Sunday, March 29, 2009

Renewable heating in Strömstad, Sweden

This map demonstrates renewable energy in Strömstad - over 50% of homes use some sort of heat pump.
Like in the US, many people in Sweden have been upgrading their heating systems in some way. In the town of Strömstad, for example, converting to a heat pump is economical just after a few years and saves from between 1/3 to 2/3 in heating costs (if not more). Strömstad was recently awarded the “heat pump city” award for the most heat pumps per capita. Even the hospital in Strömstad uses a heat pump, taking heat from the nearby sea. The city is a very good place to do ground source heat pumps because the terrain consists mostly of solid granite, which is very easy to drill through and obtain heat from.

The EkoPark in Strömstad demonstrates how heat pumps work
Air-to-air exchangers are also very popular here if ground source or geothermal heat pumps are not an option. Many people in this area also choose to upgrade their electric heating system by installing a wood pellet stove because it’s less expensive and better for the environment (the wood can be obtained locally). A few homes use solar as well, and two small individual wind turbines also exist in the city for individual buildings.

An air-to-air exchanger (top left) in a Swedish home
The Strömstad municipality addresses the environment for new construction as well. Because the ground consists mostly of granite, there is some concern about radon in the area, and new homes must be built with potential radon mitigation systems. Strömstad is also working toward maximum energy-efficiency of new buildings with a goal of newly constructed buildings meeting Passivhus standards.

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