I am planned the renovation of home that we are moving into in November 14 . The house is 15 years old on a secluded site with no mains gas but has LPG Gas supply to the kitchen and fires and Liquid Fuel supply to the current Boiler. The home has a 10kw wind turbine and thermal solar panels currently heating the swimming pool .
My current plan is to remove the existing swimming pool to make a large family room . I can then route the solar panel outlet through the hot water cylinder .
To cut a long story short my question is with regard to selection of heating . I’m concerned that running a Boiler on Liquid Fuel ( Kerosene ) with be an expensive option . Would it be more efficient to run Electric Radiators or electric mat underfloor heating and power these with the energy produced by the wind turbine thus elimating my heating costs . I would still need a smaller energy efficient boiler to drive hot water only .
Any advice appreciated.

  • Lindsey Davis

    Hi Mark,

    Choosing a heating option can vary depending on your estimated heating requirement, so the size of the house will come into question.

    We see a lot of larger projects with ground-source heat pumps which seem to work efficiently with underfloor heating, but you do need a fair bit of space outside to install one. Air source heat pumps have been praised too, although some find they struggle when temperatures are colder outside – which is when you need the heat source the most.

    Biomass is another popular choice for larger homes. The initial costs are high with a wood pellet boiler, automated fuel storage and delivery system costing as much as £25,000, but they are incredibly efficient and you should make it back in savings and Renewable Heat Incentive payments (but make sure you are buying fuel from a registered source) if you intend to live there for a while.

    How big is your solar thermal array? Does that not satisfy your hot water demands? It seems wasteful to not take advantage of any technologies already installed if they are working well.

    We have a section on the site about the Renewable Heat Incentive which can also fill you in on all of your options with regards to renewables. http://www.homebuilding.co.uk/rhi

    With energy prices rising and environmental concerns, it makes sense to generate what energy you can yourself, but there are a lot of factors at play which determine what technologies you will need.


  • Anonymous

    It depends on your potential power generation from the turbine, too. A 10kW output is your best option for the turbine – field trials suggest that the reality is lower. The point being that wind is an unreliable source of energy even to heat underfloor heating mats (typically outputting 150w/m2). So my simple maths conclude that if you ran the mats on the 100m2 ground floor area of your house (you say it’s quite large) then you would need 15kW peak load – which you won’t get from your turbine even in the best case.

    My advice would be to look into the storage of excess power generated but last time I looked it was quite basic (left behind a little bit by the Feed in Tariffs bonanza a few years back which meant that no-one cared about batteries/storing electricity any more). If nothing inspires, then the renewable heat options discusses above would be wise.

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