November 22, 2006

Windows, heating and insulation

We need a new heating system! There is an oil heating of about 1988 in the house at the moment and our first bigger investment will be to modernize the heating system. We definitely won't go on heating with fossil fuels - too expensive and, more important, not ecological at all. Moreover, personally I don't feel safe with all that oil in the cellar of a - partly - wooden house...

At first we wanted to go for a pellet heating system because it is based on renewable resources. Well, and I simply liked the thought of heating with wood, sounds somewhat "natural" (I admit, I'm an "eco-kid" of the eighties, socialised with Greenpeace and WWF, whale-saving and demonstrating against nuclear power stations...).
But we realized pretty soon that this solution is far too expensive for us. The investment costs are really high and the wood pellets themselves become more and more expensive, too. Therefore we decided to go for gas (central, not in tanks). Later on we might combine it with solar cells, but this is a bit difficult, as the cells mustn't be visible from the street (listed building).

Next point to it: INSULATION... Take a look at our windows (again, not a good picture, sorry...)!

You could just aswell try to heat the street outside, the wind whistles through the chinks and gaps just about any song you like... Now, of course we want to keep these old windows and frames, anyway we're not allowed (and never would!!!) to put in new windows of another kind (again: listed building).

Our windows - this just as an interesting and uttterly off-topic detail - must open towards the street instead of towards the room (in modern houses). This makes window-cleaning quite an adventure :-)

But back to topic: we thought of adding "inner windows" in order to improve the insulation. But they mustn't be too sealed either, this would influence the climate in the house which we want to avoid. And we're talking of 22 (!!) windows, each one with a very individual size - that would mean 22 one-off productions... We also thought of insulating the inner walls - but my father-in-law, an engineer, convinced us that it would be a nonsense from the point of view of construction physics.
Any other ideas?