Monthly Archives: August 2010

Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) Dead!?

The Daily Telegraph has today published an article claiming that the RHI will probably be radically overhauled following a review of the scheme.

The full publication of the findings has been delayed again until later this year, but it is expected to illustrate a variable quality of the heat pump sites examined.

The EST, who will be producing the study, has claimed that they want to iron out the variations in data before publishing the study, although this has not quelled speculation about a “scrapped or scaled back” version of the RHI.

However, ministers such as Charles Hendry and Greg Barker have recently reaffirmed the Coalition’s commitment to supporting the installation of heat pumps.

For more information call 01293 821345 or click here.

Insulation Insulation Insulation

Before the global financial meltdown it was all about location, location, location; however, that’s all changed. With personal expenditure a major priority and events like the Deep Water Horizon taking environmental issues further into the spotlight, now seem s like the right time to jump into saving energy at home. Although isoenergy specialises in ground source and air source pumps as well as solar, we have a golden rule that we stick to “insulate!”. Less of a golden rule, and more of a one word pointer really, but the message is pretty clear. A house can have tens of thousands of pounds of green improvements made to its heating system, but without proper insulation, all the savings will be seeping out through the windows, walls, doors, floors and ceilings. So what are the main types of insulation, and what’s best for your home?

Cavity Wall Insulation stores the heat within the inner walls, bouncing it back into the room and holding it for longer. This gives you a more even temperature and gets rid of the draughts that come down from the walls.
• The cavity is located between the inner and outer brickwork of the property
• The main materials used by NIA(National Insulation Association) installers are Mineral Wool (Glass or Rock Wool), EPS Bead (Polystyrene bead), U F Foam
• Cavity Wall Insulation can lower your heating bills, lower wear and tear on your boiler and reduce global warming and climate change
• CIGA (Cavity Insulation Guarantee Agency) issue an independent 25 year guarantee covering defects in materials and workmanship.
• The recommended cavity width is 50mm
• Cavity Wall Insulation can give you an annual saving of around £115
• There are a number of grants and schemes available to home owners which can substantially reduce the cost of installing these products.
• Costs around £250 to install, with an annual saving of £115 and a payback of about 2 years.

Draught Control. Uncontrolled leakage of air through gaps in dwellings, in general results in unnecessary heat loss and discomfort to the occupants from draughts. One of these routes is through gaps around windows and doors, and draught proofing can greatly reduce this leakage. On cold windy days, draughts can be easily identified, by holding the back of your hand close to the perimeter of the door or window you will soon locate where the cold air is coming from. However, it’s not just cold windy days when you will be losing your valuable heat, as the warm air you build up inside your property is leaking through gaps all of the time. This can have a profound effect, with a typical home losing up to 20% of its heat air leakage.
• Draught proofing is one of the most inexpensive and effective energy efficiency measures for the home – yet it is too often overlooked. Only a quarter of the 22 million dwellings in the UK are adequately draught proofed. Yet draught proofing offers the quickest return, frequently paying for itself within a year and then saving year after year.
• Draughts can cause major discomfort in the home, and for the elderly and very young this can be risky to health. Many older buildings in particular have poorly fitting doors and windows. Draughts cause cold damp air to be forced in as the warm air is drawn out. A lower temperature is acceptable in a draught free atmosphere.
• There are many types of materials available – from brushes, foams and sealants to strips and shaped rubber or plastic. There are also often grant and offers available for draught proofing or other energy saving measures.
• Draught proofing materials also guard against ingress weather and dirt which can damage internal decoration.
• Good quality Draught proofing can also help reduce noise penetration.
• Only durable draught proofing should be fitted and supplied by NIA members. As tested by the BSI to last for ten years. A 20-year guarantee is available on BS products supplied by DPAA manufacturers. A low quality product may have a very short lifespan and is poor value for money and effort.
• Show your NIA installer where the draughts are coming from in your home. There are many types of product – for around windows (sash, metal, timber); external doors (including weather bars for door bottoms); internal doors – particularly kitchens, bathrooms and main living areas; the loft hatch, and even letter boxes, key holes and cat flaps! Products are made in many materials and can be aesthetically pleasing.
• Always take into consideration the permanent ventilation requirements for fuel burning appliances.
• If you are applying a total package of insulation, avoid completely sealing the building. Omit sealing kitchen and bathroom windows to let out the steam and create sufficient ventilation. Instead seal the inner doors to these rooms. Do not interfere with air vents for fires and heating appliances.
• Costs around £200 to install, with a payback of roughly 8 years.
Loft Insulation. As much as a third of the heat you pay for could be escaping through your roof. Most loft insulation materials work by preventing the movement of heated air through the material. The Government say that you cut your energy bill by up to 20% through effectively insulating your loft.
• Loft insulation is located between the joists on the loft floor of your property. Roof Insulation is located between the tiles and the rafters.
• The recommended depth for loft insulation is 270 millimetres for glass wool, 250 millimetres for rock wool or 220 millimetres for cellulose.
• Loft Insulation can help lower your heating bills, lower wear and tear on your boiler and reduce global warming and climate change
• Loft Insulation can give you an annual saving of between £45 to £150
• There are a number of grants and schemes available to home owners which can substantially reduce the cost of installing these products.
Solid Wall Insulation. The UK’s housing stock is estimated at approximately 24.5 million dwellings, of that approximately 36% consist of non-cavity wall construction – solid brick, solid stone, pre 1944 timber frame and non-traditional, i.e concrete construction.
The benefits of solid wall insulation
If you live in a home with solid walls, 45% of your heat is escaping through the walls, costing you money. Insulating the walls will dramatically reduce heat loss in the winter
What is a solid wall?
• 9” masonry walls and other non-traditional construction types such as single leaf masonry, >9” walls (e.g. thick stone walls)
• Concrete walls, metal or timber panels and some mixed wall types (e.g. Where the ground and first floors are constructed of different materials)
• BRE estimate that around 7% of unfilled cavity wall stock cannot receive CWI.
• High rise flats (at least 6 storeys high) – esp. 1953-1972
Advantages:
• Can help with condensation problem
• Makes your home warm and cosy
• Reduces fuel bills
• Saves up to 45% of heat loss
• Minimum disruption for the householder
• Internal Wall Insulation: quick and easy to install, improves the thermal efficiency
• External Wall Insulation: Improves appearance of the building
Disadvantages:
• Expensive to treat in comparison to loft and cavity wall insulation
Facts: Solid Wall Houses
• Solid wall construction, non-traditional construction and non standard cavity are the categories that are most difficult to treat for insulation.
• Most of these houses are privately owned, with 65% belonging to the Private Rented Sector.
• 6.6 million properties have solid walls which represent 31% of the total housing stock.
• 48% of the 326,000 high rise flats in England have solid walls.
• Solid Wall properties tend to be more difficult and expensive to improve in terms of adequate insulation and heating.

How Ground Source Heat Pumps Work: The Basics

This is a diagram based on one of isoenergy’s installed GSHPs that introduces the basic concepts of a Ground Source Heat Pump. Have a look below, and let us know if the diagram helped as a taster for the technology.

Example GSHP concept diagram

Renewables and Pools: A Summer Treat

If you’ve got a pool and want to make the most out of the last of the summer sun, the savings available from an Air Source Heat Pump might be quite enticing. Take a peek at the article below about the right renewables for the job:

With summer upon us and long overdue breaks being desperately sought, what better way to relax by the pool than by knowing that it’s being heated via an efficient, cost effective and renewable system? Be it Air Source Heat Pumps (ASHPs), Ground Source Heat Pumps (GSHPs) or Solar Thermal, an environmentally friendly solution is easier than you might think, according to Justin Broadbent, MD of isoenergy.
Rather than specifying a system similar to traditional gas or oil boilers, which switch on and off, reducing efficiency and increasing costs and wear, isoenergy designs the systems to be working at 80% of their capacity to heat the pool. This ensures that the system runs consistently, consuming less energy. For example, for a 10m x 10m pool with an average depth of 2m, the yearly savings by using a heat pump are £2600 vs natural gas, £3000 vs Oil, £5600 vs LPG and a whopping £6600 vs electricity.

To install the most appropriate system for your needs and to ensure that heat pumps garner a reputation for efficient and reliable green energy, it is important to abide by a series of principles that we recommend to anyone thinking of heating their pool.

Outdoor pools are better suited to ASHPs because it results in a simpler system, with a more direct transfer of heat. Also, the higher air temperature in summer and the lack of any recovery time means that it is the most efficient solution.

Indoor pools are better suited to a GSHP, although it is important to oversize the amount of ground collectors, especially if the system is also heating the property. During the summer, it is also possible to draw heat from the house and place it into the pool, helping to cool the house. Furthermore, a well designed system can distribute energy to other specific areas in the property. This is not limited to pools, and can include wine cellars and saunas for example.

Justin Broadbent has consistently extolled the virtues of insulation in houses, and it is no different with pools. In new builds, to make the pool an efficient thermal store, we recommend insulating around and underneath the pool itself. Much as heat pumps thrive on well insulated, consistently heated homes, the pumps thrive on an efficient pool.

Solar thermal now also provides a viable heating solution for a pool. A pool can be heated by a set of panels only 40% of the size of its surface area. Solar technology is one of the fastest advancing areas of renewable technology and now includes panels specifically designed for pool heating.

Once installed, the system can provide extra peace of mind knowing your pool is an efficient and green addition to your heating system. For more information call 01293 821345 or click here.

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