Author Archives: admin
Author Archives: admin
There have been several government schemes to increase the number of houses using Solar panels, with incentives offered to homeowners including free installation. Once solar panels are fitted you can reduce your electricity bill by harnessing the power of natural sunlight to produce energy. Whilst there is a wide range of solar panels available, one of the most important parts is often neglected; the storage of solar power.
What is even better, is that you don’t need solar panels fitted to use solar batteries. If you are on an Economy 7 (night and day) tariff you could use solar batteries to store energy to use during peak times, paying the night tariff to charge them. However, let’s focus on using solar batteries linked to a solar panel system.
Solar batteries store the energy produced by solar panels and many homeowners have been caught out by purchasing poor quality batteries and then not seeing the savings expected. By storing solar energy in a good quality battery, you not only save the power for when you need it, such as a cloudy day but reduce your bills even further. By storing energy for when you need it you don’t need to buy additional energy from your electricity provider. The free energy produced by solar panels lasts even longer!
Solar batteries help make homes even more self-sufficient and less reliant on the national grid for electricity. In an ideal world, every home would be self-sufficient, but we are a little way from that yet! With cuts to the benefits of Feed-In-Tariffs (how much you can be paid for the extra energy produced by solar panels), it makes even more sense to purchase a good quality solar battery and safeguard your future energy costs.
This will entirely depend on what level of storage you want and how often you are likely to use the battery for stored energy. More and more companies are entering the market and creating a wide range of sizes, from 1kWh (kilowatt-hour) to 14kWh. The bigger the battery, the more you can store.
A kilowatt-hour is the standard unit used by all energy companies to measure your use and refers to 1000 Watts of power used per hour. The average home, depending on size and occupants, will use between 2000 kWh and 4,500 kWh of electricity per year. One kWh is roughly the same as watching TV for three hours or boiling a kettle ten times.
A typical solar battery will cost between £2000 and £4000, but most people will pay less than £4000 for a good quality battery. Most batteries come with a 10-year warranty, protecting your investment for a long period of time and guaranteeing you won’t need a new one for a while. Unfortunately, solar batteries do not currently have the same longevity as solar panels, so you are likely to need to replace them at some point, but they are getting better, and more companies are extending the life of their solar batteries. See Tesla Powerwall .FYI – Post coming soon!
Lead acid batteries can be purchased for a lot cheaper, but they tend to be less efficient and wear out much more quickly. Lithium-Ion batteries are usually the best option for a long-term solution and most manufacturers only make Lithium Ion batteries as they are much longer-lasting.
Some of the more recent developments in solar batteries include linking to smart technologies such as an app or Wi-Fi, which can display a range of information including the charge level of the battery, usage, and savings made.
Always get three quotes from registered installers and check the warranty and how many charge cycles each battery is guaranteed for. Like any rechargeable battery, the more it is used the less efficient it becomes and having more charge cycles means it will last even longer. Typically, you can expect 5,000 to 10,000 cycles, but some companies are offering an unlimited warranty on charge cycles now.
Solar batteries are not recommended for a D.I.Y. enthusiast to fit themselves and work must be carried out by a registered engineer. Many suppliers will not sell solar batteries to members of the public and will insist on seeing the correct documentation before sale.
Always bear in mind there will be some maintenance costs involved with a solar battery and the engineer can explain how regularly you should have the battery maintained and the expected costs over the lifetime of the battery. These costs will vary by manufacturer and model so be careful not to get caught out with unexpected future costs.
The engineer can advise on the best type of solar battery for your needs, as well as advising on the placement of the battery. They are not small units and you will need to ensure there is enough space to fit them. You will also need to know the type of power (AC or DC) and whether your solar panels allow for a retrofitted battery (most do, but some batteries are specific to certain systems).
Thanks, Rich, Ecoforhome.com
With a noticeable increase in marketing for air and ground source heat pumps from several energy providers in the UK, it is worth discussing whether this could be the right solution to make your home more energy efficient and reduce your impact on the environment. However, first it is worth explaining how this system works before discussing the benefits and points to consider.
Both types of heat pump extract heat from the surrounding environment and deliver this heat into the home. Ground source heat pumps use a loop of pipes, filled with fluid and anti-freeze, under the ground to extract heat from the ground. Whilst the temperature above ground may be below zero, the temperature under the surface is relatively constant throughout the year and as a result, can keep a consistent temperature in your home. If space is limited, a borehole can be drilled to give the maximum surface area for the piping to extract heat from the ground.
Air source heat pumps extract heat from the air and can find heat from the air even when it is minus 15 degrees outside! They work a bit like a fridge, but in reverse. Heat from the air is absorbed at low temperature into a fluid. This fluid then passes through a compressor where its temperature is increased and transfers its higher temperature heat to the heating and hot water circuits of the house.
Heat pumps can keep your home at a constant temperature throughout the year, using a renewable and efficient energy source. You may need to keep radiators on for longer as heat pumps do not heat radiators to the high temperatures a gas boiler might, but because the temperature is constant you would keep your home at a comfortable temperature. You can find more out about at the link: heat pumps
There are several benefits of moving to heat pumps:
As with any heat source, there are things which must be considered before deciding if a heat pump is right for you:
In summary, it all depends! Heat pumps are not suitable for small or modern buildings as you will not see the savings in fuel bills and the carbon impact would be minimal due to the electricity required to keep the pump working. Flats will not usually have the outside space for ground source and are unlikely to have enough air flow to make an air source pump effective. The same will be true of most terraced houses as there will be restrictions on space, however this would depend on the size and layout.
Houses, especially detached and semi-detached, will have the ground space to make a ground source much more viable and the surrounding volume of air for an air source pump to be effective. However, the impact would depend on the level of insulation and what fuel type is being replaced. For the best results, there should be a good level of insulation already installed and of course other energy and carbon reducing measures in place. A heat pump is an excellent investment to reduce bills and your carbon footprint, but only if you are already in the process of improving other aspects of the home. On its own, a heat pump is unlikely to make a huge difference to bills or carbon emissions in the average home. If coupled with solar panels and good quality insulation, heat pumps are an excellent addition to a home striving to be carbon neutral.
An in-depth look at combi boilers vs traditional or conventional boilers
Combi boilers are utilised to supply the household with both heat and hot water. These special types of boilers have been gaining popularity over the years in many homes because they are efficient and take up little space. Usually small and compact, these boilers can be placed in discreet areas on the kitchen or bathroom wall. Combi boilers are energy-saving because they do not store water, and they heat only the amount that is needed for tasks such as cooking and bathing.
In some cases, these boilers can be very easy to install. This because there is no need to install a cylinder & complicated controls, such as Y plans & S plans.
Unlike the conventional boiler systems which require complex installation, combi boiler systems are more convenient to install. There is no need for a tank dedicated to hot water since water is heated directly and produced almost instantly. One only has to link the combi boiler directly to the main water source and there will be an endless supply of hot water.
Advantages of Combi Boilers
Bear in mind, house size, flow rate & demand impact.
The make of the combi boilers can vary from one another. More powerful units, like the Vaillant 938 or Worcester Highflow can deliver around 20 liters per minute at a 35-degree rise. Other combi boilers, for example, a (24KW) Vaillant boiler 824. Will deliver around 11 liters per minutes at a 35-degree rise. When I say rise, I mean water temp is coming in at X (say 10 degrees) means a 24KW boiler can heat this at 11 liters per minute to (add 35 degrees) to 45 degrees. However, if you run the tap faster this will drop, eg running a shower at 15 liters per minute might only give you 30 degrees. Therefore a small boiler is not recommended for busy large households and for very busy households, a combi boiler may not work well at all.
Combi boilers can definitely save money and energy for the household and even the commercial establishments. It may even surprise you that you can eventually save money enough to buy yourself a combi boiler unit. You can check out a good number of retail outlets and online stores when you want to buy a combi boiler unit.
Disadvantages of Combi Boilers
Installation Cost of Combi Boilers
Combi boilers are popular such that over 50% of the total number of new boilers installed in the households all over the UK is the combi type. There must be a very good explanation for this. Combi boilers are efficient, energy-saving, easy to install, compact, and take up little space. These attractive features have made combi boilers more popular than the traditional types of boilers.
Often install costs are cheaper due to the lack of complicated controls, airing cupboards and water storage cylinders. That cost in materials and labour to install is generally 30-40% more.
A Combi boiler should be properly and regularly maintained so that it will last you a long time and you’re kept safe from poisonous gasses. For this, you should see to it that the central heating services that you hire are Gas safe registered. Servicing nowadays is more of an MOT checklist, looking for faults more than the old days, cleaning a boiler out, it’s also generally mandatory to keep a boiler covered under warranty.
We’ll be writing a servicing guide soon.
So, you probably came to this post with an older system looking to see the pro’s and cons. The answer is, (I have 17 years experience in heating as of writing this). If you live in a house smaller than 4 bedroom and people aren’t desperate to shower all at the same time AND you have good mains pressure coming in.
UPGRADE TO A COMBINATION BOILER SYSTEM! Over & out.
In the wake of growing awareness about energy conservation, a Smart Thermostat is a welcome innovation. It plays a major role in energy conservation, while looking chic and tasteful! The thermostat has received a glorious make-over. The smart thermostat is well designed and stylish.
A Smart Thermostat enables you to control the temperature of your house at the click of a button from your phone or a tablet. You can also programme it as per your schedule. The internet connectivity enables the thermostat to get information about the weather and heat up the home accordingly. Some of these thermostats can gauge how long it will take to heat up a room. Many thermostats have motion-detectors that notice the presence of people in the house. In the absence of people, the thermostat automatically lowers its heating. All this can be done via a simple app installed on the phone!
Another interesting feature in these Smart Thermostat is its ability to ‘Learn’. It learns about your room and surroundings to decide the perfect temperature for your room. Hence, instead of programming the gadget to turn on at a particular time or temperature, it is possible to just tell the thermostat exactly what time you need the room to be warm. Eventually, it also learns of your preferences along with habits and heats up your home without you having to remind it.
Efficient and optimum use of energy is of vital importance today. This can even save a considerable amount of money. With the smart thermostats, it is now possible to track, measure and record regular energy usage. Such insights can provide us with numbers about how much energy we really consume and how heavily it costs us. The reading provided by the thermostat also help in figuring out areas where money can be saved. Lower energy wasted leads to lower energy bills.
10 years ago, central heating for a home via a simple phone would be unimaginable. Thermostats would be kept switched on even when people weren’t in the house. The consumption of energy in such times is undoubtedly high. With the introduction of this game-changing technology, the amount of energy saving is bound to increase. The bigger picture is a healthier earth.
The new smart thermostats claim that their use can ensure energy saving. But it is important to understand that without monitoring the energy usage and implementing energy saving methods, it is impossible to save energy. It is exactly like a diet plan. No matter how many diets are prescribed to you, only the one which you follow can give you results accordingly.
The market is now introduced to various smart thermostats. Each one comes with its own set of features and specialties. Right from the design to the interface, everything about these thermostats is smartly developed. The debut of these new thermostats in the market is reason enough to upgrade your thermostat too!
Nest is a thermostat owned by Google. It looks very attractive and is extremely easy to use. Every day, you turn the heat down before leaving for work and turn it up after coming back. Eventually, it will pick up your pattern and start doing it on its own.
The thermostat has a built-in motion detector to understand if there is no one at home. When the house is empty, it lowers the temperature to a safe but affordable level. Due to this feature, you don’t have to reprogramme it even when you are away traveling. It allows you to schedule the timing for heating water as well. Apart from the programmed time, the thermostat turns down the water heating.
Nest’s Wi-fi feature allows you to send commands as well as provides the details of weather conditions sourced from the internet to help adjust the temperature appropriately. The app provides complete details about energy usage. It provides reports on the amount of energy used and saved. A little leaf image is displayed when the energy is used efficiently. Over the time, it becomes difficult to earn the leaf, prompting you to save more energy.
Hive is an innovation by British Gas. It looks humble and subtle, but in reality, it is modern and ultra high tech with web connectivity and app-access, and super easy to use interface. A hub is plugged into your broadband router which allows you to communicate with the thermostat. It allows you to set schedules for hot water and temperature heating from the app. Feedback and report are also provided to monitor the usage and saving of energy. British Gas claims that using Hive can save upto 130 pounds a year. This is purely due to the energy saved by the customer. Recently, Hive also launched an array of new compatible products which include motion sensors, window and door sensors, and smart plugs. It is compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant too.
Tado is a self-sufficient thermostat which can gauge the outside temperature and accordingly heat up the home. It has motion detectors by which it understands when the house is empty and it lowers the heat. The use of geofencing is one of the most admired features in Tado. It lowers the use of heat when you leave for work. Once you start for your home, it receives notification about your movement via GPS on your phone. The thermostat then raises the temperature in the house. Tado claims that the use of their thermostat can save up to 31% energy. It is compatible with Siri and Alexa.
Eco-friendly. Energy-efficient. Sustainable. Responsible. Comfortable. Healthy. Economical. Smart. Fun.
“Green Building is a whole-systems approach through design and building techniques to minimize environmental impact and reduce the energy consumption of buildings while contributing to the health of its occupants.”
— City of Scottsdale Green Building Program
Ready to make the move to a green, eco-friendly, sustainable, energy-efficient home? It makes complete sense: Green homes are built using sustainable practices that conserve not only energy, water and other natural resources, but also preserve our environment, strengthen our local economy and promote a better quality of life for those who live there.
Benefits of a Green Home
Green Home Features