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  1. Hi All We're at the stage where we need to make a final decision about our Heating & Hot water system and we would really appreciate some advice. We're building a 230 sq metre, 2 storey house (GF 120, FF 110) in Co. Down, Northern Ireland... Family of 2 adults, 2 teenage boys (long showers, most days) Work/school means the house is unoccupied for a large part of the day Block built full-fill 150mm cavity walls Triple glazed windows throughout Mechanical ventilation with heat recovery Underfloor heating on the ground floor and radiators on the first floor Multi-fuel, back boiler stove Airtightness target of 1 m3/(m2 h) We will have a south facing pitched roof which is crying out for solar panels, but with no RHI in NI both solar thermal & photovoltaic are expensive options. My preference is PV panels and I plan to put all the wiring in place during the build and then at some point in the future add the panels. Mains gas is on it's way to us but won't be available until at least 2 years after we finish the build. I'm working on the assumption that mains gas is the best option and therefore we should put something temporary in place and then switch to mains gas when it is available. We've ruled out Air Source Heat Pump due to cost (we saved £11.5k when we removed it from our spec and replaced it with Oil). I would really appreciate some guidance as my head is pickled thinking of each option and permutation. My specific questions are; With a reasonably airtight/insulated house we hopefully won't need too much energy. Therefore am I over-thinking the whole issue? (In which case Oil is probably the way we'll go) Whichever fuel we decide on, what's the best way to use the energy provided by PV panels on those few days it actually is sunny in NI? We've been advised to let intelligent heating controls (Dataterm IHC) run the UFH, but as the house will be unoccupied for long periods is this not wasteful? Anything else I should consider? Thanks in advance
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