Warming a house all day

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Bird on a Fire
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Re: Warming a house all day

Post by Bird on a Fire » Sun Feb 21, 2021 3:41 pm

Interesting article on fuel poverty in Portugal from Politico: https://www.politico.eu/article/freezin ... y-problem/

Basically, much of Portugal's cheap housing stock is impossible to keep warm, which combined with high-ish fuel costs means that 20% of people can't keep their houses warm and hundreds freeze to death each winter:
"As a result of this, approximately 75 percent of the 1.5 million buildings in Portugal that have energy efficiency certificates don't meet the required guidelines for warmth," Gouveia said. "We expect that the two-thirds of the building stock that remains uncertified is actually much, much worse."

Portugal has some of the highest electricity prices in the bloc — 21 cents per kilowatt-hour, including fees and taxes — and the eighth-highest natural gas prices in the EU — 6 cents per kWh — which makes heating inefficient homes an out-of-reach luxury for many in a country where the average monthly salary is just €970.

"In well-insulated homes in Northern Europe one barely has to run the radiator to keep warm, but living comfortably in poorly built homes here requires keeping oil or electric radiators running all day," said Francisco Ferreira, president of Zero, a Portuguese environmental NGO. "When we had a cold snap in January people easily racked up bills of over €240 a month just to have one 200-watt radiator running."
We used about twice as much electricity in January as in any other month, because we were occasonally running a fan heater if it was getting close to 10°C indoors. But there's no insulation, no built-in heating or AC or anything in the flat, so we do just wear jumpers and blankets for a couple of months in winter, and beachwear for a couple of months each summer.

The experts seem to agree with my "nothing doing" assessment:
In Portugal, after decades of institutional indifference, Prime Minister António Costa's government has also taken steps to address the issue with automatic discounts applied to low-income residents' electricity and gas bills. New legislation includes a plan to invest €300 million a year in boosting building insulation with the aim of renovating 69 percent of the country's building stock by 2050.

But experts say that those measures are unlikely to make a serious difference for nearly 2 million Portuguese citizens exposed to extreme cold in their homes every year.

"This isn't really a problem you can solve with discounts because in many cases no amount of energy expense will address the issue," said Aline Guerreiro, CEO of the Sustainable Construction Portal, an initiative that promotes best practices in energy-efficient construction in Portugal. "The investment strategies are also unlikely to make a dent because they're co-financed projects, meaning homeowners would have to invest cash they don't have in the renovation schemes."

"You have to replace thin, aluminum-framed windows, redo roofs, insulate walls ... We're talking about sums of money that would make it difficult for most Portuguese families to afford," she said. "Getting the residents of an entire building to agree to spend that sum is unthinkable."

Guerreiro added that renovation wouldn't even be a realistic option for many buildings where it would cost more to make them energy efficient than to rebuild them from scratch.
Something we probably could manage is to have one room (the lounge) insulated well, and just keep the door shut all winter.

I wouldn't really call our situation "fuel poverty" as we would be able to afford to buy another/better heater and run it a bit more often (and we do get the subsidy), but I thought the article was an interesting writeup, and I expect the same kinds of issues apply elsewhere in southern Europe.
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Martin Y
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Re: Warming a house all day

Post by Martin Y » Sun Feb 21, 2021 3:49 pm

My top tip is to get lucky, like some friends did when living in London: Find a place with older neighbours in the flats above, below and on either side who like it a bit warmer than you do. They literally didn't use their own heating.

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Bird on a Fire
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Re: Warming a house all day

Post by Bird on a Fire » Sun Feb 21, 2021 3:54 pm

Martin Y wrote:
Sun Feb 21, 2021 3:49 pm
My top tip is to get lucky, like some friends did when living in London: Find a place with older neighbours in the flats above, below and on either side who like it a bit warmer than you do. They literally didn't use their own heating.
Yeah the old guy upstairs has his AC/heater on all the time! The free warmth makes up for its outlet dripping on my laundry ;)

Having moved into this middle-floor apartment from a semi-detached bungalow I'm very aware of the difference being surrounded by neighbours makes!
He has the grace of a swan, the wisdom of an owl, and the eye of an eagle—ladies and gentlemen, this man is for the birds!

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Martin_B
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Re: Warming a house all day

Post by Martin_B » Mon Feb 22, 2021 1:20 am

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Sun Feb 21, 2021 3:41 pm
Interesting article on fuel poverty in Portugal from Politico: https://www.politico.eu/article/freezin ... y-problem/

Basically, much of Portugal's cheap housing stock is impossible to keep warm, which combined with high-ish fuel costs means that 20% of people can't keep their houses warm and hundreds freeze to death each winter: [snip]

Something we probably could manage is to have one room (the lounge) insulated well, and just keep the door shut all winter.

I wouldn't really call our situation "fuel poverty" as we would be able to afford to buy another/better heater and run it a bit more often (and we do get the subsidy), but I thought the article was an interesting writeup, and I expect the same kinds of issues apply elsewhere in southern Europe.
My sister said that in Spain there is (was?) a scheme for OAPs to move out of their homes in winter and live in the tourist hotels. The hotels are cheaper to heat, this provides employment for the hotel staff during the winter months when they'd usually be laid off, and it provides a community for the old folks.
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jimbob
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Re: Warming a house all day

Post by jimbob » Mon Feb 22, 2021 7:24 pm

sTeamTraen wrote:
Tue Jan 05, 2021 11:08 pm
heliodome.

I really like that.

Not the most space-efficient but brilliant in the right context
Have you considered stupidity as an explanation

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veravista
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Re: Warming a house all day

Post by veravista » Mon Feb 22, 2021 7:29 pm

Since we've had our own houses we've always kept the central heating on constantly, at the moment in all of the rooms here it's a lovely 22°C (apart from the bathrooms at 24°C). Our last house had stone walls about 400mm thick and took weeks to heat up (no insulation) but kept the heat well into March or so by just being topped up. Now, in this house with a more sophisticated heating system the downstairs (and lots and lots of insulation - underfloor 120mm, 100mm in cavity and 150mm in the roof) keeps the rest of the house toasty - apart from the howling draught from the front door. Bills are easily manageable.

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