How can we heat our home?

by Nick Mann
20th April 2012

Creating a comfortable living environment involves a lot of design decisions at the start of your self build project. Reducing the requirement for heating – and therefore keeping running costs low – was particularly important to us.

The heat load for the house as designed is only 15kW – the output of a reasonable modern stove – which Orme has done principally by introducing thermal mass into the building.

The concrete slab and green roof are a good start, and the long north-facing wall is not only chunky but also doorless, and without big windows (minimising draughts). In theory, we’ll have a house that retains heat in winter, and is cooler in summer.

As the site is off mains gas, we needed to come up with an alternative fuel source – and over my dead body would it be oil. Instead we’re going to install wood burning appliances.

Heating on demand is a little luxury we can afford as I pay business rates for my home office and, consequently, the government will give us lots of cash for running a wood pellet boiler through the commercial Renewable Heat Incentive.

This alone will be enough to heat the house (and provide hot water, too), but we’re also popping in a couple of domestic stoves, and cooking with a woodburning Esse (with a calor gas hob).

We’ll circulate warm air throughout the house via a mechanical ventilation system powered by solar panels.

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