Wood rings…

Stripes in wood.

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Robinswood Hill + a happy tomato…

A steep dog walk up Robinswood Hill and a great view from the top!

Robinswood Hill walk 13.09.14

Robinswood walk 12.09.14 - 03 Robinswood walk 12.09.14 - 08 Robinswood walk 12.09.14 - 20 Robinswood walk 12.09.14 - 21 Robinswood walk 12.09.14 - 24 Robinswood walk 12.09.14 - 25 Robinswood walk 12.09.14 - 26

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Day 025…

A fungus detail on some scavenged wood from my local park. The busiest time relating to wood is during the summer months, when any and every piece of fallen wood is collected and we have our main delivery of mixed hard wood.

Garden details 06.06.13 - 1

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Jack Frost touches the garden…

While it’s been fairly cold so far this winter, there haven’t been too many dramatic photo opportunities. A few hard frosts has been the extent of the options so far.

Ice crystals 16.01.13 - 6 Ice crystals 16.01.13 - 7 Ice crystals 16.01.13 - 8 Ice crystals 16.01.13 - 2

10cm of snow is forecast over the next 2 days… watch this space! : )

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What wood…?

Ummm….

From left (I think): Hawthorn, ??, Beech, Birch.

Some wood I can identify but i’m still learning a lot about wood-lore. Anyone know what these are? This was a selection from the last load of firewood.

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Around the house…

A day spent at home with two sick boys, coughing and spluttering! A cold but bright and clear afternoon, following a very wet and grey morning.

Nice to get some fresh air in the garden and blow away the illness!

I chopped some wood and found some nice patterns in the centres. Light refracting through a glass and a close-up of a sprouting potato with the new Canon S100. I have to say this beats my Canon 400D hands down, partly because you can only get as close as 30cms, given the 18-200 lens. Very pleased with the detail on that.

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Golden wood…

A golden image of depressions made from a chair leg on pine floor boards. The light creates a dazzling effect and the dark edges of the floor boards create a strong break through the centre.

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1 year of solar panels + energy costs…

It’s been 1 year since we had the solar PV panels installed on the front roof of our house. It’s been a really inspiring and life-changing experience in many ways and we’re more aware now of how much energy we’re using and what times of day it’s best to use certain energy-intensive appliances.

So, over the year, the panels produced nearly 1250 units of electricity, which will give us around £540 from the feed in tariff (at 43.3p per unit) and equaled 43% of the electricity we used.

The types of fuel we’ve been using are wood, gas and electricity. For gas, there is an equation which the gas companies use to convert the metric units of gas which is burned in the boiler or oven/hob to a KW/h ‘unit’.

units used x calorific value x volume correction / conversion to KWh = gas used in KWh

This is… X units x 39.3 x 1.022640 / 3.6 = X KWh

This allows you to compare the actual energy that is used for gas and electric, in a comparable unit, in this case KWh. This is a bit geeky but the figures below (even for what turns out to be our very low usage) are pretty big, especially when the gas and electric consumption is compared with what our solar panels are generating. Here are our figures for the last year…

(01/01/2011 to 01/01/2012)

Gas = £249.18 or 3371 KWh

Electric = £374.52 or 2923 KWh

(01/02/2011 to 01/02/2012 – our 1st full month generating was February 2011)

Solar panels = £540 (income) or 1248.9 KWh

So, £623.70 spent on gas and electric for the whole year. Add to this the £360 for the 6M3 of firewood for the space heating of the living areas gives £983.70, which is the total spent on fuel/energy for the year.

The total in energy terms (KWh) was 6294 for gas and electric. I’m not sure how to work out the KWh provided by the wood though??

From the cost of £983.70, the income from the solar panels should be deducted (£540), giving a grand total spent on energy for the year of £443.70!

Two really important issues come out of this. The first is the comparison of KWh totals for generated and used, as follows.

Total generated = 1,248.9 KWh

Total consumed = 6,294 KWh

There’s obviously a bid difference there and even with the solar panels, with the consumption roughly 5 times more than the generated (or even more if you add in the unknown energy value for the wood). Solar panel efficiency has got a long way to go before it’s able to claw back some of this difference.

The second thing to highlight is the ‘average’ figures for 3-bed semis, which all the price comparison websites use for their standard figures. These are their figures for consumption per year.

  • Average electricity usage of 3,300 kWh for standard single rate electricity that’s averaged across all regions and
  • Average gas usage of 20,500 kWh per household

Assuming 8p per KWh unit of gas and 10p per KWh unit of electricity would give…

Gas: £0.08 x 20,500 KWh = £1,640

Electric: £0.10 x 3,300 KWh = £330

Combined total = £1,970

If this total figure is used as a comparison, our total of £443.70 is amazing. This is 22% of the average and i’m proud that all the combined features we’ve installed and the way we live has led to this figure. It makes all the chopping of the fire wood much more appealing!