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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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    • CommentAuthorjms452
    • CommentTimeMay 18th 2021
     
    Sounds encouraging!

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/environment/2021/05/07/electricity-bills-could-slashed-green-drive-ditch-gas-boilers/

    Electricity bills could be slashed to persuade homeowners to abandon gas boilers by 2035 under green plans to be outlined within weeks.

    Nearly a quarter of consumers' bills currently cover taxes to pay for policies, including subsidies for renewable energy and fuel vouchers for poorer households.

    Ministers believe these additional costs are acting as a major barrier to get people to heat their homes on low carbon electricity alternatives such as heat pumps, at a time when gas prices are lower.
    • CommentAuthortony
    • CommentTimeMay 18th 2021
     
    So then there is a general admission that it is more expensive to use electric heat pumps for heating
    • CommentAuthorjms452
    • CommentTimeMay 18th 2021
     
    Posted By: tonySo then there is a general admission that it is more expensive to use electric heat pumps for heating


    We had exactly that choice a couple of years ago.

    For us gas heating + hot water + gas hob = 4000kWh/year so heating is about £130 a year.
    knew boiler was on it's way out so saved up £10k for a heat pump but on running the maths (and factoring in the low CoP for the hot water) the heat pump would 'at best' have broken even.

    We spent £2.5k on a condensing gas boiler with weather comp and used the remaining £7.5k to put into solar PV for schools (which is about 10kWp of solar on a school roof somewhere - hopefully winning in both CO2 and cash).
    • CommentAuthorCliff Pope
    • CommentTimeMay 18th 2021
     
    There seems to be an underlying universal assumption that subsidies and incentives cost nothing and use no energy to generate.
    There's surely no point in giving a green incentive funded from taxation unless the income on which the tax is levied has been earned from a green source?

    Otherwise, it's a bit like the judge who asked a prostitute living on immoral earnings how long it would take her to earn the fine :)
    • CommentAuthorjms452
    • CommentTimeMay 18th 2021
     
    Posted By: Cliff PopeThere seems to be an underlying universal assumption that subsidies and incentives cost nothing and use no energy to generate.
    There's surely no point in giving a green incentive funded from taxation unless the income on which the tax is levied has been earned from a green source?


    Cliff the challenge is that electricity prices are higher because of subsidies bundled into them (added when the carbon footprint of electricity we very high). The concept seem to be to remove the historic subsidies that add to electricity bills.

    Moving them to gas would make sense but be politically contentious.
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeMay 18th 2021
     
    Posted By: Cliff PopeThere's surely no point in giving a green incentive funded from taxation unless the income on which the tax is levied has been earned from a green source?

    I don't follow that logic at all. Currently the Ovo site, for example, https://www.ovoenergy.com/help/monthly-energy-bill-breakdown says:

    dual fuel customer - Environmental & social costs – 13%

    electricity-only customer - Environmental & social costs – 22%

    which would seem to imply that electricity is taxed a lot more than gas for whatever reason. I can't see why equalising the tax rates is at all contentious, and I don't see any objection to taxing gas more highly, given that the desire is to gradually persuade people to stop using it and switch to electricity instead. It all needs to be clearly flagged in advance and done gradually, of course.
    • CommentAuthorArtiglio
    • CommentTimeMay 18th 2021
     
    Over recent years the number of households in fuel poverty has averaged around 10-12%, they are very unlikely to be able to afford new heating systems, then there’ll likely be at least double that who’d find it very difficult. On top of that even those that could afford to do so are unlikely to want to make significant investments in technology that gives them no real benefit ( assuming they are already able to keep warm) , and for which any savings (if there are any) are unlikely to recoup the initial capital outlay in any resonable timescale.

    People are just not going to want to do it even if they can afford it, its all very well legislating for new builds and conversions that need planning permission, but for everything else the costs will be immense and in the absence of understanding how to get the best,out of technology likely to be disapointing to the consumer. I’m a landlord my tenants have no interest in the “learning thermostats” all they want is on / off and maybe a timer and rads that nigh on glow in the dark.

    Policy needs to take into account the way normal people behave and live and the interests they have in efficiency , which will ony grab their attention if it costs them nothing and saves them loads.
    The headlines yesterday about plastic waste being dumped and burned in turkey after the similar scandals in china and the east, do nothing to make people believe in all the green rhetoric aimed at them. Which is perfectly reasonable given the farce that the UK’s recycling system has become. My local council has just about given up with paer and card collection points because people abuse them, the mess is beyond belief and just about every bin contains household waste. We even have upto 3 collections on a refuse day in 3 different vehicles, how that can be seen as green overall is beyond me, but it certainly employs more people and burns more diesel.
  1.  
    The 'Environmental and social costs' are primarily FITs and ECO, plus some initiatives for those in energy poverty.

    FITs are no longer being used to procure new renewable generation, but many of the PV owners who installed in the 2010s were promised 20years of payments, so that's what is dragging on electricity prices today. IE demand for clean electricity and heatpumps is being priced out today, to pay off PV panels and wind turbines which were installed a decade ago.

    Not wanting to get into politics but it always seemed regressive to pay for that stuff by hiding the costs in people's electricity bills, irrespective of their ability to pay. It was done as a stealth tax to keep those investments off the government debt sheet.

    Would be better if FIT came from general taxation like RHI and GHG do/did, so it would be transparent and scrutinised in the Budget, collected by HMRC not the electric company, and based however loosely on ability to pay.

    The risk of reducing electricity prices is that people just use more, eg using immersion and electric heaters instead of heatpumps, etc
  2.  
    Posted By: djhhttps://www.ovoenergy.com/help/monthly-energy-bill-breakdown


    Its striking how much of the cost is 'network' costs, primarily the costs of balancing variable demand against increasingly-variable supply. This cost is presumably going to increase, unless people somehow get on board with variable-time-of-use consumption. Most people haven't got time or interest (present company excepted) to monitor and change the times they do stuff each day, so it needs to get much easier (happen automatically) or much cheaper (off-peak tariffs).
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTimeMay 18th 2021
     
    Posted By: WillInAberdeen20years of payments, so that's what is dragging on electricity prices today
    Will pale into insignificance once the guaranteed prices agreed for the new nuclear start being paid, thro till - what? - 2075?
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeMay 18th 2021 edited
     
    Posted By: ArtiglioOver recent years the number of households in fuel poverty has averaged around 10-12%, they are very unlikely to be able to afford new heating systems, then there’ll likely be at least double that who’d find it very difficult.

    What proportion of those households own their house and what proportion rent it? In the latter case surely it is the landlord who would pay capital costs?

    People are just not going to want to do it even if they can afford it

    Exactly; that's why the fuel prices need to be adjusted so that the obviously most cost-effective thing to do is swap out the gas boiler and replace it with an electric alternative.

    Agree with what you say about recycling. The system is broken and needs some clear leadership to sort it out. After they've sorted out the broken building regs business. :devil:
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeMay 18th 2021
     
    Posted By: WillInAberdeenWould be better if FIT came from general taxation like RHI and GHG do/did, so it would be transparent and scrutinised in the Budget, collected by HMRC not the electric company, and based however loosely on ability to pay.

    Yup.

    The risk of reducing electricity prices is that people just use more, eg using immersion and electric heaters instead of heatpumps, etc

    Like me, you mean? :bigsmile: It's the nature of the beast, I think. Electric resistance heaters are so simple and cheap and reliable compared to even a gas boiler let alone a heat pump. But A-A heat pumps are used globally in huge volume (including in everybody's fridge) so I still have trouble understanding the focus in this country on whatever-source-to-water heat pumps.
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeMay 18th 2021
     
    Posted By: WillInAberdeenIts striking how much of the cost is 'network' costs, primarily the costs of balancing variable demand against increasingly-variable supply.

    Is this explained somewhere? I haven't come across the breakdown.
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTimeMay 18th 2021
     
    Posted By: djhA-A heat pumps are used globally in huge volume so I still have trouble understanding the focus in this country on whatever-source-to-water heat pumps
    Doesn't wide use of A-A depend on it being cheap n simple, which means multiple small ones per house and no ducting? Can imagine how that's not going to fly anywhere where external appearance has significant public-interest priority (however naffly).
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTimeMay 18th 2021
     
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeMay 18th 2021
     
    Posted By: fostertomanywhere where external appearance has significant public-interest priority

    That basically says f**k the planet! I'd rather die in a pretty town/village/city/whatever. Not what I thought this forum was about.
    • CommentAuthorArtiglio
    • CommentTimeMay 18th 2021
     
    Evening Djh

    Loads of data for fuel poverty in this

    https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/882404/annual-fuel-poverty-statistics-report-2020-2018-data.pdf

    I’ve slowly improved my flats over the years, but majority the relatively easy gains have been had (a couple of older boilers to change) They all fellin high D low C at the last assessment, those costs have come out of the general maintenance pot. Assuming there is legislation on the back of the consultation and C’s are mandated , i should achieve it without too much more work required.

    But going beyond a C is going to be hard and all electric only an economically viable option using storage heaters, heat pumps etc would need extensive insulation work and likely new windows , i’d sell up as assuming these requirements would come in around 2040 , it’d be well into my retirement and too much grief.

    Many landlords would seek to recover costs with increased rents , so of little benefit to tenants.

    The original legislation was a dogs dinner as it linked improvements to the original green deal and so when the scheme failed and closed, it made the energy improvements expected of landlords impossible to legally enforce. This has now been corrected , but just shows how inept our government can be.
  3.  
    Posted By: Artiglioheat pumps etc would need extensive insulation work and likely new windows

    I don't see that heat pumps need extensive insulation any more than a new gas boiler does. You just put in a unit either heat pump or boiler to match the load. Not very environmentally friendly but affordable. If you need a heat pump to get the EPC rating up then the cost would have to be passed on to the tenants. You can't expect landlords to be charities and operate at a loss although sometimes it appears that some government think they should.
    • CommentAuthorRobL
    • CommentTimeMay 19th 2021
     
    As an EPC score is based on standardised energy cost, not CO2 emissions, I don't expect swapping a gas boiler to one to affect the epc much. You get the cop of 3 or 4, but that balances out with the price hike of elec over gas, leaving you with a similar heating bill, and surely a similar epc.

    Link to epc discussion
    http://www.greenbuildingforum.co.uk/newforum/comments.php?DiscussionID=16964&page=1#Item_0
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTimeMay 19th 2021 edited
     
    Posted By: djh
    Posted By: fostertomanywhere where external appearance has significant public-interest priority

    That basically says f**k the planet! I'd rather die in a pretty town/village/city/whatever. Not what I thought this forum was about.
    That's the present state of the UK Planning system - don't tell me that comes as a shock to you.
    • CommentAuthorArtiglio
    • CommentTimeMay 19th 2021
     
    PIH

    Whilst heatpumps on paper give good performance, once you get away from the enthusiasts that adopt them in the real world anecdotes are not as rosy. A gas boiler will throw out heat instantly all day , costs me about 1k to replace and will last 15 years plus with few if any problems. My buildings are flats, so fitting individual heat pumps is going to be problematic and need quite a lot of room externally, or i could go the route of a large unit and heat distribution, i have 3 phase so supply not an issue. But then i’d be responsible for the electric bill and have to recoup it from tenants for the energy they use, no thank you.

    The biggest single issue that governments and contributors on forums such as this don’t understand is the mindset and behaviour of “normal folk” they just want instant heat by the bucketload, leave windows open if they can’t be bothered to shut them, have the kids in and out the front door every 10 mins.
    A common complaint when i swap boilers out for an uptodate boiler and controls is that it just doesn’t get as hot as the old one ( 15+ year old aristons) and the controls are to complicated. Whilst the boilers have similar output ratings and should be the same as old ones, the comments are too frequent to not have some basis, my guess is that the response rates are reduced to gain efficiency and the boiler just does’nt ramp up to full output that often. I have tenants that live at around 24 degrees plus wandering around in shorts and t shirts all year. Their flats are stiffling, dealing that lifestyle is what needs dealing with if you want to get rid of gas.
    The government don’t care what it costs landlords the latest consultation suggests that exemptions will only be granted once around 10k has been spent, then 5 years later and the next epc you do same again. No details on dealing with conservationcareas and listed buildings. Despite the headlines about rents in many area 10k will be well over a years rent in full.
    There’s a school of thought that the measures and others are designed to reduce the current rented sector and replace it with corporate build to rent supply , where new builds will only become economical to the investors if you can force rents up, these increased rents being notionally justified with lower living costs and extra facilities etc.
    But this would only move the exisiting rented housing into the owner occupier market where there are unlikely to be any regs forcing up efficiency standards for many years if ever.

    Throw all the efficency and theoretical stats regarding heat pumps etc you want at me, but as in my pellet boiler thread , my views on new technologies are somewhat driven by bitter experience of whats said and reality a few years later. Forcing people to take up new technology is one thing forcing them to do so and it then proves to be problematic expensive and stressful is another.
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeMay 19th 2021
     
    Posted By: fostertom
    Posted By: djh
    Posted By: fostertomanywhere where external appearance has significant public-interest priority

    That basically says f**k the planet! I'd rather die in a pretty town/village/city/whatever. Not what I thought this forum was about.
    That's the present state of the UK Planning system - don't tell me that comes as a shock to you.

    No - apologies - I thought you were stating that it was acceptable to you.
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeMay 19th 2021
     
    Posted By: ArtiglioThe biggest single issue that governments and contributors on forums such as this don’t understand is the mindset and behaviour of “normal folk” they just want instant heat by the bucketload, leave windows open if they can’t be bothered to shut them, have the kids in and out the front door every 10 mins.
    A common complaint when i swap boilers out for an uptodate boiler and controls is that it just doesn’t get as hot as the old one ( 15+ year old aristons) and the controls are to complicated. Whilst the boilers have similar output ratings and should be the same as old ones, the comments are too frequent to not have some basis, my guess is that the response rates are reduced to gain efficiency and the boiler just does’nt ramp up to full output that often. I have tenants that live at around 24 degrees plus wandering around in shorts and t shirts all year. Their flats are stiffling, dealing that lifestyle is what needs dealing with if you want to get rid of gas.

    I think most people have plenty of experience of people like those you describe. There are only two things to do and we should do them both, IMHO. (1) educate children, and adults where possible, about the need to adjust lifestyles and expectations and the reasons for it. (2) increase the price of fuel over time to reflect the true costs. It's difficult politically but it needs to be done.
    • CommentAuthorgravelld
    • CommentTimeMay 19th 2021
     
    Surely we wouldn't need to "educate" people or get them to change their behaviour if the houses just performed a lot (a LOT) better? It would make concern about a boiler running at full pelt moot, because it wouldn't need to... in fact a boiler wouldn't be required. It would, in the words of Apple, "just work".

    But, frankly, we've lost that argument. It's never going to happen.

    There is definitely an experience difference between dinosaur bone boilers and heat pumps which are affected by the house's performance. Heat pumps can't service a higher instantaneous heat load (not demand) as well, simply because they don't heat water (or air) to the same temperature.

    So if you leave your crappy new build with the heat pump off for the weekend and come back... it's going to take some time to warm up again, and that's the kind of thing that annoys people.

    See my first paragraph.
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeMay 19th 2021
     
    Posted By: gravelldSurely we wouldn't need to "educate" people or get them to change their behaviour if the houses just performed a lot (a LOT) better? It would make concern about a boiler running at full pelt moot, because it wouldn't need to... in fact a boiler wouldn't be required. It would, in the words of Apple, "just work".

    But, frankly, we've lost that argument. It's never going to happen.

    I don't think it's a case of having lost the argument. It's more a question of having realized that the vast majority of houses are going to be existing houses for the foreseeable future. And we have to educate, persuade and eventually coerce the people who live in those houses.

    There is definitely an experience difference between dinosaur bone boilers and heat pumps which are affected by the house's performance. Heat pumps can't service a higher instantaneous heatload(not demand) as well, simply because they don't heat water (or air) to the same temperature.

    So if you leave your crappy new build with the heat pump off for the weekend and come back... it's going to take some time to warm up again, and that's the kind of thing that annoys people.

    That's a question of system sizing rather than temperature, I think. Increasingly boilers these days are greatly over-rated for the space-heating load they face because they are over-specified for the task of heating DHW by insisting they do that instantaneously. i.e. combi boilers. There's no reason a classic boiler can't heat a tank of hot water slowly and heat the house more slowly as well and still meet the basic requirements. It's driven by developers who want to save the money and space needed for a hot water cylinder, and by customers who like the instant-on appeal. Back to education, persuasion and coercion.

    You can always warm up the house more quickly when actually needed by an additional electric heater.
    • CommentAuthorjms452
    • CommentTimeMay 20th 2021
     
    Posted By: ArtiglioWhilst heatpumps on paper give good performance, once you get away from the enthusiasts that adopt them in the real world anecdotes are not as rosy. A gas boiler will throw out heat instantly all day , costs me about 1k to replace and will last 15 years plus with few if any problems.


    When condensing gas boilers were first legislated for and combis became widespread there was a spate of similar grumbles about poor reliability/performance due to; added expense, lower water temperatures, added complexity, bad installs, freezing condensate drains etc.

    I remember an old colleague (who worried a lot) refusing to replace his gas boiler with a newfangled condensing boiler and fitting a electric one instead because of all the condensing horror stories...

    Over time these grumbles have all but disappeared and people/installers/manufacturers have got better with condensing boilers. Not to diminish those issues as they are all 'real' (and arguably a bigger deal for heat pumps). However, over the next 20 years things will adapt and ultimately we'll have a lot more heat pumps and a lot less grumbling about them.
    • CommentAuthorArtiglio
    • CommentTimeMay 21st 2021
     
    Jms, your analogy is perfectly right and i’ll be quite happy to make the change in 10-15 years once there’s a body of experience on what works ( and more importantly doesn’t) along a degree of maturity and competition in the UK market.
    I got sucked in by the biomass / rhi hype to improve the heating system at my mums place (no mains gas), whilst it still works 6 years later, there’s virtually zero distributor support, the installing company have decided they no longer offer any sort of service, over the 6 years i’ve spent endless hours fettling and cleaning the originally claimed fit and forget boiler that would just need a service once a year. There is apparently less than a handful of engineers innthe whole country willing to work on it, with mileage costs and labour the last service was nearly £500 and needs booking 3 months in advance.
    Gas has a lot going for it and competition needs to offer a similar service if its to really to have mass market appeal to the wider domestic market.
    As an aside in respect of efficiency, i fitted 8 ariston boilers to flats around 2000 (microgenunus he’s) , once they’d got to 15 years old i decided to change them as and when any sort of issue arose , mainly to improve the epc ratings, first was changed in ‘17 and there are two more to do, but they show no sign of giving up. One of the wonders of prepay meters is i can check whats been added to the meter over the years. The diffrerences in gas consumption between the old and new (baxi /main and better controls) seems pretty well indistinguishable, i have one ex authority property that has a baxi back boiler on a conventional system that is now 30 plus years old, has on paper appalling efficiency (has a pilot light) , its a top floor flat with an open wall vent for the boiler, the epc for the flat is the worst i have, but the tenants never complain about the cost of running it and the credits on the meter seem to say it uses only about 10% more than the supposedly efficient condensing combis. And thats with weather compensation switched off because no tenant understands how it works.

    My guess is that the modern boilers realcworld performance especially for hot water is well below the claimed figures and that tenants rarely run the boilers in a manner that allows them to condense. As for the claims about reduced hot water and heating performance, the boilers removed were rated at 24kw and the replacements are similarly rated, fitted to exactly the same pipework. Too many call backs from tenants saying the heating and water are not as hot as quickly for there not to some validity to what they say, however waiting an extra 30 seconds or so for the water and an extra half hour for the heating and things are perfectly ok. But to the tenants the new boilers are not as good.
    If the replacement boilers last as well as the old ones the first will be due for replacement around 2035, highly unlikely i’ll still be a landlord at that point , or if i am it’ll not be me getting much involved in what replaces them. It’ll need very draconian legislation or huge subsidies to make me change before then, next crunch point will be in 2028 when the epc’s are due to be renewed.
  4.  
    Posted By: Artiglio
    My guess is that the modern boilers realcworld performance especially for hot water is well below the claimed figures and that tenants rarely run the boilers in a manner that allows them to condense. .


    I was really surprised when I read this recently - https://www.theheatinghub.co.uk/why-our-condensing-boilers-do-not-condense

    Basically if you see a plume coming out of your boiler vent it’s not working efficiently. Our house should be the exception as we’re running very low temperature underfloor heating (flow temperature is below 30C even when below freezing) but even I get a plume when it reheats hot water… (Viessmann storage combi). Most boiler vents I see seem to have a contact plume whenever they're running. I think we get back to the fundamental issue of nearly all, even recent, UK housing stock being under-insulated and relying on high temperature radiators.
  5.  
    On the original point, removing the enviro taxes from electricity and putting them onto gas makes sense. Heating by gas is so cheap relatively that the payback on most improvements is not as good as it should be.

    But actually getting people to switch from gas to electric heating needs the capital costs changed. Big tax on sale of gas boilers and corresponding big subsidy on heat pumps. However, also have to deal with the reality that an awful lot of urban properties (whether high density housing or flats) are going to have very real difficulties locating the external part of the heat pump somewhere its' not going to be ugly and cause noise problems for their neighbours.
    • CommentAuthorMike1
    • CommentTimeMay 21st 2021 edited
     
    Posted By: Simon Stillan awful lot of urban properties (whether high density housing or flats) are going to have very real difficulties locating the external part of the heat pump somewhere its' not going to be ugly and cause noise problems for their neighbours.
    Heat-pump based district heating could the solution...
   
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