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ian33a

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1st one is Govt pushing heat pumps.

I think they see an opportunity for a growth industry and positive PR: Loads of UK companies making heat pumps and flying the national flag and even more companies installing them, all wrapped in a green agenda and with an opportunity to generate revenue through taxation. It comes across as a PR win. As I see it though, the idea is big on ideas and small on implementation strategy.

Point 2. Can someone please tell my why every new build house in the UK isn't built with solar PV panels on the roof, and/or why every industrial building on every industrial estate in the UK doesn't have solar PV installed on them?

Because the financial cost to install them dilutes the profit that the house builder would otherwise make. Buyers are not seduced by the advantages of PV, in part because the FIT incentives aren't there anymore and the pay back is still relatively long.

Industrial buildings, again, short term cost vs. long term gain. So many businesses don't look beyond the end of the current financial year.


If the cost of install for both 1 and 2 was properly subsidised so as to slot into a joined up green agenda then, maybe, the take up would be better. Few of us fork out the money to really promote a green agenda if it's going to cost us big time in the short term - even if we say we will.

BTW, we have PV on our house, just for context.
 

Terry - Somerset

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I can see no reason why new builds are not mandated to be at the highest possible level of energy efficiency. It will increase costs, but the absence of legislation is wholly down to the success of housebuilders in lobbying government in pursuit of profit.

The car industry - ICE sales banned from 2030, and gas boiler manufacturers - market shrinking quickly post 2035 are evidence of the ability of government to act when they want to.

Currently gas and electricity serve two fundamental purposes. Somewhat simplisticaly, gas can only provide heat, electricity can provde all energy needs - heat and light.

Generating electricity from gas creates losses, as do all energy conversion processes. It is typically ~60% efficient. Burning gas in a domestic boiler is ~90% efficient. Measured on a cost per KWH basis electricity will always be more expensive than gas unless the distribution costs are markedly different.
 

TominDales

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I can see no reason why new builds are not mandated to be at the highest possible level of energy efficiency. It will increase costs, but the absence of legislation is wholly down to the success of housebuilders in lobbying government in pursuit of profit.

The car industry - ICE sales banned from 2030, and gas boiler manufacturers - market shrinking quickly post 2035 are evidence of the ability of government to act when they want to.

Currently gas and electricity serve two fundamental purposes. Somewhat simplisticaly, gas can only provide heat, electricity can provde all energy needs - heat and light.

Generating electricity from gas creates losses, as do all energy conversion processes. It is typically ~60% efficient. Burning gas in a domestic boiler is ~90% efficient. Measured on a cost per KWH basis electricity will always be more expensive than gas unless the distribution costs are markedly different.
I would add to this wind energy, North sea wind is on a fast learning curve (experience curve) so the cost is falling fast. Government forecast (in 2020) is cost will be £47mWhr by 2030, UK Government halves offshore wind cost forecasts personally I think it will fall faster having seen the plans for even bigger turbines. North sea gas cost 3.8p kwh that is £38mWhr. So by 2030 there will be a 1p difference in cost. Factor in that the cost of the gas grid is largely paid through our electricity bill and this will surely be reverssed in the next few years and I predict that electricity will be cheaper than gas, especially if you factor in a wack of carbon taxes on gas.

On your original point, I sure you are right that its ridiculous that new builds are not required to be net zero, its so much simpler to insulate a house when its build than a retrofit. Most of the cost of housing is the land charge, adding in sensible PV, a huge amount of insulation and a heat pump should be done at build stage.
I'm sure your are correct that the colossal lobbying by the housebuilders and developers (more millionaires than any other sector in the UK and more donations to the governing party than any other sector). Even now the developers seem to get away with their old planning tricks, a new build in our area - Bishop Monkton was supposed to be 50% affordable homes, but the developer put in the roads and then all work stopped and they waited until the covenant expired so that they could build 100% £500k 4 beds, they got away with in and this is in the past 5 years.
 

Just4Fun

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Generating electricity from gas creates losses, as do all energy conversion processes. It is typically ~60% efficient.
Not quite right. It is at best ~60% efficient. In the combined cycle mode, the new “H class” Gas turbines with a triple pressure HRSG (heat recovery steam generator) and steam turbine can run at 60 % efficiency at ISO conditions. (Source: www.brighthubengineering.com among many others). Older plants in the simple cycle mode, only Gas turbines running, have an efficiency of 32 % to 38 %.

Coal-fired plants are in the range 32% to 42% (same source).

An improvement would be combined heat & power production (CHP) where the heat wasted by a conventional plant in heating the cooling towers is used to heat a local town or for local industry. Overall CHP efficiencies for gas turbines are typically in the range of 65% to 70%, although higher efficiencies can be achieved depending on site specific conditions and engineering design configurations. (Source: US Dept of energy).

Here in Finland where I live CHP efficiencies are typically higher. For example, burning 100 MJ fuel in a CHP plant generates 36 MJe usable electricity and 51 MJ heat. (Source: cleanfi.fi). Other plants achieve over 90% efficiency (Source: power-technology.com).

CHP is all but unknown in the UK I believe. If it raised power plant efficiency from 60% (absolute best at the moment) to 80% (comfortably below the efficiencies already reached by CHP) its adoption could have a really significant effect. The EU has estimated that District Heating and Cooling (DHC) alone could reduce European CO2 emissions by nearly 10% using mainly renewable sources and industrial waste heat. (Source: power-technology.com). Once again, the barrier is the up-front infrastructure costs.
 

TominDales

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Tea is amazing stuff, I have to drink it as I eat as it's tannin content reduces my absorbtion of iron by as much as 30%, it has been used as a preservative for specimens in glass jars and according to a very interesting documentary I saw years ago is basically responsible for Britain leading the industrial revolution and not any other european power. Down to the fact they all drank coffee and we drank tea, which meant we were boiling our drinking water and they weren't. This then actually allowed us to create much denser conurbations with less risk of disease and that meant we had a more concentrated industrial workforce/base in much larger cities. Apparently by the time of the Franco-Prussian war London was 4 times the size and Birmingham twice as large as any other cities and all down to drinking tea.

I really wish I could find that programme again.

OOH OOH found it


 

TominDales

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and beer,

I've read that because the British drank beer and tea it enabled towns to grow beyond the point where cholera epidemics limited size. Both use boiled water. Even babies and children were given beer instead of water, it was about 2% abv.

Staying with my old granny in the 1980s, I offered her some water after dinner to dilute down the bottle of wine we had just drunk. Water! she exclaimed. I've lived hear for 55 years and never drank a drop, I don't intend to start. She ran on tea as did most of her generation.
 

TominDales

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I'm very cynical about new technology as a way of saving the planet. There is too much money involved for the truth to be revealed. Electric cars are an example. I am not convinced it is a solution.
I agree with you, it hard to see the wood from the trees. Given the PR spewing out of the oil majors, you would think their business was green energy. However new technology will be needed as so much old tech uses CO2. Electric cars will make a big difference when the grid is low carbon. So eclectic cars in France and Nordics with a low carbon grid makes sense, but not in Poland where they use brown coal. By 2030 the UK will have a low carbon electric grid, so electric cars will make sense. Even now they are a good way to reduce Nox in town.

However you almost have to be an expert to see through all the noise as Misterdog has just commented, car stop start is just playing around the edges.

Without new Tech we dont stand a chance of reaching net zero, although people will cut back on profligate consumption to a small degree in reality its hard to see people giving up on travel, central heating, etc. So new tech that provides means for ordinary people to be forced to net zero is the only way its going to happen, a bit like 'being forced to adopt LED bulbs' we will be forced to change the fuel used in transport and central heating. I can see EVs being the dominant technology for cars. But sustainable aviation fuel and other alternative fuels will probably be needed for air-travel and maybe for central heating. However the technology its a lot more expensive than diesel refining at the moment, not sure we as a population are ready to see these fuels at 200% to 300% the cost of diesel /kerosene. Presumably the costs will fall as the new manufacturing routes become established.
 

Sandyn

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This is interesting:
JCB.JPG

Just a development unit just now. The only problem is they had to limit the size of the fuel tank to stop it floating away.
 

TominDales

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The number of cars on UK roads has risen by 5.5 million in the last 20 years, so in 20 years time it will be more a case of stop/stop rather than stop/start.

As people will be just driving around trying to find somewhere to park.
Maybe or maybe not. I feel we are approaching max car ownership in the UK. Ownership of cars in cities is down, Paris is turning its underused underground car parks into alternative's even aquiculture. Two or three new trends, use of social media means the younger generation don't travel as much. The pandemic has caused a rise in home working, and less travel to meetings, reducing the number of commutes. Autonomous vehicle will allow for vehicle share. Finally there is a possibility than future efficient recyclable and rather bland cars will reduce the apparel to own them.
 

Trainee neophyte

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Finally there is a possibility than future efficient recyclable and rather bland cars will reduce the apparel
There will still be multimillion pound super cars for those that deserve them. One of the overriding themes of COP26 is how the super wealthy have congregated to explain how everyone except them must make sacrifices and reduce consumption and energy use. It's rather touching that they take an interest in the little people, don't you think?
 

Misterdog

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Paris is turning its underused underground car parks into alternative's even aquiculture.

Though that is because traffic has been banned from half the city centre, not because there are less cars.

Cars can only pass on my road by driving onto the pavement, which is a little disconcerting when I am a pedestrian.
 

Lonsdale73

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3 Also, kind of almost related, I had always thought it was a thing that an upright fridge or freezer was wasteful because the air you had paid to chill falls out every time you open the door. I read someones experiment to see if that was the case and it was so tiny as to not be bothering with. They calculated, for comparison, after a warm or hot bath do you pull the plug? You would save many times more money than the fridge loses by leaving the water in the bath when you have finished until it had given up it's excess heat to the house then drain it, or you are paying to heat your drains! You do get more condensation though.

Last week, I had a smart meter fitted. It came with a 'smart' monitor that shows me how much is being used at any one time. I have separate fridge and freezer and obviously they need to be on all the time. I wondered just how much that cost and the monitor shows me that they run at about 1p per hour. Sometimes the display shows 1p per hour for both and sometimes even 0p, I guess when they're at their optimum temperature and therefore aren't drawing any power. The (new) kettle, is about 25p per minute and the toaster a whopping 46p per minute. The oven is quite interesting in that it draws c43p when heating up but next to nothing when at temperature. I had always assumed that when switched on, things like ovens and fridges drew power constantly. And the washing machine was a pleasant surprise at about 1p per hour throughout a three hour cycle.

I still don't see how they save me money as I still need to turn these appliances on in order to use them. Hopefully they will insofar as not having to pay the wildly inaccurate guesstimates utilities companies come up with. Between end of January this year and end of July, I received two refunds totalling over £400.
 

John Brown

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We had smart meters fitted a few months back. Main advantage is I don't have to submit readings every month. Not so smart, either, as the electricity display is incapable of displaying negative values, so when the sun is shining on our PV panels the display sticks at zero.
I think their main function is one of prompting anxiety, especially since the big hike in electricity prices.
 

John Brown

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Smart meters are also to stop people from 'bypassing' the meter...
Anyone remember stories of people placing massive piles of old copper pennies on top of electricity meters to slow them down? Did it work, or was it an urban myth?

I used to have an interest in a surplus electronics (mainly transformers) shop in Paddington. We had people asking for a particular type of transformer, that we found out was being used in some sort of electric meter slowing/reversing circuit. Once again, no idea if it worked. We did refuse a few people, though, who looked, to us, like "that type". Mind you, about half the walk in customers around Paddington seemed to be borderline crazy.
 

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