Gas to be banned in new houses in UK

Posted by: satguru

Gas to be banned in new houses in UK - Fri Dec 07 2012 11:01 AM

Under EU regulations (ultimately via UN's Agenda 21 for sustainability) gas and oil will be banned from all new houses in Britain from 2016. This means a return to wood, and of course this means growing many more trees or risk running out or more likely importing vast quantities instead. Whether or not global warming is real (you know my view) banning gas is not the way to go.

Regulations p9 1.3

The source is the UK building regulations level 6, it's real.

I'm still looking for a non commercial site which simplifies it, this one is still complex and unofficial but it's in there somewhere. When I find a better one I'll change it over.
Posted by: sue943

Re: Gas to be banned in new houses in UK - Fri Dec 07 2012 11:13 AM

Dave that is a site selling electric boilers, could you please remove the link as it is a commercial site. Thanks.
Posted by: satguru

Re: Gas to be banned in new houses in UK - Fri Dec 07 2012 11:35 AM

Sorry about that, the regulations were so complicated I needed a summary and so far that was the best I could find. I'll put something else in instead. Here are the rules themselves, just go to page 9 for the relevant summary although they appear to be vague on details. This was the result of the findings of the Stern Report, which also guaranteed power cuts/rationing as a result. He claimed it was good for the planet, although dying of cold isn't very good for the people affected, 2,100 last year in Britain and when the average bills double to around £2,500 a year as a result of the latest climate regulations announced this month this is set to rocket.

Government regulations see p 9

"1.3 The Government has announced that from 2016 all new homes2, and from 2019
all new non-domestic buildings3, in England will be built to zero carbon
standards. The expectation is that Part L of the Building Regulations, which already
sets limits on the emissions of new buildings, will be the regulatory vehicle for
achieving the on-site elements of these zero carbon standards. Options for
changes to the regulations in 2013 have been developed to act as an interim step
on the trajectory towards achieving zero carbon standards from 2016/19."
Posted by: sue943

Re: Gas to be banned in new houses in UK - Fri Dec 07 2012 11:52 AM

If it is zero emissions then surely wood is out of the question as there would be smoke. Electricity will be the only way to go.
Posted by: satguru

Re: Gas to be banned in new houses in UK - Fri Dec 07 2012 11:58 AM

They really don't get it. Of course you are right, wood is no different from any other fossil fuel as ultimately they are all based on the same organic material. As is electricity generation at source unless hydro (not possible without a huge gradient and flow) or nuclear (think Fukushima). I can't really see anything stopping this juggernaut though, the rules are EU wide and without leaving we will be fined if we do not follow them. Meanwhile the conventional prices are set to double to put people off using them, although as yet nothing else (besides the tried and tested wood which we used before we had electricity) actually works. If people don't believe me just connect your local hospital to wind and solar panels and see what happens. I wish somewhere would as they would then know for certain and get rid of the nonsense. I've got the figures for wind power and besides needing electricity to work they also need power stations on constant standby which generate whether connected or not as they take weeks to get going so need to be left on. And ironically these regulations causing many to freeze already are supposedly to stop a slightly warmer planet (as we've had many times before) where energy use would be lower. You can't make it up.

Energy costs article
Posted by: mehaul

Re: Gas to be banned in new houses in UK - Fri Dec 07 2012 12:20 PM

Didn't GB just institute a rule to outlaw landfill waste dumping in favor of burning refuse-turned-plasma processes? Those processes are another way of describing coal gassification/electric generation facilities. So, they'll be able to burn your trash and coal (the two dirtiest atmospheric waste gas systems) instead of developing a clean system for home use. I do miss the huge basement boilers for coal and the daily run out of the slaggy cinders on the driveway as paving material (which had the side effect of adding the soluble ash to the rain run-off/water cycle). You can't say the future looks bad, because there isn't one!
Posted by: sue943

Re: Gas to be banned in new houses in UK - Fri Dec 07 2012 12:46 PM

David, the Channel Islands are not part of the EU but will probably follow what the UK does. We get our electricity from France, nuclear generated electricity, by undersea cable but have to keep our oil fired power station on standby in case there is a power cut from France, we have had several in the past year.
Posted by: dippo

Re: Gas to be banned in new houses in UK - Fri Dec 07 2012 12:54 PM

I've read page 9, and I can't find anything about banning gas. I've read the whole document, and couldn't see anything about banning gas. I did see this on page 17:

"2.10 All dwellings were modelled with an efficient package of services including a 90%
efficient gas boiler and 100% low energy lighting."

This is only a consultation document; do you have any documents that confirm that this will be enacted in UK law, or is this the sort of scare tactic that you criticise in the many who do not agree with you?
Posted by: rayven80

Re: Gas to be banned in new houses in UK - Fri Dec 07 2012 03:13 PM

That would be different. Although they did ban wood burning fireplaces about a decade ago in new houses here. I always thought it was odd they did that.
Posted by: ladymacb29

Re: Gas to be banned in new houses in UK - Fri Dec 07 2012 07:26 PM

Here they keep touting natural gas as being a good alternative to coal-burning power plants and such...
Posted by: satguru

Re: Gas to be banned in new houses in UK - Fri Dec 07 2012 07:37 PM

It is Beth, and the US are apparently going for it big time since Obama outlawed coal. I only heard this on the radio so not been easy to find the source, but the heating industry pages are buzzing with it, these are from qualified plumbers and engineers and I can't see how they could be inventing it. I've got some time now so will keep searching. You get so used to sending original links when you hear something on the radio it throws you.
Posted by: satguru

Re: Gas to be banned in new houses in UK - Fri Dec 07 2012 08:42 PM

Some interesting sidelines I'm finding along the way, they may promote wood but:

If a biomass system were used instead of gas, its carbon emissions would be about 30% less. The biomass system may be less efficient and use about 50% more energy than gas.

Review of changes

I hope to goodness I am wrong on this one, as it would be the most draconian new measure I am aware of and possibly make these new houses almost unsaleable. Here are the regulation summaries direct from the government site:

27. For new buildings, the Government has committed to introduce zero carbon standards from 2016 (homes) and 2019 (non-domestic) for all new buildings. The proposed 2013 changes take the next step towards those zero carbon standards, by tightening the carbon dioxide (CO2) targets for
new buildings and introducing a specific energy efficiency target for new homes.

28 ...and are likely to require building-integrated renewable energy generation technologies (such as solar panels)...

Ove Arup haven't referred to the rule directly on their handout for compliance, but lists the alternatives as:

 Application of „flexible demand‟ systems (supporting demand side management)
 Use of grid-injected bio-methane linked to the site by Green Gas Certificates
 Installation of communal heat accumulator (site based heat storage)
 Home electric vehicle charging
 Electricity storage for the home (to store electricity generated from PV panels)

(note the absence of non 'Green Gas')

The sources appear to be: The legislation consisted of the European Energy Performance Building Directive, existing building regulations and the Code for Sustainable Homes.

Further research appears to imply the rules were changed after the election in 2011, which may by removing domestic appliances from Level 6 (zero carbon) have removed the requirement for blocking the use of gas:

"To qualify for the standard, the government says, housebuilders no longer have to supply zero-carbon power for domestic appliances. This will have a significant effect on the zero-carbon homes built after 2016, when the new zero-carbon target takes effect. Early zero-carbon prototypes, notably those on BRE’s Innovation Park near Watford, already look like historical oddities. Each home had to generate power for everything including appliances from on-site renewables, which meant these homes had to be engineered to save every last milliwatt of energy out of the building fabric and maximise energy gathering from solar panels. Some of the homes looked as if they had fallen off a spaceship rather than come from a catalogue of standard designs."

In the end I may have to revert to the old days and contact the sources directly, but it seems had Labour got in again this would certainly have been the case, but the small alteration (ie they still aim for zero carbon, but by using off-site offsets as part of the equation eg by building wind turbines to compensate for the gap between them and 0%) but does appear the original rules would pretty well require a total reliance (a contradiction in terms) on renewables. I'll keep checking but it's getting late.
Posted by: pyonir

Re: Gas to be banned in new houses in UK - Fri Dec 07 2012 10:36 PM

Originally Posted By: satguru
Obama outlawed coal.

That's not exactly true, unless you listen to conservative radio and/or read conservative news sources. The standards are a proposal, and coal is not outlawed. Dirty coal is the target, not coal in general.

Links for your perusal:
Posted by: satguru

Re: Gas to be banned in new houses in UK - Sat Dec 08 2012 09:49 AM

There's a minor problem there, there are basically two options for coal (assuming like us you already use scrubbers to remove the toxic pollutants at source), coal power with scrubbers or carbon capture and storage, which is unproven and costs so much it virtually makes the process beyond the scope of economics. But clean coal is a trope, it is coal and there are no clean or dirty types. That is a political hook and you've been caught there.

The first article is from March, and says:

"No, it could bar new coal-fired electric generation facilities as they are built today. It does not apply to the roughly 400 existing plants in America (which some are wont to point out dump two billion tons of carbon pollution into the atmosphere every year). The EPA is obliged to issue rules for existing plants too, but given the political fight that will entail, it'll have to wait until after the election"

That was my initial point, the election has passed, and it appears the legislation will be. In the EU things are quite different, coal power stations are being closed down by decree, so a precedent for a huge area has been set. Unlike Europe the American public both have less tolerance of big government and a constitution to protect them from its worst excesses. But nothing is immune to legislation, and having lived through the process here can see the same things gradually and almost imperceptibly occuring over there, as if anyone tried to bring them in suddenly as they did here there may be trouble. But as the election is won and Obama doesn't need to be popular any more he now has the opportunity.

The second piece, also from March, begins by agreeing:

"EPA emission standards may rule out new coal power plants
Proposed new emissions standards would limit carbon dioxide produced by new power plants, which would probably prohibit construction of any coal-fired facilities."

Whatever they write after that is only within that context, they have already set out their stall and couldn't get out of it plausibly once that was their statement.

" The proposed emissions standards are for all new plants, including ones powered by abundant and cheap natural gas, but would hit hardest coal-fired facilities, which would face substantial — perhaps insurmountable — technological and financial obstacles in complying with the limits.

"What this essentially says is we will never be building dirty old coal plants ever again"

Pretty well covers it for me, and again now the election is done with it may not cover existing coal stations as it does here but your mines may become uneconomical if there's no guarantee of future business when the old plants wear out, and may hit them hard as we had in the 70s and now have no coal mining at all to speak of.
Posted by: satguru

Re: Gas to be banned in new houses in UK - Tue Dec 11 2012 10:34 PM

I've contacted British Gas directly as they were quoted by one of their staff on a site I read, and said they'll get back to me in five days as only their specialist team would know. But will they tell me?