Sunday, December 18, 2011

Gas versus HP

18 Dec 2011: Cooking with Gas
 I really feel that this solar augmentation is a beneficial technology, but for me the problem in the UK is that most of the efforts are directed towards the use of more efficient condensing gas boilers - prolonging the burning of fossil fuel for another 20-25 years. People won't take out boilers that they have only just fitted!
  With Retrofit, people are put off heat pumps by the added cost of modifying radiators or installing floor heating. With the tendency to fill in urban brown field sites, and to restrict scattered development in rural areas, it is extremely unusual for new houses to be off the Gas grid. There is an almost religious faith in the warmth, reliability and cheapness of gas heating, and the ease of cooking with gas (they haven't tried the wonderful controllability of the electric induction hob).
     Only when gas begins to suffer cuts or intermittencies, Ukrainian-style, will people think otherwise. Vladimir Putin, I am waiting for you!

Choosing a heat pump
   Even with a new build and the decision to use a Heat Pump, people are put off by the cost of laying a ground loop or borehole, the GSHP and the underfloor heating. They tend to finish with Air Source heat pumps. It may be a decade or even two before enough people have the circumstances to appreciate the combination of solar charging with ground source heat - longer than I expect to be here.
   I don't know anybody with an ASHP well enough to expect them to monitor it and record daily meter readings and temperatures - so I cannot compare directly. However, at this time of year, with no warmth in the air, I feel glad that we have a GSHP working from a warm mass of earth below the house.
   So, Please, Please, if you read this, promote the principle of Solar Earth Charging, and get in touch with me if you have a real building situation where a GSHP might be included.

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