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Monday, 4 February 2013

Serves you bloody right.


People living in a multi-million pound ‘homes of the future’ project in Bradford are up in arms over the sky-high electricity bills they have racked up.

I have no sympathy for people who are enticed into buying over hyped homes like this. These are usually the technically illiterate who don’t bother themselves to look into the running costs of the relatively new and unproven  green technology.

The remainder were constructed to a slightly lower energy efficiency level, but were also equipped with air heat pumps, solar panels and rainwater harvesters.   

As an engineer the moment I hear the word “pump” I can just see kWh’s spinning before my eyes. Pumps use a large amount of energy in pushing fluids around, especially if  it has to go uphill. Ie, to upper floors.

It looks like these folks have bought a complete pigs ear of a property. Mind you I’m suspicious to say the least when they say the following:

Raquel and Sunny Tanday, both 23, and the parents of two young children, say their power bills come to about £500 a quarter since December 2011.

Maybe they are being misquoted by the paper, because a summer month quarter will use less energy than a winter quarter. (Unless they have air conditioning for the summer months, which would explain the high usage).

Anyway lets settle on £2,000 per year. Unbelievable.

I live in a three story house built in 1903. I have sash windows (Although 2/3 have been replaced with double glazed units), no cavity walls, and a non condensing boiler. I do have modern heating controls, that time the on and off of the heating for various times of day, and a modern room thermostat. I also have radiator thermostats that I can turn down for rooms that are not in use.

There is something seriously wrong with the cost they are paying. I pay about £1,400 for the whole year. Of course I have set my thermostat to 20 deg C and timed the system to come on only when needed. I’d like to know what these residents had set their systems for.

But this next piece from the council is interesting.

“We are confident that when these problems have been resolved, residents at Pavilion Gardens will benefit from lower bills in the future. We want to reassure residents that they will be reimbursed for any usage above the standard charge for their household.”

But earlier in the article their energy supplier had stated  that the standard charge , based on a national average is, (Wait for it) £1261.


They’ve bought a so called,  energy efficient home, and are paying almost £750 a year more than the standard tariff.

(If I was the council I’d be sending in the drug squad to ascertain if this was a cannabis growing operation).

And of course the council will attempt to get of the hook.

The Council stressed that it will charge the original building contractor for any costs incurred in reimbursing residents.

Good luck with that West Bowling.

These stories make you want to smoke, drink, eat, and generally abuse your body.

As I’ve said before “I give up”.  (None of the just above).


  1. Air heat pumps .....

    "As an engineer the moment I hear the word “pump” I can just see kWh’s spinning before my eyes. Pumps use a large amount of energy in pushing fluids around, especially if it has to go uphill. Ie, to upper floors."

    But an air-source "heat-pump" just transfers heat from outside-air (even at say -3 deg C) to a fluid. [Just like your refrigerator transfers heat from inside its cabinet, to into your kitchen.]

    The premise being that for every kW electricity you use, in theory you get promised 3kW - 4kW of equivalent heat. But, in reality, in very cold weather when you need the heat the most, you only get say 2kW. So you then have to use very expensive, on-peak electricity to supplement the heating requirement. And, as heat-pumps are expensive, they tend to be 'undersized'.

    The builder will just say that the occupant's aren't using the system properly; and, turning their thermostats up too high. End of.

  2. When I saw the words 'homes of the future’ I immediately thought of high green energy bills....

  3. They're both 23 years old and she's called Raquel. There are clues there alone.

    The heating will be on full hammer in every room, even sometimes as windows are open. The TV will rarely be switched off. There will be a plethora of other gadgetry, coffee machines and the like. Probably seven or more washing-machine operations per week. Dishwashers have virtually replaced the washing-up bowl for anyone under 40. Wouldn't be surprised if there's a water pump going in the garden half the year round - powering some 'feature' or another.

    I've seen it happen all too often, even with 40 year-olds. They haven't got a clue some people.

    If I was the Council my best advice would be - 'put another jersey on!'


  4. my best advice would be - 'put another jersey on!'

    I did do for 5 years now the Highland Council are putting insulation in next dor to me and my turn will come soon.

    Not soon enough.

    Ther is 6 inches of snow outside whic I welcome as it insulates my flat roof.

    Roll on summer my flat will not be like unto an oven

  5. The best bit is, they didn't buy these homes, they are 'social housing' aka cheap housing subsidised by the tax payer, so the hypocrisy of people living cheap off the tax payer whilst moaning about bills they (aka the tax payer) can't afford to pay is serious 'you couldn't make it up' funny.

  6. "The premise being that for every kW electricity you use, in theory you get promised 3kW - 4kW of equivalent heat."

    But electricity is roughly 4x as expensive as gas, so even if the heat pump works at its peak, it still only breaks even.
    Well, gas is generally considered to be 80% efficient, so its 4:5

    Even if we accept that, my gas boiler is something awesome like 36kw at full burn.
    A heat pump is usually rated at more like 9kw, 4kw if we accept a more accurate efficiency rating.
    I can heat my house from cold in hours, a heat pump just cant.

    So you end up paying twice as much, for a system that must be on almost always.

    I find that turning the boiler on for and then off for 15 minutes, rather than leaving it on more than makes up for sub standard controls.

  7. " Wouldn't be surprised if there's a water pump going in the garden half the year round - powering some 'feature' or another"

    Well the "Rainwater Harvester" which provides the bog flushing is going to need an electric pump - what's the betting this isn't set up properly? Even if it is only working when needed, it still means every time they flush a turd down the pan the electric meter is recording a demand...

  8. I'm not sure if this is the same place or not but I heard a rumour regarding a housing association which had installed these heat pumps.

    The heat pumps themselves are not the worst of ideas (although very expensive and complicated, and still probably more costly than gas boilers to run), however they can't heat water to particularly high temperatures. Apparently they are intended for use with underfloor heating which requires a relatively low flow temperature compared to radiators.

    The housing association in question had allegedly installed the heat pumps as part of a conventional heating system with radiators and water cylinder. With thermostats calling for water at about 65C, which the heat pumps cannot provide, the result was permanent operation of the "backup" conventional electric elements. The end result? A continuous 3kW (perhaps more) load on top of all other appliances and the heat pump itself.

    Even a technically-minded resident would have been unlikely to spot this until the bill came, unless they had prior knowledge of the equipment.


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