Future mapping retrofit

I have been reading the excellent links here and it has got my brain cells going :slight_smile:

A core concept from my project for my professional exams was that we should always match energy sources and energy needs. Therefore high quality energy sources - electricity - should not be used for low energy needs - heating and hot water. For these low energy uses district heating insulation, passive solar and solar thermal should be the first choice.

There should be at least two electrical circuits in homes, a low voltage one, a medium one and a high voltage one, allowing pv solutions for each voltage need.

This reminded me that passive solar works best in the winter with ways to save solar heat for the winter and shade by overhanging.

The other concept I looked at was to change the use of buildings with the seasons, summer open aspect, gardens, semi gardens, homes, winter withdrawing to a smaller highly insulated space.

This ecological orientation also ensures we begin to adapt our lifestyles to what is happening around us. Has anyone developed retrofit processes to enable what I have said here? These are obvious step by step issues, but we need help to decide what steps in what order.

What you suggest here really resonates with me Clive and it’s a relief to hear it from someone else.

When I set out to learn about reducing my carbon footprint, I quickly learned to appreciate that embodied carbon - indeed pollution, must always be factored in , or else globally we wouldn’t see a carbon reduction at all.

This also lead me to think about our basic human needs and in terms of retrofit - my idea for our home has been to do what I call a mini retrofit.
It is centered around our one room - which is the temperate summer room and the cosy warm winter room.

Whole house retrofit actually alarms me , because if that is what we’re all scrambling for, then embodied carbon in all of the materials used versus the shelf life of these measures and not factoring in how they might easily fail, will likely equal more carbon production and use of our planets resources than our planet can cope with.

I think a lot of people already have the principal in their mind of living according to need - not want.
It just needs to become a standard and capitalism struggles with us buying and using less.

Sorry Carla, but I don’t think that you are taking into account the apathy of the masses. A problem with forums like this is that we don’t see what the reaction of non-members would be and although members may have differing opinions on various points we all have similar aims.

For my part, I have a family of five, including myself, a partner who grew up in the tropics and three children. Even when I’m comfortably warm my partner is often cold, so I need a more intense refit than you, which includes a bathroom & bedroom. I think you are aiming for an ideal. I am aiming for an ideal for us.

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There is a Scandinavian saying, no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing. I think all I am saying is to look at finding ways to keep ourselves and specific areas warm and comfortable, room jackets gloves and scarves :slight_smile: I think everyone understands this. There is a reason goose fat and paper was used, we can find modern versions. Infrared heating? Do we need central heating? What would a stepped passivhaus retrofit for UK climate and seasons look like?

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It is an ideal Tim…I agree!!
I see we’re a tiny community of people trying to achieve an ideal and with different families and differing priorities all trying to reduce our energy/ carbon consumption - future proof etc.
I didn’t mention the masses , but it is a concern to me and not lost on me how the shift needed for the ideal will take the shift of the mindset of whole nations.

Ditto with our families too - mine also with heritage from the tropics who feel the cold more easily - at times we joke about it, yet it is a fact that there is a divide between my temperature for comfort and theirs.
Our youngest daughter also has Reynard’s and really feels the cold in her hands and feet.
Still living with us, our daughters share our journey and see the problems for us financially, in achieving comfort in our home and in considering the planet as we attempt to future proof and adapt.

It’s a lot for us to consider, even more so for young people raised in a world of convenience and consumerism - they’ve only recently warmed to the idea that perhaps we do need to change our behavior for the better good.
For about the last 4 years they thought their mother had gone mad when I tried to explain why we were making changes - I even got personally blamed off them at one point.
It’s only now their eyes are opening as they see what I was trying to explain in the media.

Having our own space is important to us too . I mentioned a single room retrofit - as much owing to our financial situation as to keeping our carbon footprint to a minimum.
Keeping the person warm is what we’ve all been doing so far - extra layers and wool blankets. We heat the one room where we relax and come together during the evening.
Re bedrooms - currently layers of clothing help, when it gets colder , their rooms won’t be as comfortable to sit in.
We need a solution for this - afterall they’re in their 20s and need their own space.
We’re happy though and dealing with one problem at a time.
You know what’s happened with my bathroom - there is a need to make that renovation count at the moment.
Oddly enough, despite this challenge we’re happy enough and it’s liberating to realize we’re working around and adapting to these modern day problems.

Bringing me full circle to my ideal and my wish for others - we don’t need half the stuff we think we need and I wish people could experience how liberating it can be to realize this and that we can cope better than we think.
Its interesting to think about what the future for our planet and people holds and how it might look.
I also find it scary looking outside my rose coloured ideal goggles!
It’s from our small community trying to make a difference that I take comfort in the knowledge I’m not on my own in caring., even if my ideal and needs are different to others- others here never fail to inspire and educate me further.
Quite deep for a retrofit forum , but we all have drive from somewhere and this is mine.

People, planet and social justice - I see how our consumer choices affect all of that. I see how some people have so little that they barely achieve a consumer choice.
I also wonder, If less was considered more, others might feel better off.


I know it well. I have Norwegian connections and am going there at the end of the month. I can expect the weather to be chilly but I’ll hardly notice in my appropriate clothing but homes are dreadfully overheated. Shorts and T-shirts all day. At least the buildings are properly built, not like here.

Most people these days seem to rely on a ridiculously undersized air to air heat pump, or it seems that way compared with what is needed here.

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:slight_smile: why are the homes overheated? Heating too powerful because of high levels of insulation? There has to be an equation here - building structure plus heating system plus individual clothing equals comfort?

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Is it possible to post photos here?

I suspect that the over heating (by my reconning, not theirs) is a reaction to the cold outside. In the same vein people set their heating here to a higher level than they set their cooling in summer.

Of what? It is difficult to assess a heating system just from its components. I’m sure I could ask people whether I could photograph their heat pumps but I don’t think it will achieve much.

More useful would be a copy of their building regs! Not that I would have time to translate all of it for you.

I have a diagram of a home that has various zones from outside to conservatory to warmer areas to warmest area. Building regs have similar with bedrooms specified cooler than living rooms . Lifestyles adjust according to seasons. Berlin’s ecological orientation recommends this by careful use of highly insulated conservatories over balconies

These are principles of passive solar design

Unless it produces low amounts of entropy when using it!

Low grade heat*, but lots of it. Hard agree with district heating - however, you need high population densities to make thermal transmission feasible. Rural population densities would have to stick to water and ground sources with large thermal stores to load shift when they use the grid.

My view is that passive solar can only be reliably used in temperate/cold climates with a mechanical system controlling solar gain, ie motor controlled Venetian blinds. This also eliminates the risk of overheating in summer and with east/west facing glazing.

Heat pump compressors can be wound for both mains and PV voltages. They’re just not common and expensive. Otherwise, I doubt we will run low voltage for anything. It doesn’t count if it’s from LED drivers to the LED lights. Or gardens lights.

I am in process of digitising my dissertation I wrote in 1983 that explains my thinking, it needs updating badly-,passivhaus was probably a twinkle in someone’s eye,but responding to a couple of points Swaffham Prior Heat Network - Cambridgeshire County Council

Helsinki has the most advanced heat networks I know of - low temperature, soon to be no bioenergy CHP, and prosumer feed in tariffs. The Helsinki energy challenge resulted in some quite extraordinary prize winners.

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Interesting discussion but much of this is centred around solar and my thoughts have turned to wind generation with battery storage. We had the opportunity and expense of doing what was a whole house retrofit, but since then we have continued to improve our home one problem at a time and the difference is significant. The strategy has been to reduce heat demand. Hence, we stay warmer for longer and use less fuel. Curtains are good but I am thinking that secondary glazing would be more effective. It would be worth using a modeller to estimate potential.

I am keen to generate power using renewables but believe storage (battery) to be key to any proposed system. Solar is most popular but advances in wind harvesting and the potential small footprint for the units could make it a game changer as solar generation in winter is a fifth of summertime generation. District heating is viable in high density neighbourhoods; conversely, power distribution in lower density environments might be a viable proposition?

I’m back from Norway and my expectations were quite wrong. Since I lived there global warming has got the upper hand. The temperature in the Oslo area was the same as in London. They even had British levels of rain and a touch of fog. When it was suggested that the fog would make me feel at home I realised that I haven’t seen real fog for ages. My surmise was that as the climate bands move towards the poles from the tropics London’s climate is now in Oslo and London is getting the weather of Brittany.

Mostly the heating wasn’t on. The warmer weather, the airtightness and insulation were making it unnecessary.