near mains gas, I think we burn 1,500 litres of heating oil per year, which I think is a little below average.

The heating engineer who carries out the boilers annual service reckons he can keep it going for the foreseeable future with parts saved from other boilers.

We burn an average amount of firewood per year (<5M3), some of which like yourself comes from our own trees.

I'd like to have an electric car, but I'm not convinced they are as environmentally friendly as is implied, and I've yet to see a small 4x4 that would take us to our woodland in winter pulling a trailer.

I don't think I've flown anywhere since 2017, so that has to count for something, maybe I can be a bit easier on myself over my carbon footprint in other areas!



mab

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • carmarthenshire
Re: Heating our homes from now on
« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2021, 11:15:00 pm »


no simple answers but if we are to save the planet then we all have to make do with less.


for house heating: insulate, insulate the insulate some more. If you are producing your own wood locally for the wood burner and it's growing back as fast as you use it then that's probably  sustainable heating. If your house is well insulated and has large area heat emitters (under floor heating) then a heat pump is probably the cleanest way - but not necessarily the cheapest - and like any (over)complicated system can be a bit of a nightmare to get / keep working well.


I would have an electric car if i could afford to buy one - whilst there is obviously an environmental impact from building one I've yet to see a valid comparison vs the environmental impact of building a new conventional car. Once built there's no doubt the electric car is lower impact - even when the leccy used to charge it from the grid is coming from gas fired plants - when it's coming from wind/solar it's obviously even better. If you want to tow a trailer with an EV though, the last time i checked, only the high power version of the tesla was rated for towing, and i definitely can't afford one of those.


I haven't flown since the last century even though i do like travelling. Having a smallholding full of animals does limit options for going away anyway TBH.


cloddopper

  • Joined Jun 2013
  • South Wales .Carmarthenshire. SA18
Re: Heating our homes from now on
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2021, 12:22:17 am »
When we came to Wales 16 years ago in June 2005 we were horrified to find[  we'd used almost 4800 litres of heating oil to try  to heat water and keep warm at the end of the first year ( wettest year on record for the area apparently

 The double glazing units were 30 years old and badly fitted plus building settlement had occurred . At our lounge windows could let you drop a pencil, between the frame & window when they were fully closed  The boiler was 30 year old ..Mr Nearly the P/O  messed up the whole bungalow with his attempts at modifying it .. we had a hidden under the floor water leak courtesy of him.
 There was little or no roof void insulation  his recklessness at doing his version of electric was criminal.

 First things first ....we had to make the electrics safe as sellotaped twisted 2.5 & 1mm twin & earth cabling in the roof void is perhaps not the safest of things. I chased in a complete new distribution set up adding things like extractor fans venting to the put side via pipe work 2 in bath room one above the cooker . I put in all new roof void insulation which seemed to flatten away to nothing in a couple of years.
 That made an amazing difference to the sopping wet humidity but did not cure it . it was only when we realised what was causing the mould through out the bungalow ( Mr Nearly's handiwork 0 ) and got it sorted via an insurance claim that it slowed and almost stopped  as it took over 18 months to eventually dry out . The oilbill and dehumidifier  started to cost less as we were using less energy .
It was still rather high at 2 600 litres  ,  then when we got a new all singing , dancing balanced oil burner via the Warmer Homes grant scheme . they also added another 8 inches of insulation to the roof void and also did a blown in cavity wall insulation job . I had someone come along to power wash , seal and put on two coats of 30 year external sealing paint on the outside.. it was like hanging a soaking wet sponge on the walls every time it rained on the  Terrylened walls of the bungalow as Mr Nearly had used internal paint to colour the original white spar outside.]
 It took another 18 months or so before the walls had properly dried out . the heating oil used was dropping steadily to about 1600 litres pa. So I came to the simple conclusion that having dry air in the bungalow was a big energy saver .


 Then in Feb 2019 we paid for tripple double glazing to replace all te other stuff and decided not to have a letter box in he door but a bespoke fully hinged lidded marine grade stainless steel one 300 x 300 x 400 on the out side wall  the oil,ill has dropped to 1200 litres pa.

 A few months after having the tripple glazing done a government inspection team came to check out the work done under grant ..they were not happy  .
 As a result they helped us fill in a load of forms and six weeks later we had the veery lastes super dooper roof void insulation put in over th poor job previously done under grant by Will-More- Wills .. They also laid a raised floorboarding walk inthe roof void from the access trapdoor right along the bungalow to the solar PV  control unit so that no one will walk on the new insulation material .

This has made an amazing change , we have used less than 400 litres of heating oil since the tank was filled at the end of  October last year .
 The county council have also sent out their inspection team to check that all the re done work was properly done and needed before they would pay the installer company

 Save for putting in a full heat recovery /recirculation system & ground source heat pumps with underfloor heating I don't think there is any thing else we can consider .


 Keeping your place dry and draught free is going to save you fuel & frequently a shed load of money what ever type of heating you use  .

 I know not everyone can suddenly find the dosh to make all the changes at once  but can you afford to keep wasting fuel & money ...........you have to start somewhere& do it to a well made plan .
Strong belief , triggers the mind to find the way ... Dyslexia just makes it that bit more amusing & interesting

arobwk

  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow: either over-crowded or villages left half-empty.
Re: Heating our homes from now on
« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2021, 12:31:02 am »
Thick warm clothing is the answer:  of course, when wishing to conduct personal hygiene routines, a warm room (bathroom) is a boon, but ya don't need to heat the whole house !
I understand, like me, Jeremy Corbyn does not heat his house. Not sure I and Jeremy entirely share political beliefs, but we seem to share a belief that thick woolly clothing is the future.

« Last Edit: September 12, 2021, 12:50:54 am by arobwk »

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Heating our homes from now on
« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2021, 01:16:52 am »
I had forgotten about flying! The last time I flew anywhere was to a wool conference in the Czech Republic about 14 years ago and before that 20 years ago to Germany and 19 years ago one way to Lerwick. The total before that was one flight from Paris to London in 1968, a trip to Zambia and back in 1989, another to Barbados and back in 1996.  I shall never be flying again so I think I can say that my flying contribution to pollution is less than most - 6 trips in 8 decades  :thumbsup: .


I also had not thought about towing with an electric car. It means you would really have to have at least 2 vehicles on the road for most smallholders. That would make an electric vehicle just a luxury bragging car.  We have motorbikes which are great for travelling light but no use whatsoever for carrying anything  ::)


Your general consumption of fuel sounds fairly similar to ours Glencairn.


mab you say <<no simple answers but if we are to save the planet then we all have to make do with less.>> and I totally agree with you, but I see little evidence of those around me making more than token savings.  For example, why are office blocks lit up so brightly at night, when they are empty, that they cause birds to stay awake singing all night? Why are 'security lights' at every farm and cottage shining all night instead of having movement sensors? Why do people leave their central heating on all day when they are out?  Why do people float around at home in minimal clothing indoors in winter with the heating belting out heat when they could turn it down a notch or two and wear winter clothes?  Same with offices where people dress for summer in the winter.  Why oh why did Beeching chop the British railway system to shreds so now massive amounts of goods have to be transported by road by HGVs and pantechnicons?

There is research being done to try to find a successor to Nuclear fuel which is safer and much hope is placed on splitting water into Oxygen and Hydrogen and using the hydrogen in a similar way to how methane gas is used.  However, the hydrogen has to be stored in pressure vessels and for cars it has to be compressed enough to become a liquid and I don't think that dilemma has been solved yet.  So far it doesn't look like hydrogen can be used on a large scale.  Also, we are going to be needing all the water we can get for its traditional uses.
It will be good when someone finds a neat storage system for wind and water power which does not involve giant and heavy batteries.

I think our house would crumble if we tried to retro-fit underfloor heating.  But is it so efficient anyway? Any house I've been in which has underfloor heating, also has supplementary inefficient electric fires to provide a comfortable type of heat focus.  Underfloor heating is soulless and not cosy! The same applies to ground source heat pumps which unless you can go pretty deep really don't keep you toasty warm, so you still need a fireplace.  Neighbours here had a ground source system fitted but were stumped by the rock which is just under a shallow depth of soil, and cost masses to excavate a big enough area.  Once it was done, the stone house was still freezing!

Back to car fuel, there are problems when people try to run their cars on used cooking oil - 3rd world countries are selling new PALM OIL cooking oil to be used as fuel because there is such a market for it, and not enough is supplied which has actually been cooked with.
A similar situation applies with the growing of crops on good farmland to provide biofuels.  Not enough, by a huge length, of by-product crop wastes are available to supply demand to make bio fuels, so instead land which is greatly needed to grow food crops, is diverted to growing crops such as maize and quick growth willow to make biofuels for our cars.  Our planet is a super-system, totally integrated, so changing one part will inevitably affect another part of the system with disastrous consequences as we see.

Then there's the clothing industry.  When did we start needing so many clothes and shoes?  I think it has happened within in my lifetime, with a slow start in the '50s and '60s and accelerating dramatically this century.  In centuries past, people had the clothes they were wearing plus some washable undies.  Some might have a choice of a couple of sets of clothing, but wardrobes full of dresses and suits were reserved for the rich.  Those clothes were washed and mended and cared for so they lasted at least a year, best clothes for a lifetime. Now the favourite pastime for many women is 'shopping' ??? .  They come home laden with parcels, then go online to buy some more. Something has to give, and soon enough all those mass produced clothes are thrown out with the rubbish.  Think of all the fossil fuels used to produce the manmade fibres, non-recyclable, only to be thrown away.  Think of the power used in production, transport and distribution.  Think of all the water used to produce the cotton, which is the most water hungry crop on Earth.  Then think of how comparatively low the inputs are for wool.  Think too how a few quick stitches or a replaced button can make a garment fit for plenty more wear, rather than a tiny tear or a lost button currently condemning it to the bin and landfill.


I'm definitely with you on the thick woolly clothing arobwk


So many problems, so few solutions.  I think any true solutions will be a mix of super-high-tech and very very low-tech, but we need to put every effort into finding those solutions.  Also I don't think any of us should relax in our efforts; it only takes one tiny straw to knock us over the tipping point.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2021, 01:23:08 am by Fleecewife »
"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

There is NO planet B - what are YOU doing to save our home?

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

Perris

  • Joined Mar 2017
  • Gower
Re: Heating our homes from now on
« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2021, 07:47:53 am »
"So my question is, where are we at with non-polluting ways of living and heating our homes?"

Another simple and cost- and resource-free solution, but only really works with new builds, is to maximize solar gain by orientation and size of the windows. If the south facing side of the building is used for most of the windows (double or triple glazed), the sun will warm the house well when it's low in the sky in winter and can shine far into the rooms. Conversely, put the room you want coolest (t'was the pantry in pre-fridge days) in the NE corner where lack of sunlight and cold winds are most prevalent. Some trad building techniques still work, can't break, and cost nothing  ;D

Backinwellies

  • Global Moderator
  • Joined Sep 2012
  • Llandeilo Carmarthenshire
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Re: Heating our homes from now on
« Reply #7 on: September 12, 2021, 08:38:32 am »
Was having the same discussion here this week .... and decision was that it cant be worth my hard earned money to retrofit any alternatives in our old stone farmhouse (like others ... oil central heating and woodburner put in 20 ++ yrs ago)  .  I would replace woodburner for modern controlable one if there was spare cash.   

Despite emissions and lack of efficiency I can never see that it is better to ditch something that works well (eg my old diesal car almost 200,000 miles on clock)  for something new and (reportedly) better for the planet  ..... 

In my world make do and mend goes a long way to reducing waste and overall polution (which is the issue not just what comes out of my exhaust and cows rear ends!).  How much pollution is used producing all this new stuff.   If all those people (and young men are just as bad) spent their weekends doing some volunteering or learning to mend things instead of shopping. Learning to value community and environment not 'stuff' then this planet has a chance.
Linda

Don't wrestle with pigs, they will love it and you will just get all muddy.

Let go of who you are and become who you are meant to be.

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doganjo

  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Clackmannanshire
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Re: Heating our homes from now on
« Reply #8 on: September 12, 2021, 11:01:59 am »
I think I am lucky.  I believe my carbon footprint is quite low

When I moved from Aberdeenshire to central Scotland to be nearer my kids in 2008, I bought a large bungalow with an acre as I still had ducks, hens, cats and dogs. It had unreliable gas central heating with a wonky timer, very little insulation, cheap thin carpets and laminate with no underlay.  Electrics were dodgy as the previous owner was a DIY enthusiast with little knowledge.  Leylands lined both sides of the property - useless for the wood burner.  But it was beautifully decorated and lovely expensive looking internal furnishings which hid all that
It served its purpose, but was expensive to run.

A couple of years ago, I decided I needed to downsize, and eventually found this bungalow which needed complete renovation. 

Fortunately the surplus on selling my last home has paid for -

upgrading kitchen and bathrooms,
installing modern double glazing,
improved guttering,
additional insulation,
thicker flooring,
properly serviced gas heating, used sparingly
reclaimed field grass for a productive garden

so my heating bills have almost halved, the garden is manageable without a gardener(mostly left wild for wildlife and birds and bees, and for my two dogs to hunt in). 

I've planted 10 trees, reclaimed grass for flowers and vegetables, and I'm about to plant a wildflower area of about 100 square metres

I bought an automatic, smaller, car at around the same time, so running costs on that are much less too - less servicing and excellent consumption, while still being responsive

I rarely drive further than 50 miles for dog shows, so that has dropped considerably too.

I haven't flown since 2007, and not likely to; the only long train journey I'm likely to make is for a judging appointment next summer - most likely retiring after that.

Hopefully, with the help of the people who bought my previous home, I've reduced my impact on the world

Always have been, always will be, a WYSIWYG - black is black, white is white - no grey in my life! But I'm mellowing in my old age

macgro7

  • Joined Feb 2016
  • Leicester
Re: Heating our homes from now on
« Reply #9 on: September 12, 2021, 12:07:48 pm »
The traditional Eastern and northern European masonry/tile stoves are much more economical than metal wood stoves - you heat it once a day for half an hour and it stays warm for 12 hours - over night or you can hewt it in the kerning as well. That's how people kept their houses warm in Sweden, Poland, Russia and Germany since 16th century - many still do.

I'm fan of those stoves as well as wood fired central heating.

What makes the most difference, however, is insulation. Double glazing, attic, walls, floor, etc. If your house is well insulated you will use much less fuel of any kind, whether its wood, gas, oil or sunshine electricity.
Growing loads of fruits and vegetables! Raising dairy goats, chickens, ducks, rabbits on 1/2 acre in the middle of the city of Leicester, using permaculture methods.

macgro7

  • Joined Feb 2016
  • Leicester
Re: Heating our homes from now on
« Reply #10 on: September 12, 2021, 12:14:18 pm »
Now that 26 years have passed, suddenly everything we do seems to be criticised for damaging the planet.  Oil is bad.  Burning wood is bad. Not having a wind turbine is bad. Living in an old house is bad.  Keeping sheep is bad. Eating meat is bad. Using the car is bad (there is no bus service)
Maybe we should all move to a country where we don't need heating?
Then we will need air-conditioning which is another waste  :roflanim:
Not having wind turbine is bad but having one is bad too  :innocent:

Eating meat is bad, mowing lawn is bad, planting trees is good, but councils use hectolitres of Round-up!
So much rubbish we are being told nowadays...

Electric cars are actually even worse than petrol cars- I know someone in Sweden who was evicted from his freehold owned farm because the Swedish crown owns all mineral rights in the whole country- they sold a licence to a company mining minerals to make electric car batteries. He spent so many years making his farm organic and enriching soil just to loose it all...
Growing loads of fruits and vegetables! Raising dairy goats, chickens, ducks, rabbits on 1/2 acre in the middle of the city of Leicester, using permaculture methods.

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Heating our homes from now on
« Reply #11 on: September 12, 2021, 01:33:34 pm »
Insulation:  because we're old and doddery the Council decided to come and oh so generously insulate our attic.  This involved removing the old insulation (which was fibreglass - horrid) but we have no idea how they disposed of it.  Then two men laid foot thick rolls of an unnamed insulation product right over the top of anything left in the attic (we had not been able to get up there to clear out any stuff stored up there before they arrived) and over the top of the flooring we had put there too.  Then we had our roof replaced, when all the rubble fell onto the insulation and one workie put his foot right through the ceiling below as he couldn't see which bits were safe to stand on for all the insulation. This deep insulation actually didn't seem to make much difference to heat loss but soon became full of vermin and their droppings as well as the rubble and the trampled insulation.  Can you visualise the mess?  I can't get into our attic but Mr F still can, just, and has slowly been crawling around up there and removing the 'free' insulation, dressed in his white disposable overalls and mask.
A potentially good idea from the Council but in fact it has caused far more problems than it solved.
Once all the thick stuff has been removed then we shall insulate it with a product of our own choice, hopefully wool :hugsheep:
The work we had done on the house - new roof, re-pointing of the stone walls, building a front porch and a back scullery as 'air locks' for the front and back doors, replacing all doors and windows with double glazed versions - all that had a far greater reducing effect on draughts and other heat loss than that wretched Council insulation.


The walls being stone hold heat from the fire in winter and keep the indoors cool in the summer - I love it.  A house has stood here on the same ground plan since at least the 1500s @Perris  so I don't think we can easily change its orientation now  :roflanim:   However I was thinking that the same applies (as the point you made) to building in hot countries where they seem to rely on air conditioning - just look to the builders of the Middle East, Spain and so on, where houses are built to encourage air circulation and shade so don't need aircon, which relies on keeping the windows shut.


@Backinwellies I'm totally with you on make-do-and-mend and keeping old vehicles going for as long as possible to save on the costs of recycling the old and rebuilding a new one.  Some folk simply have to have the new car and the new clothes to be at the forefront of fashion, encouraged by Government policies - I couldn't give a toss  ;D


@doganjo your move seems to have come at just the right time and you have made some wise choices. We are here for life though so we have to adapt our house to keep ahead of climate change.


We used to rarely use our heating at all, but you really do seem to feel the cold more as you get older and nowadays we appreciate our woodburning stove so much.  I wrap myself in wool - jumpers, socks, scarves, blankets and shawls, all of which I have spun and knitted myself, nearly all from the fleece of our sheep.


So now I have to think of the disposal of my body when I have no use for it any more.  We've already had a good discussion about this on TAS, but to add a bit.  I hadn't realised that the knackers who incinerate our deadstock use the rendered fats as a fuel, so why are human cremations not made use of in the same way to save on pollution?
"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

There is NO planet B - what are YOU doing to save our home?

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

oor wullie

  • Joined Jun 2012
  • Strathnairn
Re: Heating our homes from now on
« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2021, 08:52:51 am »
Boring, unsexy insulation is nearly always the most effective way of reducing your houses energy footprint.  Easy to do when you're building a house, not do easy to retrofit and, as has been alluded to, it has to be done right (recently looked at a house that had kingspan boards fitted in the stud work but they hadn't been cut perfectly so you could feel the cold draft coming through the gaps making it useless).

There is no reason any new build house should have gas or oil (and building regs more or less say that now). 

Domestic wind turbines a usually useless unless you live somewhere very windy.

Solar PV is still worth considering even though the grant schemes are nearly all gone.  You should get a 4kw system for about 5k. My (suboptimal north side of a rainy hill) generates about 3500kwhr a year.  The more you use yourself the more cost effective it becomes (run washing machine & dishwasher when it's sunny, mine diverts spare power to the immersion).  I'm just about to get an EV which will also use spare power from the solar - I'm estimating I'll get 3 or 4000 miles a year driving from otherwise wasted solar energy.

Woodchip imported to feed power stations is a total disaster but that doesn't mean all wood burning is bad (although demand and prices for wood have gone through the roof so I wouldn't go for it unless you have a reliable local supply).
My gasifying log boiler is brilliant.
It burns logs very hot and efficiently (so next to no smoke, ash or particulate pollution) and heats a 2000L water tank that can store the heat for a fortnight.  I burn about 2tons of logs a year for all my hearing and hot water (but that is partly due to having an insulated house - my neighbor has a huge old stone house and burns about 140 tons a year!)
Hopefully, before I die, I'll be able to harvest and burn some of the 6000 trees I've planted for firewood!

doganjo

  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Clackmannanshire
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Re: Heating our homes from now on
« Reply #13 on: September 14, 2021, 10:44:17 am »
Quote
There is no reason any new build house should have gas or oil (and building regs more or less say that now).
Really?

What if there is no natural gas supply and no wind and no space for ground source?

The options are -
woodburner - also now frowned on
bottled gas - lack of pressure

The house I built up north had underfloor oil heating, almost double the recommended insulation with no gaps - you could drop a feather any where in the house and it would float gently down with gravity

That was 16 years ago

There was room for a ground source system but the cost at that time was about 30K.  My friend built a house just up the road from me in the same hamlet and was knocked back four times before she got planning for a ground source system plus a wind turbine - due to neighbour objections (all of the others except me saw the wind turbine as detrimental to the area and the ground source as causing major upheaval while being installed.)

I don't know what the answer is, there seems to be reasons against everything just glad I'm not going to build another house

Always have been, always will be, a WYSIWYG - black is black, white is white - no grey in my life! But I'm mellowing in my old age

oor wullie

  • Joined Jun 2012
  • Strathnairn
Re: Heating our homes from now on
« Reply #14 on: September 14, 2021, 12:19:03 pm »
Building to passive Haus standards is no longer such a niche interest.  Good enough house design and construction means you can have a house that doesn't need heating.
My friend (works in planning) was on a course a decade ago where they interviewed an elderly couple in Sweden who lived in a passive Haus with no heating, they were asked "when it's -15 in winter does the house get cold?"
The answer was "yes, the first year it was but then we got a dog and the extra body heat from the dog was enough to keep the house a degree or two warmer in winter".

Air source heat pumps are becoming much more common in new builds and they don't need space like gshp.  The two houses being built just now in our township are both heated by ashp.

 

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