Thursday, 28 October 2010

Solar water heating

So, today we learned that we have six 4.4 m2 flat plate solar collectors, two on the north wing serving the guest rooms and four on the community building, which are equivalent to 18.5 kW thermal. Here's a picture of how I understand (!) each system to fit into the rest of the hot water provision.

I don't know many of the details of the system yet, e.g. pitch of the roofs, % efficiency, or how much thermal energy is expected to be produced. The engineering design report is packed in a box somewhere, but the commissioning certificates will tell us more when they arrive. We can keep track of the hours that the pump operates as a proxy while we are looking into how best to monitor the kWh produced.

After Vespers, there was a band of red sky glowing in the west, so I jogged over to the yellowhammer and skylark field to watch it fade. The field had been ploughed - great coarse wedges gouged out of the clay and turned over. I hope the birds had flown before their homes were bulldozed. I revelled in the glory of shepherd's delight for a few minutes, until my over-indulged imagination transformed the scene into a dark grey ocean shining wanly in the half light of a dying red dwarf star. It is still mild, but the wind had got up and was soughing* in the poplars as I walked back to the house.

* 'soffing' - a word that is used so often so poetically, yet really isn't!


  1. I'm 55 years old and have come across this word 'soughing' very occasionally in novels and poems and never really known how to pronounce it! I just checked here and they pronounce it as sow (like the pig).

  2. Yes, I've seen 'sow' as an alternative too. Once upon a time, while I was innocent and unspoiled by phonetic spellings in dictionaries, I read it as 'sew'. I still much prefer this, however wrong it may be.