Your browser isn't supported
It looks like you're using an old web browser. To get the most out of the site and to ensure guides display correctly, we suggest upgrading your browser now. Download the latest:

Welcome to the MSE Forums

We're home to a fantastic community of MoneySavers but anyone can post. Please exercise caution & report spam, illegal, offensive or libellous posts/messages: click "report" or email forumteam@.

Search
  • FIRST POST
    • MSE Andrea
    • By MSE Andrea 11th Aug 09, 4:12 PM
    • 9,267Posts
    • 22,120Thanks
    MSE Andrea
    Great "Alternative Sources of Energy" Hunt
    • #1
    • 11th Aug 09, 4:12 PM
    Great "Alternative Sources of Energy" Hunt 11th Aug 09 at 4:12 PM
    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.



    This Forum Tip was included in MoneySavingExpert's weekly email

    Don't miss out on new deals, loopholes, and vouchers

    Could you do with a Money Makeover?


    Follow MSE on other Social Media:
    MSE Facebook, MSE Twitter, MSE Deals Facebook, MSE Deals Twitter, Forum Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest
    Join the MSE Forum
    Get the Free MoneySavingExpert Money Tips E-mail
    Report inappropriate posts: click the report button
    Point out a rate/product change
    Flag a news story: news@moneysavingexpert.com
Page 1
    • Ken68
    • By Ken68 12th Aug 09, 6:39 AM
    • 6,432 Posts
    • 4,107 Thanks
    Ken68
    • #2
    • 12th Aug 09, 6:39 AM
    • #2
    • 12th Aug 09, 6:39 AM
    This manual solar hot water system is so easy to set up, cost about a tenner.



    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.
    Last edited by MSE Jenny; 18-08-2009 at 1:01 PM.
    • avantra
    • By avantra 12th Aug 09, 7:18 AM
    • 1,290 Posts
    • 904 Thanks
    avantra
    • #3
    • 12th Aug 09, 7:18 AM
    • #3
    • 12th Aug 09, 7:18 AM
    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:




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

    Last edited by avantra; 12-08-2009 at 7:27 AM.
    Five exclamation marks the sure sign of an insane mind!!!!!

    Terry Pratchett.
  • i8banks
    • #4
    • 12th Aug 09, 8:17 AM
    • #4
    • 12th Aug 09, 8:17 AM
    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
    • #5
    • 12th Aug 09, 8:50 AM
    Solar Hot Water
    • #5
    • 12th Aug 09, 8:50 AM
    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
    • #6
    • 12th Aug 09, 9:11 AM
    • #6
    • 12th Aug 09, 9:11 AM
    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
    • #7
    • 12th Aug 09, 9:18 AM
    DIY Solar
    • #7
    • 12th Aug 09, 9:18 AM
    This looks like a good site also
    http://www.builditsolar.com/
  • crazy_horse_uk
    • #8
    • 12th Aug 09, 9:23 AM
    LPG a Big Saver
    • #8
    • 12th Aug 09, 9:23 AM
    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
    • #9
    • 12th Aug 09, 9:47 AM
    • #9
    • 12th Aug 09, 9:47 AM
    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, 200008
    • 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
    Last edited by MSE Jenny; 18-08-2009 at 1:03 PM.
  • albyota
    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
    LPG & Solar PV
    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.
  • beebearshouse
    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.
    Originally posted by Mcfi5dhc
    Mind if I ask how much the conversion cost you??
    If you see someone without a smile.
    Give them yours


    Debt free - as long as you don't count my student loan
  • Mcfi5dhc
    Mind if I ask how much the conversion cost you??
    Originally posted by beebearshouse
    1650 - this was just before petrol prices went mental, but the prices of conversion are still roughly the same. V6/V8's is a bit more - still under 2000 though I think.

    The payback depends on how much petrol you are using - but mine was about 10,000 miles. I have done 20,000 since conversion (every 12,000 miles you need an LPG service, but mine is only 25).

    Thanks
  • ktpie
    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.
    Originally posted by rfburke
    I've seen coils that would fit in the immersion heater hole for sale on ebay, this is the website any experience of these? Would be cheaper than getting a new tank.
    • SailorSam
    • By SailorSam 12th Aug 09, 11:31 AM
    • 21,173 Posts
    • 36,772 Thanks
    SailorSam
    'tggzzz' can you check that site name for me please...withouthtair... i can't get it to come up
    Liverpool is one of the wonders of Britain,
    What it may grow to in time, I know not what.

    Daniel Defoe: 1725.
  • bigmerc1
    I purchased a 1988 S Class Merc, i.e. top of the range at the time (could do the same with BMW or Audi but go for one of the bullet proof luxury cars that have had money spent on them over their life) with a long service for a little over 1,000 first service and replacement of ALL worn parts 1,000 (brakes timing chains, all oil and filters), conversion to LPG 1,200. Now i am motoring in a very comfortable car that cost wise runs at 0.12p per mile for 3,200. So recycling, boosting local economy, good for environment, very comfortable and safe.
  • ktpie
    'tggzzz' can you check that site name for me please...withouthtair... i can't get it to come up
    Originally posted by SailorSam
    If you click the link it doesn't work but if you type it in it works (or just try this http://www.withouthotair.com/).
    • DdraigGoch
    • By DdraigGoch 12th Aug 09, 12:21 PM
    • 715 Posts
    • 3,996 Thanks
    DdraigGoch
    So far we've cut out the oil central heating and rely on point of use electric heaters plus a lot of woolies/fleeces! Our main heating comes from a 20Kw wood stove, without back boiler. We could have fitted the back boiler but decided not to due to the back boiler taking 12Kw off the fire and we need more than 8Kw to heat the area it's in. We have ditched the electric cooker and now only use the wood fired range. If we want toast or a cup of tea before the fire's kicked in [it takes about an hour] then we use the "normal" electric kettle [which we always fill once and then store the remaining hot water in a Thermos flask for later - instant coffee's ok without bringing back up to the boil], the toaster or even one of those glass ovens [worth every penny!]. The slowcooker has barely ever been out of the cupboard recently Our domestic hot water is taken care of by three point of use instantaneous heaters, one gas and two electric.

    Our electricity bills have plummetted and the stoves are fed to the constant refrain of, "Never waste a calorie" as the next bit of scrap wood/paper etc goes on, in addition to any wood we buy in.

    Our windows are doubleglazed but as we are decorating the house we shall be replacing the glass with the current e-glass glazing units. Curtains make a huge difference over both windows and doors.
    If you see me on here - shout at me to get off and go and get something useful done!!
  • rfburke
    I don't have any experience or knowledge but it seems perfectly feasible. The only problem is that you loose the electric element, which is ok but in the event that you are unable to use your boiler (more common than you think most boilers break down in winter) and its a dark day you'll have no hot water.
    The sealing around the element aperture would need to be good as well, if the tank is old you could damage the opening and find you are not able to make an adequate seal. Corrosion on the tanks is more common on old ones retrofitted with lagging jackets than ones which are preinsualted.
    • andyfras
    • By andyfras 12th Aug 09, 12:22 PM
    • 19 Posts
    • 23 Thanks
    andyfras
    A few years ago we installed a home-made solar hot water system based on a design from the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT.org.uk) in Wales:

    It cost us about 600 including the dual coil tank, low voltage pump with battery and solar charger, and clip-on fins from CAT.

    Due to restrictions in size, we have slightly less than 2 square metres of panels, but it provides plenty of hot water on sunny days and needs only a slight top-up on grey days. It can even raise the tank temperature by 30degC in Winter on a sunny day.

    We have recently had a Solar PV system fitted which is rated at 1.62kW (PhotoEnergy.co.uk). This cost just under 6000 after the 2500 grant. We sell the excess energy back to EON (fixed rate based on capacity and house size) for 46/year. It's very satisfying to see the consumer meter running backwards when the sun comes out. We also claim ROCs (Renewable Obligation Certificates) from OFGEM which are worth about 35 each and we expect to get 3 per year. The new rates for solar energy production coming in next year will be worth about 35p for every unit generated, whether we use it or export it, so that should work out at about 500.

    Initially, the pay-back time seemed very long, but with these new initiatives and rising fuel prices, it is now probably approaching ten years.
    Last edited by MSE Jenny; 18-08-2009 at 12:59 PM.
Welcome to our new Forum!

Our aim is to save you money quickly and easily. We hope you like it!

Forum Team Contact us

Live Stats

4,647Posts Today

5,377Users online

Martin's Twitter