avoiding fossil fuels

This is a summary of how zero carbon house avoids using fossil fuels and saves energy. (For more detail, see the design section of this site and the technical menu.)  The use of fossil fuels is avoided through:

  • super insulation of the walls, roof, doors and windows
  • airtight construction (warm air leaks out through ordinary walls)
  • heat-exchanging ventilation (fresh air coming into the house in winter is pre-warmed with waste heat recovered from the stale air going out)
  • natural ventilation in summer (opening windows and rooflights to ventilate)
  • making the most of daylight (to minimise the use of electric light)
  • using the warmth of the sun to warm the house (most of the windows receive direct sunlight)
  • storing the sun’s heat in the heavy construction of the walls and floor
  • using solar thermal panels on the roof to heat water which is stored in a specially insulated hot water cylinder
  • using photovoltaic panels on the roof to generate electricity. What is not used in zero carbon house is exported to the national grid and used by the school over the road. When it’s dark, electricity is imported. In effect, the National Grid is used as a battery – zero carbon house puts into it about 150 per cent of what is taken out
  • using the most efficient electrical appliances available
  • growing firewood in the garden to burn in a wood burning stove in the house. Wood is a renewable fuel, not a fossil fuel. The house only needs supplementary heat during the coldest six weeks of the year. As the trees grow back, they re-absorb the CO2 that is released from the flue, making the wood effectively carbon neutral as a fuel source.

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  1. Alex Stenning

    Please may I ask type of woodburner is used?

  2. Alex Stenning

    Please may I ask what kind of woodburner is used??

  3. Yes, it is an excellent product, see http://www.ecoflap.co.uk/
    Our letterbox is triple-sealed. It consists of an outer brass flap (not airtight, but hard-wearing and matching our reclaimed brass door hanles), then the Ecoflap inside (very good airtightness). Letters go into an internal compartment with a further air-sealed internal door.

  4. Kevin

    I see on the Ecoflap site that you used their letterplate for draught exclusion, but it is not mentioned here. Did you find it useful?

  5. John

    Its a heat store of 1000 litres, ie about 5x a normal domestic cylinder. Our solar panels on the roof will fill the tank with hot water. The large size of the store is so that even in winter on frosty/sunny days we hope to get a reasonable input, which will tide us over if we then get a number of cloudy days. Its been put together by GreenShop Solar http://www.greenshopsolar.co.uk/

    The ventilation system is mechanical ventilation heat recovery as used in German Passivhaus design and is made by Itho http://www.itho.co.uk/Products/HRU_ECO_4/Default.aspx?id=19
    System designed by The Green Building Store http://www.greenbuildingstore.co.uk/ but we have added a special heater battery so the solar store can add heat into the mvhr if required

  6. Are you using the heated water directly or are you using the heat store principle?

    What ventilation system are you using?

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