Great "Alternative Sources of Energy" Hunt

Do you use alternative sources of energy? Whether it's LPG or you've installed solar panels with the intent to sell back energy, we'd like to tap energy saving MoneySavers' wealth of knowledge for your top tips on making alternative energy sources work for you. How do you maximise savings and cut costs?

Click reply below to give your findings.



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Comments

  • Ken68
    Ken68 Posts: 6,825
    First Anniversary First Post Energy Saving Champion Home Insurance Hacker!
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    edited 18 August 2009 at 12:01PM
    This manual solar hot water system is so easy to set up, cost about a tenner.

    th_solar002-1.jpg

    in each sun collector is a large pot filled with tap water each day. Store in large flasks, the sort used for picnics, or use straightaway.
    Ideal is the insulated containers as used in labs, the middle one as above, lined with foil, place pot in container, double glazed window from the recycling centre £1 each on top. Incline the whole thing to the sun.
    All done, Bobs your uncle.
    Edit...not for drinking unless re-boiled and as with roof mounted , must reach 60 degrees.
  • avantra
    avantra Posts: 1,327
    Photogenic First Post First Anniversary Combo Breaker
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    edited 12 August 2009 at 6:27AM
    We have a wood burning stove in the garden shed on the farm we live in.
    I always burn this instead of wood as we have plenty:

    1060896_horse_dung.jpg


    And to cut down on energy used for doing the washing up we use this device for pre-wash treatment:

    3577481031_cc3aefe13d_o.jpg
    Five exclamation marks the sure sign of an insane mind!!!!!

    Terry Pratchett.
  • i8banks
    i8banks Posts: 24 Forumite
    I have an old style back boiler so what i do is turn it off and turn the hot water off as things like shower,dishwasher,washing machine all heat themselves my bill for gas dec to march was £50! compared to last year dec to march £140 and my last year summer bill was £22 compared to the previous of £144! good savings if i need to wash a few dishes ect i boil the kettle.
  • spudwynk
    spudwynk Posts: 15 Forumite
    We have had solar hot water for almost 2 years now and I would strongly recommend it. For over 6 months a year we have our hot water turned off permanently and with the larger water tank installed, we get by even on grey days. Last summer we switched our central heating hot water on for a total of 3 hrs and its looking like we'll be at the same level this year too. We also run the system at 70 degrees rather than 60 to help offset grey days - you just have to be careful that kids don't scald themselves with the hot taps.

    My last quarters gas bill (May-Jul) was £23 as we have a gas hob for cooking.

    It is very self satisfying to know you are helping with the environment and I would strongly recommend it.
  • rfburke
    rfburke Posts: 31 Forumite
    The thing about solar hot water is that you need a double coil hot water tank. The standard tank has a single coil which your central heating system runs through. A double coil allows solar water heater to pass through the second coil. If you are getting a new central heating system installed or require a new hot water cylinder then request a double coil tank. They are pretty much standard now and shouldn't cost any more than a single coil tank. You can even get tripple coil tanks for combining central heating, solar heating and a back (solid fuel) boiler.
    There are plenty of DIY alternative energy sites, here are a few I found useful;
    http://www.bigginhill.co.uk/energy.htm
    http://www.reuk.co.uk
    http://www.greenbuildingforum.co.uk
    this is a swiss supplier of solar water heaters thats seems good value but I haven't used them or know anyone who has.
    http://www.solarenergy.ch/spf.php?lang=en&fam=41&tab=1

    Apparently vacuum tube solar water heats although more efficient are more expensive and apparently more problematic.
  • rfburke
    rfburke Posts: 31 Forumite
    This looks like a good site also
    http://www.builditsolar.com/
  • I used to commute from Windsor to Wrexham, and after a year calculated that I had spent £6,000 on petrol! By buying an LPG-converted car and cutting my average speed by 10 mph I reckon I saved around £4,000 per year. Positives include half-price fuel, a longer engine life, lower particulates, sometimes shorter queues at the garage, no Congestion Charge for registered vehicles and no exposure to tanker driver strikes. Negatives include a longer fill-up time, fewer filling stations, and a tendency of some thoughtless folk to park in front of the LPG pump when getting their weekly shop at the garage.
  • tggzzz
    tggzzz Posts: 5 Forumite
    edited 18 August 2009 at 12:03PM
    Excellent, very readable, and neutral book about the potential and reality of alternative energy sources should read "Sustainable Energy - without the hot air" by Professor David McKay.

    It will, amongst many other things, state what you can expect from domestic solar and wind installations.

    Get it free at www.withouthotair.com

    Remarkably all sides in the debate think it is an excellent book, including.
    • Tony Juniper Former Executive Director, Friends of the Earth
    • Peter Ainsworth MP Shadow Secretary of State
    • Sir David King FRS Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK Government, 2000–08
    • Matthew Sullivan Carbon Advice Group Plc
    • Lord Oxburgh KBE FRS Former Chairman, Royal Dutch Shell
    • Chris Goodall Author of Ten Technologies to Savethe New and Renewable Energy Centre
    • Duncan McLaren Chief Executive, Friends of the Earth Scotland
    • Darran Messem Vice President Fuel Development Royal Dutch Shell
    • Robert Sansom Director of Strategy and Sustainable Development EDF Energy
    • Dr Derek Pooley CBE Former Chief Scientist at the Department of Energy, Chief Executive of the UK Atomic Energy Authority
  • albyota
    albyota Posts: 1,106 Forumite
    Air to water, Air Source Heat Pumps are the most efficient form of heating and hot water requirements, try these, acsrenewables co uk, they will help!
    There are three types of people in this world...those that can count ...and those that can't! ;)

    * The Bitterness of Low Quality is Long Remembered after the Sweetness of Low Price is Forgotten!
  • Mcfi5dhc
    Mcfi5dhc Posts: 323 Forumite
    I converted my MG to LPG about 18 months ago. So far, its been brilliant. Current price is about 46.9p litre, I get about 330 - 350 miles for £20. I bought a map for every LPG garage in the country, but you usually find them fairly easily anyway. I have not had any negative findings with LPG.

    I have Solar PV panels which generate about 1/3 of my electricity (see my other post "First year solar PV payback"). Although some people debate the savings with them, I believe them to have a long term financial saving.

    I am happy with both LPG and Solar PV, and will do more "alternatives" in the near future - probably to get rid of heating / hot water bills, though undecided which method yet.
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