Vincent Wedlock-Ward of South Wight Housing Association explains how the renewables technologies being installed in Chale were chosen and why:
“Cost was the main factor in choosing the best renewable technologies for these properties.
An initial survey by ECD Architects commissioned by South Wight Housing Association concluded that the best thing that could be done was to put in cladding and new windows to bring U-values (a measure of heat loss) down.
However the cost for cladding exceeded our budget and could possibly have caused problems with the AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) planning office.
Having ruled out cladding, Air Source Heat Pumps* were the next best solution available to us because Combined Heat & Power & Ground Source Heat Pumps would have been too expensive and the geography of the site is not suitable for them.
Air source heat pumps work very efficiently with underfloor heating but because the housing here has concrete floors, it would have been difficult to put in underfloor heating, so we have gone for an enlarged wet radiator system instead.
Combined with solar PV panels, the air source heat pumps are a good step forward for a whole house solution in reducing carbon emissions and hopefully electricity costs. Additional upgrading of windows and loft insulation where needed will further enhance the whole house solution.
Whole house heating costs should be reduced considerably, but because individual’s habitual energy use varies considerably, it may be that the combination of these technologies is more efficient at reducing CO2 emissions. The Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating for these properties is improving from E to B+. Monitoring of energy bills over a reasonable period of time will tell us more, but in any case, individuals will be left with warmer, more comfortable homes.”
For more information, see the Chaler’s Guide to Renewable Energy