Renewables

Potterton PowerMax Ivy Problem

 Just returned from a Potterton PowerMax with an intermittent E133 fault.  The customer had spent hundreds with other heating engineers, who had replaced electrodes, thermistors and even the Magnaclean but had failed just to walk outside and see that Ivy had grown over the flue and was restricting the air.  How can a ‘service engineer’ conducting a Landlord’s Gas Safety check fail to find something as basic.  We desperately need more attention to common-sense thinking rather than over-regulation.  

King’s Lynn Incinerator a medieval approach!!

I am appalled about the release of £91m in private finance (PFI) credits by Caroline Spelman to build the incinerator in King’s Lynn.  

The incinerator industry rose from the economic collapse of the nuclear industry in the 1970s and ’80s.  As cost and safety concerns began to erode nuclear power’s allure, the companies that had most benefited from building the plants got into the resource recovery business, also know as trash to cash.  Incineration does not eliminate waste; it changes its form.  Emissions are spread downwind across towns and the countryside.  Incinerators have tall smokestacks so that the ash does not fall on the local community.  One study in New Jersey showed that a state-of-the-art incinerator consuming 2,250 tons of household waste daily would annually emit 5 tons of lead, 17 tons of mercury, 580 pounds of cadmium, 2,248 tons of nitrous oxide, 853 tons of sulfur dioxide, 777 tons of hydrogen chloride, 87 tons of sulfuric acid, 18 tons of flourides, and 98 tons of particulate matter small enough to lodge permanently in the lungs.  Most important, incinerators turn out to be dioxin generators.  The lignin from paper and wood combines with chlorine gases to form 210 different dioxin compounds.  For every 100 tons of waste, incinerators produce 30 tons of fly ash, a granular substance that contains most of the toxins.  The fly ash is trucked to a landfill where is has to be be enclosed in plastic liners.  The plastic presently used in fly-ash landfills is guaranteed for twenty years; landfills containing toxic fly ash in New York and New Jersey have reported leaks within months after installation.  

Waste incineration is not an environmental solution, and the cost is enormous.  Incinerator companies demand long-term contracts requiring cities to pay for pre-established amounts of waste.  If those levels of waste are not achieved because of recycling or other conservation measures, the cities must still pay for the phantom waste.  Incinerators do generate electricity through the use of steam turbines, but the utilities are required to purchase this power at avoided costs, which is the highest rate paid.

Let’s not go back to a medieval way of processing our waste because there are alternatives.

Renewable heat grants up for grabs

From today (1 August 2011), householders could get government funding to help install renewable heating systems such as biomass boilers and solar thermal panels. Money will be available for up to 25,000 installations over the next year, with grants being awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.

Find out more about the Renewable Heat Premium Payment scheme

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If I was Prime Minister for a day

These are the changes I would make to the industry:

A coherent plan for domestic heat
84% of UKs homes are heated by gas. Currently the government’s efforts appear to be directed at electricity but, unless we propose the wholesale scrapping of every single gas boiler we need a plan that takes into account a slow decommissioning of gas boilers alongside a simultaneous ramping up of our reliance on renewables, first through hot water and then through central heating.

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UK “The Envy of the World” in Renewable Energy

The Government this week announced that they were opening a 12 week consultation period on the Renewable Heat Incentive.

Their proposal is to pay a subsidy to owners of heat pumps which were installed after 15th July 2009. Continue reading

Wood Fired Hot Tubs

Here at EcoPlumb we love the great outdoors and consequently we’ve embraced this product. It can be assembled in as little as 2-3 hours by two people, doesn’t rely on fossil fuel to heat the water and we can also arrange to fill it from rainwater.

Wood Fired Hot Tub
Wood Fired Hot Tub

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Darling unveils £400 scrappage scheme

In his pre-budget report Alistair Darling announced a “scrappage” of £400 for those who own a working ‘G’ rated boiler.

There are around 4m G-rated gas boilers in the UK, according to Philip Sellwood, the chief executive of the Energy Saving Trust. “If these were all replaced with A-rated boilers it would save almost 4.5m tonnes of CO2 per year, the equivalent of 830,000 household’s emissions, so the scheme announced today has real promise,” he said. Upgrading to an A-rated condensing boiler could save a household £310 a year in bills.

However whether the government will roll it out through their Warmfront Scheme, or leave it to the householder to make their own decision as to whom they wish to install their boiler is another matter.

The Old Rectory gets air source

EcoPlumb have recently completed an installation of a Mitsubishi Ecodan Air Source Heat Pump in North Wootton, King’s Lynn, Norfolk. This was done in association with Ice Energy and Town and Country Developments.

The building was a Studio Annex, a 50m2 1 bed house / annex, built in the lea of an old rectory garden wall. All the rooms are oriented south to the light and the garden. The simple profile of the building with a verandah at the front edge shades high angled (more intense) sunlight during the summer, but allows lower angled winter sunlight to penetrate the rooms. The rooms have vaulted ceilings with velux windows at high level over the wall to encourage cross ventilation during the summer. Continue reading

Air source the future of heating?

The Ecodan offers some great advantages over gas and oil heating systems and here are the top 11 reasons why you should consider buying the Ecodan as a replacement or alternative to fossil fuel boilers. Continue reading

£5000 household energy bill

By 2020 the average household energy bill (that is electrical and heat energy, not including motor fuel) will be about £5,000! – source Ernst & Young (one of the world’s leading accountancy firms) analysis for uSwitch. Continue reading