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Case study added: 2006-10-08 14:44:24
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by Robert Kyriakides
Date added: 2006-10-09 02:44:45 Filesize: 64
Date added: 2006-10-09 02:44:45 Filesize: 107
Date added: 2006-10-09 02:44:45 Filesize: 15
Those of us who are in the business of providing environmentally sustainable energy become familiar with it and understand its importance and adaptability. Therefore, when we listen to people responsible for designing schools, hospitals and homes (as some of us did at the Building Research Establishment's lectures at the Science Museum last month) we are disappointed to discover how little designers know about the subject. There is confusion between energy and electricity, and a failure to understand how designing in the technologies saves the costs of retro fitting. Indeed, in many cases buildings are not being designed with south facing roofs or where they are the roofs are shaded.

The main innovators in ensuring energy creation (and not just energy saving) is designed into homes are at the moment two separate but important and contrasting groups of people.

First, there are the innovative housing associations like Paradigm Housing. They understood the importance of efficient and sustainable energy creation and have just completed eight new homes in Carnegie Street in Rushden, Northamptonshire, which have Genersys Home Energy Systems centred on Genersys solar panels and ATAG condensing boilers.

The thermal solar panels provide around 70% of the resident's hot water free and the condensing boilers (modulating, load variable and weather compensating) have operating efficiencies in excess of 96%. These energy systems will save over 50 pence in the £, when compared with the natural gas space and water heating equipment that is traditionally installed in existing and in new homes. The source of solar energy is of course free and so when you combine that with using most of your fossil fuel in an extremely efficient way the overall savings are more than attractive.

Indeed the "returns" compare well with any other "investment".

The second group of people are owners of larger homes, who are finding it highly cost effective to buy a slice of their future energy use by investing in a high quality condensing boiler synchronised with a high quality thermal solar system, like those comprising Genersys Home Energy Systems. These are designed to ensure the efficient synchronisation of these technologies to optimise savings and minimise carbon production.

Paying half of what you would normally pay for space and water heating is not only critical in the fight against fuel poverty but it is very attractive in larger homes where the fuel costs can be well in excess of £1700 each year. Saving half of the annual fuel costs on this scale is very cost effective compared with the investment required.

Most analysts agree that fuel costs are set to rise for many years to come. There is instability in oil producing regions combined with fuel hungry China and India developing their fuel greedy industries at a record pace. The North Sea will yield up the last of its natural gas within the lifetimes of the existing middle aged population and taxation will likely be used as a means of making the polluter pay, so it is hard to see how significant year on year increases in domestic fuel prices can be avoided.

Providing people with environmental energy is too important to leave to designers. When you go inspect any newly built home you find high quality insulation and good energy saving designs. Houses are designed with these facilities because the building laws require it.

So having dealt with preventing energy being wasted the building regulations should now require that some energy is provided from sustainable sources. There can be no particular difficulty in requiring that all new buildings be built with thermal solar panels and condensing boilers.

Why should anyone be allowed to install a space or water heating system where a large part of the energy used is wasted and that waste causes huge pollution and climate change? The industry can cope with providing the panels and the condensing boilers. People want these facilities but most of all our country and our planet need them and so we must look to our law makers to ensure that they are provided.

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