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The lounge Relax, take a break from photo and camera talk - have a chat about something else for a change. Just keep it clean and polite!

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Old 14th January 2015
marius1002001 marius1002001 is offline
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Slightly related to Cavity wall insulation

I must say that when I recently subscribed to this group, the only discussion group Iíve ever bothered to subscribe to, I didnít think Iíd be discussing cavity wall insulation. Just goes to show.
So in a slight extension of the original topic I will recount how many years ago as a speaker at a local authority sponsored housing technical conference I made the great mistake of straying from the specialist subject into the region of beliefs and my belief that somewhere approaching 50% of housing stock in Britain should be demolished and rebuilt to proper standards. You can imagine what that did to the Q&A session! The point of course is that we built an awful lot of homes in an era when fuel was going to be plentiful (remember ďfreeĒ North Sea Gas anyone) or so cheap it didnít matter how you burnt fuel, just get it burnt. When you realise that huge chunks of housing in many Northern cities dates from the Industrial revolution when workers apparently didnít feel the cold and were grateful to be living 10 to a room, is it any wonder that we are on the back foot when it comes to energy conservation. Hence trying to retrofit cavity wall insulation in unsuitable buildings.Even modern buildings with their grading system for energy conservation are only conforming to minimum government set standards rather than trying to limit running costs in the future by over-specifying today. For me thatís the on-going failure of the building industry and the government departments that control its activity. After all who believes that energy costs in the future will be lower than they are today? (Current situation is but a blip. We need only hack off a Saudi prince or an Algerian gas mogul and the Russians will be back, up to their old tricks, turning off the taps, jacking up the prices)

Changing the subject:
So no doubt amongst this illustrious company someone will have the answer to this conundrum. My energy company tell me that they supply electricity to me at 11.8p/kwhr and gas at 3.6p/kwhr. As all kWh's are equal does this mean I should be taking steps to generate my own electricity using a natural gas powered generator? If I burn the gas at 50% efficiency (probably better than that) then the effective price of my home produced electricity is still only around 7.2p/kwhr. Any thoughts?
Chris
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  #2  
Old 14th January 2015
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Re: Slightly related to Cavity wall insulation

Sound good to me, what you need is one of these in the cellar.
http://www.gasenginemagazine.com/eng...as-engine.aspx
Just couple it up to a generator an away you go.

On the other hand,, you could buy a cow as well
http://www.fastcoexist.com/3028933/t...-it-for-energy

It's good to know we don't take everything too seriously here; it save threads degenerating into arguments like some other sites I could mention.
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Old 14th January 2015
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Re: Slightly related to Cavity wall insulation

Time to buy a small CHP plant, generating your electricity as you heat your home (and only paying the once!)

*CHP = Combined Heat and Power
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Old 14th January 2015
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Re: Slightly related to Cavity wall insulation

I like your thinking here. Of course you need to factor in the cost of a generator capable of supplying a whole house (say 100 Amps?) when working out the break even point.
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Old 14th January 2015
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Re: Slightly related to Cavity wall insulation

When you're living 10 to a room, heating problems tend to take care of themselves

Sid
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Old 14th January 2015
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Re: Slightly related to Cavity wall insulation

Probably plenty of gas to burn too.
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Old 15th January 2015
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Re: Slightly related to Cavity wall insulation

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Originally Posted by OM USer View Post
I like your thinking here. Of course you need to factor in the cost of a generator capable of supplying a whole house (say 100 Amps?) when working out the break even point.
We have a 100 Amp fuse but I certainly hope we are never using that much electricity! The washing machine, dryer, fridge freezer and kettle all running at once pull 40 amps or so, but that is a rarity, otherwise we only have small loads (computers, tv and a million and one chargers for various things) plugged in and drawing current. The CHP plant idea relys on still having an electrical supply, and feeding electricity back into the grid when you have a surplus, and drawing power from the grid when you need the extra.
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Old 15th January 2015
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Re: Slightly related to Cavity wall insulation

Thanks for all the comments. Not quite sure of the etiquette of groups but "you've all done very well" (old Mr.Grace Are you being served. circa.1980)

If you investigate this stuff a bit closer you discover that the average house uses around 14kwhr/day, some a lot less and that this equates to very low levels of generation required to see to the minute by minute requirements. Obviously switching on the electric oven to roast 3 turkeys and a side of beef is going to blow fuses in a small generator but if you're prepared to be interventionist about things then 1.5kw/hr gen capacity is usually adequate.

CHP is great but the biggest percentage of the output is Heat and not power. The CHP doesn't excel in Summer 'cause the heat is wasted once you've warmed up your domestic water tank.

The Whisper gen device(CHP with a brilliant Stirling engine at its core) is brilliant and was going to be adopted by a power company, power gen I think, as part of their energy saving equipment range for domestic users. Never happened as it was blisteringly expensive.
Thanks again for the chat.
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Old 15th January 2015
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Re: Slightly related to Cavity wall insulation

Hi there Marius!

I haven't fully investigated CHP for home use, but our building at work uses it, generating 150kW and keeping the place toasty warm (don't know exact measurements but about 150m square and 15 tall.

In our house even in the summer we would be using plenty of hot water during the day, but due to the long daylight hours and plenty of drying space in the conservatory roofed utility room, not a huge amount of electricity. The only reason I have yet to investigate further is that when we moved into our current house the previous owners had just bought a new boiler. When that dies of old age I might reconsider.

Cheers,

Ralph.
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Old 15th January 2015
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Re: Slightly related to Cavity wall insulation

Hi Ralph

Office buildings sound about right for CHP. Not too sure about domestic though. Our faultless gas boiler that isn't very old sprung a small leak on Boxing day whilst the temperature outside plunged. Eventually the service guy came but although he agreed it was leaking he couldn't figure out why or even where because to do so would involve removing the thing from the wall. Its now stopped. We hold our breath. We keep fingers crossed. Turns out that our not very old boiler is in fact 25 years old! How time flies when your having a life.
The simple way out is probably just to get a new one fitted come spring. If it lasts.

CM
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Old 17th January 2015
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Re: Slightly related to Cavity wall insulation

Hi John

Thanks for the reply. The Glow worm spacesaver used to be delivered for installation with the water terminations facing out of the back of the unit. The installer would then have to install "tails" that would take the pipework in the desired direction for connection to the system. The cast iron jacket/burner was held off the wall on a large bracket allowing the pipework to be orientated wherever behind the boiler. A daft idea. The heating guy is actually one of the good guys and merely confirmed what I'd already half suspected. It had to come off in order to inspect the problem and the source would be marked by a water track. We agreed that wasn't going to happen and he went on his way singing. And without charge of course. He'll be back in the Spring sporting a new Vissman in the back of his meticulously tidy van.

Cheers. CM
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Old 17th January 2015
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Re: Slightly related to Cavity wall insulation

I don't know if they still have them, but some years ago the boilers in Derriford Hospital (Plymouth) were replaced by an array of diesel engines, which were designed to provide both heat and electricity throughout the buildings. Surplus power was sold to the grid. The engines could either run on fuel oil (diesel) or natural gas.

The beauty of this system is that heat output increases with load, which would probably suit a hospital building well. If required, the engines' exhaust manifolds can also be fitted with heat exchangers to generate steam.

However, the problem in domestic environments is how do you run small loads such as lights and refrigeration when it is not efficient to run the main generators?

Working in the marine industry this is a problem which arises all the time. It is easy enough on larger vessels as the system can be designed to bring more generators into circuit as load increases, whilst a small generator may suffice when berthed. However, many pleasure vessels use a 'hybrid' system (rather like a Prius) where 'mains' power can be supplied from a bank of batteries via an inverter. This is usually limited to a maximum output of two or three kilowatts which can be sustained for ten minutes or so.

If this power requirement is exceeded, or the batteries start to run low, the generators will start automatically. The batteries can of course be charged from solar cells and wind generators, or from alternators fitted to main (propulsion) engines, so avoiding the need to run separate generators.

Better still, the engines can be plumbed so that they keep each other warm when running, so avoiding the wear incurred during cold starts.

The only fly in the ointment is that modern diesel engines are becoming so efficient that very little energy is lost in the form of heat; which means they can be very slow to warm up. To overcome this problem my car is fitted with a small 'central heating' boiler which gets the engine up to working temperature on cold mornings. This works well enough, (even if it is rather smelly) but it does seem rather ironic that engines are now so efficient that we have to provide a secondary heat source for them to work properly!
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Old 17th January 2015
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Re: Slightly related to Cavity wall insulation

N Nigel

How long does it take to warm up the engine and how much fuel does it use, and what car please.
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Old 17th January 2015
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Re: Slightly related to Cavity wall insulation

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N Nigel

How long does it take to warm up the engine and how much fuel does it use, and what car please.
Hi Derek, it is a Jaguar fitted with a 3 litre twin turbo V6 diesel engine. I believe some VW models are fitted with a similar boiler system, (both by Eberspächer).

This time of the year, when it is freezing outside, it can take ten to fifteen miles to get fully up to working temperature; which is why modern diesels are unsuitable for short journeys. On the plus side it will do 50 MPG, which I think is quite remarkable for a large car. (The 2.2 diesel model is supposed to do about 60 MPG!)

What doesn't make sense though is that the [CO2] based road tax is quite a lot higher than my wife's Astra - although that struggles to do much more than 35 MPG!
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