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GBE Gas v Electricity (Q+A) Q#22560

By 22 June 2019July 6th, 2019Code, Encyclopaedia, Q&A

GBE Gas v Electricity (Q+A)

GBE > Encyclopaedia > Code > Question+Answer > Q#22560

GBE Gas > Electricity (Q+A)

GBE Q&A Phasing out Domestic Gas use in favour of Electricity before the regulated deadline.

S1   I hope you don’t mind the impromptu email. We’ve been reading a few articles and pages from the Green Register and your own Green Building Encyclopaedia and wondered whether we might drop you a line.

We’re a small London based practice working on home refurb and extension projects and are looking to improve our approach to energy conservation and how to present various options to our clients; essentially ‘greening up’ as your biog puts it!

One element we’ve been looking into is the gradual phasing out of domestic gas use.

O1 Our thinking is that gas will become increasingly ineffective in trying to reduce a property’s carbon footprint – despite current opinion suggesting that say a gas boiler and hob are still more efficient than a property becoming completely reliant on electricity.

As a first line approach we’ve been considering the idea of advising clients to replace old gas boilers with electric immersion heaters (while also pointing them in the direction of the Renewable Heating Incentive for say Solar Thermal Panels on a London site with space constraints).

Furthermore the replacement of hot water radiators with infrared heating panels seems like a sensible direction to go.

Q1 I wondered whether you might have a general view on this compared say to Rob Borruso who seems to partly accept fracking as a stepping stone towards achieving a wider public belief in renewables?

  • Sadly none of us have Rob’s eidetic memory and nor do we all read what he reads.
  • So it may be he is right or we do not know enough to challenge him.

Robert Borruso’s contribution

  • On the gas vs electricity without sparking a whole debate
  • This site actually tells you all you need to know
  • Electricity generation despite the huge jumps in renewables its still over half gas.
  • Solar has largely knocked out coal which is great.
  • With gas providing backup for wind and demand peaks. 
  • Though grid carbon intensity is now at an average of around 350g kWh vs 200g kWh for gas heating.
  • We’ve still got a way to go for electric heating to be less carbon intensive than gas.
  • Moreover beware averages as  yesterday the room was full of people with an above average number of arms……..
  • That 350g figure will get worst if we inadvertently encourage electricity use at peak times (ie winter and evenings) while gas has the same 200g carbon intensity irrespective of the time of day.  
  • The average (that word again) household consumes about the same amount of primary energy in the house as they do in their car(s) if they all switch to electric cars that’ll need an increase in electricity production of 50% with gas continuing to be the backbone of (peak) grid generation and nuclear providing base load for the foreseeable future.
  • Therefore the choice is Quatari or Iranian gas or fracking and/or sensibly financed nuclear.
  • In addition to maintaining the current growth in renewables 

OK stop now Rob

Another suggestion from Social Media

  • Turn off the Gas Main: (suggestion from Russia)
  • GBE response:
    • Ouch
    • Don’t turn the Gas Main off until the Electricity Grid is more efficient at distribution
    • Don’t turn the Gas Main off until the Electricity is produced 3-4 times more efficiently
    • Don’t turn the Gas Main off until much more of the Electricity is produced by Renewables
    • Don’t turn the Gas Main off until the housing stock and other buildings are using Renewable Energy.
    • Ween yourself of Gas dependence
    • Then turn off the Gas Main
    • Ahhh.

A1     Just a few thoughts on your email

  • Sorry I got carried away with the sound bites.
  • Some of the rhymes could be better, I did my best


  • I can CAD, CAD can, therefore I do
  • © GBE NGS ASWS 2003
  • Don’t use a Universal man, just because he thinks can
  • © GBE NGS ASWS 2019
  • You need a one planet wo man, who cares for planet A and can
  • © GBE NGS ASWS 2006-2019
  • There is no Planet B
  • © M&S

Approach in 4 stages:

  • Halve demand > Double Efficiency > Halve the Carbon > Let children run buildings
  • Based partly on © 2010 Robin Nicholson et al

Stage 1 Halve demand:

  • Fabric First
  • Fabric First, Materials First, Performance First
  • © GBE NGS ASWS 2018
  • Insulation Insulation Insulation
  • Stuffed Loft, Squashed Insulation, Lift Your Loft Stuff
  • © GBE NGS ASWS 2016
  • Thermal Breaks, Wind and Airtightness
  • Well dress, Heat less; Less dress, Cool less
  • © GBE NGS ASWS 2019
  • Build Tight, Ventilate Right
  • No Insulation, Without Ventilation
  • © PAS 2030 2017
  • Build Light, Insulate Right, Solar Tight
  • © GBE NGS ASWS 2015
  • When heating is zero, hot water must be ‘near 0’
  • © GBE NGS ASWS 2019
  • Pipe valve and tank insulations, needs lots of patience
  • © GBE NGS ASWS 2019
  • Valves and angle changes, takes labour ages
  • © GBE NGS ASWS 2019
  • One planet plumbing wo-man, cares about details and can
  • © GBE NGS ASWS 2019

2nd Stage: Double the Efficiency:

  • Monitor Meter Control
  • You can only control the things that you know and understand
  • Everyday visible meters, to help monitor your heaters
  • © GBE NGS ASWS 2019
  • Big Open Data:
  • Join communities who share, so you can all compare
  • © GBE NGS ASWS 2019
  • Controls at your finger tips:
  • IOT Internet of things, lets you control stuff with smart phone pings
  • © GBE NGS ASWS 2019
  • Controls with attitude:
  • Men press buttons ‘go faster’, controls must show whose master
  • © GBE NGS ASWS 2019

3rd Stage: Halve the Carbon:

  • Eco Bling last
  • On site renewables:
  • Savings, Payback, FIT or RHI, exploit free wind or sun from the sky
  • © GBE NGS ASWS 2019
  • Use PV or wind: for best share of FIT, add a low voltage circuit for kit
  • © GBE NGS ASWS 2019
  • Domestic sized wind turbine on the gable, can only work less-able
  • © GBE NGS ASWS 2019
  • ST or PV shaded by a tree, won’t make much energy for free
  • © GBE NGS ASWS 2019
  • ST or PV facing wrong way, won’t generate as much RHI or FIT pay
  • © GBE NGS ASWS 2019
  • Don’t feed all into the grid to go far, use it to charge your electric car
  • © GBE NGS ASWS 2019
  • Fridges & Freezers denied from the mains, your electric car charge remains
  • © GBE NGS ASWS 2019
  • Renewables locked in, before gas assigned to bin
  • © GBE NGS ASWS 2019
  • Renewables output kit, controlled by charge supplied via FIT
  • © GBE NGS ASWS 2019
  • Renewable kit optimum orientation: essential for FIT or RHI compensation
  • © GBE NGS ASWS 2019
  • Other orientation and pitch angles apply, if not claiming FIT or RHI
  • © GBE NGS ASWS 2019
  • Great CoP outside, needs great optimisation inside
  • © GBE NGS ASWS 2019
  • Outside infra-red heat collector, feed inside infrared heat emitter
  • © GBE NGS ASWS 2019
  • Infra-red heat pad, replaces old convector heat rad.
  • © GBE NGS ASWS 2019
  • Caution: Heat panels on ceilings, radiant heat leave heads reeling
  • © GBE NGS ASWS 2019
  • Heat panels on internal partitions, avoids external wall heat emissions
  • © GBE NGS ASWS 2019
  • In-surface radiant heating, needs Low-E glass to keep heat in
  • © GBE NGS ASWS 2019
  • LED lights optimise consumption, but exhibit spotlight function
  • © GBE NGS ASWS 2019


  • Choose wisely:
  • Off site renewables, but not too far, transfer losses will jar
  • © GBE NGS ASWS 2019


  • Use with caution?
  • Green Tariff Electric Supplier, risks replacement by climate change denier
  • © GBE NGS ASWS 2019

Stage 4: Let Greta’s School Children run Buildings

  • Based partly on © 2010 Robin Nicholson et al
  • Teach all the kiddies, they will show up us old biddies
  • © GBE NGS ASWS 2019
  • Make buildings part of syllabus for schools, give them real future life facing tools
  • Based partly on © 2010 Robin Nicholson et al
  • Greta asks why are we still day dreaming, whilst Friday School kids are chanting and screaming
  • © GBE NGS ASWS 2019
  • Friday for a Future
  • © Greta ThunBerg 2019
  • Start acting like your house is burning down
  • © Greta ThunBerg 2019
  • Kyoto to Paris Agreements, so little Government follow up achievements
  • DIY Kyoto because World Governments won’t
  • © DIY Kyoto

© GBE NGS ASWS BrianMurphy aka BrianSpecMan
20th June 2019 – 6th July 2019

GBE Gas v Electricity (Q+A)
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