Easdale moves into the 21st century

(Cartoon submitted by Angus.)

24 Responses to “Easdale moves into the 21st century”

  • Tim Flinn:

    Not much use at night, then. Nor when its overcast. Scottish Gas must have some really clever people working for it.

  • Bystander:

    Maybe the community treadmill (running machine) should be wired up to provide power as well. Maybe wrong doers can be punished by spending an hour powering the hall’s energy supply. Any offers?

    • Concerned Resident:

      21st century? Treadmills? This sounds more like a backward jump into the 1st century.

      However, a treadmill would be far more efficient and cheaper than the Solar PV panels and could be used at any time of the day or night and in any weather which is more than can be said for Solar power. What a brilliant idea.

  • Mike Jones:

    “This whole kettle is run entirely by solar power” – if only!!!

    A typical electric kettle is rated at 2000 to 3000 watts whereas the proposed Solar PV panels for the hall are only capable of generating an average power of 300 watts or in other words you would need 10 times as many panels in order to be able to boil an electric kettle.

    So there’s no chance of having a solar powered cup of tea.

  • Verum Vulnero:

    Still 300 watts would be just about enough power for a British Gas Smart Meter.

    What! no reliable mobile signal, oh how disappointing.

  • Henry:

    Further to electric kettles. The average kettle is 2,000 to 3,000 watts. The smallest kettle powered by mains electricity appears to be a Morphy Richards 1,000 watts.
    The photo voltaic panels proposed for the hall roof can produce 300 watts, and that would equate to approximately an eggcup-ful of water. Now here’s that old familiar school question: “If it takes 5 minutes to boil one eggcup-ful of water, and there are 6 eggcups-ful in an average cup, how long would it take to make a cup of tea for every full-time islander (assuming there to be 45 or thereabouts)?”
    Well, here’s the answer.
    6 eggcups = 1 average cup therefore
    if the time taken to boil one eggcup-ful of water is 5 minutes
    then it will take 30 minutes to boil one average cup
    therefore x 45 people = 22.4 hours for every adult to have their early morning cuppa.
    Looks like some people would be late for work. And don’t think about toast.

  • Tina:

    …and that’s if they all decide to queue up in the hall! If they use their own kettles at home they’ll be paying for the electricity off the grid anyway – a lot quicker and just as ethical, especially if they have chosen a “green” energy supplier. The environmental cost of manufacturing solar PV panels is significant.

  • Brodie:

    I usually only contribute on Seil Chat but I coudn’t pass up on this opportunity to congratulate the fortunate islanders of Easdale and to say how lucky they are to have the wonderful ingenuity of EE and their ground breaking appliance of science.

    Isn’t technology wonderful – a whole cup of solar powered tea for every adult on Easdale Island. This has to go on Facebook, the whole world deserves to know about this absolutely wonderful groundbreaking venture and the technical advisors at British Gas/Scottish Gas/Centrica who came up with this most ingenious solution have to stand up and take the full credit and publicity that they and their companies deserve.

    The whole world will want to take part in Green Streets after this!! Think of the publicity for British Gas.

  • Tina:

    Don’t forget the electricity generated by the PV panels is to run the air source heat pump. Probably not much left for any kettle plugged in at the hall!

    • Verum Vulnero:

      By air source heat pump I take it you mean the noise generator. Still at least it has to be out of view and fully concealed and its noise is not allowed to exceed 30dbA at the path outside the Hall. As far as power is concerned this device is rated at 6000 watts and it would need 20 times as many Solar PV panels to power it, perhaps we should turn Easdale into a huge solar array then we can all enjoy the noise while sipping solar powered cups of tea!!

  • I imagine the 6kw figure quoted for the heat pump is its output, not its power consumption, although I am prepared to be corrected on this. And 30DB is hardly ‘noise’ . . . it equates to a soft whisper in a library at a range of 5m. I imagine the sea and the wind are making more noise than that 95% of the time.

    Energy payback for rooftop PV systems is under 4 years for the current least efficient multi-crystalline panels, and this is forecast to improve radically in the near future.

    Tina mentioned ‘green’ electricity tariffs. Firstly, let’s remember that electrons are colourless – you do not get exclusively green electrons whoever you buy your electricity from. Under new OfGen definitions so called ‘green’ tariffs will include those where trees get planted or carbon gets offset. The only real green tariffs are those which in some way encourage or support the increase in electricity generation from renewables, not ‘greenwash’ tariffs based on dodgy carbon offsetting.

    In practice, tariffs don’t come much greener than the Hydro Board – the clue is in the name.

    While I can comprehend the objection to the visual intrusion of a wind turbuine as proposed in the original plans I am somewhat dismayed by the apparent flat-out luddite opposition to all renewables displayed by the majority of people who have commented so far.

    • Verum Vulnero:

      Webcraft UK – For your information – The manufacturer’s data sheets indicate that the combined rated power for the air source heat pump compressor and fan are 6Kwatts.

      I agree with your noise assessment, and this will be difficult to achieve with such a noisy pump. There are other examples of air source heat pumps which are much quieter, in fact this must be one of the noisiest. Incidently, the noise would have been hardly perceived if a water sourced heat pump had been used in the harbour rather than an air source heat pump outside the Hall.

      Your energy payback time is overly optimistic as Solar PV is latitude dependent and at Easdales latitude payback time will be considerably longer than 4 years. Improvments in Solar PV design in the future, if any, are irrelevant as far as the current application is concerned.

      I have no objection to renewable energy projects provided that sensible and suitable options are selected and that exagerated and unrealistic claims are not made for the predicted performance.

      I do object to noisy air source heat pumps which on their own by definition cannot be deemed as a renewable energy device since they require mains electricity to operate. I also object to Solar PV panels being located on the roof of a listed building in full public view. I also note from the large number of objectors that I am not alone in these practical views.

  • Concerned Resident:

    Don’t worry, less than 30dbA of noise at the path outside the Hall would be nigh on impossible to achieve especially at night. Standby with your Noise meters.

  • You can hire a noise meter here : http://www.noisemeters.co.uk/product/noise-nuisance/

    £290 per week plus VAT and delivery.

  • Dumb Blonde:

    According to the manufacturer’s data sheet, the Danfoss DHP-AX Air Source Heat Pump (6kW output) consumes 1.6kW of input power, and emits a 67.7db(A) sound power level. For a 12kW rated output, the input power requirement rises to 2.9kW and the sound level increases to 70.4db(A). The applicant appears to have omitted the specification of the selected ASHP from the planning application, but then the initlal application was mistakenly submitted for a Ground Source Heat Pump!

    Whichever model is used, the planning condition for a 20db(A) reduction in noise levels allows at least 40db(A) of noise to irritate local residents during the night.

    • Mr. Ampower:

      Webcraft—– Wrong. 6kw is the consumption or draw down from the grid, and your statement that the energy payback time for rooftop PV systems is under 4 years hardly applies in this situation. If you’d been paying attention you’d have been aware that the proposed 14 PV panels will produce 300 watts i.e. 1/3 of a kw. It won’t, as Henry says, make a cup of tea and, as Verum Vulnero states, it would take 20 x 14 PV panels – a staggering 280 panels – to run the ASHP. This would mean that every house on the island would have to have 4 PV panels on the roof. Do you think that would be either cost effective or acceptable?

  • Mr. Ampower:

    Carbon payback time is not dependent on the size or output of the solar array to any great extent – it is only dependent on the type of panel and installation. If it is irrelevant then why bring it up in the first place? Tina raised the question and so your issue is surely with her, not me, if you feel it is inappropriate to the discussion.

    According to Dumb Blonde the model of heat pump was not specified on the planning application, but you must know as you have specified the power input to the device. Can you please let us know what model was chosen? A heat pump with an input of 6KW could be expected to output at least three times that, which is a lot of heat – does it really take 18kw to heat the hall?

    And – are there any moves afoot yet to install effective insulation in the hall and if not why not? To those of us not resident on Easdale island it seems incredible that the community – having managed to create such a wonderful asset and venue – are making such a song and dance about finishing the job to make it energy efficient.

    • Tim Flinn:

      Yes. It does seem quite a song and dance, doesn’t it? Much of that, though, could (and should) have been avoided had the applicants first gained the informed consent of the islanders and owners. An easy task, one would have thought, given that there aren’t many of us, and if the proposals were well thought out and plausible. Council rejection was as inevitable as it is welcome.

      The greenest solution remains bringing the insulation and wind-proofing of the Hall up to Scandinavian standards. That requires no outside changes, no subsequent and costly maintenance, and no noise. Coupled to a heat capture and recycling system the Hall would largely heat itself using existing lighting and the 0.5 approx. Kwh each body gives off. The cost would be well within the £150k projected. That figure does not include allowance for decommissioning after the life span of devices, nor maintenance once Scottish Gas removes the bill payers’ subsidy, leaving costs which will then be dumped upon islanders, like it or lump it.

      Those promoting the project fail to respond to such alternatives or to seek islander consensus. ‘Consultation’ has proved to be a dialogue with the deaf, with any forensic questions meeting a wall of silence. Thus, what is purported to be a ‘community project’ is really an unwelcomed and alien imposition. Very sad. Very puzzling.

  • Mike Jones:

    Webcraft UK, Dumb Blonde, Verum Volnero and Concerned Resident,

    There seems to be some confusion surrounding the heat pump and this confusion would appear to extend to the applicant. Although the community was not consulted the original concept presented by the applicant was for a water source heat pump.

    The saga of the planning application is as follows: The applicant specified on the planning application form that the application was for a ground source heat pump; this was queried and a new planning application form was submitted for an air source heat pump. The applicant also submitted a manufacturer’s catalogue for air source heat pumps but failed to elect a model. This is similar to stating “I’m going to buy a Ford car, here is the Ford catalogue, guess which car”. Again the planning department eventually managed to elicit from the applicant that it was the top of the range model with a nominal 12Kw rated output. It is questionable as to whether the applicant knows what they really want, first a water source heat pump, then a ground source pump and finally an air source heat pump. This does not portray the impression of being a sound and considered approach, but rather a stab in the dark.

    When configuring and determining the power requirements of an electrical system the most meaningful data to be used is the rated power of the devices which by definition is the power consumed when operating at its most efficient output, in this case the rated powers are 5.7 Kw for the compressor and 0.3 Kw for the fan. This gives a total power requirement of 6 Kw for the air source heat pump together with an unknown power requirement for the under floor heating water pump. It should also be noted that the air source heat pump system has a start-up current of 108 amps which will cause a power glitch that will be noticed by all householders on Easdale Island each and every time that this air source heat pump starts up.

    As far as heating requirements are concerned, the planning department requested the annual power consumption for the building but for whatever reasons this simple request was ignored and not responded to by the applicant. The hall is not insulated to modern standards, which in September of 2010 became even more onerous, and it is questionable whether a nominal 12Kw rated output would be sufficient for heating this building in its present condition given the large air volume, lack of effective insulation and especially given that 12Kw is only the nominal air source heat pump output under the most favourable conditions and that the actual heat pump output under practical conditions will be considerably lower especially in cold weather when the heat pump is needed the most.

    Recent heat pump field trials conducted by the Energy Saving Trust and published in September 2010 found that the heat pumps, which were monitored for a year, significantly underperformed when compared to the claims made for them by their manufacturers. These trials indicated that “the ‘mid-range’ of measured system efficiencies for air source heat pumps was near 2.2” although more significantly the most frequent performance in their trial gave a CoP (coefficient of performance) of 1.6. Claims of CoPs of 3 or more are purely manufacturer’s hype similar to the widely documented exaggerated claims for wind turbine performance by the wind industry.

    As far as sound levels are concerned the pump model chosen has a sound power level of 70.4 db(A) which is a sound pressure level of 50 db(A) at a distance of 5 meters which equates to the distance between the air source heat pump and the path in front of the hall. A condition imposed by the planning department requires a 20 db(A) reduction in this noise to 30 db(A) which would make it the equivalent of a quiet whisper when heard from the path directly in front of the air source heat pump. This is quite an onerous condition and will be difficult to meet without further degrading the pump performance. A 20 db(A) reduction (or one quarter of the perceived noise) is the equivalent noise reduction that could be achieved using an expensive set of ear defenders. It should also be noted that a second planning condition imposed requires the concealment of the air source heat pump from passers by.

    Energy conservation and the insulation of the hall to modern recommended standards do not appear to figure in the applicant’s plans – hardly a green approach – the increased carbon footprint of this air source pump and the consequential contribution to global warming does not appear to be of any concern to the applicant. The applicant and also some of the PPSL committee seem to be under the misapprehension that an air source heat pump is a renewable energy device which by definition it most certainly is not, this would only be true if it were solely powered by renewable energy sources. The proposed Solar PV panels come nowhere near meeting the air source heat pump power requirement.

    • Tim Flinn:

      EE consulted the Centre for Alternative Technology. Its latest magazine, Clean Slate, has an article on heat pumps. It quotes research data from the Energy Saving Trust analysing several heat pumps. It found that no heat pump ever sustained the claimed output. It did say that as underfloor water heating requires much lower temperatures (35 degrees) then, in summer anyway, the system can work if used that way. Since heat is required in winter when the ambient temperatures are very low, then the output is rarely adequate. The siting of the pump is crucial. A south facing sunny site and where the noise won’t be a nuisance is recommended. Using electricity tariffs to power the system means that high costs coincide with the warmest times of the day, which is the reverse of the ideal. The article also observes that maximum insulation and draught-proofing and heat saving and recycling is essential. (Of course, if all that was in place then the heat pump system is probably redundant). In short, CAT doesn’t appear very enthusiastic. Join the club!

  • Tina:

    I came across this:

    Extract from For Argyll: Mike Mackenzie – A complex nationalist

    “Ecologically committed as he is, he is neither blind to nor silent on what he sees as misdirections. One such has been the authoritarian campaign to replace the traditional incandescent light bulbs with long-life light bulbs. Public resistance to these has been born not only on cost grounds but because the quality of light they emit is thinner and colder; and because – as with their use in exterior security sensor lights, they are dangerous in the lag time before they brighten.
    Mackenzie is opposed to these bulbs – they contain chemicals that are environmentally harming in disposal – and to the UK Government’s forcing of them upon the public by the removal from sale of incandescent bulbs.
    He also sees the unreliability of ground source heat pumps and the cost of solar panels – which leads to very long payback periods in annual savings – as factors that quite reasonably turn the public off making a change from traditional power sources.
    His general thesis is that we’ve tried to do too much too soon, offering untried and unstable new technologies whose costs and frequent failures have been damaging to the necessary change of habits in energy generation and consumption.
    He also feels that the authorities too often use what he calls ‘bad science’ in their efforts to convince the public on this and other matters. By ‘bad science’ he means poorly evidenced and subjective argument. His view is that the intelligence of the public must be trusted and that they have the right to be given the facts and an objective assessment of a situation. This enables people to make up their own minds on an issue rather than being made passive receptors of what is often little more than skewed assurances on decisions already taken.”

    I assume the islanders will have an ally in their campaign to stop Eilean Eisdeal’s attempts to foist the unneccessary Green Streets development upon them.

    • Concerned Resident:

      Mackenzie is quite correct as far as heat pumps and Solar PV is concerned, this applies even more so to Air Source Heat Pumps. This week a British Gas spokesman quoted the payback time for Solar PV panels as being 12 years.

      However, if Mackenzie had conducted some research he would have realised that his arguement regarding Halogen filled low-energy long-life light bulbs has already been played out and is old hat.

      Although Halogen filled long-life light bulbs contain toxic gases which also contribute to greenhouse gases (1%), Xenon filled long-life light bulbs do not pose this problem. Xenon is not a greenhouse gas and the use of Xenon filled long-life light bulbs does not pose an environmental problem. Furthermore the EU has set the target of 2016 to phase out halogen bulbs.

      Also far more worringly, the compressors of Air Source Heat Pumps contain refrigerants that yield HFC gases which are extremely toxic and are also greenhouse effect gases and it is for this reason that Air Source Heat Pumps can only be installed and maintained by licensed operators.

  • Angus MRP:

    Air source heat pump? ……… Is this really neccessary?

    There seems to be enough “hot air” emanating from a certain area of the island to heat the inside of the O2 stadium, let alone Easdale Community Hall !!!

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