Electric Storage Heat

The bricks in my electric storage heater.

Electricity costs a lot in Europe.  Years ago I’d heard the cost was generally six times as high as in the USA.  As a result, the Europeans are more careful about the way they use energy.  They try not to waste it.

Many Irish homes use electric storage heat.  The system mimics adobe construction of the southwestern United States.  It uses “thermal mass” (in the form of bricks) to soak up heat when it’s free (from the desert sun) or cheaper (at night when purchased from the utility company in Ireland).

The bricks hold the heat until the air on the outside gets colder than they are, and then they release the heat they are holding into the air to warm it.

I’ve posted photos of Keith, the maintenance guy for my apartment building, checking one of my electric storage heaters. They’re a bit difficult to get started at the beginning of the winter season.  Mine needed extra attention because a toddler who used to live in this apartment stuffed small plastic items into the heating units. Keith had to clean them out.

In any case, I hope this technology keeps getting used and improved, as it’s a system that makes a lot of sense environmentally.

Get heated at night (when electricity costs less) and absorb the heat energy to release it during the day.

Gray Sky Blues

Another rainy day in Dublin.  Here’s hoping the sun breaks through.  It almost always does each day–sooner or later.  I’ve attached an example of sunshine after rain, taken as I was crossing Dame Street on October 2.

Reflection on Dame Street. Copyright Shannon Chance, 2012.