Filling the site up

The hole dug for the house was deeper than what will be internal and external finished floor level.

The garage roof also has a large chunk that will have topsoil and then grass.

Ahead of that, now that there’s a loo in the house, the site chemical loo has been taken away:

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First a chunk of top soil went on the garage roof and other areas that are going to be slate paving were filled in:

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In the courtyard, the ground source heat pump pipes needed to be connected up to their manifold:



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Before more material fills up the site:

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and a bit more to the front:

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Mechanisation Vs Manpower

The ground source heat pump machine was delivered and put, by pallet truck into the garage. So level’ish with the road for the truck it came off.

But I need to clear the garage to finish the inside before it can be finished off and then filled with my stuff as I move out of my current place (being sold) and the house isn’t yet ready.

The heat pump is over 140 kg and about the size of 2 kitchen units. It doesn’t have that many edges to grab and the stairs it needs to go up or down (if it’s taken around the back) are narrow, so it’ll be hard to get people around it.

I had 6 maybe 7 people lined up to be on site on Saturday at 9:30 am until Simon (thankyou) called that he was going to borrow a battery driven stair lifting machine.

With that, some fun moving pallets, blocks, bits of wood (often as chocks), the trailer (thankyou Jock) the 2 of us got it in the house !

The machine lets you mechanically be on one stair, extend to the next stair, lever lift off the one stair etc.

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An example of a built up platform of blocks and pallets. The machine would then lift itself up onto this. We’d secure it, angle it back and get it to “stair lift” lift the heat pump up to the top of the stack. Then we had to turn it by 90 degrees to get in the door (as being visualised !)

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Drilling has begun

The ground source heat pump is going to extract low grade heat from the ground, and concentrate this into high grade heat in the form of hot water for taps, then under floor heating then the hot tub.

There will be 3 bore holes down which liquid is pumped to be warmed by the heat of the ground, up to a bit short of 100m down !

Lowering & driving the drilling rig down the rear stairs:

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The drilling head:

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Drilling, with all the dust, which was a lot more than I expected.

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Dust on the solar panels that are going to need a clean (or for it to rain so they self clean, apparently).

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A growing pile of dust by the drilling rig. This later turned to slurry as the drill got to a depth where there was ground water. 2014-05-15 09.06.20 (2)

 

Thermodynamic Panels :: Happy Irish Customers

The Irish firm LVP Renewables have been installing Thermodynamic Panel systems in Ireland for a while. Their site has a big list of happy Thermodynamic Panel customer testimonials including:

We are a family of six-two adults and four children ranging in age from 13 to 21 years …. Having now had the system in for 10 months we are delighted with it and there have been no problems to date. We are never in need of hot water as we have had a constant flow since the systems installation in October 2011

Their FAQ page has a few interesting items:

Does this system need a back-up heating system during the winter?

No, this is the only solar panel heating system that will provide you with 100% of your hot water. Also our cylinders come with a mini-emersion inside that can be turned on manually if needed. However if you would like to incorporate a back-up heating system there is a provision for a secondary heating coil in most of the systems we provide (call for specific information on tanks). If you decided that you wanted the secondary coil in the tank then we would advise you to put a manual leaver on the system and only use it if necessary.

What is the difference between an Energie Solar Panel System and Solar Tubes or Plates?

Unlike traditional solar panels (tubes and flat plates) the Energie system offers:

  • No unnecessary annual maintenance checks. In order to maintain the maximum efficiency of tubes and plates they must be serviced annually.
  • LVP panels are lightweight (weighing only 8kg) and roof structures do not need to be reinforced. Conventional solar panels are heavy-weighing anything from 40-300kg
  • Energie Solar Panels absorb heat from both sides unlike traditional panels which only capture radiation on one side
  • One Energie panel (80cmx200cm) will provide a family of up to 6 people with all of their hot water needs. With traditional solar a large amount of panels is needed to provide similar quantities of water
  • Energie panels need no back up from oil or gas. Other solar panels need an auxiliary energy source when the sun isn’t shining or when in high demand
Is the system provided with any device to treat bacteria such as Legionella?

Yes. In accordance with current legislation, it is provided with a circuit to rise the temperature up to 70 Degrees, which is manually activated and automatically disconnected

What happens if we install 2 panels on the roof?

The heating time will be reduced by half

Thermodynamic Panel Case Study :: Cork (Ireland) water and space heating

Their site also has case studies including one for a central heating and domestic hot water system in Cork (so SE Ireland).

Most are about water heating only (no heating) with positive comments.

The Cork water and space heating was for:

  • 235 sq m 2 storey stone cottage with a large extension that has:
    – 4 bedrooms, 3 bathroom (1 en suite), 1 kitchen, 2 sitting rooms, 1 large hallway, 1 utility.
    The Silver Spray property is 281 sq m (4 bedrooms ….
  • Radiators (not under floor heating)
    – average water temp to the radiator circuit 45 degrees C input, 35 degrees average return temp.
    – the radiators give the property a 1000 litre water buffer !
  • 300 litre water tank.
  • I can’t work out what the figures mean !

 

Thermodynamic panel :: A happy user

One of the long GreenBuildingForum threads on Thermodynamic Panels has had some comments from somebody that installed one on their property in Northern Ireland, 18 months ago:

  • “I have had a thermodynamic panel installed for 18 months now and so far I can’t find fault with it.”
  • “It provides all the hot water requirements that is asked if it.”
  • “I have never switched on the built in immersion even when it has been -10 degrees outside and the panel has had an inch of ice on it.”
  • “I couldn’t justify solar as lets face it who wants something that only works well 7-8 months out of 12 then you need an additional piece of kit as back up, or pay £3000 per bole hole for a ground source heat pump when you don’t have enough land for slinkies or have their own personnel forest to supply a log boiler.”

Installed System

  • £4,100
  • Panel
  • 280 litre cylinder
  • pump and fittings
  • County Down, Northern Ireland
  • “Currently there are 4 showers every morning, plumbed to dishwasher and washing machine, and and usual washing in the sink when items don’t fit in the dishwasher.”

Hot water heat recovery via the Thermal Store?

Instead of, or in addition to a heat squirrelhow about sending the domestic hot water (DHW) waste via a coil in the thermal store?

It should be easy to have a thermostat that checks if hot water being “thrown away” is above the temperature of the lower section of the thermal store, and if so, sends the water through a heating coil in the thermal store, so it passes over some of it’s heat before it goes down the drain.

From www.greenbuildingforum.co.uk/newforum/comments.php?DiscussionID=8005

  • water leaving the shower head at 42 deg C will have cooled to around 37 deg C by the time it gets to the drain.
  • The 5 deg heat loss will already have been recovered to the house (assuming effective MVHR on the shower room exhaust).
  • The heat squirrel holds 120 litres of hot waste water, to pre-heat any incoming cold water that is heading to the heat store.
  • By holding the hot water, there is more time for the heat transfer to any incoming cold water, especially any that sits in the coil inside the heat squirrel.
  • Hopefully this 120 litres of water is regularly self flushing as “grey water very quickly turns manky when stored, even for short periods.”

Hot Tub Hot Water Heat Recovery

One key thing here, is my plan to have a log fired hot tub.

  • I’m looking at hot tubs that use logs to get the water up to temp and then keep the temp there.
  • BUT to accelerate getting it up to temp after it has been left a while, I want the option to top it up with hot water from the domestic hot water supply.
    • Reading elsewhere, hot tubs tend to run around 36° degrees.  Although friends with hot tubs say they tend to run theirs between 37° degrees and 39° degrees.
  • I also want the option of taking water from the hot tub, when it’s not going to be used for a while and sending this via a heat recovery option back to the heat store.
    • I accept that sending “lumps” of less than 120 litres at a time will optimise this in terms of giving the water time to transfer it’s heat to the heat store / cold water coming in to the house.

Thermal Store

This is part grabbing historical Thermal Store notes to one page, and part adding new notes.

Click here for notes on Thermal storage – pros & cons.

Looking at the Akvaterm thermal stores (which can go up to 5,000 litres !!)

From www.stovesonline.co.uk/wood_burning_stoves/Akvaterm-Geo-Thermal-Stores.html:

  • have a stratification baffle plate about a third of the way down the tank. (see photo below). This can be optionally upgraded to an insulated baffle to further improve performance but the added benefit is not huge as it is very good already.
  • Once the water above the baffle has been heated to a high temperature by the heat pump (50ºC-60ºC) it then shifts to heating the bottom two thirds of the tank to a much lower temperature suitable for underfloor heating (around 40ºC).
  • OR if / when the heat pump is generating lower temp water (often more efficient COP) it only targets the bottom section.
  • larger than normal lower domestic hot water coil. This is to ensure that the incoming mains water picks up as much heat from the bottom of the tank which holds the ‘cheaper’ heat produced at a high C.O.P.

From www.ecoangus.co.uk/Akvaterm_Solar_Plus_Accumulator_Tanks.html:

The AKVAir Solar Plus is available from 300-2000 litres and is 3 bar pressure rated. The tank has 4 coils, two for solar input and two for domestic hot water (DHW) and is divided by a baffle plate, approximately 60% below and 40% above the baffle. Each section contains one solar and one DHW coil and all coils are positioned vertically.

The AKVAir Solar is available from 300-2000 litres and is 3 bar pressure rated. The tank has 3 coils, one for solar input and two for domestic hot water (DHW).

From www.accumulatortanks.co.uk/Solarplus.htm:

Akva Solar plus coils diagram   Akva Solar diagram key

Akva Solar Plus coils + baffle plate     Akva Solar Plus coils

 

From www.akvaterm.fi/eng/Accumulators/AKVA_SOLAR.41.html:

akvasolarplus_460

 

From www.akvaterm.fi/eng/Accumulators/AKVA_GEO.206.html:

  • AKVA GEO is suited to all heat sources (others seem to be solar or something specific).
  • example layout:

akvageo_solar_kaavio_459

 

From www.navitron.org.uk/forum/index.php?topic=14183.0:

Heating System Schematic

Dual Cylinders?

From www.chelmerheating.co.uk/dual_cylinder_thermal_store_systems.html:

  • For larger domestic and commercial projects, our dedicated heating buffer cylinders are used in conjunction with our high-gain unvented cylinders to allow greater variation between heating and hot water demand.
  • The separate low-temperature heating buffer allows the small, infrequent heating demands of a property that is “up to temperature” to be met by stored renewable energy before activating the heat pump/boiler to reduce wasteful on/off cycling.

Hot water heat recovery

What device(s) to put where to recapture as much of the heat from waste / grey water needs a decision.

The solutions from www.recoupenergysolutions.co.uk are clearly all very efficient and appear to be the same or similar to those that are well used in the US, where a lot of properties have their heating systems in the basement.

They are based on an “instant” transfer of the waste water heat to the mixer in the shower and also to the cold water feed to the water heating system.

BUT, the planned house will have clothes washing machines, a dishwasher and 2 showers on the ground floor. Being on the ground floor they wouldn’t work with all the recoupenergy solutions. Also a washing machine, dishwasher, bath (or hot tub) generates the waste water, some time after the hot water tank has been re-filled with mains cold water.

So in those circumstances, the www.esavep.com/products/hot-water-cylinders Heat Squirrel (scroll to the bottom) could be better and could provide a single (so a lot cheaper) whole house solution for all waste / grey hot water heat recovery. They are about £399 (not installed). The heat squirrel has a 120 litre capacity.

A key consideration / idea will be:

Can the waste water input be regulated so that only waste water that is warmer than the water in the heat squirrel is let in to it?

It seems that for a shower, the recoupenergy solutions will be the most efficient, but for the whole house, and the total cost, a single heat squirrel could be better than a heat squirrel and one or more recoupenergy solutions.

Heat Squirrel Schematic

Heat Squirrel - schematic
Heat Squirrel - installed

Thermodynamic Panels & a heat store or heat recovery system

Looking at one of the Thermodynamic Panel system PDFs:

One set up has a thermal store (a tank that heats up, and your heating is delivered by coils that go into this store, heat up and take that hot water to where you want it), and a second, linked to a pool seems to have a form of heat recover system, in that the colder water from the pool is going back in the loop for re-heating via the Thermodynamic panels and the thermal store tank.

 

For the thermal store the Akvaterm thermal store water tanks looked good at the 2012 Eco Expo in London.

  •  The Akvaterm Akvantti thermal stores are oblong which could be a better shape for the plant room. It’s available as 1400lt, 2000lt or 2400lt volumes. The 1,400 litre unit is £3,757.00 + £85 carriage.

Akvantti-Accumulator-Heat-Store-Tanks-4

 

A chunk more information on the concept and benefits of a thermal store (and their version of one) at http://www.greenspec.co.uk/thermal-storage.php:

Thermal storage – pros & cons

+ Provides effective buffering
+ Reduces boiler cycling
+ Allows for integration with low temp heating systems eg underfloor
+ Adds mains pressure to hot showers
+ Provides potable hot water
+ The use of a heat exchanger means that in most cases, thermal stores can be integrated with existing pressurised boiler circuits
+ Requires much smaller cold water tank then standard vented systems
+ Thermal storage is recognised by NHER software
– Heat can be lost through inefficient heat exchangers
– Storage temperature will usually have to be 10 deg C higher than required DHW temperature
– Cannot be used with existing DHW power showers and pumps
– Expensive and unvented storage, very expensive
– Vented stores require a header tank to be located above the heating systems

Points to consider when specifying a Thermal Store

  • The design of the heating system should be matched to the calculated peak heat load.
  • When including solar heating, ensure that there is extra capacity within the store to accommodate fluctuations.
  • Where a biomass boiler is being used, consider sizing the store to provide for the heat capacity generated in a load / firing
  • Consider designing not only for short-term anticipated capacity but possible future extensions to the system.
  • Consider stratification of water temperatures within the store, particularly where low-grade heating is provided. Effective separation between the hot water at the top of the tank and the cooler water at the bottom, can increase the time between charges.
  • Ensure that there is adequate insulation to the store (100mm + PU foam)
  • Ensure that there is adequate pipework insulation