I have had a few enquiries about the article in Rushcliffe Reports. One difference since the article is written is that we will use a cheap Swimming pool solar panel, not an expensive Flat-plate panel. The panels can be tee'd directly into the glycol loop using their own small pump and a non return valve (no need for an intermediate water tank). The solar panels are still in my garage; we have been focused on getting the Photovoltaics up first. The Earth Charging panels will go up next. The other enquiry is about the balance between Gas and Electricity - whether to use a Heatpump. Quick answer: You cannot be carbon zero if you use Gas. My regular answer to enquirers would go something like:
"If you can afford it, the combination of Heat-pump and Solar PV is a winner, we shall have free heating, hot water, cooking, lighting and power for life, plus an annual income (tax free), plus all our money back when we sell or leave to our children - even without the solar charging. The Solar Earth Charging idea is to see if the COP of the heat-pump is significantly better by finding warmer soil below - hence reduce electrical consumption. Even if it doesn't work, it's worth trying... but my professor boss says it is a wonderful idea and will work. It costs almost nothing because we are just using swimming pool panels, ideal for the temperature differences involved. Running cost is nothing, because the pump will only activate when it is warm, and our photovoltaic roof is earning enough to drive the pump."
"The house is so snug that it is almost boring, always 21 degC, and I could sleep in a summer duvet all the year round... except that my wife is a fresh air fiend and wants to sleep with window ajar, hence the need for an equinoctial duvet (medium tog) in winter... but we will never need a winter duvet unless there is a power cut for a prolonged time.. but then everybody will be in trouble if that happens."