Posts Tagged ‘low carbon heat’


Keith Wheaton-Green says:
Wood I lie to you?

Category: Fuel Poverty & Security, Renewable Heat Energy
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We live in and off mains gas like a lot of people in rural areas and have a large propane tank that had been costing us around £1200 a year to keep filled. There have been price rises most years and sometimes more than one a year. I have asked Centrica if our village is ever likely to be connected to mains gas and was told “No, very unlikely.” So we will be stuck with having to heat our house with expensive oil or – in our case – propane gas. Or so I thought until recently (more on that later)…

We needed to reduce our reliance on this expensive fuel. Our first action was to replace the gas fire in the living room with a log burner. OK its not quite so convenient but I have learnt to enjoy acquiring wood for free from a variety of sources and the healthy exertions of sawing and chopping. Our garden actually supplies a lot of the wood. Ash trees grow here like weeds and I have allowed about 15 of them to become small trees. I cut one down every year and reckon that the stump will have produced another useful crop by the time I get back to it (15 years later) to chop again. It’s also surprising how much wood I get from friends and neighbour’s rubbish piles and my own DIY. Basically, in the 10 years we have had the log burner, I’ve only ever bought one load of wood, and that was as a favour to the seller because he was in urgent need of money.

Then earlier in 2012 we replaced the gas hob with an efficient electric induction hob. These are amazing! They heat up so quickly, controllably and safely using surprisingly little electricity. A lot of the electricity comes from our recently installed photovoltaic panels. When possible, we cook during daylight hours to use the free electricity. The propane gas tank has only been filled once this year so far and it is still 60% full. So it seems the change of hob will have reduced our energy bills significantly.

But we still need the propane for hot water and central heating and the high cost means we don’t keep the house as warm and cosy as we’d like. We get mildew in the top corners of the bedrooms because we only turn the central heating on when it’s really cold.

So I was very interested to discover – through a presentation at our village hall – that there is a company willing and able to replace our boiler with a heat exchanger, install a district heat main under the road and connect it to a wood chip boiler that will serve me and my neighbours. This is providing enough of my neighbours agree to get connected to make the scheme viable. The company will do all this at no cost to me and will then bill me for the heat we use, which will apparently cost about 65% of what we currently pay. The company reckon that – unlike oil and propane – the cost will not need to rise any more than general inflation. I suppose they might be right. (Maybe I’ll keep the boiler in the garage just in case!)

I’m going to a Residents Association meeting tonight to attempt to persuade as many of my neighbours as possible to agree to connect to a district heat main. If everything goes well I can look forward to a sustainable, warmer, cheaper future…


Lets Get Energized says:
Leigh Park Community Centre Ground Source Heatpump to Power Underfloor Heating

Category: Heat Pumps
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Wimborne Minster Town Council, Dorset County Council, East Dorset District Council and Leigh Park Community Association helped Leigh Park Community Centre to install a Ground Source Heatpump to power their underfloor heating.

Nature of Project
To use Ground Source Heat Pump to heat Community Building to lower carbon emissions and reduce heating costs to community and public bodies.

The heat pump is a success and is working well. We applied for a grant from LCBP for 50% of the costs of the heat pump. The grant took a long time to apply for and came through 6 weeks after we had paid the contractor so funds had to be used from our reserves. A great deal of information had to be extracted for the grant and as the grant was fixed, the extra, unforeseen costs that were incurred during the installation process had to be born in full by the Council.

Community Involvement
The Community Building is shared between SureStart (60%) and Leigh Park Community Association(40%). Both Groups were consulted on the installation of the heat pump and supported its installation to reduce running costs to both groups and lower their carbon footprint.

For more information visit

This story was provided by Sustainable Dorset, the website for DA21:


Guest Energizer says:
Wood Fuelled District Heating for Rural Communities

Category: Community Energy, Fuel Poverty & Security, Renewable Heat Energy
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At trueheat (Renewable Heat Utility Limited) we’ve been exploring the viability of providing wood fuelled district heating systems to rural communities in Dorset. This can provide a low cost, environmentally sustainable way to heat homes. For areas not served by gas and with a sufficient density of housing, a small scale wood fuelled district heating system will reduce your carbon footprint and lower your heating bills.

Click here to download our Wood Fuelled District Heating PDF Infosheet or to find out more visit our website at

Posted by Andrew Lawton


Theresa McManus says:
Government plans to slash carbon emissions from heating don’t go far enough

Category: Fuel Poverty & Security, Renewable Energy
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At the end of March 2012, the government launched their strategy for low carbon heat.

According to the strategy,

“By 2050, we need to remove all direct greenhouse gas emissions from heating our buildings. This is exceedingly challenging, and means that any heat generated at building level must be set on a low carbon footing by replacing fossil fuel-based heating technologies within individual buildings, such as natural gas or oil fired boilers, with low carbon alternatives.” It goes on to add that “ Before we do this, maximising the efficiency of our gas boilers will help realise cost and carbon savings in the short and medium term.”.

Whilst this strategy clarifies that we must move away from using gas and oil to heat our homes to using low carbon alternatives, I don’t feel that it places enough emphasis on the importance of insulation and other energy efficiency measures has in reducing energy demand.

Indeed, reducing energy demand is our first priority, as we already know that we cannot easily meet today’s demands with clean, renewable and sustainable technologies.

For more details of the stratgey see

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