Stop shaming us into paying a fortune to go green | HeraldScotland

Why is it that everything we have right now is not up to standard yet what is required costs a huge amount of money?

Government grants, such as they are, are pitifully inadequate. There is an insidious push to either shame us into change or force us if plan A isn't working.

Electric vehicles are not as versatile as fossil fuel engines. Alternative heating systems are not as efficient as current fossil fuel systems. We are being asked to pay more for less.

If all these "go green" requests were accompanied by cheaper and more efficient alternatives there would be a queue to sign up. Instead we are facing coercion and threats of urgency which are simply and understandably being ignored.

What we really need is a change in political climate to one of measured responses, not knee-jerk ones. Realism over this problem is required. We are not seeing it.

Dr Gerald Edwards, Glasgow.

Where to target energy grants

I HAVE followed the discussion regarding the future of heating our homes in a carbon-neutral future and it is obvious that one size does not fit all.

A large proportion of Scotland's existing housing stock will never be heated by heat pumps on both the grounds of cost and practicality.

Fortunately modern electric storage heaters are both practical and comparable in capital cost to a gas boiler, whether in a tenement flat or a detached house.

Running costs on a renewable tariff are higher than gas; however this is likely to change in the future as more renewable capacity comes on line and gas production declines, pushing up gas prices.

Heat pumps have their place in highly insulated new-build homes and it is a crying shame that Scottish building regulations have only recently required new-build houses to be properly insulated with a carbon-free heating system.

At the moment government grants are focused on heat pumps and solar. There is very low take-up of the heat pump grants as the cost of upgrading the vast majority of existing houses is about four times the size of the grant.

It would be much more effective for the Government to offer grants or interest-free loans of £2-3,000 pounds per property to replace gas-fired heating with efficient electric storage heaters and improved insulation. There would be far greater uptake and we would be much more likely to achieve our carbon-neutral targets.

There has been a boom in solar installations, and indeed we recently installed a 5KW system with a 5KW battery, with the help of an interest-free loan from Home Energy Scotland and so far have been delighted with the performance. However, the recent announcement that this scheme will only be available to homeowners who also install a heat pump will kill it stone dead.

Like many pronouncements from the Scottish Greens, the intention may be worthy but the execution is woeful and likely to produce the exact opposite of the desired effect.

Gordon Duncan, Stonehaven.

The case for heat pumps

IT seems that the only articles printed about heat pumps are negative, giving the impression that heat pumps are useless and should never be considered.

Heat pumps do work and there is a factory in Livingston which produces these “useless” items and is presumably able to sell them.

Heat pumps have been used successfully in colder countries than Scotland for decades.

The letter by Tom Cassells (August 27) uses information provided by supposed experts and biased individuals quoted as though they are fact with no consideration given to technical reality.

I can only assume that the flat he is referring to has 20-plus bedrooms since the heat pump apparently requires an electricity supply of 45kW. The average two-bedroom flat needs a 5kW air source heat pump, or a 4kW ground source heat pump.

Scientific fact demonstrates that a heat pump will typically provide 3kW of heat energy for 1kW of electrical energy used on average over the year, meaning that Mr Cassells’ flat with that capacity of heat pump would require the equivalent of a 145kW gas boiler to heat it.

I have personal knowledge and data for a large detached stone-built property with high ceilings and this used 7,710kWh of electricity over a year to produce 23,181kWh of heat energy. This gives an average annual Coefficient of Performance = 3.

Mr Cassells' statement that he is installing an efficient water heater is straight out of the sales brochure for electric heating. Yes, electricity for heating and hot water is 100% efficient but it also costs about three times as much to run as gas central heating or a heat pump.

The laws of thermodynamics apply in all cases and the design and capacity of any heat source and distribution is determined by the heat loss from the building. A poorly-insulated building will lose the same amount of heat for the same conditions, irrespective of the heat source and the system would require to be sized to match the heat loss.

Yes, heat pumps are more expensive to install than a gas boiler and if cost is the main criteria, then there is no competition at present. However, if the cost of electricity reflected the true cost to produce it then heat pumps would probably be the first choice, especially for new-build or major refurbishment.

If Ofgem were to change the way electricity is charged, electricity would cost less than half what it presently costs, heat pumps would cost half what gas boilers cost to run and gas boilers would become history, provided the National Grid is upgraded to cope with the increase in heat pumps and electric vehicles.

Iain McIntyre, Sauchie.

Islanders need a new beginning

AT last the public have spoken and new life will be blown into Calmac's infamous Hull 802 with the name Glen Rosa.

Some may have suggested the Nicola Sturgeon or Derek Mackay to remind future generations of the ship's association with Government incompetence and financial waste, but perhaps a new beginning is required to give the ship a chance of achieving the level of usefulness delivered by its Clyde steamer predecessor of the same name which was broken up in 1939.

The people on Scotland's islands deserve a decent ferry service after what they have been required to tolerate in the past few years.

Bob MacDougall, Kippen.

SNP has failed on alcohol reduction

The SNP flagship policy of minimum pricing of alcohol has done nothing to reduce the numbers of people in Scotland who have serious problems with alcohol and merely adds to the profits of the supermarkets and off-licences.

At the same time the situation with funding for treatment for those with alcohol problems has gone from bad to worse as the SNP has reduced by 40% the funds available for treatment centres in Scotland. The SNP has failed us on alcohol reduction.

Dennis Forbes Grattan, Aberdeen.

Ryanair's extras are over the top

HOW does Ryanair get away with charging such high fees for so many extras? Why can't it be more upfront about its so-called cheap fares and instead of passengers feeling emotionally blackmailed about paying to select a seat for example, charge realistic prices so that passengers are getting value for money for the prices advertised?

I recently felt scammed by what should have been a happy experience at the start of a two-night break to meet up with our granddaughter and her friend.

My husband and I were charged an extra £55 each because we hadn't checked in online. Even when I explained that I'd been timed out the previous night while trying to check in and when the information from our passports was entered and was timed out again, decided to finish the process at the airport, the lady advised that was the rule so I had no choice but to pay £110.

We refused to pay extra for baggage, food, seats together; so when we got on the plane we discovered my husband had been allocated a seat in a row of three on his own while I had been allocated a middle seat across the aisle with the aisle seat empty. There was an announcement over the tannoy to let passengers know they must sit in the seat allocated to them. This was like another form of punishment because we hadn't paid to sit together.

I sent an email with my complaint and received a prompt response to my query advising I had been charged correctly and the fee paid was non-refundable, stating their systems indicated that I had made no effort to check in before my trip (among other suggestions that I might have attempted to make a flight change and may have unchecked myself!).

We chose Ryanair because we wanted to return on the same flight on Friday as our granddaughter and friend, which we did. They made sure we checked in before returning to Dublin Airport so that we didn't pay penalties, so thank goodness for the young people.

Ryanair is not cheap and in my opinion underhand about trying to get passengers to pay for extras which are ridiculously unjust. I understand it is running a business and is in it to make money but to exploit people the way it does is unnecessary.

Liz Izat, Glasgow.


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