Wednesday, 9 November 2011
I'm going to backpedal through time a bit so as to introduce a series of works we have initiated (to run alongside all the other works we haven't finished). I will return later with tales from our last wedding of the year and of bonfire night.
For both environmental and financial reasons we have been deliberating on how to update Inshriach and how to wean it off its appetite for oil. Wood boilers, whether fired by pellets, wood chips, logs or waste wood are big business these days so we weighed up our options, put our savings in a pot and plumped for a brand new wood pellet system, a 60kw Nordic Bio Energy boiler, fed by a vacuum system which will draw pellets through a pipe under the drive from an 8 ton hopper on the other side. Two new and efficient tanks will give us the capacity to keep up with endless big baths for wedding parties and we can set the ball rolling for installing central heating upstairs at some point in the future.
So as soon as the wedding was done the first of our outstandingly useful bonfire party crew arrived and the shovels came out, we rented a minidigger and got started on the trench for the vacuum and footings for the hopper. Its going to be a narrow window in the weather before it gets too cold and because of bonfire night, cider and minor operational difficulties we have so far achieved precisely one large hole.
The hopper is eventually going to be disguised as another Edwardian ice house / game shed. The chimney needs lining on the house, the cellar stripped out, new heating pipework needs to join onto the old heating pipework, the big oil tank can then go and the new system will have an electric backup. That still leaves oil for the aga but go in there now when its getting cold outside and its deliciously toasty in the kitchen.
Then there is the matter of generating our power sustainably and true to form it's all happening at once. We have been planning solar for a while so, again taking advantage of the end of the rental season, a 4kw photo voltaic array is planned for the big house. To top our renewables inventory for the week my old friend Jimmy Whitmore (now a sustainable energy inventor at KraftMaus) stayed around for a few days after bonfire night to chat over some ideas we have been having for a small Hydro Electric generator to power the workshops, alternative fuels we could be running the Inshriach fleet on and suchlike.
I will report back on the various hurdles, installers, contractors, holes, progress and inventions over the next few months, hopefully with better photos.