Bryan Butcher - Architectural Design Services
ECO Design Suggestions
Green Energy or Microgeneration has been promoted by all the Politial Parties for many years now, but what can you install in your home to provide renewable energy?
We've all heard of solar panels and wind turbines and seen them more and more in our daily lives but microgeneration covers more than that by making energy from a source that is naturally replenished and does not affect the local environment.
The installation of any of these renewable sources will reduce the monthly energy bill and will considerably reduce your carbon footprint in reducing carbon dioxide emissions and other greenhouse gases without a reliance on fossil fuels.
SOLAR PANELS [PV]:
Solar electricity systems, commonly known as solar photovoltaics [PV] capture the sun's energy using PV cells. These cells convert the sunlight into electricity which can be used to supply household appliances and lighting.
Normally panels are installed on south facing roofs, however they can be installed on walls or in the garden but always in positions that gather the most sunlight.
Planning permission is required for the installation of some solar panels especially those to be installed on a Listed Building or in a Conservation Area. Local Authorities requirements will differ although they are encouraged to permit the installation they can sometimes be refused should they be deemed detrimental to the local area.
Solar tiles and slates are also available and used in place of traditional tiles, however they are quite expensive and are only normally considered for aesthetic and planning reasons.
SOLAR WATER HEATING:
As solar panels, these systems use free heat from the sun to warm domestic hot water and are installed in conjunction with a conventional boiler or immersion heater as a back-up to provide hot water when solar energy is insufficient or unavailable.
Planning requirements are as Solar Panels above.
Wind turbines harness the power of the wind and are installed to generate electricity to power househoild appliances and lighting. For maximum efficiency these should be positioned in high exposed areas.
Planning requirements are as Sonal Panels above.
This energy source is used to provide heating and hot water from fire, stoves and boilers burning wood pellets, chips and logs to provide a biomass system that can be used as a feature or used to heat a single room.
AIR SOURCE HEAT PUMPS:
Air Source Heat Pumps [ASHP] absorb heat from the outside air and can be used to heat radiators, underfloor heating systems and hot water in the home.
These are normally installed on walls with a good area of windflow and can still be efficient in cooler temperatures and also be used in reverse to provide air-conditioning in the summer.
An ASHP will require an electricity supply which is detrimental as it is not a renewable source.
GROUND SOURCE HEAT PUMPS:
Ground Source Heat Pumps [GSHP] use coils of pipe buried in the garden to extract heat from the ground and can be used to heat radiators, underfloor heating systems and hot water in the home.
A GSHP will require an electrical supply which is detrimental as it is not a renewable source.
Rainwater Harvesting is the accumulation and storing of rainwater in a tank in the garden to supply pumped 'grey water' for the flushing of toilets and must be installed in conjunction with a traditional supply for use in a drought.
The size of the tank is determined by the area of roof, number of household occupants and the average local rainfall.