I second that request.
Let the entire EU refuse to allow the mining of such things & watch the power load requirements get back down to saner levels that can usually be met by the power generating capacity available.
The directors general of Sweden's Financial Supervisory Authority and Environmental Protection Agency have called upon both the EU and Sweden's government to ban cryptocurrency mining. Kungstradgarden in stockholm sweden Kungstradgarden in Stockholm, Sweden Since China banned Bitcoin (again), wannabe get-rich-quick artists …
Yeah, it's funny in a strange kind of way. All those protestors blocking Amazon warehouse access because of the Amazon Carbon footprint, but I don't see any big protests about cryptocurrencies and huge carbon footprint and/or "waste" of green power going on there. I wonder how much extra coal and gas have been burned because of all the cheap hydro power not being used to heat peoples homes.
Neither agreeing or disagreeing with your comment, but your link is less than useless for actual figures. The article is a rant, and links to an earlier rant by the same site making very big claims, but with no evidence to back it up.
Please can you provide a link with some verifiable evidence?
Further to that, the term cryptocurrency is being used to describe what is quite a broad ecosystem of different things. Bitcoin and Ethereum specifically are expensive in terms of transactions (the cost to the user of the currency as well as the energy cost involved). If you look at more modern alternative projects (ADA, Solana, Algo...) they are significantly cheaper/less power intensive. A google search will tell you a solana transaction takes around 1837 joules, if you do a second google search after that one, you've used more energy than a solana transaction. The costs of that particular coin are low as well, 0.00025$ average currently.
By all means i agree that Bitcoin, Ethereum and other older technologies do need some correction but that said it seems to me that the economics of these alternative coins will eventually see them win out. Perhaps we shouldn't wait for the market to make that selection though and as such legislation would be the way to go.
the heat generated by crypto-mining vs the heat generated by coiled resistance wire or heat pumping systems... which one is actually DOING WORK that might return VALUE?
Just thought I'd point that out.
(using a fully loaded multi-core CPU+GPU crypto mining setup to provide electric heat in places where electric heat makes sense... go fig)
You know what makes sense to ME? Co-generation, that's what. An engine making electricity, then capture the waste heat from the engine and heat buildings with it.
And maybe the extra 'trons from the generator can mine some bitcoin.... and heat some additional rooms.
I don't actually do any crypto mning, but the fact remains that if you're going to JUST make heat with electricity, you might as well get some work out of it in the process. Actually, locating the crypto mining gear in a place where you have to run it MOST of the time (even in summer) to make things comfortable would make a lot of sense.
But if you wanted REAL efficiency you'd have a Cogen setup, with an absorption chiller for summer. Still 300% for a heat pump system is pretty good. But that depends a LOT on what the temperatures are. Higher delta-T means lower efficiency. And mining bitcoin typically creates MONEY. So it's a question of whether the bitcoin mining pays for itself (and you get the 'free' heat out of it), in my view. You know, like COST efficiency.
I was going to say, why don't Swedish homes run a bitcoin mining CPU or 2 in the middle of their home all Winter?
But now I'll ask, apart from expensive hardware, where is the extra waste from the side hustle of mining Bitcoin, it it's providing essential home heating?
If you're only thinking in the energy converted then, you're right, it doesn't really matter. However, electric heating is notoriously inefficient, which is why it's deliberately expensive in many countries, at least since the oil crisis, and limited to things like kettles, washing machines, etc.
However, banning mining is almost impossible to do as it's difficult to enforce: is a data centre doing something useful or just runing crypto calcs? Much better to ban the trading and also reduce the massive risks due to speculation.
A bit of both. If you have an immersion heater then you're all avoid the biggest problem of the temperature gradient, but that's not what mining rigs are set up for.
Because electricity is in some countries, including, unavoidably used for heating, we can here, for the sake of argument, discount both conversion and transmission losses. But it's worth noting that even with nuclear, combined heat and power plants are common.
How can a heat pump be rated for efficiency? It doen't create heat, other than it's own working losses.It merely concentrates the heat it processes. The total amount of heat from the sorce remains the same. Some years ago, before the madness took over, I did some research for a neighbour, whose house lay over some old lead mine workings. Workings that some of my fellow cavers and I had dug out even more years back. Sited at the uppr parts of the mine, in winter a howling gale would emit from the workings. In summer, the reverse. The air was at a constant 10C, which gave a nice margin , such that you could get plenty of heat out, without the risk of ice buildup. A bonus, was that the high water content of the air, simply condesed, adding it's heat to the output, before running back int the workings. The workings were quite extensive, and the stored heat capacity was huge. He never pursued the project, whivh was a pity. Since he wanted the heat for undderfloor heating, the concentration ratio was quite good.
"How can a heat pump be rated for efficiency?"
Very easily. A 100% efficient electric heater converts 100% of the power it consumes into heat. A 300% efficient electric heat pump (which is about the average) provides 3x as much heat to its 'hot' side as 100% efficient electric heater would produce using the same amount of energy.
That heat has to come from somewhere. Heat pumps don't magic up heat from nowhere.
In the case of an air source heat pump it's extracted from the air outside the building. So the air gets cooler, and you need to ensure a good movement of air around the heat exchanger.
In the case of a ground source heat pump, the heat is extracted from the ground. How do you replace that heat, particularly in the winter when there isn't much sunlight? Usually it's by water in the soil moving around by convection or possibly by flowing through the area which means that some soil types (clays for example) are unsuited to the most common types of ground source heat pumps.
Water source heat pumps? From a body of water. A river is constantly flowing so that can work quite well, but a lake has to be large or eventually you're just going to freeze it.
As someone pointed out above, the efficiency of a heat pump varies hugely with the amount of work you ask it to carry out or - as they put it - the "delta T", that is, the difference in temperature between your heat source and the output you desire.
So producing water at 30C for your underfloor heating in autumn with a source temperature of (say) 10 or 15C can be quite efficient (delta T of 15 or 20C). Producing water at 45 or 50C for your new, oversized radiators (standard radiators are designed for flow temperatures of 70 or 80C) is less efficient (delta T of 30 to 40C) and producing water at 60C for storage (minimum temperature necessary to kill Legionella) usually requires the use of an immersion heater for the last 20 or 30C, particularly air source pumps in the winter, and don't forget that in winter your mains water will also be colder when it enters the building - ours here varies by at least 5C between a mild winter and a warm summer, some days more.
Why storage? Because heat pumps generally don't produce sufficient quantities of heat to be used as instantaneous water heaters.
There is an element of "emperor's new clothes" here. Gas boilers work very well and are particularly well suited to the way we do things in the UK, but "gas bad, electricity good" (why didn't the government's recent announcements talk about Hydrogen?) so if you are going to retrofit the housing stock around here, the only currently viable (in most cases), immediately available option is air source heat pumps.
300% sounds great until you realise two things.
First, even now, electricity is about four times as expensive as gas, so swapping from gas to a 300% efficient heat pump is going to cost you a third more to run.
Second, you need to take these figures with bucketloads of salt. That 300% will usually be a maximum, and some air source heat pumps struggle to make 300% even then. Ground source heat pumps are better, but the best claims I have seen are barely more than 400%, less than that across the year, and both types will be least efficient in the winter when you are using the most energy for space heating and hot water...
...and the figures seem anyway to be somewhat optimistic. There have been a couple of surveys recently (which, typically, I can't find now) where manufacturer claims cannot be achieved in real-world use.
But the "elephant in the room" is that heat pumps only really come into their own in extremely well-insulated houses. Houses in the UK simply aren't, and many can't be. Feel free to stick 350mm of wool in your loft, but it won't make much difference if (as is typical in most UK housing stock) your loft has open eaves and you haven't sealed up every last crack which lets air flow between the loft and your living spaces. Trickle vents on windows are seen in just about every UK house. You won't find them in many other countries because a constant flow of outside air utterly negates that coated glass, Argon-filled sealed unit which lets the light in.
(worth remembering though that you do need air flow in a house, it's just better to control it rather than let it happen "incidentally")
Having just built a house, I could moan for hours about how even a "switched on" builder, building to "better than regs" totally failed to grasp the problem of air moving around the cavity and why cavity penetrations (e.g. joists supported on the inner leaf) can bypass the huge amount of expensive foam insulation inexpertly attached inside the cavity with joints neither cleanly cut nor taped up to prevent air movement.
Heat pumps will work as boiler replacements - so long as you can find the physical space for them and the hot water cylinder you'll need (for the benefit of readers elsewhere, smaller UK houses generally have had stored hot water replaced with instant hot water over the last 40 years) - but they are going to cost significantly more to run and for best effect need other changes to be made too, and people are not being made aware of this.
Trickle vents on windows are seen in just about every UK house. You won't find them in many other countries
I think it depends. I built a house in Sweden four years ago, and most of my windows have a little trickle vent. My ventilation system simply pumps out the old stale air, utilize some of the heat from that air, and fresh air is sucked in through the trickle vents. The floors are heated by the air pump.
Some choose the more expensive system where the ventilation system is solely responsible for replenishing the air. A separate air duct carries the clean (and heated) outside air to each room. I'm guessing there'll be no trickle vents in those cases.
Either way, our houses are heavily insulated for sure and not very relevant to UK houses as you point out.
(chosen icon was the closest I could find to "hot air")
Unless you have a fully managed airflow
That's kinda the point. Trickle vents, particularly in any UK house older than about 10 years ago, form part of an unmanaged and uncontrolled ventilation system which supplies lots of lovely fresh air, but quite possibly not in the required places (you still get condensation and black mould in your kitchen and bathroom) and in the process it throws away a lot of heat.
As described above, it is possible to use trickle vents in an otherwise "airtight" house and deal with the airflow responsibly. It's also possible to do it with passive stacks (sort of like high-tech chimneys) which don't require any mechanical method of moving air, or (again as mentioned above) with a fully mechanical system known as Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery, and there are various schemes in between.
The thing in common is that it is necessary to reduce as far as possible the kind of uncontrolled airflow that typifies UK building practice - at least until the air tightness checks which are now required*.
*I have heard that big builders will build an example house and have that tested, and that result "type approves" all other similar houses on a development. This is obviously fraught with dangers of abuse.
Never 'erd of it.
I'm a natural born sceptic, and when heat pumps first came on the UK scene with claims of 400% or greater efficiencies I started digging, because there was no real supporting information, just a manufacturer claim. Now, technologies have improved over the years, but every now and then I take another look and find yet more information that heat pump SEDBUK figures are rather like car MPG figures - possible to attain in ideal circumstances, but not in most "real world" settings.
Five years of planning and five years of building a house and having to make some awkward decisions about which technologies to include in the limited budget, and the decisions weren't always "bang for buck". Also finding that the current (when we built) efficiency calculations (SAP) were so out of kilter with reality that we could not meet our required CO2 emissions using electric heating and were forced to include a gas boiler! I think the calculation has changed this year, or is possibly changing next year, but ours included some large amount of coal-fired electricity generation which simply doesn't exist in reality, and there is still (I believe) no ability to account for only buying "green" electricity, as we have done for the last 10 years or more.
I'm not denying that you can get both space heating and hot water out of a heat pump system, but I am questioning the claims of 300% - 400%+ overall efficiency, certainly across a year, certainly for air-source systems in a typical cold, damp UK winter, and I am particularly questioning the thinking of politicians who propose to ban gas boilers altogether when Hydrogen technology is actually not very far off (the boiler manufacturers are ready to go, the gas network needs (I'm told) only minor adjustments; it's getting hold of "green" Hydrogen which is the problem), in order to replace them with systems which can't be retrofitted in some houses and will significantly increase fuel bills for many, if not most people.
The problem with hydrogen isn't how to get 'green hydrogen' its that to use hydrogen, you are going to have to replace the gas infrastructure to support it, you need to either increase the pressure by 3 times or the flow rate to get the same energy output from the system.
Hydrogen has a higher BTU/kg than Methane, but its at a far lower density.
In terms of data for heat pumps, there is plenty of data from around the world. The UK is nothing special, first problem with the UKs heating systems is still using radiators, getting water up to ~50c to be able to heat the house using convection, why? Just put it directly into the air. Low delta and lower amount of mass to heat plus causes forced circulation resulting in better and more rapid heating.
But the houses in the UK don't have ducting systems, we would have to retrofit them, I hear you say, well you were talking about a new build so wouldn't. The majority of houses in Scandinavia (I live in Norway, and I am British, so I know how it is in both countries) have split units, with air to air for heating as they have been retro fitted. Single unit for the house, with the output in a single location to cover the heating for the whole property (which are usually bigger than in the UK)
New builds will heat with underfloor heating using water, some with resistance heating as an aux to get the floor heated quicker, with air to air also. Backup heating usually being provided (outside of cities) by wood fire for the days that need it.
But Scandinavia and its triple glazing, super insulation etc No, sorry, myth. Just like other countries, that's new builds, old, have double glazing (if replaced) very little insulation, my house had 10cm of powder in the cavity, added 40 years ago, so compressed lots of gaps, and zero insulation in the attic. I have added 10cm to the house, still not done the attic. I have never seen a house in Norway with triple glazing, even on newer builds (in the last 10 years)
Primary heat source for the house, heat pump.
Current temp outside, -11C
Same as one of the other comments, windows have vents, the rooms (all of them) had direct vents in the walls ~10cmx10cm to the outside. So no air tightness there (I have removed the ones in the walls now).
Electricity is usually around 3-4p/kwh (without line rental etc) right now its ranging between (like most of the world) 25-35p /kwh. Norway households is solely powered by electricity, my daily cost right now is around £25 because of the high prices. By contrast, last year, electricity was essentially free £2-3 / MWh.
The problem with hydrogen isn't how to get 'green hydrogen' its that to use hydrogen, you are going to have to replace the gas infrastructure to support it
Well your information is different to mine. I am told (by someone who has recently looked quite deeply into the matter) that the main gas infrastructure in the UK is not far off being ready for Hydrogen. In fact there's something like 5% Hydrogen already injected into the gas network, and major boiler manufacturers are already selling models that can deal with a 20% Hydrogen mix without modification.
first problem with the UKs heating systems is still using radiators, getting water up to ~50c to be able to heat the house using convection, why? Just put it directly into the air ... houses in the UK don't have ducting systems, we would have to retrofit them, I hear you say, well you were talking about a new build so wouldn't.
About space heating, I agree about the temperature thing and it isn't beyond wit to design new build houses to deal with supply temperatures around 30C, which is ideally suited to underfloor heating. I don't agree about the air thing though - I find forced air heating (& cooling) quite uncomfortable, even when designed to include humidifiers - which are tricky bits of kit to keep working properly. Then again I also find conventional convection "radiators" (a misnomer if ever there was one) uncomfortable, possibly for similar reasons.
There is an interesting argument here about building styles too. Underfloor heating works best when there's a bit of thermal mass in the building - that usually means a concrete screed at least - but air heat systems work best when there is as little thermal mass as possible - that is, usually, some kind of timber-frame build with little concrete, block or brick inside the heated envelope.
But your argument about new build rather misses the point. If we are to close the gas network down without rebuilding every single home in the country then we are of necessity looking at retrofit. Around here there is a preponderance of stone (rubble)-built housing, mainly terraced, at least 100 years old, much of it well over 150 years. This kind of building is almost impossible to draught-proof, extremely difficult to insulate, difficult to retro-fit with underfloor heating, slightly less difficult to fit with air ducting (if you don't mind it being in view occasionally and/or can use chimneys), often has little outside space for a heat exchanger, but has massive amounts of thermal mass in the 2'6" thick rubble-filled stone walls.
If we're going to decarbonise by mandating every new house is Passivhaus, it's going to take a couple of hundred years before we're even at the half way point, and I have no doubt that the vast majority of the currently 100-year-old housing stock around here will still be here in 200 years unless some government decides to re-start "slum clearances".
Personally, I hate the things. They were often badly-built in the first place (hence difficulty draughtproofing) and most have been knocked-about so many times over the years, often inexpertly, that should you decide to update one you will likely discover it needs quite a lot of serious remedial work before you start on the renovations.
Many of the houses however do have 10ft (3m) ceilings and very steeply-pitched roofs. This means that if you did decide to knock a row of terraces down you could replace them with modern houses on the same footprint, same ridge height, probably incorporate a garage on the ground floor, use 2.4m ceilings and rooms in the roof and likely end up with more living space than the original house.
But knocking down and building new is now frowned upon because of the resources (energy, materials) needed for that new build, even if in the long-term it is a much more efficient house to run.
Where do you go from there?
Concentrating on space heating you ignore hot water. How do you produce hot water in your electrically-heated Norway house? Hot water forms the bulk of our energy use, but then we are a household of six.
As for your bills, well 3p - 4p per kWh is lovely, but then Norway has a forward-thinking government and a lot of hydro electricity. The rest of us have been paying 12p - 14p peak, 8p - 10p off peak (if you have that kind of tariff) for the last several years. Gas is historically between a quarter and a third of the price of electricity. My own house is currently heated solely by electricity (immersion heaters) and it's costing me somewhere around £10 or £12 a day (16p/kWh), more in the last week as it's been wet and cold and we've had to use the tumble-dryer a lot.
If you have cheap electricity then it doesn't matter if a heat pump barely reaches 100% efficiency in the winter - you will make some gains in the summer and operate essentially resistively in the winter and if you use 100 kWh a day it's still only costing you the price of a posh coffee.
As I pointed out above, I don't deny that heat pumps work in most climates, but I do question those who claim 300% or higher efficiencies across the year. We can't read too much into the fact that the figures you quote mean you're using very nearly the same amount of electricity per day as I am, but what we can say is that unless your house is terribly inefficient (or very big) your heat pump isn't getting anywhere near 300%. Or to put it another way, in the UK where electricity is three or four times the price of gas, moving from gas heating to electric heating will increase household energy bills unless you can reach 300%+ efficiency.
And that's my main point. Yes, heat pumps work - as in they produce heat - but for the vast majority of UK householders, swapping a gas boiler for a heat pump is going to cost a lot of money, both in capital outlay and in ongoing running costs, and nobody seems to be pointing this out.
Yes there is hydrogen in the gas supply now, but, the power output of that same volume being burnt is now reduced compared to what it was before the mix. To get the same heat output, more will need to be burnt, for that, greater flow or pressure is needed within the whole gas network, if the gas network is currently running at less than 1/3rd capacity, all will be well, but if not an upgrade will be needed or each house / street gets a storage tank. Have the gas prices been reduced to take this into account, getting less energy per litre of gas supplied. If they do not, once 100% hydrogen, you will be needing 3 times the volume to heat the same amount, so costing 3 times the amount if prices stay the same.
My mention of building new was solely in response to you saying you were looking at it while looking at building a house.
Ideal, building a new house should take this into account, remove radiators etc, use underfloor heating, etc. Current builds, can have under floor heating added, but will cost, their alternative is forced air, no ducts needed, use a split unit. A unit outside and one inside, that is how the vast majority of houses in Norway that are not new build are heated. My house, water is heated with an immersion water heater (300 litres, I have 4 kids, 3 teenagers, still no hot water for me at night, there is the advantage of the combi boiler :) ). New builds use the heat pump.
The price of electricity is cheaper here generally (you should double that per kwh for the real price when including line rental, environmental charges etc). But the UK will soon be getting some of their electricity from Norway with the north sea link, might have started already, either bringing down your prices a little or pushing ours up.
My house is 250sq m (~2700sq ft) over 3 floors, plus a 300 sq m barn and 100 sq m garage and workshop (its an old farm). I also have a 'server room' a half rack of servers and disks, that draws just under 1kw constantly (with a window slightly open in that room).
Split unit example: https://www.daikin.no/daikin-stylish-ii/ (just had a quote on to replace the 14 year old Mitsubishi I have). With forced air, I can understand your feelings with respect to humidity, cooling yes, it does affect it, but warming should not.
Or if really wanted, up to 5 independent rooms https://www.daikin.no/daikin-multi/#tab-2ecb40416cb459c8d07
This like the current, will be the primary heat source for the whole house.
The bathrooms have heated floors (electric).
Have the gas prices been reduced to take this into account, getting less energy per litre of gas supplied
In the UK, gas has for some time been charged per kWh, the same as electricity. While the meter actually measures volume (m³), in each billing period the calorific value of the supplied gas is measured / calculated somehow, and this is applied to the volume measured to produce a kWh figure, so gas becoming less energy dense should not affect the bills at all.
Your house is significantly bigger than mine (mine is around 160sqm over one and a half floors) though we do have similar numbers and ages of children. Our hot water cylinder is 370l and currently only heated by immersion heaters (two, neither of which heats the whole tank). I've been plumbing in the solar tubes today and hope to get the system running soon, though judging by the amount of energy provided by my battery-charging PV panels recently (the batteries run the rainwater pump) it's going to be a long time before we get much useful energy from them.
The cylinder acts as a "thermal store" and so is allowed to get much hotter than the normal 60C. A pumped heat exchanger takes energy out for the hot water* and a coil takes energy out for the wet underfloor heating and low-temperature radiators. Running the heating can deplete the store very quickly, though it doesn't need to come on very much normally. Today, with outside temperatures hovering around 5 - 8C, some of the radiators came on briefly this morning, and I ran the UFH for about an hour this evening, just to keep the slab warm. If the heating doesn't run then there's enough energy in the top half of the cylinder (when up to temperature and slightly dependent on the temperature of the cold water supply) for four or five "normal" showers, six if people don't dawdle.
The MVHR is nearing completion and my "server room" sits in a windowless cupboard, so the MVHR extract in there can (in theory - obviously not used in practice yet) recover some useful heat, though given that the contents are a couple of low-power AMD boards, a couple of Raspberry Pis, a modem, a printer and a switch, it's nearer 250W constant load than 1kW!
Somewhat far from the original topic, but interesting discussion, thanks!
*combi boilers are another thing I hate, having lived with several of them over the years. Our last combi (in the house we removed in order to build), even at a claimed 24kW was particularly poor and couldn't run more than one hot tap at a time, so if you were having a shower you had to make sure no-one was about to start the washing up. In theory the heat exchanger in our current system is capable of transferring 70kW, though I have yet to see it go much beyond 50kW, probably because of a particular plumbing constraint (header tank not high enough). Nevertheless, 50kW is significantly better than most combi boilers (Baxi's current range tops out at 40kW) and it seems to be quite capable of supplying three simultaneous 6l/min showers with a bit left over, which is a godsend on a schoolday.
Also, forgot to add, my electricity usage is around double the average. The servers don't help I have reduced that with newer (7 years old instead of 13) servers, reducing the number running, plus the lack of insulation in the attic (will fix that at some point, need to clear all the stuff out first), full height (so really 4 floors, but the attic isnt heated, that would lead to massive blocks of ice on the roof instead of the big blocks now, or maybe none at all if hot enough :).
Err, not defending Bitcoin/Shitcoin (and not calling it 'Crypto' either because as an earlier Reg article pointed out, cryptography is losing its name to this crap) but can you please give me an example of a heat pump that can exceed 300% (or even 150%) efficiency in realistic UK winter conditions (never mind Sweden), when the source of heat is below 10 degrees C (i.e. outside air in winter) and the water output is above 60 degrees C (i.e. able to heat radiators to a point where they are effective at heating a house).
Your gas boiler will normally heat the water to about 50 degrees C on minimum and 85 degrees on maximum. Normally you'd have it set to 60 for efficient operation, but you may need to raise it to get good heating performance in the cold weather, especially if you live in an old brick house as so many of us do here in the UK.
I think you'll find that the 300% figure only applies with a ΔT less than 30 degrees (air to water, so if it's freezing outside, then your radiators only reach 30 degrees which is hopeless), and it drops to 200% around ΔT=50 C, i.e. radiators at 50 degrees which is still pretty hopeless. In cold conditions with a hot output comparable to a gas boiler, they are below 150%.
And remember, you have already lost a lot of that energy during electricity generation and transmission so they don't actually start at 100% (and if it's cold, dark and still, it won't have come from renewables). Factoring in the generation and transmission efficiency, they are frequently less than 100% efficient, even if the heat pump is running at 2.0 Coefficient of Performance ("200% efficient").
Whereas condensing gas boilers are genuinely 95% efficient, because they don't involve any Carnot cycle - we are not converting heat into another form of energy, we are using it AS heat, with almost no wastage thanks to the condensing system (whereby they use the exhaust gases to pre-heat the combustion gases).
What's more, they are RESILIENT. They don't put a strain on our rather fragile electricity grid, and if the grid does go down, we can easily run a gas boiler and pump with a small battery inverter.
And the amount of materials (copper, neodymium, refrigerant gases, semiconductors for power electronics, energy) needed to build these bastards is pretty horrendous. And they are all made almost exclusively in China.
They are also noisy and bulky, like an oversized air conditioning unit, which is what they are, really.
You don't need to retro fit anything. Do you think every house older than 10-15 years in Norway has been retro fit with vents, No, there is a single output for the the house (some have 2).
What's normal in Norway is a split unit, air to air, single output, as the primary heat source for the whole house. My home, built over 60 years ago, 250sq m (~2600sq ft), single air to air outlet (14 year old heat pump).
That's for old houses and newer houses, the newest have ducting, underfloor heating (via heat pump, not resistive) etc.
The extra super airtight insulation with triple glazing is a myth also, so no need to talk about that.
As Mark T said: Because we can't afford to demolish and re-build our housing stock, which is what it would take here in the UK to bring them up to proper Heat Pump compatibility, with air ducts instead of radiators, forced air circulation instead of air-bricks and open vents in the loft, plastic wall-ties etc.
And even then: Our cold, damp weather really isn't suited to air-source heat pumps at all. They will ice up and be forced to enter a defrost cycle, wherein they run backwards for a short while, blowing freezing cold air back into the house to warm up the external heat exchanger. The efficiency metrics for heat pumps NEVER include the defrost cycle!
Norway has pretty dry air in winter, maybe you have less problems with ice.
How does underfloor heating help for heat pump efficiency? Isn't that just as bad, if not worse, than having radiators??
How does underfloor heating help for heat pump efficiency? Isn't that just as bad, if not worse, than having radiators?
Heat pump efficiency is directly related to the amount of heat you require out of the thing. It is much harder to raise the temperature of a fluid (air or water) by 50C than by 20C. Conventional radiators are designed to run at 70 or 80C flow temperatures, but can still produce useful heat at lower temperatures and if you "oversize" them it's possible to heat a house with a flow temperatures of 60C or maybe below.
Underfloor heating cannot run at such high temperatures - you would burn your feet, damage your flooring and likely damage the concrete screed if you have run pipes in screed. UFH usually runs with a flow temperature of around 30C. It pumps as much energy into the house as a radiator despite the lower temperature because it has a much bigger surface area. As a side benefit, the heat starts near your feet and doesn't cause much in the way of convection air currents, rather than convecting around the room and hitting your head first. Many people feel more comfortable with warmer feet and cooler heads.
So with an outside air or ground temperature of 10C, radiators will require (say) a 50C rise while UFH will only need 20C. The same argument applies to air heating - you really wouldn't feel comfortable with piped air at 60C!
Underfloor heating can be difficult to retrofit, though there are some systems which use very thin pipes and can be laid in - effectively - the tile adhesive. It doesn't work as well under a wooden floor or under carpets. An alternative is skirting board heaters which fit around the room instead of a skirting board and give a heat more similar to UFH than radiators, though they do need a higher flow temperature.
But space heating is only one part of the equation. You still need hot water, and while you might find 30C suitable for handwashing after a wee, it's not ideal for a bath or shower and utterly useless for washing up. Because you can't create instant hot water with a heat pump (at least, not the sort you'd use domestically) you will need to store hot water before use. Stored hot water at the very least needs regular cycles to 60C in order to kill bugs (legionella particularly) and in the UK, 60C is traditionally the temperature of stored water, so however well you design your space heating in order to use low temperatures you are still going to need higher temperatures for the DHW.
Interesting, I didn't know that underfloor heating could work with a flow temperature of 30 degrees, I'd have thought that at this temperature (below body temperature) you'd barely notice that it is turned on, and in in cold and windy weather it wouldn't have much chance of keeping the air warm. How many kW can an underfloor heating system put into a room if the flow is only 30 degrees? I'd hazard a guess that it would be about 100W per small-sized room, i.e. not much more actual heat than an old fashioned lightbulb (which produces heat, and gives you light for free!)
But I take your point about the psychological effect: If your feet are warm, you feel warm, so you save energy. There was a similar argument used against CFL and early LED light bulbs: The blue tinge made people feel cold so they turned the heating up!
Skirting-board heaters are just radiators without convector fins, aren't they?? How is that supposed to be any more effective/efficient?
I suppose the point is: If your house is extremely well-insulated, then you only need a very weak heating system. So a heat pump / underfloor coil will do the trick. But unfortunately in the UK, our houses are NOT well insulated at all, and cannot easily be improved.
"I'd hazard a guess that it would be about 100W per small-sized room"
If you room is 1 - 2 m2 yes, that would be correct. Under floor heating is generally around 100w/m2 depending in insulation in the subfloor and material.
"not much more actual heat than an old fashioned lightbulb (which produces heat, and gives you light for free!)"
No, that light output cost you at least 50W, remember, the heat output isn't the same as the electricity input for the underfloor heating.
"But I take your point about the psychological effect: If your feet are warm, you feel warm, so you save energy."
It's not a psychological effect, it warms more evenly, upwards, it is more efficient and effective than heating with radiators using convection from single points.
"Skirting-board heaters are just radiators without convector fins, aren't they?? How is that supposed to be any more effective/efficient?"
Heats from all around instead of a single point causing greater convection currents within the room. If you want to use radiators with a heat pump, put in one's designed for them. Smaller, active radiators (fan assisted), requires temps of around 30c, just like split unit heat pumps. Not the bigger oversized radiators talked about which will not help requiring a high flow temp to achieve the same heating.
Everything that is said against using heat pumps appears to be due to, its not what we do now so can't work. See added it to that house, wasn't done right, told you.
They work fine if installed correctly. Don't require your house to be extremely well insulated, it help, like with a gas boiler too, the better the insulation, the lower the power costs.
I'd have thought that at this temperature (below body temperature) you'd barely notice that it is turned on, and in in cold and windy weather it wouldn't have much chance of keeping the air warm.
How warm do you keep your rooms? In pure physics terms, if you want a room to be 19C then a heater running at 19C is sufficient, however small, if the room is perfectly insulated. The trick comes in determining the standing heat losses from the room and installing heat that will better-than-match them.
UK building regulations stipulate certain maximum heat losses through various parts of the building fabric - walls, floors, windows, roofs etc. so you will end up with a Watts per m²Kelvin figure for each room which allows you to calculate the heat input required to keep a steady temperature for variations of indoor and outdoor temperatures. In the UK calculations are often done at 15C (5C outside, 20C inside) and 25C (-5C outside, 20C inside). Heating is then overspecified to allow for warming up from cold in a reasonable timescale.
There isn't an easy way to account for draughts. Uncontrolled airflow can negate almost any advantage gained from additional insulation. In the UK, generally speaking, a whole-house "air permeability" test is carried out and a certain figure must be met.
Many years ago I read a book, The New Autonomous House by architects Robert and Brenda Vale. With some difficulty (as UK building regulations weren't able to account for their building methods) they built a house near Nottingham that in theory required no heat input at all, getting its warmth entirely from "incidental heating" from daily activities - even an adult at rest wearing a jumper gives off something like 100W. In practice they also had a 2kW log burner, which was lit for only a few days in the first winter, and I do wonder how the house has been adapted given that all their incandescent lightbulbs (which could be counted as heat sources of the same Wattage as printed on the bulb) will have had to be replaced with first CFLs and now LEDs which give off very little heat, comparatively speaking.
They called the house "autonomous" because the intention was to have no external inputs or outputs - power was from solar PV (grid-connected rather than batteries due to concerns about Lead etc.), water was collected from the roof and filtered on site, toilets were all composting. As far as the insulation standards go, today they would be aiming for Passivhaus standards.
So back to the underfloor, 30C gives most people at least 10C over their required room temperature, so there's a bit of temperature gradient to work with. Much higher than 30C and as I previously mentioned, it not only gets uncomfortable but can damage floor finishes and possibly even the floor itself. The actual heat output depends not only on the temperature gradient, but also on how densely - for a "wet" system - you lay the pipes. Spacings of between 200mm and 350mm centre-to-center are common, though you risk having warm / cold stripes if you space the pipes too far apart! A commonly quoted figure for standard wet UFH is about 100W per m² at 250mm centres so in a 4m x 5m room you could expect the floor to radiate up to 2kW in total, though the actual figure will probably be lower.
The big, big difference with underfloor heating over radiators is "inertia". Particularly when laid in a thick screed, from cold it takes a while before the floor will begin to feel warm. For this reason, underfloor heating systems are best used either for buildings under fairly constant occupation (so they're always on) or where occupation patterns are predictable (so the control system can start warming the system ahead of time) or possibly under tiles in smaller areas such as bathrooms (electric UFH is common in these areas). In the first two scenarios it is unusual ever to turn the system "off" altogether in the heating season; instead (as is common these days even with radiators) the control system has a "setback" temperature - possibly used in conjunction with a temperature sensor in the floor itself.
As for the skirting radiators, the claim is that these devices really are radiators, unlike conventional "radiators" which operate largely by convection. By radiating heat at a low level they warm the floor and the air at low level in a manner vaguely similar to underfloor heating. Of course it's not quite true, they do need much higher temperatures to be effective (the standard product at the link I posted earlier reaches about 70W per linear metre with a flow temperature of 50C) and they are a lot more expensive than standard radiators, but on the positive side they are much easier to retro-fit than underfloor heating. Where we haven't fitted underfloor heating in our new house (rooms with carpets, mainly), we have fitted these radiators and I can say that they do work, they perhaps aren't quite as "nice" as UFH, but their biggest drawback is that things tend to get dumped in front of them, which rather prevents the actual radiation reaching very far into the room! It's just a version of the "don't put the sofa in front of the radiator" problem with conventional radiators.
Insulation, as you say, is key to everything and I suppose this is what the Insulate Britain madcaps are trying to point out. Insulation is - compared to ripping out gas boilers - extremely cheap to install and free to "run". There are two main issues, firstly older UK housing stock often has very limited scope for further insulation, secondly some of the companies that do the "free" work have been absolute cowboys over the years.
And then, as I will continue to point out, even if you can heat your house adequately with something that only produces heat efficiently at 30C or 40C, you still need water at 50 - 60C for washing and cleaning purposes.
"And then, as I will continue to point out, even if you can heat your house adequately with something that only produces heat efficiently at 30C or 40C, you still need water at 50 - 60C for washing and cleaning purposes."
As there is now a lower volume of water that is needed to be heated to 50-60C, there is less strain on the compressor / heat exchanger, meaning its more likely to get there without needing to run as many defrost cycles in cold weather and when needed the aux immersion heater can be used to get to those temp in the water tank. Not needing to do that for the whole heating system.
Heat pumps are better than resistance heating obviously, because they can move heat in from outside.
But if resistance heating is the only heat available then by all means get the computer to contribute... by running medical research calculations (Folding@Home, Rosetta, etc). This has far more value to the human race than Bitcoin.
The Bitcoin network itself can manage perfectly well with fewer machines on it. Difficulty is adjusted automatically. We don't need it to be anywhere near as big as it is today.
Let crypto miners build their power generation systems--solar, wind, battery banks, LPG generators if necessary. They should be entirely off the grid as their profit margins can absorb the cost better than homeowners, and they could afford to lead the way to cost-effective local power generation.
"Let crypto miners build their power generation systems"
No, don't (and this is the point of the Sweden's request to the EU). It doesn't matter how the shitcoin miners are powered the energy is better used elsewhere. If shitcoin miners buy/build "solar, wind, battery banks, LPG generators" then the availability of those resources for others goes down and the prices go up. I would far rather those solar panels get used on someones roof to power that house. I'd rather the energy & carbon encapsulated in building that wind turbine resulted in more green tariff electricity being available in the grid for someone to cook their dinner with.
In the end, all of the energy that goes into the mining rigs becomes heat. Sweden could mandate that all Swedes heat their houses using mining rigs. The houses get heated just the same*, but each household is subsidized by the crypto crowd.
*Not really. Heat pumps are a more efficient way to heat structures with electricity than ohmic heating.
On Saturday morning we had a power cut of about 8 hours and snow outside, all thanks to storm Arwen. It's just less than a year since we had a 17 hour power cut due to an underground cable fault.
If, during those outages, our sole source of heat had been electricity, via heat pump or more conventional means we'd have had none for the duration. In fact we'd have been knocked back to a situation worse than when I was a kid in a house that was off-grid for electricity but had coal fires and gas. I'm very sceptical of the notion of going all-electric. It lacks resilience.
Years ago there was a week-long power cut in our remote village. Most people thought they'd be fine because of the aga, but they weren't because the circulating pump didn't work without electricity.
People with stoves (and some with gravity fed radiators) were fine.
It's all about thinking what'll stop working and how to stay warm when it does ... because you'll always get a power cut when it's bloody freezing.
Power went off on Fri PM. Still not back.
Old house so open fire in one room, flat topped (can cook on) wood burner in the conservatory.
And lots of camping gear to hand.
Genny plugged into house (isolated from grid at fuse box) so oil heating running and some mod cons. Only getting out 230v so UPS unhappy (wants 235) and can't get internet unless I bypass and can't be bothered.
Genny will run travel kettle, air fryer or one ring of induction hob. Most importantly travel hair dryer (I have a buzz cut)
POTS phone works but in a few years it will be a problem. And some mobile networks disappeared at 24h.
At relatives house atm as need connectivity for work ATM.
It's all about control - when the pleb can issue currency themselves - this suddenly make power hungry control freaks who pull the levers anxious and sweaty. There is nothing worse than a feeling of losing control over your cattle.
Given a lot of green propaganda, the power consumption excuse seem to be quite permeating through ignorant crowds eager for bread and circuses. But... this could easily backfire - what about other things that consume a ton of energy for no benefit to the elites?
"If it’s going to have any value, how would that work for plebs to issue it themselves?"
It has value as demonstrated by people exchanging often currency for it. Issuing it themselves is kinda right and wrong, they dont quite issue it as 'mine' valid tokens which is then the currency. But it does kinda take control away from governments and central banks even if it does still seem to be a fanciful experiment (in my opinion).
You are misreading the code. You're falling into the trap of reading "plebs" as "ordinary people", rather than "well resourced layabouts".
Cryptocurrency has no plausible use cases for most of us, but it's great for the handful of people who adopted it early or have stupid resources to put into it. Those people will continue to try to sell it based on advantages that are imaginary (such as limited supply), irrelevant (such as political independence - from the state, you're still wholly dependent on a whole structure over which you have even less control), or both (such as anonymity).
Just because *your social circle* doesn’t have gas boilers, doesn’t at all mean that you are typical.
I checked gas consumption per capita of some representative European countries
Netherlands 83 cu ft
Luxembourg 54 cu ft
Belgium 53.6 cu ft
Italy 39.3 cu ft
U.K. 38.6 cu ft
Norway 35.5 cu ft
Germany 35.1 cu ft
Austria 34 cu ft
Czech Republic 26 cu ft
Latvia 23 cu ft
Spain 21.3 cu ft
Sweden 3.5 cu ft
I think you would struggle to make the case that U.K. is particularly high, or “Nordic countries” particularly low. Most generally: *higher income countries* use more gas per capita than lower income ones.
Benelux countries are the gas monsters. And Sweden specifically are very low, but Norway is significantly *higher* than the EU average. And while you might expect Italy and Spain to be similar, actually Italy use a lot (more even than the U.K.), and Spain very little.
Facts, huh? So easy to find, and they never match your prejudices.
With regards to Norway, gas usage, around 85% of it that is used within the oil industry.
There is next to 0 domestic gas infrastructure in Norway.
Heating and cooking within Norway is primarily electric.
Domestic gas usage within Norway is via gas tanks, for camping etc.
Homes that are heated via gas, are indirectly heated via that, by way of excess heat from industry, such as iron works. Industries that need to dump off excess heat usually distribute that to local homes or other industrial complexes for heating.
Mine can be put in even quieter mode as well. As for noise the gas boiler it replaced was both noisy and unreliable. In the week before my heat pump install in August the heating stopped working. Just had HW.
Sitting here in Dundee with the remnants of Storm Arwen blowing about outside making things Arctic I’m nice and toasty. The hot water tank has moved from the attic into what used to be HW cupboard upstairs. The warmth in there is useful for conditioning my homebrew in. Just put 9 bottles of a Caledonian Porter in there. Currently enjoying a barrel of it.
My AS-HP is far quieter than my old Gas Boiler. If you have a noisy HP then the usual cause is that the fan is too small.
That is the only thing that makes a noise that isn't present in your boiler system.
The UK Gubbermint is likely to ban Gas Boilers very soon so you are going to have to get over your angst and accept that they are the way of the future.
Oh, and while my leccy use has gone up, I'm not spending anywhere near as much as I did last year to heat my home. In my eyes, that is a winner.
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The Beeb reports some areas still without power after 4 days.
But I think you miss the main point. HMG is trying to replace gas-fired central heating with heat pumps. Those are going to draw more than 150 watts. If gas is phased out that leaves you with no heating at all in the event of a power cut. It also leaves you without the ability to make hot drinks (if you already have an all-electric kitchen you lose that anyway in the event of a power-cut). Your electricity supply becomes a single point of failure.
I have 33kWh of battery that runs the house during the day. It is also equipped to function when there is a power cut.
That capacity is enough to run the house for two days. If any cut we have is longer than that then we as a country (and I'm in a town) are totally up shit creek without a paddle.
If the battery runs low, I can get power from my EV.
I do have a wood fire. All that wood comes from my own woodland (4.5ha)
You were saying?...
If I need a computer to heat the house then I set it to participate in a scientific calculation, not just a boring bitcoin mine. But this is only a last resort if no heating equipment is available that's better than ohmic resistance.
How about renting out the compute capacity to some cloudy company, and the householder takes a share of what the customers of the cloudy company pay? The customers would have to understand that each server might get switched on and off at funny times, but there are compute loads that can cope with this.
I read that Netflix or AWS use a ton of energy as well. These should be next!
Imagine now when people meet they turn on Netflix and then each one just keeps scrolling, occasionally showing the other a funny cat video they found.
If there was no Netflix or anything that runs on AWS, people would actually be forced to talk to each other and interact!
We have developed so many things when there was no internet or other distractions.
"Imagine now when people meet they turn on Netflix and then each one just keeps scrolling, occasionally showing the other a funny cat video they found."
When I meet people I do not turn on Netflix. There would be no point in meeting people just to watch a vid. Maybe me and my mates are outliers, but we usually do the talking and supping thing. Watch a vid? Nahhh
But what is it with this scrolling and sending each other cat videos. On Netflix?
No, 1MWh to produce a single bitcoin. Most transactions are tiny fractions of a bitcoin. And many thousands of transactions are processed with the production of a bitcoin.
Not defending bitcoin though. Not unless we had ubiquitous nuclear power. And even then, there'd be much better uses of the energy.
"I read that Netflix or AWS use a ton of energy as well. These should be next!"
I believe Netflix is on AWS so it's not really an "or".
There is a difference between power being used for a crypto currency and entertainment. You could make an argument about entertainments that take too much power, but that's a different matter.
Well, yeah, we did it ourselves. We all got more power hungry. So why not extend even further? Turn off Google, MS, FB (these megacentres I heard they are building in the Netherlands through "oiling local council members" are really power hungry) and other "see me dance" silliness. Let's reintroduce phone boxes and ban mobile phones (think about it, how many are there now on a global scale). Let's return to cash, pen and paper!
Yes, I know, the human race is f****
If you try to regulate P2P, you will fail. That's the point of decentralisation. It will just move to Africa or Australia or wherever else. The time any country may spend trying to regulate this stuff is totally wasted.
Move on and make use of it, adopt this incredible technology... or bury your head in the sand.
Total tosh. Who would use (except Criminals) crypto currencies. When their value can oscillate to a ridiculous extent on a second by second basis. So risky, so worthless, and it uses so much power. And what is the point?
Real criminals use artwork to convert and trade value.
Shame all these thumb down brain washed folks are all missing out on this next part of the digital revolution; consuming electricity is a short sighted argument against the market disruption this brings. You can always generate more electricity and do so in a lower carbon fashion. That argument against bitcoin is just the old financial powers trying to suppress this huge change which they fear. (And you have fallen for it, open your eyes)
Just to get an idea of adoption... https://map.bitcoin.com
You believe the "criminal" narrative? Don't be so naïve.
Ever heard about something called "ransomware"? Do you think criminals ask to be paid by bank transfer?
$3.5 Billion Worth of Bitcoin in 2020 Was Sent to Wallets Related to Criminal Activity. (and it's just an estimation). These are not transactions made for "investment" (rather call that speculation), but payment for criminal activities.
> And what is the point?
The point is to make money without working, especially by harnessing your (otherwise rather dull) capacity for operating a computer. Can't get more appealing for a nerd!...
And then there is the "This is mine! Nobody else can control it!" aspect. You might say that gold has the same, but gold is horribly old-fashioned, besides you can't make gold in your basement if several centuries of alchemists are anything to go by.
Now about the electricity thing, the answer is simple: Keep lighting and warming your home in winter, and use stupid Flanders' electricity to mine your annual free beer. This way everybody who is important to you stays warm, and you get your freebie nevertheless...
No country, regardless of its resources should think that crypto currency is eco friendly whether they co-opt wind, waves, sun or volcanoes for their source of power. It's an energy pit. Energy that could be better spent on the things that matter most to people - heating, light & electric.
and yet converting electricity to heat is GROSSLY inefficient compared to OTHER sources of heat (natural gas and propane probably being the two best, and heating oil the next best, as far as any kind of "pollution" claim goes).
If you must waste electricity producing heat, make it produce something else (then let the waste heat of THAT process heat the rooms). You know, like BITCOIN MINING.
As I mentioned earlier, CO-GENERATION. Make heat and electricity at the same time, efficiently.
(or are we still stuck on that pseudo-science CO2-based man-made climate change nonsense, even though CO2 does not act like a greenhouse gas for black body radiation emitted by temperatures actually FOUND ON EARTH except maybe volcanoes and Antarctica).
Most of the electricity in question is hydroelectric, which doesn't require heat. Most of the rest is nuclear, which benefits from economies of scale, which means the plant will be some distance away from most homes. It's hard to transmit heat efficiently over distance.
As for CO2 and heat, have you ever tried the soda bottle experiment? Two soda bottles, one with air, one with CO2 (say from a carbonator), both under a heat lamp or the sun, see which one is hotter after an hour.
Maybe if you weren't being so selfish and self-absorbed, you might stop and wonder about all that hydro power being used in Sweden that could be used and/or exported to replace the fossil fuel generation. See? Some you CAN do about reducing fossil fuel usage.
As for your co-generation suggestion, almost all crypto mining not only treats the heat as waste, but spends more energy on getting rid of it because it's low grade waste heat. Of course, low grade heat CAN be used for other useful purposes, but that needs investment, location and equipment to turn it into something useful such as concentrating it for heating purposes, assuming there's somewhere nearby that needs heat. But it'd be even more efficient to just generate the needed heat directly for the end users rather than wasting it on a volatile currency system that can swing so wildly you can go from barely to comfortable to millionaire and back again in a swing of the pendulum.
When the electeicity arrives in your home, it's VERY efficient at changing to heat eg convector heater.
Issue is generating 'leccy and losses in getting it to your house.
PS, no new gas/oil boilers in France as of last Jan. Not even repairing existing systems...so its wood pellets or 'leccy as radiators or heat-pump systems
... converting electricity to heat is GROSSLY inefficient...
No, it really isn't. Even if you just use a conventional electric fire to create the heat you get virtually 100% efficiency. If you use a heat pump you can get around three times as much energy in heat as it takes to run the pump.
You may be right that the whole process of generating the electricity and then using it to create heat in an electric fire is less efficient than creating heat directly from the fuel that you use to create the electricity, but once you have a heat pump the electrical route gives the better efficiency.
If you must waste electricity producing heat, make it produce something else (then let the waste heat of THAT process heat the rooms). You know, like BITCOIN MINING.
Bitcoin mining creates heat with similar efficiency to an electric fire. Heat pumps are better. Even if you occasionally get lucky and create a bitcoin you're probably still going to be worse off than with a heat pump.
> Even if you just use a conventional electric fire to create the heat you get virtually 100% efficiency
No, you don't. You get about 50%, the other 50% is lost in generation and transmission from the gas-fired power plant which is the only thing propping up the electricity grid when it's cold and dark and the wind isn't blowing.
Whereas a gas boiler gives you 95% of the heat from the source gas, and it doesn't load up the electric grid.
Heat pumps only work with an extremely well insulated house where the radiators don't need to be much hotter than body temperature to keep the place warm when it's freezing outside. But such houses aren't common in the UK or Europe, nor can they ever become common, not without a significant demolition spree. Simply squirting polystyrene foam into the cavity wall and filling the roof with fibreglass wool won't make enough of a difference, because the cavity wall is bridged by conducting iron tie-rods and there are vents in the top and bottom of the house to allow natural airflow. If you plug those up, you end up with low oxygen levels, damp, and black mould.
Heat pumps are ideal for moderate climates like say California (aside from the desert areas) where it is rarely more than 10-15 degrees C above or below a desirable indoor temperature. In Minnesota, not so much.
And I'm surprised deniers are still trying to spread the lie that CO2 isn't a greenhouse gas. We've known that for like 150 years. It isn't up for debate, though I guess from those so deluded by the right wing disinformation machine that they actually believe election fraud cost Trump the presidency everything is up for debate facts be damned!
I agree with the end goal -- but how is this implemented?
I could see perhaps, rather than an actual ban, having residential electricity prices so that a reasonable amount is billed at the lower rates, and excess billed at a much higher rate*. (And for commercial use, power out of line for the type of business you're supposedly running is also billed at a high rate.)
MidAmerican Energy (here in middle of the US) actually charges *lower* rates once your household use is over 1000kwh/month -- I just looked it up, in summer it's like 10.5c/kwh in the summer, but in winter it's like 8.5 c/kwh for the first 1000kwh and under 4.5c/kwh after that.... actually I didn't realize the bulk rate was that cheap.. that's so cheap I should get some mining gear (not!).
But, I could see instead charging the first x kwh at the lower rate and jacking it up to like 20c/kwh+ for excess usage -- that'd HEAVILY discourage cryptomining by simple market forces.
Current large scale miners negotiate a fixed (lower rate) with the providers. BitFury were going to setup a mining location in Norway, there was outrage on it when they negotiated a rate that was extremely low and it was even admitted that everyone elses prices would be going up to compensate, but hey it was going to create some jobs (5 of them).
That fell through for them as they were not given the reduced rate so would not commit to building the mining operation (even though it was cheaper than most countries average already) as they could get a price cheaper negotiated fix rate in another country.
This is a very common strategy: Promise some local politicians they'll be able to brag about "creating jobs", and in exchange get a huge cheap/free something (energy, terrain, infrastructure, subventions, tax cut/advantage - or ideally, all of that at the same time).
Then take all that cheap/free something you've got, create a token 1-2 low wage jobs (you always need a janitor), and when you've made your profit, dissolve in thin air (ideally with a puff of smoke). The taxpayers will gladly if unknowingly pay the bill, the local politicians are happy, you are happy, it's a pure win-win situation. Which is why you see it all over the world.
Then perhaps a law to restrict such negotiations. Stop the sweetheart deals. Level the playing field, force everyone in the same category to pay the same way. If they can't survive on their own merits, then perhaps someone else can do better. If it comes down to the point it's a sweetheart deal or starvation, then a serious re-evaluation of priorities may be in order.
From what I've seen (traveled a lot), all governments are similar. You have those who do it openly, those who do it behind closed doors while pretending they don't, and those who not only claim they don't, but also that they are strongly against doing it - while still doing it behind the scenes...
Honest, truly selfless politicians are so rare History remembers them for ages. No surprise here, politicians are mostly human.
That type of tiered pricing makes sense, since where MidAmerican operates it is a lot colder in the winter so almost everyone uses gas or propane to heat their house. With lower electric demand they have a lot more spare capacity in the winter. Thus price it a bit higher during the time of year that sets the demand peak (and therefore generating and transmission capacity) and bit lower when the peaks are never hit.
I'm surprised there's such a big discount for heavy usage. Almost as if they are trying to encourage use of electric heat, which would make sense if MidAmerican was only an electricity supplier and not also a natural gas supplier.
The energy consumption debate is a typical example of Parkinson's law. In a corollary: "Electricity use expands to the amount alternatives are added to the mix.".
With this in mind, you do not get better at generating environmentally friendly, but are simply continually expanding and using more resources. It is insane, but we humans are absolutely terrible at being satisfied with less. It is extremely difficult for humans to be happy with fewer things. We keep expanding, which is exactly what Parkinson observed and described.
We should ban all cryptocurrencies and then devise a new cryptocurrency that can be created and processes when people workout on an elliptical or rowing machine - this would make the entire planet healthier ... Oh wait, I thought that was a good idea but given what we see every week now with immigrants being smuggled across the Channel, it has the potential of returning to the days of slavery when all the rich people bought slaves to make themselves richer.
Effectively the issues these days are not cryptocurrency or climate change - the problem is us, we're creating all these problems.
An interesting idea. Average human energy output at rest is about 100W; 300-400 sustained is achievable; and maybe 2kW for a very short sprint by an elite athlete.
How much "crypto" can you process with that comparatively little power (after efficiency losses in your generator, and very odd processor design that must scale performance with human variable output)...
There is the extremely obvious pokemon go problem, that is, gamers are lazy so-and-so's that figured out ways to spoof GPS in order to avoid walking to catch pokemon. The world is now full of people that know how to spoof GPS, which has all kinds of knock on effects to other sectors (if you know what you're doing!)
Exercise-bike crypto would be no different!
Run an electric heater or a mining rig.
Both achieve the same effect thermodynamically, while one has plausible monetary benefits.
Maybe we should just ban thermodynamic excess and waste?
Got a whole shitload of F-450s with jacked up huge knobby tires around here going 90mph of the freeways...
"Run an electric heater or a mining rig.
Both achieve the same effect thermodynamically, while one has plausible monetary benefits."
One also has a more efficient method of generation than resistance heating. Meaning using more electricity to do the same thing.
Heat pumps run, when installed correctly, sized correctly and not a cheap piece of crap with a COP of ~2 - ~5.5 with outside temp down to -25c. So to heat with a miner will mean using at least double the electricity to get the same output.
Most heat pumps claim to operate down to about 0F (-20C) though some of the newer ones can handle down to 20F (-30C) But "operating" doesn't mean they are very efficient.
In colder climates when people get a heat pump it is basically treated as a reversible air conditioner - so it comes in a "package" that includes a natural gas or propane furnace like the traditional HVAC package. The heat pump will cool your house when it is warm, and heat it when it is cool. The furnace takes over once the heat pump leaves its most efficient range around 0C, since that's cheaper than electric heating beyond that point.
I know a few people who bought a house from a cheapskate builder who included heat pump only. Where I live, which has nights below 0F (-20C) probably 3-12 times a winter, they've all complained A LOT. Said when it gets really cold the thing runs non stop and still can't maintain the house's temperature during a cold snap of several such nights in a row.
I'd worry about whether the heat pump would give out during such a long period of continuous operation. Around here it would be a lot easier to deal with your only means of climate control failing during the hottest day of the year (40C maybe once a decade where I live, >40C heat index 3-12 times a year) than the coldest!
Lets frame the solution in view of the problem; humans need to metabolically regulate their body temperature.
In some settings, it makes sense to heat massive volumes of air - in office spaces where heating provides substatial productivity gains, in metabolically/immunologically challenged retirement communities where it literally prevents death, etc.
Almost everywhere else, bulk indoor heating is such a wasteful luxury that it is comedic to compare the efficiencies of alternative systems.
Realistically we should be heating one to two low-volume spaces within our homes (so low in volume that the method of heating is nearly irrelevant).
Idealistically we should be directly heating the metabolically-challenged individuals - via electrically heated blankets in beds/clothing.
Think critically, we need to reverse the upward trajectory of our individual energy consumption with traditional means - this aint a engineering challenge to sell more systems destined for the landfill.
You feel free to walk around a house at 2C wearing an electric blanket, and dying in a fire. The rest of us will warm our houses the old fashioned way.
It is both more efficient and more comfortable to heat the floors (after giving them a little thermal mass with 1.5" of lightweight concrete) than the air, but that's more expensive than a system to heat the air and builders always always but always go cheap if they can get away with it!
In a world where we can't agree how to stop doing things that are destroying ourselves and thousands of other species, if not habitats; one is not surprised there isn't the political will to ban something completely avoidable just because some rich gits took part in setting up and marketing a ponzi scheme.
There are crypto implementations that are useful for facilitating transactions, that do not have the "shareholder" overhead. The sooner the electronic cancer is eliminated the better.
I have absolutely NO regrets about seeing the card tower crash down, if and when it happens.
In a world where we had limitless green energy (perhaps fusion, or renewables scaled to 100% of demand) then, and only then is burning electricity in this manner an excusable idea.
Given the current state of play with energy providers in the UK, and the cost of electricity, it's time for some RPM to be mandated. The government should publish three rates per kWh, one domestic, one industrial, one health (hospitals).
Every electricity user, in those groups, should pay that group rate - no discounts for direct debits, economy 7, bulk usage, or car charging - just the fixed rate for all.
Dump the solar feed in tariffs which, for early adopters, are now obscene. If people are lucky enough to have a south facing roof and enough money to put solar cells on it then they can find some money for batteries to reduce their personal load on the electricity supply chain.
After 6 months people will have adjusted to the usage they can afford, the industry will be regulated and we can all stop chopping and changing 'suppliers' - who aren't suppliers they are just men in the middle profit machines which, if profit is not on the horizon, go 'bust'.
I won't dispute the middlemen problem. It's most evident in the trading market - not the guys selling at retail, but those able to dump cash into the wholesale market with only intent to raise cost. (see Nordstream 2 for examples in recent memory).
If all the big 6 were to collapse (or even a few of em) it would finally demonstrate the fallacy that is Conservative laissez-faire self interest.
The scale of intervention needed to actually achieve net zero is mind boggling. Current structures won't deliver it. I should know - I'm in the middle of the argument to make said plans. A conservative govt (and maybe not a labour one either) won't fund it.
I remind people that when the transmission network were first built, the cost was 5-10percent of GDP for several years. Similar scale needed again now.
A/C for obvious.
> Given the current state of play with energy providers in the UK, and the cost of electricity, it's time for some RPM to be mandated.
What, like a price cap?
It is exactly the price cap that has caused the smaller energy companies to go bankrupt in the UK. And that is not in any way surprising.
Just how will the government enforce a ban?
How will they know that the kWs that went through my meter last night were mining a 10,000 th of some crypto currency or just washing my dishes?
The only way is to stop 'negotiated' energy deals which in the main end up increasing the cost of energy to small users so that whacking big discounts can be given the large users who (innocently) also have political clout.
I saw someone a while back describe bitcoin minders as an eight-year-old's idea of a cartoon baddie - someone that digs up coal and burns it to make money. Well, turns out that is literally the case.
If we're going to ban a specific areas of essentially pointless computational endeavour in the interests of minimising electricity use, then we'd best also turn attention to the amount of compute power the likes of Google and Facebook dedicate analytics. It's got to be more efficient to charge a fee and dispense with the advertising, it'd be interesting to know what the numbers actually are.
Quite large, I'd imagine. Especially when you throw in the energy cost of manufacturing all the storage that gets used for those analytics.
A far as I know, there is no way to charge for energy differently, depending on what the energy is used for. You can offer discounts for when you use power, to help smooth out peaks and troughs. But there is no way of knowing, by metering alone, whether your power is used to melt aluminium in a casting plant, grow marijuana under artificial light, or mine bitcoins.
What you have to do is make trading in bitcoin illegal. Let us assume for now that marijuana is an illegal drug, which it is in most jurisdictions. Growing marijuana on a small scale is probably not illegal, as that happens anyway where the plant grows naturally. Running a shed full of lamps and trays of plants looks like a business. So consuming many kW over normal domestic consumption is not the crime. The crime is production of the illegal goods for sale.
If I were making the laws, I would make possession of marijuana legal, and chuck people in jail for possessing bitcoin. What actually happens to the seized bitcoin "assets", I don't know. Maybe it all just goes "poof", which funny money sees to do anyway.
On an industrial scale there are plenty of ways of charging differently for different uses of electricity. Any large scale industrial user has a much more direct relationship with power generators, and gets a different level of service (i.e. cut off entirely during peak times, limits on consumption, etc). Domestically things can be different; in France your maximum consumption is set according to the tarrif you sign up to. If you sign up for a lower max consumption, you pay less per kWh. If you turn too many things on, the meter switches off your house! You also get a box telling you tomorrow's price - which is quite neat.
Outlawing advertising analytics is probably something that most people would welcome, for all sorts of reasons.
Something little discussed. Kyoto protocol dictates that your generation mix isn’t allowed to get worse over time. Sweden and Norway had amongst the highest levels of renewables in 1990.
Consequently there have been a raft of projects where they export gas then have the ability to reimport electricity.
Now, while Kyoto is nowhere near enough to stave off the worst the of climate change, most governments do observe its provisions. BTC must make up a large chunk of their demand to consider it a threat worth intervening on.
Bring it on as far as I am concerned.
Bitcoins are only useful for criminal activity. As real currency, you're basically using complex machines to use up energy in a complex way, and prove you've used it, in an even more complex way.
You're converting actual energy into proof that you've used it. Nothing more. That's all these faddish cryptocurrencies are for. Proving you used a lot of energy. Additional features like supposed untraceability are only of use to ransomware gangs and gun-runners.
Because the amount of money you get from crypto is directly related to how much fucking energy you've wasted, and people are greedy, the energy wastage becomes a secondary consideration.
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