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Average Increase in Electricity Costs after Heat Pump and Solar installed?

  • 03-03-2021 5:24pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 129 ✭✭ KTBFFH


    Just wondering if people could share their experiences of rise in electricity costs after their Heat Pump was installed? Ours is an average 2 storey, 3 bed council house.



    Our home is part of the Midlands Retrofit Programme and our home is switching from a range and stove fuelled by turf, to an air to water heat pump and Solar PV.

    (more details can be found here: http://www.housing.old.gov.ie/housing/building-standards/energy-performance-buildings/midlands-retrofit-programme-local-authority)



    Just to be clear: we have no gas bills and we get a fill of oil (€250) that easily last us more than a year because we rarely use it. Currently, our main source of heat is buring turf through our range. The bog is ours, so our only cost is the €250 to cut enough to cover the year.

    I am definitely curious as to how much our electricity bills will go up, we are going ahead with the retrofit no matter what, but I do know some neighbours who are strongly against it for this reason, fearing that their overall heating costs will rise significantly. Add that to cutting turf being a cultural way of life for many of the older residents and the conversation can get divisive.
    I feel a lot of people are failing to take into account the long term health benefits, along with environmental positives.

    The retrofit does include solar panels, so I am hoping that will eat into a good chunk of our new energy bill costs.
    For anyone interested, a list of the works include:
    - Remove and decommission the stove and range. (This must be done)

    • Install New external PVC Doors and a service to the Windows.

    • New 100mm external wall insulation.

    • Add insulation to the attic and construct a permanent boarded walkway.

    • Sealing the heat loss envelope of building.

    • Replace the current oil and/or solid fuel heating system with an energy efficient air to water heat pump including new radiators.

    • Change the lighting to energy efficient LED's.

    • Testing for Radon gas.

    • Installation of Photovoltaic solar panels that will reduce your energy bill.

    • Periodic electrical inspection and replacement of smoke and heat detectors.

    • Installation of a demand-controlled ventilation system.


Comments

  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 15,993 Mod ✭✭✭✭ slave1


    Surely it would depend on the power requirements of your pump and the generation capability of the solar array.
    Do you have either of these details?


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,977 ✭✭✭ TheChizler


    I did the maths for the solar pump back home when it was installed and it came in at less than €20 per year.


  • Registered Users Posts: 129 ✭✭ KTBFFH


    slave1 wrote: »
    Surely it would depend on the power requirements of your pump and the generation capability of the solar array.
    Do you have either of these details?


    I wish I did, but unfortunately the local authority are very short on any answers or details. It is still out to tender so I guess they are holding off until everything has been finalised


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,544 ✭✭✭ MicktheMan


    What is the airtightness target?


  • Registered Users Posts: 129 ✭✭ KTBFFH


    MicktheMan wrote: »
    What is the airtightness target?


    All we have been told is houses will be brought up to a B2 standard or higher.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 403 ✭✭ ec_pc


    Are you planning on keeping the range or getting rid of it? We have A rated house with heat pump, solar and MHRV system and we put in a passive stove which is airtight.

    We felt we could not live without the fire and light it every night, again purely burning turf like you. Leaving aside the environmental debate on burning turf, do you think you will miss the (at times intense) heat from the stove even if it is no longer heating the rads?

    It's good to see you asking the questions, without doubt your electricity bills will increase and solar may offset it a little. All depends on the specifics of the system / solar array size / orientation etc.


  • Registered Users Posts: 129 ✭✭ KTBFFH


    ec_pc wrote: »
    Are you planning on keeping the range or getting rid of it? We have A rated house with heat pump, solar and MHRV system and we put in a passive stove which is airtight.

    We felt we could not live without the fire and light it every night, again purely burning turf like you. Leaving aside the environmental debate on burning turf, do you think you will miss the (at times intense) heat from the stove even if it is no longer heating the rads?

    It's good to see you asking the questions, without doubt your electricity bills will increase and solar may offset it a little. All depends on the specifics of the system / solar array size / orientation etc.


    Really appreciate the balanced, rational reply.
    We have to get rid of the range. As part of the retrofit, removal of the range is required for them to agree to do any work on the house because funding comes from the Carbon Tax increase, and the programme for government stipulating a significant environmental benefit. Some in our estate have actually declined the offer already, citing increased electricity costs and a desire to keep their range and I can understand where they are coming from.

    To answer your question, it has been a long process for my mother to comprehend/get over the removal of the range, but overall we feel the health benefits and significant investment being put in is worth it. We will absolutely miss the range, it is a focal point of the kitchen/home, and offers considerable heat. However, that heat does not travel all over the home, and come Winter time you do feel the difference upstairs in bedrooms especially, and the stove needs to be lit if you want to spend any length of time in the sitting room.
    I do wish I could answer peoples questions on the specifics more clearly, but the details given are literally all that have been confirmed to us so far, as the process is still out to tender.


    Without going into too much detail, could you give me a rough % estimate of how much electicity bill have increaed in your A-rated home?


    You are one of the first I've heard of to invest in an A rated house and still be burning turf in a range. I would love to know more about your process and thinking around how this came about. I have a real interest in A Just Transition to a more energy efficient society, but still really feel like the debate gets muddied/lost in simply banning turf/coal without taking into consideration the cultural and even psychological effects this shift has on the people unwilling or unable to make this change.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,544 ✭✭✭ MicktheMan


    KTBFFH wrote: »
    All we have been told is houses will be brought up to a B2 standard or higher.

    Assuming middle of the road B2 rating, 100 sqm house, 20c per kWhr cost and average CoP of heat pump of 3, I would guesstimate an annual electricity bill of roughly €750 for heating and hot water excluding any input from solar PV.

    Caveat ... a lot of assumptions in the above but might be useful as a ballpark idea on likely cost.


  • Registered Users Posts: 129 ✭✭ KTBFFH


    MicktheMan wrote: »
    Assuming middle of the road B2 rating, 100 sqm house, 20c per kWhr cost and average CoP of heat pump of 3, I would guesstimate an annual electricity bill of roughly €750 for heating and hot water excluding any input from solar PV.

    Caveat ... a lot of assumptions in the above but might be useful as a ballpark idea on likely cost.


    Thank you so much for the guesstimate. You are not far off our house dimensions.



    It's Boards. I have not been able to give exact details, and I'm not expecting specifics to compare, so I really appreciate you offering a *rough* guesstimate of an average bill. I honestly believe if the counicil offered that, there would be a much higher uptake.


  • Moderators, Home & Garden Moderators Posts: 10,101 Mod ✭✭✭✭ BryanF


    KTBFFH wrote: »
    Thank you so much for the guesstimate. You are not far off our house dimensions.



    It's Boards. I have not been able to give exact details, and I'm not expecting specifics to compare, so I really appreciate you offering a *rough* guesstimate of an average bill. I honestly believe if the counicil offered that, there would be a much higher uptake.

    the council can’t give you that info and any estimate will be heavily caveated.

    Let say there are ten houses, and spread of ages from young to old /male/female, with different occupancy numbers, impacting not only the heating temp, but how often the units are set to come on*. You could have such a range of users it’s very difficult to estimate annual cost

    About ten years ago I attempted a study of exactly what you are trying to understand with your council. I gave up on the study when realised, some of the occupants would never engage in the process, and had an embedded distrust of the council, and on the flip side the council would never put the amount of time required to make the users understand/ realise the systems potential.

    *There are traditional mentalities of turning your heating on for an hour in the morning and same in the evening v leaving it on at a low level all the time. Through monitoring and tweaking the system there are savings to be made assuming the building fabric is up to scratch.

    Regarding the stove/aga, you need to discuss the option of retaining this, but engage with the safety ventilation and issues around retaining it or replacing it with a room sealed unit. Would you be prepared to pay for this cost?


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 166 ✭✭ Harpon


    KTBFFH wrote: »

    I have a real interest in A Just Transition to a more energy efficient society, but still really feel like the debate gets muddied/lost in simply banning turf/coal without taking into consideration the cultural and even psychological effects this shift has on the people unwilling or unable to make this change.

    I don’t think cultural and psychological effects really matter when an estimated 1,300 people a year are dying from poor air quality in Ireland, much of that due to burning solid fuels. When you consider the amount of people with asthma and other respiratory illnesses in Ireland the impact on society is huge.

    If this was something that had no impact on anyone but yourself it would be another matter, but when you burn turf/coal you are actively harming other people’s health and quality of life.


  • Registered Users Posts: 129 ✭✭ KTBFFH


    Harpon wrote: »
    I don’t think cultural and psychological effects really matter when an estimated 1,300 people a year are dying from poor air quality in Ireland, much of that due to burning solid fuels. When you consider the amount of people with asthma and other respiratory illnesses in Ireland the impact on society is huge.

    If this was something that had no impact on anyone but yourself it would be another matter, but when you burn turf/coal you are actively harming other people’s health and quality of life.


    Thanks for your condescending comments. It is statements like this that have led to families already rejecting any changes or retrofit to their homes.

    But sure, heap more blame on people from economicallly disadvantaged areas and put it down to personal responsibility, while 70% of all emissions come from large companies. Blame the people actually making an effort, well done!


  • Registered Users Posts: 129 ✭✭ KTBFFH


    BryanF wrote: »
    the council can’t give you that info and any estimate will be heavily caveated.

    Let say there are ten houses, and spread of ages from young to old /male/female, with different occupancy numbers, impacting not only the heating temp, but how often the units are set to come on*. You could have such a range of users it’s very difficult to estimate annual cost

    About ten years ago I attempted a study of exactly what you are trying to understand with your council. I gave up on the study when realised, some of the occupants would never engage in the process, and had an embedded distrust of the council, and on the flip side the council would never put the amount of time required to make the users understand/ realise the systems potential.

    *There are traditional mentalities of turning your heating on for an hour in the morning and same in the evening v leaving it on at a low level all the time. Through monitoring and tweaking the system there are savings to be made assuming the building fabric is up to scratch.

    Regarding the stove/aga, you need to discuss the option of retaining this, but engage with the safety ventilation and issues around retaining it or replacing it with a room sealed unit. Would you be prepared to pay for this cost?


    I understand councils can't provide everyone with specifics, but my broader point is that no effort has been made to communicate the significant benefits or changes to residents. The council may own the house, but they still need residents' buy-in for successful projects, and even simply to open the doors to allow any work take place. Many older residents are refusing any work because they don't understand the benefits, and I think that is the fault of the council as much as them.


    Regarding the stove: it has been made abundantly clear by the council that if any work is to be done, the stove must be removed. It is a non-negotiable.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 166 ✭✭ Harpon


    KTBFFH wrote: »
    Thanks for your condescending comments. It is statements like this that have led to families already rejecting any changes or retrofit to their homes.

    But sure, heap more blame on people from economicallly disadvantaged areas and put it down to personal responsibility, while 70% of all emissions come from large companies. Blame the people actually making an effort, well done!

    Ireland’s biggest source of air pollution is smoke from solid fuel fires and stoves, and the main contributor to the premature 1,300 deaths per year. That’s from the EPA.

    https://www.irishtimes.com/news/environment/smoke-from-solid-fuel-fires-and-stoves-killing-1-300-a-year-epa-says-1.4363878

    You said these people have been offered all these systems and upgrades for free, will get them installed for free and maintained from free, yet some of them are refusing to take up the offer as they want to keep a stove. You can try spin it any way you want but that is the height of selfishness.


  • Registered Users Posts: 403 ✭✭ ec_pc


    KTBFFH wrote: »
    Really appreciate the balanced, rational reply.
    We have to get rid of the range. As part of the retrofit, removal of the range is required for them to agree to do any work on the house because funding comes from the Carbon Tax increase, and the programme for government stipulating a significant environmental benefit. Some in our estate have actually declined the offer already, citing increased electricity costs and a desire to keep their range and I can understand where they are coming from.

    To answer your question, it has been a long process for my mother to comprehend/get over the removal of the range, but overall we feel the health benefits and significant investment being put in is worth it. We will absolutely miss the range, it is a focal point of the kitchen/home, and offers considerable heat. However, that heat does not travel all over the home, and come Winter time you do feel the difference upstairs in bedrooms especially, and the stove needs to be lit if you want to spend any length of time in the sitting room.
    I do wish I could answer peoples questions on the specifics more clearly, but the details given are literally all that have been confirmed to us so far, as the process is still out to tender.


    Without going into too much detail, could you give me a rough % estimate of how much electicity bill have increaed in your A-rated home?


    You are one of the first I've heard of to invest in an A rated house and still be burning turf in a range. I would love to know more about your process and thinking around how this came about. I have a real interest in A Just Transition to a more energy efficient society, but still really feel like the debate gets muddied/lost in simply banning turf/coal without taking into consideration the cultural and even psychological effects this shift has on the people unwilling or unable to make this change.


    Firstly, I am not going to be drawn into an environmental debate that has started here about burning fuel as I don't think that is an ask on this thread. However I was adamant when renovating this house that I would not have oil or gas. Burning turf is an option for us, it is not the main source of heat - that is the heat pump.

    We don't have a range, we have an airtight stove (Henley Athens model) that we use to burn turf, gives off nice heat in sitting room. Getting this put in was a personal decision for several reasons - it gives the room a focal point, we like the heat from the fire, we have a lot of turf stored and my wife really wanted a stove. We get turf every year, but I think we will skip this year as I must have about 15 ton of it out the back.

    To bring the discussion a little more back on topic I can understand why some people are not taking up the offer, but perhaps they will regret this in years to come. I am sure the unknown perceived cost increase is a concern for some people and as I said electrical bills will increase for you.

    I can't give you a realistic % increase in the bills as we moved out for a year to renovate and the new house bears no resemblance to the original. We only moved in last May but during the summer we used practically no electricity - less than 200 units a month because the PV panels created so much electricity. And we have fine tuned the system and learnt to be more efficient so I expect that to be lower this summer. Flip side is that it can be high in winter with over 1100 units used in December due to some very cold weather that was prolonged.

    The insulation is key, we have very high levels of insulation and triple glazed windows and house is airtight. Last year we didn't turn on the heat until end of September as it just wasn't needed.


  • Registered Users Posts: 129 ✭✭ KTBFFH


    Harpon wrote: »
    Ireland’s biggest source of air pollution is smoke from solid fuel fires and stoves, and the main contributor to the premature 1,300 deaths per year. That’s from the EPA.

    https://www.irishtimes.com/news/environment/smoke-from-solid-fuel-fires-and-stoves-killing-1-300-a-year-epa-says-1.4363878

    You said these people have been offered all these systems and upgrades for free, will get them installed for free and maintained from free, yet some of them are refusing to take up the offer as they want to keep a stove. You can try spin it any way you want but that is the height of selfishness.


    I never said they will be maintained for free. If we go by our current lease agreement, all maintenance and upkeep will have to be paid for by the residents. Believe it or not, to poor people, that is a genuine concern.

    I am simply trying to explain the rationale behind people not taking the retrofit. I have a neighbour well over pension age who has lived in his home for decades burning turf, it costs him €250 per year. His issue is the unknown increase in electricity costs, how significant that will be, and he is used to burning turf his entire life.
    Have you ever tried to introduce change to a 70 year olds life? Its not exactly simple to do, and the lack of communication from the council allows rumours and half-truths to fester.



    You know all about the science, great, well done, give yourself a medal. Not everbody does. All they know is their houses will be ripped apart to change a heating system they've become comfortable with and that elcetricity costs will rise. To some people money is a greater factor than the environment. You can call that selfish, but the faster people understand that, the quicker we can design a better system that encourages a greater uptake of these new energy systems for the betterment of us all. No amount of shouting BUT THE SCIENCE will change everyones mind.


  • Registered Users Posts: 129 ✭✭ KTBFFH


    ec_pc wrote: »
    To bring the discussion a little more back on topic I can understand why some people are not taking up the offer, but perhaps they will regret this in years to come. I am sure the unknown perceived cost increase is a concern for some people and as I said electrical bills will increase for you.


    To be honest I agree, people probably will start to regret their decision, and the council will not be coming back every so often to see if you've now changed your mind.

    I genuinely think its a communication problem from the council as much as anything else. We've had surveyors and contractors in, but nobody wants to explain whats going on, they're all too busy organising the project.

    If somebody took the time to explain the process, alleviate fears of the percieved massive increase in electicity costs, and took a minute to explain WHY this is good for me, you and everyone around us, I do feel there would be a much higher uptake. These residents are not scientists, nor are they climate advocates. They are farmers, pensioners, widows, people from a rural and economically deprived area. They are resistant to change in general.
    My point is we should be doing our best to understand why they are declining and help them understand the actual benifits, not shout at them they are wrong, stupid, selfish.


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