The home as micro-power station Part 1 (Eco-Refurbishment)

We have already noted how CHP units provide both heat and electricity. The next matter to be considered is whether it is worthwhile installing systems which solely produce electricity, often called ‘embedded generation’. For the individual home, the most common technology for this purpose is photovoltaic cells (PVs). Under present regulations in the UK and […]

The home as micro-power station Part 2 (Eco-Refurbishment)

Prospects for PVs in the developed countries The European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) has made predictions about the penetration of PVs into the energy market by 2020. Worldwide PVs should be generating about 274 Terra Watt hours (TWh), which would be enough to meet 30 per cent of the electricity needs of the whole of […]

Water and energy conservation in appliances (Eco-Refurbishment)

Not only is water a precious resource in its own right, there is also an energy component in storing and transporting it and making it drinkable. On average, a person in the UK uses 135 litres (30 gallons) of water per day. Of this total about half is used flushing toilets and for personal hygiene. […]

Materials (Eco-Refurbishment)

Paints Paints have three constituents: pigments for colour, a binding substance to hold the particles of pigment together and a solvent to enable the mixture to flow freely. It is the solvents which are the main problem since they are designed to evaporate. Most of the solvents used come into the category of volatile organic […]

Waste disposal and recycling (Eco-Refurbishment)

‘The Earth is infinitely bountiful’, so say the eco-sceptics. The reality is that society cannot continue to consume natural assets at the current rate. For example, the ecological footprint is the area of land (and sea) taken up to meet the needs of individuals or societies. A citizen of the USA uses 34 acres; in […]

The wider context (Eco-Refurbishment)

This topic has offered prescriptions for change at the level of the individual home. To end, the argument for change should be reinforced by placing it in its wider context. It may seem there is a wide gulf between the actions of a single home owner and the geopolitical forces that are shaping up for […]

Case Study: Ecological refurbishment of a house in Oxford, UK

Osney Island is a quiet enclave Conservation Area in a corner of Oxford on the banks of the River Thames. A small, end of terrace house facing the river is a remarkable example of a comprehensive eco-upgrading of a 19th century property. Its owner, David Hammond, is an architect who has been committed to environmental […]

Units of measurement of electricity and energy (Eco-Refurbishment)

Watt basic SI (international system) measure of electricity (1 joule/second) joule basic SI unit of work or energy kW 1000 Watts kWh kilowatt hours (kilowatts of electricity consumed over 1 hour) kWh/y kilowatt hours per year MW megawatts: 1 million Watts GW gigawatts: 109 Watts (one thousand million Watts) terawatts 1012 Watts (one million million […]