Green energy options for Irish schools

By The Helpful Engineer / On / In Energy Conservation

Solar power panels
Solar power panels

Many schools in Ireland put a great deal of effort into making their buildings as environmentally friendly as possible. This helps to reduce their energy bills but perhaps more importantly in the longer term, it provides a good example to the children. The Government has supported schools in recent years with funding being made available to replace old windows and to insulate walls and attics.

There are a number of different green energy solutions that schools use with some of the most popular being rain water harvesting, solar panels and wood pellet boilers.

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How much does my immersion heater cost to heat my water?

By The Helpful Engineer / On / In Energy Conservation

Following on from my post about the cost of running an oil boiler to heat the average house, see here. A reader contacted me and asked how much it costs to heat the water in their immersion heater. They remembered when they were young that the biggest sin possible was to leave on the immersion heater by accident, thereby incurring unnecessary costs. The answer is approximately €1.20 or 120 cent, when left on for two hours to initially heat the water. But once hot the amount of heat required to keep it hot will depend on the insulation surrounding the water tank.

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The advantages of stoves

By The Helpful Engineer / On / In Energy Conservation

If you have an open fire in your home, you should consider replacing it with an enclosed stove (aka closed flue appliance). The saving in fuel to produce the same heat output is incredible. An open fire has an efficiency of around 18%, as the vast majority of the heat simply goes up the chimney. By comparison a quality stove has an efficiency of around 80%. So a stove uses 4 times less fuel to achieve the same heat output. There are other ways the stove saves energy. Read more “The advantages of stoves”

The relative costs using different fuels to heat your home

By The Helpful Engineer / On / In Energy Conservation

In a previous article we calculated that an oil boiler in an average sub-urban house during an average winter evening will burn 1.48 Litres of oil per hour of operation, costing €1.20, at current prices. But what would it cost to heat the same house with the other available fuels? Below is a summary of average home heating fuel costs, with the cheapest first. Read more “The relative costs using different fuels to heat your home”

The cost of oil fired central heating per hour

By The Helpful Engineer / On / In Energy Conservation

In our house we have a boost button on our heating control panel. By hitting this button the boiler will come on immediately for one hour only. This got me thinking, how much does this button cost me every time I push it, or putting it another way how much does your home oil boiler cost in fuel to run every hour? Well it is relatively easy to calculate; I worked it out to be €1.20 ($1.64) per hour or €1.20 every push of the boost button!

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Make your fire last longer. Light it upside down.

By The Helpful Engineer / On / In Energy Conservation

I love burning timber in our stove; timber is clean to handle, there is very little ash left afterwards, it is good for the environment and the ash can be spread on the garden afterwards, unlike coal ash. However, one of the difficulties with using wood in our small stove is that it burns quickly and as a result a lot of tending is required to avoid it going out. We usually have to add logs every 30 or 40mins. So I decided to try the unusual and counter intuitive upside down method of fire starting. This is designed to allow the fire to burn for a longer time using the same amount of timber while producing less black smoke. It started life with campers who wanted a fire that would last for 8 to 9 hours, through the night, without them having to wake up to add more timber. This is possible using this method in a large fire, so while it wouldn’t last 8 hours in our small stove; I wanted to try it to see how much more time I could get, without putting logs on the fire.

Read more “Make your fire last longer. Light it upside down.”

10 ways to reduce your home energy bills

By The Helpful Engineer / On / In Energy Conservation

Typically around 80 % of a buildings energy usage is to heat the building and to provide hot water. Below are some tips to help reduce your energy usage and save money on your household bills.                                                                                                                                  1. Draft proof your home Seal the building to prevent excessive heat loss, but maintain air vents in working order. In the typical home 50% of heat loss is through drafts and open doors.

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