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Renewable Energy

Introduction
Renewable energy resources offer a sustainable alternative to Ireland's traditional dependency on fossil fuels such as gas, oil and coal. They offer a means to reducing harmful greenhouse emissions.
Renewable energy resources, unlike fossil fuels are constantly replaced by nature and in theory can never to diminished
On The contrary fossil fuels are finite resources, are becoming more scarce and expensive as supplies diminish

For residential purposes, the most common sources of renewable energy available are:

Geo-Thermal (Heat Pump)
Geo-Thermal refers to the energy generated by the heat stored in the ground.
The ground (earth) captures and stores the heat from the sun's rays.
Geo-Thermal is the technology that extracts this heat source and exchanges through heat pumps to provide heating to radiators or underfloor heating in homes.
Geothermal heat pumps use significantly less energy to operate than conventional gas, oil or coal heating systems, since they utilize free heat from the ground.

The heat is 'collected' either via horizontal or vertical collectors. This is a closed loop system
Horizontal collectors are to date, the most popular in Ireland and suit larger sites.
Vertical collectors are more popular for smaller/restricted sites.
Vertical collectors (open loop system), however, (although more expensive than horizontal) can be cost effective if a deep bored well is required for water supply.
It is claimed that a Geothermal heating system can be up to 70% cheaper to run than traditional heating Systems

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Aero-Thermal (Air to Water Heat Pump)
Air to water heat pumps use the outside air as a heat source.
Air is extracted via a fan through a grill which is part of a refrigeration circuit, the refrigerant absorbs the heat from the outside air, is compressed (using electricity to power the compressor, fan and circulation pumps) and the heat produced is absorbed through a heat exchanger unit and transmitted to the house by underfloor heating or radiators.
The system is effective for air temperatures as low as -25° degrees (depending on the manufacturer)
The system may also have to be fitted with a small supplementary back up system if and when outside temperature falls below - 7° degrees (depending on the manufacturer)
It is claimed that an Aero-Thermal (Air to Water heat pump) heating system can be up to 50% cheaper to run than traditional heating Systems

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Exhaust to Water (Heat Pump)
Exhaust Air Heat pumps utilize the heat within the house as a heat source.
The system operates by extracting heat from the circulating air from warm areas of the building such as bathrooms, kitchens and utility rooms and returning it to the heating and hot water system.
This system provides a healthy indoor heat system that combines the benefit of a Heat Recovery Ventilation (HRV) system with a high efficiency of Exhaust Air Heat technology
Exhaust Air Heat pumps are best suited to highly insulated low energy buildings
It is claimed that an Exhaust to Water Heat Pump heating system can be up to 50% cheaper to run than traditional heating Systems

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Bio-Mass
Biomass Energy is loosely defined as, any organic materials that can be burned and used as a source of fuel.
Typically timber or wood is the principal source of biomass such as shavings, saw-dust or waste material from wood. This by-product is processed to produce wood-pellets and can then be used as fuel for wood pellet boilers and stoves.
Wood pellets are a clean, safe and energy efficient fuel with obvious environmental benefits.
Their high energy density makes them more efficient than common fossil fuels.

In Ireland wood pellets are most commonly delivered in bulk (typically 3 tons) and stored in a moisture free environment (usually a purpose made silo)
Wood pellets can also be supplied in bags, which is sometimes more convenient, but also a more expensive option than bulk deliveries
It is claimed that a Bio-mass heating system can be up to 33.3% cheaper to run than traditional heating Systems.
At present (July 2010) wood pellets are CO2 tax exempt

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Wind Turbines
A wind turbine is a generator installed on top of a mast that converts wind energy into electricity, which is to be used to power your home.
The larger the turbine the more power it will produce. Turbines generally range from 2.5-12 KW (Kilo Watts) when installed for residential use. The size of the power unit required will depend on the size of your house, your electricity demands (amount and time needed) and of critical importance, the location of your site. Horizontal Axis Wind Turbines (HAWT) are the most popular in Ireland for residential use.
It is claimed that installing a Wind Turbine can save between 50-80% on your electricity bill

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Solar Panels (Photo-Voltaic)
Solar Photovoltaics are becoming increasing popular in Ireland.
Solar Photovoltaics (PV) is a method of generating electrical power by converting solar radiation (sunlight) into electricity using semiconductors. The semiconductors converts the electricity produced (direct current) to alternative current then may be used to power domestic appliances.
Photo voltaic systems usually vary in size from 1 to 11 Kw Kilo Watt). Each Kw can produce approximately 1,000 units (1 unit = 1Kwh) of electricity per annum. The average household uses 3,000 – 4,000 units per annum.

If additional power is created than, what usage is needed in the home, it can be diverted to the production of hot water via a buffer type cylinder. Additional power can be transmitted to the power grid (subject to conditions) and you will be compensated (subject to conditions) by the Electricity Supply Board (ESB)

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Further Information / Links
Further useful information can be found at the following

Electricity Supply Board
Connection contacts

Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland 
(SEI) Provides Information about your proposed home regarding energy use, renewable energy, etc.

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Irish Self Builder acknowledges and is grateful to all pages sponsors and advertisers, which have made this web site possible
Irish Self Builder is dedicated to the self build market in Ireland and will expand the range of services in due course
Home Contact ISB Featured Co. Shop at ISB. Start-Up Co.
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Irish Self Builder
Self Build Ireland, Building a House, Self Build, Irish Self Build
Advantages Concrete Build Costs Energy Efficiency Renewable Energy Timber Frame
Self build (advantages) Self Build (Concrete Build) self build (costs) Self Build (Energy Efficiency) self build (renewable energy) Self Build (Timber Frame)

Irish Self Builder, Email info@irishselfbuilder.com