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Green Building Bible, Fourth Edition
Green Building Bible, fourth edition (both books)
These two books are the perfect starting place to help you get to grips with one of the most vitally important aspects of our society - our homes and living environment.

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    • CommentAuthortony
    • CommentTimeMar 3rd 2016
    District heating is common in Europe

    There are proposals for some heat networks to be set up here in the UK

    I don't think that they will work, when it comes to charging for repairs there are several ways to do this none of which are viewed as fair by Brits, and then some will refuse to pay. They will then want or have to be disconnected leaving a worse situation for the remaining users. (more for them to pay)

    Then there there is the disruption of installing the network of pipes, roads up, conflict with other services, bringing the service into homes or flats.

    Will it catch on, NO, will it start happening, yes but only because there is big funding, will it last NO.
    What's the problem Tony?

    District heating is a service provider no different than say natural gas.

    Where a network is installed most houses will want to have it, but some will not.

    The system is maintained by the service provider, the consumer just pays for metered usage. What's your issue with repair costs?

    District heating really comes into it's own where there is a cheap source of heat locally such as waste heat from industry and the cost is really just infrastructure, maintenance, distribution and administration.

    I am sure that there are vast numbers of homes which can be heated from industrial waste heat in the UK.

    In most cases it is a win, win, win for consumers, industry and the environment.
    • CommentTimeMar 4th 2016
    • CommentAuthorEd Davies
    • CommentTimeMar 4th 2016
    Been working fine in Wick (Caithness) for quite a while - decades I think, maybe more. AIUI it was originally waste heat from the distillery (Old Pulteney) but was then separated off and supplies heat to the distillery and the homes around it.
    Two friends of mine live in the new Bath Western Riverside development which has a a district heating system fuelled by a combination of biomass and gas. They both say that it's hardly ever on as the flats are well insulated.

    I can't see it being retrofitted or supplied to individual housing widely, unless there is perhaps a large supply of waste/free heat, similar to the geothermal hot water that most Icelanders are plugged into.

    • CommentTimeMar 4th 2016 edited
    Ed, You got any data of the cost and efficiency of that Wick project?
    Ed, I wonder why they use biomass and gas, they could have used a WSHP.
    • CommentAuthorEd Davies
    • CommentTimeMar 4th 2016
    What's odd about that system Steamy references is the cost of the weather compensation. 25% of the system cost is just silly for a thermometer and slightly more intelligent controller. Even a very sophisticated one which looks at weather forecasts and so on ought not to cost a fraction of that.

    I can't help feeling that bigger district heating systems would be intrinsically more efficient as bigger pipes have smaller proportional losses.

    What I think is most attractive about district heating is the ability to switch houses between multiple sources. E.g., a combination of direct solar heat, stored solar heat (bigger stores again more efficient [¹][²]), CHP and direct heating plus any industrial waste heat available.

    On the other hand, as Tony says, it must be very disruptive to retrofit particularly if not all the houses in an area take it up at the same time. So it really only makes sense for new build. But they <em>should</em> be well enough insulated, etc, that they're not using enough space heating for a district heating system to be able to make much saving, as Atomic hints.

    [¹] http://solar-district-heating.eu/NewsEvents/News/tabid/68/ArticleId/49/Marstal-Solar-District-Heating--EU-supports-the-extension-to-a-100-renewable-energy-system.aspx

    [²] http://www.dlsc.ca/
    • CommentAuthorEd Davies
    • CommentTimeMar 4th 2016
    Sorry, Steamy, no idea - it seems like it's had a rather mixed past politically but is making sense financially now.

    Posted By: SteamyTeaEd, You got any data of the cost and efficiency of that Wick project?
    Ed, I wonder why they use biomass and gas, they could have used a WSHP.

    Unfortunately I don't know anything about why they made that choice. Could the amount of heat extracted from the river for a development this size lower the river temperature enough to cause environmental damage?

    • CommentTimeMar 4th 2016
    £57,500/house before the usage bill comes in.

    I think that may answer Tony's question.

    I think another problem with them is that they work best where there is a source of waste/nuisance thermal energy nearby. So pumping thermal energy out of the Tube and into houses above is a neat solution.
    But that is a unique case in the UK.
    Not many large thermal businesses have a housing nearby (there may be a few, but generally they are kept away).
    We don't have that many thermal business anyway these days, and if they were to close (like a steel works), then the infrastructure and investment is wasted.
    And to add to that, we have had a policy of putting houses on the gas grid, which is pretty efficient in both transport and local combustion these days. I am not keen on combustion technology, but gas is what it is, about the best we have.

    Eventually, we will be 'all electric', as that is probably the cheapest transmission and RE generation technology, so hardly worth investing in a different technology infrastructure.
    They would have been much better using that £11.5m to build some wind turbines and solar farms. Or buy every house two Hybrid cars (I assume that anywhere in Caithness is a high mileage area).
    And I think the £11.5m is just what the council spent, so could have been double that.
    Might be worth checking out the Aberdeen CHP district heating. Currently systems at four locations for about 35 multi story blocks in operation – about 2000+ flats.

    Details on Aberdeen Heat and Power website, it started in 2002 as a not for profit company to supply heat and power to council properties.

    I think the Stockethill site is oldest circa 2003. The 2007 Seaton energy centre has a sedum roof so fairly easy to spot.

    Mike up North
    • CommentAuthorringi
    • CommentTimeMar 4th 2016
    "Build to Rent" is coming to a city near you!"

    Think of 500 homes, all owned by the same pension fund and rented out, being managed by a on site rental agent, with repair people etc on site. Then tell me that heat networks will not work for them.

    As the builders are being funded by the pension funds over the next 10 years (or so) with a study demand, building factories to make the homes off site etc and getting great quality also becomes a real option.
    • CommentAuthorgyrogear
    • CommentTimeMar 4th 2016
    FWIW, here is an overview of the Paris local heating system, which serves over 50% of the population.



    Aberdeen Heat & Power Ltd is a ‘not for profit’ company that was set up by Aberdeen City Council in 2002 to develop and operate district heating and CHP (Combined Heat & Power) schemes in their area. The scheme has grown through the development of four principal projects and now supplies around 2050 flats in 33 multi story blocks and 13 public buildings. Carbon emissions from these buildings have reduced by 45% and typical fuel costs to tenants have been reduced by up to 50% over the previous heating system. Customer satisfaction surveys have indicated that tenants are very satisfied with the heating system. The schemes have received three high profile awards – UK Housing Awards 2008 – Increasing Environmental Sustainability and Outstanding achievement in Housing in the UK and the COSLA Excellence 2008 silver award. In 2013 Aberdeen Heat & Power won a prestigious award for Excellence from Global District Energy Climate Awards.

    The Company continues to develop their District Heating network and in 2013 commissioned a £1m extension of underground mains towards the City Centre and has since connected the Council’s Town House and four other public buildings en-route.
    Oops, crossed with Mike U N

    Operating since 2012, the Hill of Banchory Biomass Heat Network is one of the largest privately owned renewable Networks in Scotland. The Network currently supplies heat to a new development of 102 residential dwellings, an office building, several industrial units, a micro distillery and a car wash, and will eventually supply heat to 500 houses, and other commercial and community buildings.

    The plant is sized to meet a forecast peak heat demand of 7.6MW and will supply 12,500MWh of heat per annum. The plant comprises both biomass and natural gas boilers, with 90% of heat currently generated from a 900kW wood chips boiler.

    Wood chips are produced locally from virgin forest timber which will be supplemented with sawmill coproduct and SRC willow. Currently around 1,000 tonnes of wood chips are used per annum, saving 600 tonnes of CO2e emissions compared with natural gas.
    • CommentTimeMar 4th 2016 edited
    Posted By: WillInAberdeenCurrently around 1,000 tonnes of wood chips are used per annum, saving 600 tonnes of CO2e emissions compared with natural gas.
    Sound a bit optimistic, they must be replanting at a fantastic rate, thousands of acres a year.
    • CommentAuthortony
    • CommentTimeMar 4th 2016
    If they are burning the wood how is there a carbon saving, both emit CO2
    • CommentAuthorEd Davies
    • CommentTimeMar 5th 2016
    Next time Tony asks for a bit more food I hope somebody just turns his plate round saying “look, there's more on the left side of your plate, now“ or whatever.
    • CommentTimeMar 5th 2016 edited
    I am not sure if that is agreeing or disagreeing with woodburning being CO2 neutral :confused:

    I like the analogy, will just have to find a way to use it.
    Surely the point about burning wood is that the carbon cycle is 100 years or less as opposed to millions for fossil fuels. burning woos can be carbon neutral if you look at the 100 year time scale. Of course that argument falls apart some what when you then use fossil fuels to transport the wood (products) half way across the world or even halfway across the country. And of course you have to plant at least as many trees as you burn.

    Could burning fossil fuels also be termed carbon neutral if you planted the equivalent number of trees to the amount of oil or gas burnt?
    • CommentTimeMar 5th 2016 edited
    Posted By: Peter_in_HungaryCould burning fossil fuels also be termed carbon neutral if you planted the equivalent number of trees to the amount of oil or gas burnt?
    In a way yes, it all depends on new growth and sequestration techniques used. And is an argument that the FF industry uses based on Northern European increase is forests.
    It is a poor argument.
    There is a bit in this months Renewable Energy Focus about just this point.
    AIUI the Aberdeen council scheme is successful because its partly based on CHP so more efficient than direct gas heating. It serves a mix of homes and public buildings which need heat at different times of the day and of the year, improving the overall run time of the CHP. The housing is mostly tower blocks or sheltered housing complexes which are close together and easy to link up.

    They mentioned here connecting 740 flats for £4.2m which is £6k each. http://www.aberdeenheatandpower.co.uk/seaton-energy-centre/

    The Banchory scheme was built into a new housing development instead of laying gas mains. The developer is a local landowner with a lot of forestry so the fuel is very local. Apparently the heat is sold about 3p/kWh. They are also growing short rotation willow and looking into geothermal from the granite. There is a lot of maturing commercial forestry in this area, which was planted for the paper industry which has since closed down.

    I have no connection or insight in these schemes, other than living in the same county, this info is just local talk.
    • CommentTimeMar 5th 2016
    Haven't we been through the carbon & wood discussion before? People who plant and grow trees should get a carbon benefit (whatever that is). People who burn them should pay the carbon tax, same as everybody else who burns carbon in whatever form. Then there's also the matter of how to deal with burning in general. i.e. pollutants other than CO2.

    But really, if anybody wants to take this discussion further then it ought to be somewhere other than in Mikeee's thread!
    • CommentTimeMar 5th 2016
    Posted By: djhBut really, if anybody wants to take this discussion further then it ought to be somewhere other than in Mikeee's thread!
    Oh there is, there is.

    Will take you most of tomorrow.

    That's the sound of another GBF thread careering wildly off topic within a day of being started...

    At least it was rainy today, I'd hate to have wasted a sunny afternoon pulling together a reply, and it'll be there ready for next time someone recycles this topic:cry:
    • CommentAuthorEd Davies
    • CommentTimeMar 7th 2016
    Given that a) it was the OP of the thread who took it off-topic to the extent that it is off-topic and b) the CO₂ neutrality of district heating is fairly relevant to the original post I don't see it as a much of a swerve.
    • CommentTimeMar 7th 2016
    c) It is tradition to get off-topic when Tony starts them :shamed:
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