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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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    • CommentAuthorborpin
    • CommentTimeOct 31st 2020
     
    I'm surprised by the lack of discussion the Octopus Agile tariff here.

    This Time Of Use (TOU) pricing could well be beneficial to almost anyone. The attached graph shows my effective rate for the last 60 days (11.3p/kWh), without a significant change in behaviour. I don't have any form of Solar/Battery/EV. The only thing I can do is switch on the immersion heater.

    You can also see the average price for each 30 minute period and sometimes you get plunge (negative) pricing so you get paid to use/charge.

    If you combine this TOU tariff with a battery or HP etc it will contribute to a greener building.
      Screenshot 2020-10-31 150438.png
    • CommentAuthorrevor
    • CommentTimeOct 31st 2020 edited
     
    That's very interesting I thought I had to have the an EV or solar PV battery to benefit. I am currently on flexible tariff 15.29p. Can you explain the graph please. (Bars and line)Is there a daily charge could not find it on the Octopus website. I am averaging each day 5 .5 kWh so 60 days is 330kWh about a third of your usage. There are only 2 of us though LED lighting everywhere but usually only have light on in one room at a time have all electric kitchen hob, ovens fridge, freezer, dishwasher, washing machine, tumble dryer and electric shower. Expect usage to go up over winter due to cooking more and more use of tumble dryer. Don't use the immersion though, but would be cheaper on agile to use it at night instead of LPG which have hardly used since end Feb due to benefit of solar thermal panels.
    • CommentAuthorrevor
    • CommentTimeOct 31st 2020
     
    Found it 21p / day vs 17.6p on flexible.
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeOct 31st 2020
     
    Like David (we've got to stick together :bigsmile: ) I'd appreciate an explanation of the graph.

    We do have PV and are a completely electric house. I appear to have a base load of about 4.2 kWh during summer and that increases a bit through spring and autumn, presumably as we use more lights in the dark and the PV offsets less consumption. Then mains heating kicks in for DHW and space heating and that is very largely done overnight on E7. Total consumption averages 4770 kWh per year. That was costing just over 10p/kWh including standing charges but looks likely to cost about 12.5p/kWh going forwards. I'm currently in wait-and-see mode depending on what other suppliers offer soon.

    But the new price seems pretty comparable to the agile price including standing charges, always assuming I could rework my consumption to be comparable. We have more unavoidable usage during the evening peak I think.
    • CommentAuthorJeff B
    • CommentTimeNov 1st 2020
     
    I understand that to qualify for Agile I have first to be an existing Octopus customer so I have just done a switch comparison with Octopus Energy and they have quoted £54 p.m. which is very good* (currently with Bulb and they have just upped my D/D to £70 p.m. due to price increase). If I could get electricity for 11p per kWh that would be a big saving!

    I presume a good mobile connection is essential for the Agile system to work though? What happens if the technology fails from time to time?

    *We use approx 3500 kWh/p.a.
    • CommentAuthorjamesingram
    • CommentTimeNov 1st 2020 edited
     
    Borpin I agree , Ive been thinking recently how better to take advantage of this for myself and clients.
    I've several clients interested in battery storage butt generally steer them away from it because it doesnt seem to add up financial at all and only slightly environmentally. Being paid to charge or very low charge price changes that and gives it greater purpose outside of summer solar surplus period especially helping individuals drop their peak load.
    Wouldnt you need to some decent automation to manage and kick in charging etc at price plunge.
    If price per kW<X charge battery , if price per kW >Y use battery but then with some additional understanding of potential peak demand to save cheap stored energy for highest load-cost period.
    • CommentAuthorrevor
    • CommentTimeNov 1st 2020
     
    I swopped over to Octopus in March ready for when I get my solar PV set up, then was going to go over to agile to make full use of the PV system and for when we get an EV. At moment don't have smart meter give my readings manually each month. But from this thread looks like I could benefit now to some extent. If you read on the octopus website the Agile tariff is a Beta product so there is a disclaimer that things may not work 1st time. I will need to get a smart meter 2 installed but currently there is a backlog on installs due to Covid 19. You could email them to find out if your area is ok on reception they are extremely helpful from previous experience with providers they are a refreshing change to customer service.
    • CommentAuthorborpin
    • CommentTimeNov 1st 2020
     
    So before I forget, if anyone wants to switch, they could always use my referral code <GRIN> https://share.octopus.energy/wise-jade-356

    The blue columns show the total consumption, in each of the 30 minute periods over 24Hrs, for the last 60 days (so the cumulative use per period).

    The red line is the average price in each of those 30 min periods.

    Multiply use * cost (it does it by each period in each day rather than using the averages) giving the average p/kWh for the last 60 days.

    This is produced using "emoncms" from https://www.openenergymoniotor.org. If you can download your data, you can use that for the comparison rather then needing to actually measure it.
    • CommentAuthorborpin
    • CommentTimeNov 1st 2020
     
    Posted By: jamesingramI've several clients interested in battery storage butt generally steer them away from it because it doesnt seem to add up financial at all and only slightly environmentally. Being paid to charge or very low charge price changes that and gives it greater purpose outside of summer solar surplus period especially helping individuals drop their peak load.
    Yes I have been thinking about what the benefit is but am not convinced of my figures. If you charge in min 3hrs and discharge in peak 3hrs, I think the raw cost benefit is 20p/kWh.

    Posted By: jamesingramWouldnt you need to some decent automation to manage and kick in charging etc at price plunge.
    Yes but that is increasingly simple.

    I also think it is minimal 'gain' financially, but more to gain environmentally. However, the more people do it and reduce peak demand, the lower the price differential is likely to be.
    • CommentAuthorborpin
    • CommentTimeNov 1st 2020
     
    Posted By: Jeff BI presume a good mobile connection is essential for the Agile system to work though? What happens if the technology fails from time to time?
    Not all SMTES2 meters are connected via mobile signal - some are intended to rely on a local mesh and radio signals. However, until enough houses are converted the 'mesh' is not very good!

    If it fails, it is not clear what they do. I'd present my measurement data and tell them what I owe!
    • CommentAuthorJeff B
    • CommentTimeNov 1st 2020
     
    Posted By: borpin
    Posted By: Jeff BI presume a good mobile connection is essential for the Agile system to work though? What happens if the technology fails from time to time?
    Not all SMTES2 meters are connected via mobile signal - some are intended to rely on a local mesh and radio signals. However, until enough houses are converted the 'mesh' is not very good!

    If it fails, it is not clear what they do. I'd present my measurement data and tell them what I owe!


    This may be a daft question but does that mean I would have to stay up all night to monitor every half hour?!! Otherwise how would I be able to prove how much electricity was used and at what time?
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeNov 1st 2020
     
    Jeff B asked: "This may be a daft question but does that mean I would have to stay up all night to monitor every half hour?!!"

    I expect you wouldn't be allowed on an Agile tariff or anything similar unless you had a reliable SMETS2 installation.

    There's quite good detail about the comms at https://www.smartme.co.uk/technical.html for anybody that's interested.
  1.  
    It seems (without looking greatly into it) heavy users might benefit from a battery /variable tarrif setup but really the money would be better spent reducing the overall energy use via insulation etc. This might make
    It of use in hard to treat homes looking to do something to reduce peak loads
    • CommentAuthorJeff B
    • CommentTimeNov 2nd 2020
     
    Posted By: djhJeff B asked: "This may be a daft question but does that mean I would have to stay up all night to monitor every half hour?!!"

    I expect you wouldn't be allowed on an Agile tariff or anything similar unless you had a reliable SMETS2 installation.

    There's quite good detail about the comms athttps://www.smartme.co.uk/technical.html" rel="nofollow" >https://www.smartme.co.uk/technical.htmlfor anybody that's interested.


    Thanks for the link - an interesting article. I was a bit concerned to see that the smart meter uses Zigbee to communicate and how this can interfere with other systems using Zigbee.I know absolutely nothing about Zigbee except that it is a form of radio transmission but what I do know is that my PV panel monitoring system uses it and the last thing I want is for that to be interfered with, as it is the only way I can check on my microinverters!
    • CommentAuthorborpin
    • CommentTimeNov 2nd 2020
     
    Posted By: Jeff BThis may be a daft question but does that mean I would have to stay up all night to monitor every half hour?!!
    Not if you measure your consumption anyway.


    Posted By: jamesingramIt seems (without looking greatly into it) heavy users might benefit from a battery /variable tarrif setup but really the money would be better spent reducing the overall energy use via insulation etc.
    For me. I could get a smallish 2.4kWh system, charge at low demand and discharge at high demand and recover the cost over 10 years while feeling good that I was helping to balance the load of the network. It isn't about making money. This house is pretty much as efficient as it can be in terms of insulation and air tightness. When the boiler get older, I'll look at ASHP.

    There was an interesting item recently (BBC?) about the increases in carbon emissions because far more people are Working From Home and their main source of heating is gas.
    • CommentAuthorJeff B
    • CommentTimeNov 2nd 2020 edited
     
    Posted By: borpin
    Posted By: Jeff BThis may be a daft question but does that mean I would have to stay up all night to monitor every half hour?!!
    Not if you measure your consumption anyway.


    Sorry, I don't understand. How can I measure my electricity consumption every half hour if the technology isn't working, other than by physically taking readings from the meter every half hour?
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeNov 3rd 2020
     
    Posted By: borpinNot if you measure your consumption anyway.

    I think tariffs have to be supported by revenue-grade metering.

    Not that it does any harm to measure your consumption independently with something like emoncms as well. :bigsmile:
    • CommentAuthorJeff B
    • CommentTimeNov 3rd 2020
     
    I think I'll just stick to submitting my monthly meter readings but maybe with a different "green" energy provider who offers a decent 2 year fixed rate!
  2.  
    Jeff, aiui the SMETS2 smart meters can store a year's worth of data in their internal memory, so if the comms are interrupted for a while, they just wait, and send the data through once they next get a connection.

    Some of them are using a different radio system now that is more reliable than the mobile phone signal. Your supplier should be able to tell whether it will work based on your postcode.
    • CommentAuthorJeff B
    • CommentTimeNov 3rd 2020
     
    <blockquote><cite>Posted By: WillInAberdeen</cite>Jeff, aiui the SMETS2 smart meters can store a year's worth of data in their internal memory, so if the comms are interrupted for a while, they just wait, and send the data through once they next get a connection.

    Some of them are using a different radio system now that is more reliable than the mobile phone signal. Your supplier should be able to tell whether it will work based on your postcode.</blockquote>

    OK, that's useful to know about the retained data. However re the radio system - having read the article in the link that djh sent it seems the Agile system uses Zigbee which is what my microinverter system relies on, so the last thing I need is for that to interfere with my ability to continuously monitor my PV panels. I don't know anything about Zigbee I admit but I am not prepared to take any chances!
    • CommentAuthorborpin
    • CommentTimeNov 3rd 2020 edited
     
    Posted By: Jeff BSorry, I don't understand. How can I measure my electricity consumption every half hour if the technology isn't working, other than by physically taking readings from the meter every half hour?
    I use the OpenEnergyMonitor system to measure my electricity and the software works it's magic (as seen above).

    Posted By: djhI think tariffs have to be supported by revenue-grade metering.
    But we were discussing what happens if the metering fails. I can demonstrate with an accuracy of less that 1% what I use in each half hour period.

    Posted By: WillInAberdeenSome of them are using a different radio system now that is more reliable than the mobile phone signal. Your supplier should be able to tell whether it will work based on your postcode.
    The radio technology used depends entirely on your location in the country not the supplier you use.

    Posted By: Jeff Bit seems the Agile system uses Zigbee
    No, Agile is the tariff absolutely devolved from the technology.

    All SMETS2 systems use Zigbee within the property. Your Wi-Fi is far more likely to interfere with the Zigbee than differing zigbee based systems within the same property. I also think this interference is more theoretical than seen in the wild. Zigbee has been around for years.

    Last 7 days has been an effective rate of 9.8p/kWh - unbeatable for an import only house with no EV/Battery.
    • CommentAuthorrevor
    • CommentTimeNov 4th 2020
     
    "Last 7 days has been an effective rate of 9.8p/kWh - unbeatable for an import only house with no EV/Battery."

    That is very good. Nearly half of my rate.
    • CommentAuthorborpin
    • CommentTimeNov 4th 2020 edited
     
    The cheapest way of measuring your consumption so you can do a comparison (assuming you do not have access to smart meter data), is to hook one of these Optical sensors up to a RPi (of any flavour I've got it hooked onto a Pi Zero).

    https://shop.openenergymonitor.com/optical-utility-meter-led-pulse-sensor/
    • CommentAuthorjamesingram
    • CommentTime5 days ago edited
     
    Interesting product designed to maximise Heat pumps and variable tariffs benefits.
    Is this one of the type of products we've been waiting to appear?
    https://www.homelyenergy.com/product-page/thermostat
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTime5 days ago
     
    Posted By: jamesingramInteresting product designed to maximise Heat pumps and variable tariffs benefits.
    Is this one of the type of products we've been waiting to appear?
    https://www.homelyenergy.com/product-page/thermostat

    I don't understand why it claims to be a heat pump control system? What's special about it that is particular to heat pumps? And why doesn't it attempt to control any heat-pump specific features, such as flow temperature?
    • CommentAuthorjamesingram
    • CommentTime4 days ago edited
     
    Its seems the basic model offers just an on/off prioritsing low tariff, low demand and considers future heat demand loads.
    there's a couple of pump manufacturers that appear to in allow the management more direct, whether that invlove flow temperatures control and heat curve im unsure. i doubt it.
    It interested me as a gadget to automate management of load towards reducing peak grid spikes with the bonus of cost reduction to user. Like you suggest this could be used for any electrical heating loads.
    it seems a start in the right direction toward Borpins point
    "If you combine this TOU tariff with a battery or HP etc it will contribute to a greener building."
    •  
      CommentAuthornigel
    • CommentTime4 days ago edited
     
    I have had Octopus agile for a year, I also have octopus outgoing for my surplus PV.

    My net energy cost is about £20 per month including about £6 a month standing charge and i charge my car with it too.
    Over the year I actually produce as much as I use albeit I export a lot in summer and import in winter.

    I have a zappi charger and they have recently added Agile specific functionality that allows you to automate when you charge, their system looks at the cheapest rates and charges in the cheapest half hour slots.
    Quite often when its windy at the weekend the rates go negative.

    These technologies help to make optimum use of the electricity we produce and I expect more smart tools to be developed to optimise use of energy.
    • CommentAuthorjms452
    • CommentTime4 days ago
     
    Posted By: nigelI have a zappi charger and they have recently added Agile specific functionality that allows you to automate when you charge, their system looks at the cheapest rates and charges in the cheapest half hour slots.
    Quite often when its windy at the weekend the rates go negative.


    This sounds great - we've been holding off on an ev until we need to replace our car hoping some smarter functionality will come in.
    • CommentAuthorrevor
    • CommentTime4 days ago
     
    Does anyone use an EV battery to actually power the house i.e instead of or in addition to having a dedicated solar PV battery. Octopus with others are running V2G trials in the south east and I understand the Nissan leaf does allow use of the EV battery to power the house but not in a power cut. I am in the market for an EV and am currently installing a solar PV but hanging on one purchasing inverter and battery, as a car being idle for most of its time would make sense to use that as the solar PV battery.
    • CommentAuthordereke
    • CommentTime3 days ago
     
    @revor I've been on the V2G trial with OVO for about a year now.

    I'm thinking of leaving the trial early and switching to Octopus Agile. There are a few reasons for that but mostly because with also having a heatpump I use quite a lot of off peak energy yet I pay this flat rate all day (and night) long. If I stick out the next year then I get to keep the V2G charger, to leave I have to pay £300 for it to be removed and then get a new charger which pretty much wipes out the savings from the first year of switching. I'm not sure I want to keep the charger though. I think I can get my peak usage down to about 5kWh so a small battery could work well for that and it will just do it everyday. As my wife now uses the car for work and is usually out during peak hours that is not going to work for me anyway - as it happens when she is out is also the time OVO usually want the leccy from the car so now I miss out on that too. lol.

    In summary, I'd think long and hard before joining one of these trials. If your circumstances change you can be a bit stuck. Anyone got a spare charger they want to give me? :smile:
   
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