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  1. [quote user="odile"]we were told heat pumps need perfectly insulated buildings.[/quote] A well insulated building is a priority for any property (irrespective of the type of heating) and the best place to spend your money before anything else. Insulation is a 'one off' cost and has no monthly bills thereon There are pellet making machines available for home use which may help to minimise ongoing costs. Good luck with the wooly jumpers and thick socks. Marc
  2. [quote user="odile"]how about a wood pellet system? |Very popular in Germany, Switzerland and Austria, and also advised by Uk Rural Energy? Any experience of this? [/quote] We have a couple of projects in progress which are using pellet systems - one is in conjunction with a solar hot water system / thermal store and the other is in conjunction with a ground source heat pump (just commenced). I know the pellet stove for the first is costing the customer 14000 Euros so he's commited to say the least. Too early for any quantified feedback but most customers seem to be set as to what they want. On the flipside we have had one customer say they didn't want to go wood pellet for fear of rising wood costs and supply issues re the pellets. I imagine supply and demand will drive the market prices as usual. As a rule we generally prefer a mix of technologies, i.e. heat pump plus solar, wind turbine plus PV etc etc. It's hedging your bets and is not reliant on one specific type of renewable. Marc
  3. [quote user="Gyn_Paul"]And still nobody's answered Callie's question as to what a heat pump is... It's reckoned that the most efficient systems can derrive (sp?) 4kw (equiv) of heat, for every 1kw of electricity used to power the heat pump . [/quote] It is easy to digress on these forums as the threads develop - Paul makes a good point and just to add: Yes a heat pump is a fridge - either air or ground source. Air source are much easier to install but tend to be less efficient - if you live in an area prone to high humidity then it may not prove the best option. The main work involved in installing for ground source is usually digging the trenches for the groundloop but most people seem to know a 'man with digger' which tends to reduce cost substantially. The efficiency is known as Co-efficient of Performance (CoP) and this can exceed 4:1 by some margin with the right product, air source tend to have a lower CoP. If you opt for a heat pump use it to its maximum, i.e. heating and domestic hot water plus dump the excess heat into a pool if you have one. The more you use it the better the return. They can work with radiators for retrofit, and it surprises most people that in fact the antique style cast iron type work better than most existing alternatives. Low temp rads are available, otherwise double the area so the heat pump is not running at full throttle. It is fairly common now to couple these to a solar system and the additional cost in doing so is relatively small. Hope that helps. Marc
  4. [quote user="Owens88"] AFAIK the difference was significant. Electric boiler less than a quarter the price of the oil one - and we freed up space by getting rid of the oil tank.   John [/quote] And if you spent what you saved on some sort of renewable energy product (wind, PV etc) then maybe it makes financial sense in the long term as well?
  5. I cannot definitively say it will be cheaper to run but as a holiday home, if you do the sums for a new boiler, fuel etc then electric UFH usually comes out best over a period of time, say 10 years. Greater than 10 years then really you are into Geothermal or Air source heat pumps as the best option. All types of UFH can be run at much lower temps than rads so it could be argued that it is more efficient in use. Again, as a holiday home if you couple electric UFH to internet control then you have remote operation. You really need to do the sums and amortise costs over a period of time. Electric UFH will always come out lower in terms of capital costs. Hope that helps Marc
  6. I would prefer to have UFH but don't want to lose the parquet - is this a feasible solution. Obviously budget is a constraint but if the cost differential is not huge then it should certainly be a consideration You can fit UFH under parquet providing the temp is neverr allowed to exceed 27 degrees as this can irreperably damage the floor. This is esily achieved with electric UFH as the thermocouple is actually under the floor and 'film system' UFH is ideal. It is possible with wet UFH but slightly harder and more costly initially. You could consider new radiators of course and providing you choose low temp or new antique style cast rads then Geothermal could indeed be incorporated at a later date to run these. As someone has mentioned with wet UFH you also have the choice of the heating type / source. I would suggest that with so many options and the fact this is primarily a holiday home then budget is perhaps the primary consideration in which case electric UFH will be the lowest - any type of UFH is better than alternatives in terms of comfort and runing costs. Marc
  7. Any reason why the LNB can't be used Les? I'm using our old Sky LNB with an 80cm OPTEX dish and also did exactly the same for a friend with an ELAP dish? They both work very well? Marc
  8. Size matters! Get a big one - 80cms and use your exisitng LNB. You can set them up using the signal test facility on the sky box but it takes a little patience. Signal quality is more important than signal strength and get the right satellite stream, for Sky you need transport stream 07d4. The dishes are not expensive and most come with a universal LNB. Set up right it won't drop out. Good luck Marc
  9. No problems generally to fit in France. You may have to fill in a Declaration Prealable if your property is in a 'sensitive location'. If you need any advice please feel free to send me a PM. Regards Marc
  10. Our company supplies Renewable Energy Products and we are looking for installers and distributors throughout France. We are very open minded as to any mutually beneficial partnership and if you share are ethos we would be interetsed in any proposals. We also have affiliates who help promote our business on a more informal basis. We will shortly be launching a new range of Oil, Gas and LPG Savers which are guaranteed to produce significant fuel and monetary savings, Installation on boilers is relatively simple so we would be pleased to hear from people who may have the necessary skill sets to undertake such work. Please feel free to ask any questions via PM or via our website contacts page. Kind regards, Marc
  11. For a holiday home then electric underfloor with internet control makes sense - at least you can control when away and put it on just before you arrive if needs be. That said, of course its underfloor so the work may not warrant the return? Marc
  12. For hot water go solar - period. For electricity reduction use a plug in electricity saver. The stats on ballons are always set too high but most can be adjusted to a sensible figure. The 'A' you refer to is not always amps - RCD's for example are rated A, B, C which refer to sensitivity not current. As an aside it was proved some time ago that it was more efficient to leave an immersion on permanently providing the stat was set sensibly. This was a controversial view but we have tried various methods and for us at least it is better. It does depend on your water usage habits though as well as a number of other factors such as tank insulation etc. Marc
  13. To trade as a domestic electrician in France it is acceptable if you have undertaken and passed a UK Part P course. The course is usually of one weeks duration and is available at a number of colleges etc. I think The Builder Centre at Croydon did these courses. As for official translations etc etc it really depends on your particular departments / Chambre de Metier / etc views or even if you catch them on a good day? Decennal insurance is not always required - again it depends on your APE code - as far as public liability insurance goes which is probably more important from a personal perspective there are only a handful of companies who will deal with you and have something of a monopoly. We got ours by opening a new business account with Bank Populaire whihc was about the only way we could get it. Good luck anyway (PS: you could become an installer for us with a lot less hassle??) Regards Marc
  14. The roof is south facing so solar panels seem a good option- although I understand there are a new type coming on the market which are only avaiable to businesses at the moment.I understand they're not panels as such but roll like thick foil. Surly sell-back electricity is the way to go for someone like us????? Oil prices????......................I'm now having serious concerns about replacing the boiler and converting to electricity..........this time last year it would just have been an automatic replacement.........amazing what changes a year brings eh????   The type of PV you mention is thin film technology – very in-efficient but lower initial cost and generally difficult to source at present as the main lower cost source has the manufacturing process quite well wrapped up in patents. Given current products available also important to choose an efficient system – there are mono crystalline, poly crystalline, amorphous etc etc. All have pros and cons but don’t just plump for the lowest price. What you save initially will be eroded by the poor performance. For buy back (net metering) rates I can send the info from EDF if anyone wants it (French only).   One word of caution though – the rates may well be dramatically reduced in the near future as is happening in Spain, Cyprus, Greece and the USA. Speculation whether France will reduce and ADEME  are saying nothing but my feeling is that France will follow. So, if you intend on doing something then sooner rather than later whilst the contracts are still available. Debateable whether net metering is financially viable, around 1200 Euros for EDF to install the new meter/s and high capital cost. Possibly worth thinking about starting smaller and extend if you feel the system is performing well. Insolation levels ate your location also need to be considered.   Will EDF’s prices for electricity go up as a direct result of Oil etc prices? Possibly Oil will not dramatically affect EDF as much of the energy produced is nuclear. Take a view I guess? Gut feeling vs payback, investment etc – maybe electricity with your mains supplemented by PV or Wind / Water turbine is a good compromise?   So many choices so good luck. Marc
  15. To address the initial question: electric heating can present the lowest up front cost, electric UFH works extremely well and is the lowest to install (and run) if you work on around 10 years. It should last forever and if you can possibly produce some of the electricity yourself then can make good economic sense. If you are thinking about longer than 10 years this opens up many possibilities which have been eluded to here. Geothermal - yes probably, highest initial cost but CoP of 4:1 makes payback possible within 10 years - the more you use it the quicker the payback, i.,e. if you use it for domestic hot water and swimming pool heating and air conditioning (yes it can be done with fan coil units) then your payback is likely to be within say 8 years compared to current fuel solutions. Air source heat pumps - okay but probably not worth the investment. Most have low CoPs during the colder months despite what the manufacturers specs say. Solar hot water - yes, budget between 2500 - 4000 Euros. Payback is probably around 6 - 10 years. Mains Electric plus say Solar PV - can present good value but depends how far you go. Its the law of diminishing returns but if you opt for net metering then buyback rates are good. You have lots of options - suggested place to start is time you may spend in the property and therefore how long you will benefit plus payback time. Second, what kind of budget you are willing to commit. I suppose it's a case of invest up front or spend little and pay the monthly bills which of course is interelated to time. Good luck Marc
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