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A guide to off grid heating solutions

A guide to off grid heating solutions

Off grid has become a bit of a hot topic for us and a portion a customers.

Over the past 10 years we have seen a portion of our business move to this off grid type of living. We have been involved all types of property from shipping containers to huts / cabins and family homes, there is no real stereotype now for off the grid living.

Different people have different reasons for going off grid, for some it’s simply that mains services are too expensive or not possible for the location, others relish in the idea of self sufficiency and maybe going back to nature or simply producing less carbon?

What ever your reason for being off the grid we have a heating solution to help you live off the grid, most people think being off grid has to tough / hard living and of course cold. Well that’s not the truth, so if you want to be warm read on.

Option 2

Why create electricity when we can do without it, and create all your heating and hot water in a carbon neutral way.

So what options are available for heating and hot water without electricity. There are 2 main options.

  1. Heating with wood
  2. Heating with solar thermal

Firstly, heating with wood, this is probably the most common way to heat a off grid property / cabin and heat you water.

The options for heating with wood are.

  1. A humble steel or cast iron wood burning stove.
  2. A humble steel or cast iron wood burning stove with back boiler, flue boiler etc.
  3. A masonry stove with or without back boiler ( see our web site for more details).
  4. A rocket stove with heated bench or bed, with or without heat ex-changer coil.

The wood heating options with back boiler, flue boilers heat ex-changers coil etc, can be coupled to radiators in larger properties using a gravity circuits to move heat through pipe work, it’s also possible to use our thermal mass radiators, which we design and cast in situ, these thermal mass rads are to our knowledge our invention and heat up a thermal mass ( chunk of rammed earth / Adobe or formed concrete to hold and retain heat).

For wet systems where back boilers are used we also off thermal storage tanks with DHW coils and tank in a tank options, this gives you high flow rate hot water at the taps and hold s excess heat in the tank for when you need it . Solar thermal can also be added to these tanks to heat tanks for your dhw and central heating if electricity is available (even if low voltage.)

Solar thermal, heating with the sun.

Over the past 10 years, solar thermal has taken off in its popularity, however this is nothing compared with the grant aided solar PV revolution.

So what is solar thermal / solar hot water / sonnenhaus / solar heating.
Just like pv, a panel is located on a stand / on the roof, the panel / evacuated tubes absorb the Suns energy and heats the water / solution. It is then piped to your thermal storage tank. In off grid properties the water / solution is moved by a gravity circuits to your thermal storage tank.

Depending on the size of the solar panel, depends on the amount of energy produced, but as long as there is solar radiation you produce solar hot water to charge thermal store.

Note most people who go to the extent of a thermal store nearly always go for wood and solar energy heating the thermal store, this gives a very comfortable heating system, even when off the grid.

We are involved in custom thermal stores from Scotland , Germany and Switzerland. Our German supplier has very well priced off the shelf thermal stores ready for your project. Alternatively for on grid or people with power our Swiss suppliers make custom thermal stores 700 to 500000 litre tanks for sun heated homes.

If you are interested in going off grid or require info on how to go about off grid or wood / solar heating / thermal stores, Gondwana are always happy to help. Either with consultancy, sales or install.