Monsters not loony enough

Official Monster Raving Loony Party [The]_1

Looking for some sample data for the election quiz software I’m writing, I naturally went to the Official Monster Raving Loony Party website. The very first policy they list is:

Cool on the outside:
To combat global warming and climate change all buildings should be fitted with air conditioning units on the outside. (Source: Monster Raving Loony manifesto proposals)

At first this sounds just funny… Until you realise that we do have a technology that is the same as “air conditioners on the outside”. Indeed, the office building I’m in right now is heated by one. They’re called air source heat pumps (Energy Saving Trust link).

This air conditioner on the outside won’t solve global warming by cooling down the atmosphere, but instead by saving energy on heating, and reducing the amount of fossil fuels we have to dig up and burn.

According to the Energy Saving Trust page above, they generate 2.5 times more heat by pumping than an electric fire would using the same electricity. Julian and I looked up the spec sheet for the ones in the basement of Liverpool Science Park ic2, and it claimed 4 times. There’s a picture of the pumps and some details in the 10-page synopsis of David MacKay’s energy book.

The Official Monster Raving Loony Party have 26 candidates according to YourNextMP. I wonder if all their policies secretly actually would work, and are only merely apparently funny? Much like I stopped reading the Onion when the normal headlines got as crazy (round about 2004), perhaps now is the time to start voting for the OMRLP.

5 thoughts on “Monsters not loony enough

  1. Hi Francis – I’ve just written a long email over my morning coffee. Clearly your latest blog got me inspired! You happened to write about something I’m involved in as I look after the Underfloor heating and Plumbing division of the company I’m working for. Apologies if you know all the below all ready. I didn’t think about that until after I’d written it….

    2.5 to 4.0 is absolutely right. Better still, when used in a well insulated home, with the heat distributed through UFH which is considerably more efficient than traditional heating systems, that 2.5 – 4.0 COP goes a lot further!

    Air source heat pumps are less efficient than Ground Source Heat Pumps although better still are Ground source heat pumps linked to Geothermal probes sunk 100m down into the ground. Latest and greatest (especially for commercial buildings) is the idea of putting pipe into the concrete piles of new buildings. These piles are sunk into the ground for stability and putting pipe into them doesn’t affect their integrity. The effect is to tap into a natural heat source without the cost (and hence energy and environmental impact) of additional construction work. The government’s various changes to planning policy (and other initiatives) are helping although more can always been done. The company I’ve been working for produce this and focus on the bigger public projects – hospitals and schools etc.

    We also product cheaper more effective pipe work for District heating projects that instead of using steam (new york style) that is incredibly inefficient, uses high temperature water. Steam loses energy quickly, and corrodes systems, has high harm potential if something goes wrong. Modern district heating systems use 95degree (or similar) water, and pipe systems such as ours lose less than a degree every kilometre, making local CHP (or similar heat sources) suddenly a viable option to supply the full hot water (for heating and Domestic HW) requirement for their local communities. All we need now is to find a way to persuade the government to incentivise energy companies to dig up our roads, put in these systems linked to local heat and power plants and link us all up to mini grids, rather than the power hungry monster we have to use at the moment. As district heating systems will provide good revenue to energy companies (they should run much much cheaper than current systems, so can use a tariff system to recover the set up costs), the only barriers are the investment required and the support of legislation to decide that one suburb will be changed – it has to be all houses or none.

    All the best, and please keep writing – it’s always interesting!

  2. PS: Some interesting projects we were involved with that relate to my post above:

    Creative energy homes run by Nottingham university, included the BASF house, which we were involved in, supplying UFH and curtain walling windows which harness solar energy reducing the need for heating. On the window enery rating system, they actually have a positive rating because they harness more solar thermal energy than they lose.

    Another project completed recently was the low energy house at South Lanarkshire college. We provided Rainwater harvesting systems, door and window frames, underfloor heating, geothermal ground source probes, associated pipework and wall heating (similar to Underfloor heating, but with pipe work inset in the walls of a house – extremely effective provided the walls are well insulated.

    On the district heating side, the best example I know of is the LDA’s new scheme using the waste heat from Barking power station (which runs at 60% efficiency, so there is plenty of waste heat to be had!) to provide hot water to up to 120000 saving 96000 tonnes of CO2. By comparison smaller schemes take a project such as a new school and by increasing the size of the heat source (boiler or other) provide hot water to the surrounding neighbourhood – again hugely more efficient than the 100’s of tiny boilers it replaces..

  3. It’s a good job that people don’t take the party seriously. With policies like lowering the voting age to 18, passports for pets and opening pubs all day it’d be a disaster if they got in charge.

  4. I do not createe a comment, however I read a few of tthe comments on
    this page Monsters not loony enough <Francis is. I actually do have a couple of questions for you if it's allright. Is it just me or does it give the impression like a few of the remarks look as if they are coming from brain dead visitors? :-P And, if you are posting at other online sites, I'd like to follow everything fresh you have to post. Would you make a list of every one of your public sites like your linkedin profile, Facebook page or twitter feed?

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