Think twice about a heat-pump water heaterAs load management on the grid becomes more sophisticated, consumers may reap some financial rewards from “smart” or “grid-aware” appliances, suggests Dana Dorsett. Plus, conventional water heaters are simpler in design and have fewer moving parts than heat-pump water heaters (HPWHs), making them a potentially better investment.The wild card in this equation is whether ERCOT (the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which manages the regional grid) can offer financial incentives to homeowners.“So far, ERCOT doesn’t have a capacity market to bid into, but high value frequency and voltage stabilization services are there,” Dorsett says. “One such aggregator operating large fleets of residential water heaters as a ‘virtual power plant’ in the PJM grid region is Mosaic Power.”Because Texas has some of the most creative electricity markets in the country, Dorsett says, someone will be figuring out a way to make money with aggregated distributed resources.If Markus does choose a heat-pump water heater, Dorsett adds, he would be better off installing it in a conditioned attic rather than in the garage.“Installing the HPWH in the conditioned attic is better from a whole-house efficiency point of view than putting it in the garage,” Dorsett says. “A better-than-code house with a high SEER cooling system in Houston will have excess latent load to deal with. Installing the HPWH in the attic, inside the pressure boundary of the house, reduces the latent load, directly converting it to sensible heat inside the insulated tank, whereas a dehumidifier delivers it as sensible heat into the room air, raising the cooling load.” Given a photovoltaic system with a capacity of as much as 8 kilowatts, does it make any sense to include natural gas appliances in a new house, or would an all-electric design be more practical?That’s the question Markus ponders as he plans a new house in Houston, Texas. Although he has natural gas service in the house where he currently lives, the size of his new rooftop solar system could prompt a change of heart.“It will probably be a ‘Pretty Good’ house — dense-packed cellulose and exterior rigid foam insulation with an encapsulated attic and targeting an ach50 of less than 3 with an ERV system for ventilation,” Markus writes in a Q&A post at Green Building Advisor. “I will have a sizable PV array on the roof — 6 to 8 kW — so I have been debating whether to use natural gas as in my current house for multiple appliances or go all-electric.”Markus finds both pluses and minuses with an all-electric design. The benefits include avoiding a monthly $25 charge for gas; better air quality without the risk of backdrafting; the chance to use an induction range for cooking; using a heat-pump water heater to help cool the attic or garage; and not having to run gas lines around the house. RELATED ARTICLES Our expert’s opinionGBA technical director Peter Yost adds these thoughts:Great discussion, and the sidebar points to some equally useful past GBA articles for this topic. Just a few additional points from me:All-electric vs. incorporating natural gas: Moving electrons around in a house just seems inherently easier and safer to me; eliminating open-combustion devices is always a wise choice. And with grid-tied PV, those moving electrons are literally a mobile and self-regulating currency for all your energy needs.Long-term performance of heat-pump water heaters: How many times have HPWHs been introduced to the marketplace? How complicated is it to assess their performance? Should a heat pump be dedicated solely to producing domestic hot water? I sure hope that this time around that HPWH energy performance and service life rise to the occasion, but even if I lived in a mild climate, I would be putting my dollars, time, and head-scratching in other parts of the building.Induction cooking performance: I am not a chef or even a day-to-day cook, but it would be nice to put this issue to rest. For more on that, see these articles on induction cooking: from The New York Times; from Treehugger; and from Daily Meal.If we could get every home cook to run a CO2 monitor and hygrometer when they fire up their gas burners, the invisible costs of cooking with gas might become more apparent. That could help make a stronger case for induction cooktops. He does, however, point to a few disadvantages. Markus says electrical equipment is “more complicated and less reliable,” which could mean more repairs, and natural gas would give the house higher resale value. He likes his gas dryer, and points out that an all-electric house might be a problem in the event of a hurricane.“Anything I might have not considered here?” he asks. “Anyone else had to make this choice in a cooling-driven climate? Anyone had bad experience with reliability of newer electrical units vs. natural gas ones?” Those are the questions for this Q&A Spotlight. Electrical equipment is not necessarily problematicGBA senior editor Martin Holladay commends Markus for his analysis, but he thinks Markus is off base in believing that electrical equipment is more prone to breakdowns than equipment using gas.“It’s simply untrue that ‘electrical equipment is more complicated and less reliable’ than gas equipment,” Holladay writes. “I’ve had a balky gas-fired tankless water heater from Bosch that has driven me crazy for years — it has a pilot light that doesn’t want to stay lit. Makes me wish I had a dumb-as-a-rock electric-resistance water heater.”Nor does Holladay understand Markus’s preference for a gas clothes dryer. After all, Holladay says, “when you open the door, the clothes are dry, no matter which fuel was used to dry them.”There is another reason that an all-electric design is sensible, Holladay says: “Green builders who look at our current climate crisis, and who want to be part of a global transition away from fossil fuels, generally lean toward all-electric homes equipped with PV.” Installing gas as a hedgeAnon3 thinks Markus should go ahead and run gas lines even if he has no intention of using natural gas. If natural gas lines are installed, the house will be worth more as a resale. “Just don’t use it yourself,” Anon3 says.Gas will not only make the house more valuable, Anon3 says, but it’s difficult to add after the house has been built. “The inability to have a gas oven can often be a deal-killer for high-end homes,” he says. “If this is a $100,000 house, you don’t have to worry about this, people expect electric-only at this price point.”John Clark agrees: “Gas hookups will expand your pool of potential buyers, especially if they don’t want the PV array on the roof,” Clark says.Stephen Sheehy thinks otherwise. “I disagree with Anon,” Sheehy writes. “For resale, people want to be comfortable. They are less likely to care about what fuel keeps them comfortable. Skip the cost of running gas pipes all over the place and build a nice tight house, well insulated, heated and cooled with efficient heat pumps.“Just my opinion,” Sheehy continues, “but I think it makes no sense to spend money installing features you don’t want, because some future buyer might want them. If it makes sense to use minisplits for heat and AC, installing ductwork for future gas heating, cooling, and cooking doesn’t make sense.”Malcolm Taylor adds that people buy houses for a variety of reasons, but he can’t imagine a buyer passing up an otherwise attractive house because it didn’t allow switching energy sources in the future. “I bet the absence of a walk-in closet in the master bedroom has more effect on the marketability of a house than gas stub-outs,” he says. Not cooking with gasKitchens and kitchen appliances are typically a key selling point in any real estate transaction, but Sheehy doesn’t see any particular advantage to gas ovens or gas ranges.“I’ve never met a cook who prefers a gas oven to electric,” he says. “And once they use an induction cooktop, they all prefer them to gas.”Michael Maines, who has designed a number of high-end kitchens, finds that people who actually cook in their own kitchens prefer electric convection ovens. “They have finer control and more even heat than gas ovens,” he says.Maines also recommends induction cooktops, although he’s had trouble convincing cooks (including his wife) to give up their $1,000+ investments in All-Clad cookware in order to save $10 or $20 on energy use in a year.Non-metallic pots and pans won’t work on an induction range, but as Sheehy points out that some All-Clad and its clones will work just fine, as will cast iron. (All-Clad’s MC2 line is not magnetic, Maines adds, so the test that Sheehy suggests is probably good advice: “If a magnet sticks to it, it’ll work.”) Heat-Pump Water Heaters Come of AgeAll About Water HeatersGoing High-Tech With an Induction CooktopThe Hazards of Cooking With GasNatural Gas — Not as Green as it Used to BeThe Pretty Good House
India’s star striker Sunil Chhetri said the youngsters in the team will have to grab the opportunity as the defending champions begin their Nehru Cup campaign against Syria on Wednesday.India will be without their three key players -Bhaichung Bhutia, Climax Lawrence and Mahesh Gawli (all retired)- from the previous Nehru Cup edition.Chhetri said the trio will be missed. “It will be a bit odd having those guys not around, but it is something not in our hands. They were a pivotal part of the team for a long time and it will not be easy to replace them,” Chhetri said here on Saturday.”The youngsters need to take this opportunity although it would be wrong to expect them to deliver results overnight. It is a new team and we need to give them time” said Chhetri.The striker added that the team is trying its best to adapt to new coach Wim Koevermans’s plans. “The players are trying their best and are learning a lot. Wim has a vision in place for the Indian football and there is equal emphasis on theory classes as well as practical training,” he said.Dwelling on his experience of playing with the Portuguese side Sporting Lisbon’s B team, he said it has been a great learning experience even though he is yet to start in a competitive match. He also feels that the Indian football will benefit if more players start playing in foreign leagues.”Playing overseas is a very challenging task as it takes a couple of days for a player to get a grasp of the basic things. Players coming from our country are bound to get overawed after seeing the facilities there. If I succeed in making a mark over there, then other players will get inspired and footballers will be motivated to do well,” Chhetri said.advertisementThe senior team warmed up for the tournament as they played a goalless draw with Pailan Arrows on Saturday, in which Chhetri missed a spot-kick.Meanwhile, goalkeeper Subrata Pal was confident of his team’s chances in the Nehru Cup. Pal, who was the hero in India’s title win in 2009, said his brief stint with German club RB Leipzig has boosted his confidence.”Hopefully, we will again win the trophy. Nehru Cup has been a lucky tournament for us and we will open against Syria, whom we have defeated in the past. So, we are confident of doing well this time around,” Pal said.”Playing in alien conditions in Germany was a new thing for me. The coaches at Leipzig were impressed with my work ethic and I was not able to sign for them because fourth division clubs are not allowed to sign foreigners. But I will go there again next year and hopefully, something positive will happen,” he said.
Singing legend Lata Mangeshkar is not attending Prime Minister-designate Narendra Modi’s swearing in ceremony on Monday.Media reports said the melody queen is unwell, hence she will not attend the star-studded ceremony, that is being tipped as a globally watched event.The other top film celebrity who is not attending the event that is being graced by 4000 guests at the forecourt of the Rashtrapati Bhavan is Rajinikanth.Among the key notables giving the event a miss are Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy.While megastar Amitabh Bachchan and actor Rekha were invited to the event, reports said Bachchan might skip the same. While indusrialist Mukesh Ambani had already arrived, sports icon Sachin Tendulkar was also due to come. Narendra Modi displays the victory symbol. AP PhotoThe event has drawn global attention in view of South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation (SAARC) leaders, including Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, arriving in New Delhi for the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government swearing-in.As for the Union Council of Ministers, there will be 25 ministers of Cabinet rank, while a similar number of leaders will take oath as state minister.Since all the regional political parties of Tamil Nadu including the ruling AIADMK, DMK, PMK, MDMK and a host of various Tamil groups are opposing Sri Lankan President Rajapaksa’s visit, Tamil protestors strongly felt that Rajinikanth should boycott the swearing-in.