Renewable Energy at The Grove

 HEADLINE NEWS: 

The 2015 summer has been good for PV generation so far

The solar PV panels continue to work well and the Ground Source Heat Pump is efficiently heating the house and water, when necessary.  The solar thermal system is ready for flushing out and refilling with new transfer fluid.  The system overheated and vented fluid into the container which is there to collect it when the pressure (safety) valve operated.  We have still to organise this to be done.

The first 3 years data are shown below 

Total cost of energy in Year 1(Mar09/Feb10) was £1213.34

Year 2 total energy cost, 1 March 10 to 28 Feb 11 is £1032.24

Year 3 total energy cost, 1 March 11 to 29 Feb 12 is £1033.20

The energy use in 2011/12 reduced to 10821kWh from 13681kWh in 2010/11 but with rising electricity costs the overall cost was the same.

On our retirement, we decided to invest our savings in greatly improved insulation and the installation of renewable energy systems at our home during extensive alterations and extensions.  This decision was taken in an effort to reduce our carbon footprint, and that of the country, and to promote these ideas both locally, to our friends and neighbours, and to a wider audience via this website.  It is our hope that the cost of installing renewable energy systems will continue to fall over the coming years and that they will become available to others, for example via social housing schemes and government initiatives.

An oil boiler, over 40 years old, was the source of heat for our domestic hot water and also provided heat for the radiators throughout the house. There were 3 cold water "header tanks" and 2 separate hot water cylinders with immersion heaters. The oil boiler, oil storage tank and all the plumbing have been removed and we started again from scratch! Visitors who see the renewable energy systems in the plant/utility room comment on the space it occupies but more useful room has been released in the house elsewhere owing to the removal of the old plumbing elements.  The impact on usable space owing to the underfloor heating replacing radiators should not be underestimated as well.

The house is in Lincolnshire and is a mixture of 350 to 400 year old stone cottage, 100 year old alterations, 40 year old extension and partial re-build and the latest extensions and changes during 2008/9. It had been suggested that we demolish the house and build afresh, but we decided to keep the property largely the same and retain most of its history intact.

 

The heat for our home is now provided by a Ground Source Heat Pump (GSHP) which collects energy from under the front lawns of the house which act as a large solar panel.

Two loops of pipe, each 260 metres long, are buried around a metre deep in the ground. These pipes contain an antifreeze solution which collects heat energy from the soil, which has been warmed by the sun, and this then passes to the GSHP which raises the temperature of the fluid to provide heating for the house. We use Under Floor Central Heating  (UFCH) now, no radiators, not even upstairs as is sometimes the case.  The lower temperature required by UFCH compared to radiator systems means that the heat pump can operate much more efficiently, giving around 4 units of heat for every unit of electricity which it uses.

 

 
The start of the first collector pipe loop goes into its trench
 
When you have looked at the web pages and the gallery of photographs with additional information about the project, we would appreciate your comments and questions.  Please go to the Guest Book page to leave these comments.  Many thanks.  This simple website has been relatively easy (and inexpensive!) to produce using the mrsite software.  You can get a 25% discount on the usual price by clicking through to mrsite using the link below.
 
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