Heating Water By Solar Energy – Not So Revolutionary

The sight of the early spring sun does make us all pretty joyous about the imminent arrival of summer – lots of gorgeous hot days, no need to use the gas or electric heating for several weeks now until autumn.  We can relax outside to get the benefit of the rays.  Even been known to put washing outside on really good days!  The money that is saved in not switching on heaters, druying units, tumble dryers etc., unbelievable.

This reminds me of a couple of trips to Cyprus to stay with pals.  Their villa is in a tiny village well off the beaten track.  It’s not the easiest place to get to and until only a few years ago, electricity was pretty patchy in supply.  However, my chums were able to rig up solar panels to heat their hot water supply – all rudimentary but all the village houses had means of heating their water and had been doing so for years.

Learning To Utilise Sun And Mother Nature

Recently I had the joy of some of my brood of grand children visiting.  They live quite some way away so these get togethers are not as frequent as we would all like.  What was also very good was their mum being able to stay along with them for a change instea of having to work that week.

One of the best days was spent at a local college, they had a holiday club aimed at teaching their young charges how to manage their use of electricity and utilities.  There were hands on exhibits set up with working models of everything usually found in the modern family house.  We were amazed at how much could be saved if we only thought ahead.  We had the chance to do laundry the old fashioned way with tub and washing dolly and mangles and much experimenting was enjoyed whilst we learned the most efficient ways to achieve the same ends!

Sunny Drying Instead Of Tumble Drying

There must be hundreds of times in a day when a person thinks to themselves, “I must use less power, this house is costing me a fortune”.  Then we go about looking for the little things to turn off and save a few pence here and there.  That light that burns in the day time that doesn’t really need to be on.  The washing machine on for only half a load because someone wants something in it sooner.  The tumble drier that is used for nearly all the wash loads, instead of  using the fresh air outside.  This reminds me of staying with relatives in Texas, I asked why the family did not put their washing out in all that glorious natural sunshine.  The looks on the faces of the ladies I sat with could have killed!  It is considerd highly unsociable to hang any washing outside there.  What a pity, in a country that already uses up so much of our precious resource!

 

Different Ways To Use Less Electricity In The Home

 

  • Use ceiling fans instead of air conditioning or AC – probably  a good tip for the UK where it’s rarely warm enough to need AC, but if you do have it, AC uses a huge amount more electricity than simple fans!
  • Replace leaky windows – Make sure you have at least double glazed windows (you can even get triple glazed now!) to save heat in winter and keep cooler in summer
  • Insulate walls and attics – cavity wall insulation is a great idea for all homes, and the thickest attic insulation will prevent your home from losing heat
  • Check the energy rating of your appliances – all appliances for the home are rated in stars now, so check your appliances are A* rated for the best efficiency!  Important for those you use regularly like cookers, dishwashers and washing machines.

 

Different Thoughts On Fuelling Domestic Life

Nuclear: Around 20% of our electricity is generated by nuclear reactors, where uranium atoms are split to create heat (known as nuclear fission).  The nuclear power stations we have in the UK are due to be closed and several companies have plans for a new generation of reactors to be built from 2018 onwards.

Renewables: Renewable energy creation through wind farms, solar farms and wave power make up around 25% of our electricity.  The EU have set targets of around 30% of electricity to be created through renewable sources by 2020.

Import: finally, we are connected to systems in France, the Netherlands and Ireland through interconnector cables.  This allows us to import and export electricty when economical.  Around 6% electricity was imported into the UK last year.

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