Heating a Garden Building, Outdoor Office, Summerhouse or Posh Shed

The garden building business is blooming booming!

Thanks to technological advances aiding mobile communications and the ever-increasing costs of commuting, many of us are opting to work from home. A self-contained office in the garden provides the perfect environment to do just that.

The downturn in the economy has also played its part in the garden building boom. Financial uncertainty has resulted in a reluctance to move house, with homeowners choosing to stay put and improve and/or extend properties. In some cases this has led to the introduction of a garden building, whether used as a garden room, summerhouse or kids’ den.

To get the maximum use from a garden building, heating (along with light and power) is a must. If the building isn’t warm and cosy, then it won’t be used, particularly in the colder winter months. This article looks at factors to consider when it comes to heating your garden building.

Insulation is key

Is there adequate insulation? Some, but not all purpose-built garden rooms, are adequately insulated. If you have converted a shed or outbuilding, or opted for a lower cost garden building, then you will probably need to add insulation. Without this, the cost of heating could be prohibitively expensive.

Add Heating

In order for any garden building to be comfortable and useable (for more than just storage), all year round, it will need to be heated.

So what factors should you consider when choosing heating for a garden building?

Heat output – when choosing any form of heating it is critical that the option you select has the capacity to adequately heat the space. If in doubt, oversize the heater, as you can always turn it down.
Thermostatic control – choosing a heating option with a thermostat will ensure that your garden building is heated optimally at a constant and comfortable temperature. Thermostatic controls provide efficient and cost- effective use of power; for instance, they can turn off a heater when the room has reached its optimum temperature; perfect on a sunny day for taking advantage of any “free heat” from the sun. By maintaining the temperature above a certain minimum level, you protect the contents of the building, including computers and soft furnishings, from cold or damp related damage.
Timer – by opting for a product with a timer, you can ensure that the heating is on when it needs to be. A timer allows you to set the heating to come on just before you start your day, ensuring a toasty office in time for when you arrive.
Space – by their very nature, many outbuildings are small in size. Therefore space is often a critical factor in choosing your heating option. These days, radiators are available in unusually narrow or low sizes, so there is likely to be something to accommodate even the most awkward of wall spaces. There are also floor-standing heaters, which are portable and take up no wall space.
Budget – it may seem obvious, but costs vary immensely on heating options for garden buildings. For instance, the price of an electric heater can range from £20 for a basic fan heater to £2000 for the ultimate designer model. Take account of installation costs as well, for example if you opt for electric underfloor heating, bear in mind that installation costs may be considerable, especially if the floor needs to be taken up to allow the electric foil mat to be fitted underneath.
Aesthetics – Whether your new space is for living or working, as well as wanting a comfortable and functional environment, you may also want to add style with an attractive looking heater; the many designs now available mean you can choose minimalism to aid focus, bright colours for inspiration or soft curves to give a relaxed feel.

So what are the different heating options available for garden buildings?


Water and oil filled electric radiators

The water inside a water-filled electric radiator is heated by an electric element and is used as a heat reservoir. Oil-filled electric radiators are heated electrically; the oil is not burnt but again is used as a heat reservoir. Both types of electric radiators work on the same principle and have similar running costs.


Wall mounted and floor standing models available;
Many floor mounted versions can be plugged into a socket, so there are no installation costs and the radiators are often portable;
Wide range of contemporary and traditional styles available. From minimalist sleek designs like the Electric Royce (which is made of lightweight aluminium), to classic column style cast iron radiators like the Electric Etonian;
Many are available with timers and thermostats; and
Some styles heat up quickly (particularly those made of lightweight aluminium); others cool down slowly (such as those made of cast iron).


The wall-mounted versions don’t sit as close to the wall as some of the electric radiant panel radiators currently on the market.

Electric radiant panel radiators

Electric panel radiators radiate heat (rather than convecting it) and don’t contain any liquid. These radiators have become extremely popular in recent times, due to their efficient, environmental and practical qualities. One of the best electric panel radiators around is the iRad from Feature Radiators, which is beautifully designed, slim, flat and sits close to the wall.


Sits close to the wall;
Many sizes, finishes and colours available;
Heats up quickly;
Radiates warmth without “blowing”;
Warms both objects and the surrounding air;
Available with thermostats and timers; and
Precise, focused, highly efficient heating.


Almost always wall-mounted, so there will need to be at least some wall space available.

Wood burners

A wood-burning stove burns wood fuel and wood-derived biomass fuel whilst creating heat.


Lovely cosy feel with attractive real fire flame;
Carbon neutral, if fuel comes from sustainable sources;
Warms both objects and the surrounding air; and
Relatively low running costs.


Lack of controllability, which can lead to high temperatures;
Sourcing and moving around fuel can be difficult and messy;
Demands time and effort on a daily basis to keep it running;
Ash created needs to be cleaned up;
Requires reasonable amount of space, taking up both wall and floor space; and
Significant installation costs.

Fan heaters

A fan heater works by passing air over a heating element, this heats up the air, which then leaves the heater, warming up the surrounding room.


Heats up aroomquickly;
Warms both objects and the surrounding air;
Relatively small so doesn’t take up much floor space; and
No installation costs.


As soon as its switched off, the room will cool down quickly;
Fan creates noise;
Often unattractive;
Uses a lot of energy resulting in high running costs; and
Heat is blown out rather than convected or radiated, which can create a stuffy and snoozy environment.

Infrared heating panels

Infrared heating panels are a relatively new idea in the UK but have been widely available in Europe for more than ten years. Infrared heaters heat through the use of infrared waves.


Focused heating, infrared waves only heat what they hit;
Provide heat rapidly;
Reasonably efficient to run;
Can be fitted onto the ceiling to keep them out of the way; and
Thermostats and timers available.


Only heat the objects that the infrared waves hit. If you sit facing an infrared heater, then the back of your body and head and any part below the heater will remain cold;
The surrounding air is not heated at all; and
Potential fire hazard – As this heating is focused and direct, there may be a risk of fire if the heater is placed too close to an object. For example, if an infrared heater fell onto a wood floor.

Electric underfloor heating

Electric underfloor heating consists of a foil heat mat containing heating wires, which warm the floor surface which in turn heats the air above it. The foil mat must be laid under the laminate or wooden flooring intended for the garden building.


No wall space required;
Nice feeling under foot;
When working to an optimum, whole room is evenly heated with an ambient background temperature;
Many are available with thermostats and timers; and
Relatively low running costs.


May not have sufficient capacity to provide adequate heat for building – depending on level of insulation, ceiling height, and amount of glass;
Relatively high installation costs;
Insulated floor required;
Must be installed under the floor, so may not be a desirable option where the flooring is already down;
Slow to respond, can take up to 3 hours to get up to temperature, so forward planning needed and can take a long time to cool down;
Limits choice of floor-coverings; and
If it fails, the cost and inconvenience of repair will be significant, as flooring may need to be removed or replaced.

Portable gas heaters

Historically, a popular option for heating rooms or outbuildings particularly where there was no power source. Power is provided to these heaters via gas bottles that sit at the bottom of the heater.


High heat output;
Self contained heaters, requiring no external power source;
No installation charges; and


Safety – you must not place items on top or directly in front of gas heaters. This may be a challenge if you are working in a small space;
Unpleasant gas odour;
Adequate ventilation is vital to prevent a build up of dangerous fumes;
Risk of carbon monoxide leak; and
Large bulky items taking up valuable space, both when in use and in storage.


Whatever type of garden room heating you choose, you must ensure that it has the capacity to heat the relevant space. It is important to maximize the power used to efficiently provide heat whilst minimizing energy wastage through the use of good insulation, timers and thermostats.

Bear in mind that these days having a comfortable warm outbuilding doesn’t mean you need to compromise on style with ugly, bulky and/or ineffective heating options. There is now a wide range of stylish, safe yet efficient electric heating solutions available.

For more information on finding the most suitable heating product for your garden building, speak to a radiator or heating expert.

Helena Gerwitz is the General Manager at Feature Radiators, the one-stop port of call for anyone wanting high performance, stylish heating at competitive prices. Our collection is made up of the best contemporary, designer, traditional cast iron and electric radiators and heated towel rails on the market in terms of quality, design and value for money. Whatever size the project, we are a firm favourite amongst architects, house builders and developers, heating engineers as well as home owners. With over 160 styles on display in our showroom, expert advice, unrivalled customer service and nationwide delivery, we are widely recognized as the UK’s leading radiator specialist.

Contemporary Designer Radiators Our exciting contemporary collection ranges from discreet minimalist styles and vertical radiators to dramatic wow-factor designer styles. Available in a myriad of colours and finishes including brushed and polished stainless steel radiators.

Cast Iron and Traditional Style Radiators Our cast iron radiators include wall and floor mounted versions in various styles. Our plain style Etonian cast iron radiators are widely regarded as the best of their type, whilst our Liberty cast iron radiators are the most popular ornate style.

Electric Radiators and Electric Central Heating Our stylish electric radiators have been selected based on their quality, design, heat output and value for money. We are constantly sourcing and developing new ranges to offer you a great choice of good looking stylish electric radiators!

Heated Towel Rails and Towel Radiators Our collection is made up of central heating, all electric and dual fuel heated towel rails, and bathroom radiators in traditional and contemporary styles with high heat outputs.

For more expert advice then contact Feature Radiators at http://www.featureradiators.co.uk, call them on 01274 567789 or visit them in person at Feature Radiators, Bingley Railway Station. BD16 2NB

Heating Your Home With a Combi Boiler

A combination boiler is called a combination boiler because it combines a property’s hot water system with its central heating boiler system, which is a great space saving device for houses where the amount of space is already limited. Because these boilers are able to heat water almost instantaneously from the mains supply, there is also no need for a hot water cylinder or a cold water storage tank, which saves even more space in the property! Combi boilers (as they are also known) are also very energy efficient, meaning that they can help to save their users’ money on their energy bills, as well as reducing their carbon footprint. The best thing is that improvements in boiler technology mean that combi boilers are now even “smarter” than ever before.

With a good combi boiler system, you can either set a timer on the central heating system which means that it will only start heating rooms at the times when you want them to be heated, or you can advise the boiler to start heating rooms when the temperature in the rooms drops below a pre-determined temperature. Setting a timer means that you can save money by not heating rooms when they will not be in use, but it also allows you to have the opportunity to begin heating the room automatically just before it will be used, so that the room will be at a desirable temperature by the time you enter it! This means you can set your central heating to come on just before you get up in the morning (which will make getting out from under the duvet that little bit easier!) or you can set it to come on just before you get home from work, so that the house will be warm when you enter. You can also set the boiler to switch the central heating off just after you have gone out, or whilst you are asleep in bed.

If you choose to heat your rooms whenever they drop below a certain pre-set temperature, a thermostat in the room will monitor the temperature in the room, and it will send a signal to the combi boiler to start heating the room when the temperature drops below the predetermined level. Conversely, when the thermostat detects that the temperature in the room has risen back above the determined temperature for a stable amount of time, it will send a signal to the boiler to stop heating the room. This is a very energy efficient method of heating, which prevents large amounts of energy from being wasted, whilst preventing the room from being overheated. Of course, if you are still feeling cold, you can always manually change the temperature of the radiators at individual parts of the system.

Control valves inside the boiler system mean that if hot water is required elsewhere in the house (like the hot tap or the shower), the combi boiler system is able to divert water to the hot tap instead of pumping hot water through the central heating system.

Combi boiler systems are great for smaller homes or flats. The technology in combi boilers systems makes them really energy efficient. You can click here for more information.

Save Energy and Money Using Heat Surge Personal Space Heating

In this article I am going to tell you about the Heat Surge Space Heater which is an Amish product that has recently hit the market with overwhelming popularity and also to let you know what purchasers are going to expect from it.

First up, the Heat Surge is an electric fire place and its mantle has been handcrafted from solid timber by Amish craftsmen which give the heater an authentic fire place look, as a portable heater it can be located to any room to heat any space at any time.

Secondly, you should consider that the Heat Surge was specifically designed to heat one room at a time. These rooms could be in a small house, apartment, office and other small spaces, in turn cutting down on the use of ducted heating that you need enormous amounts of energy just to heat one room. The benefits which are, not only a saving of money but a personally located heat only heating the room you are occupying. Of course you can purchase more than one Heat Surge and have one preheating a room you are about occupy while keeping the room you are occupying comfortably warm.

Third point to consider is how it operates and how it is able to be an economical heater. The Heat Surge is very clever in this respect, as it uses ambient air which is sucked into the unit then heated and then returned to the room. So as the room heats up it uses less energy each cycle to heat the room to its required temperature, which means that once your heated room reaches the temperature you require the Heat Serge will maintain the heat at minimal cost.

So if the cost of running your current heating system is stopping you from keeping warm this winter consider getting a space heater like the Heat Heat Surge which is economical and provides heat for any room you wish to be in.

The Advantages of Home Heating Oil

Heating oil or Gas Heat is a distillate, just like diesel. It is also known as “red diesel” due to a red dye added as its content. It may be similar to diesel, but it is not diesel and thus it has different functions altogether. It is basically a liquid fuel derived from petroleum or crude oil. It is said that about one fourth of crude oil is converted into heating oil. It is prepared at a temperature much lower than diesel, petroleum jelly etc, but at a higher temperature than kerosene.

It is extensively used in homes in boilers and residential oil furnaces. Mainly, it is used for keeping homes warm during winters, although It can also be used for commercial purposes as well. But it is seen that the Home heating Oil remains to be the most popular in terms of usage. It is poured in a furnace, and this process of filling is supposed to be by professionals only. When this furnace is heated, it releases warm air which keeps the building warm. The surface air is again drawn inside the furnace and reheated.

There are primarily three types of heating oil which have been given a number each according to their quality and price. This number one is the costliest followed by number two and number four. The number one is the best quality, while the rest two are down on quality, thus cheaper. This also depends on the price fluctuation in crude oil. Usually, it is known for its high price tag. This is equally true of the current heating oil prices trend as well.

It is rated as the Number Two heating oil in The U.S.A., and is more popular in those areas where there is a dearth of Natural Gas or Propane. It is said that although New York relies on Oil Heat, but the dealers of Oil Heat rely on the New York Oil Heating Association (NYOHA). Overall, It is an essential fuel which is required in every household or commercial building in order to keep the warmth even during the winters. Even though the current it prices are high, even then there are many options where one can get a rebate, or save with a bulk purchase.

For more information about Home heating oil please visit:- https://www.heatingoil4less.com/

Home Heating – The Season is Upon Us

Home heating with oil, gas, lp (liquid petrolium), wood or solar each have their advantages and drawbacks. Find out how you can maximize your heat per dollars this season by reading and implementing the following tips. Everyone needs to keep warm in the winter months With the economy down and less personal time, getting and keeping heat are the two most important things you can do to stay comfortable this winter.

Home Heating Oil, Gas, and LP

Standards in home heating that add up to a lot of your budget

Home heating for bottled LP or natural gas accounts for an average of $3351 per year, across the US. Depending on local conditions and costs, this can vary by as much as $180 per month. That’s a lot of groceries! If your oil furnace is inefficient, it can cost a lot more! Here’s the tips for what is the most convenient and most used heat source:

1) have your furnace checked and cleaned regularly!

An inefficient furnace or boiler can cost you – it takes more oil or gas to raise the temperature in your house if it’s not working at peak efficiency. Be sure that your oil furnace is cleaned and checked annually by your oil company

2) change your filters!

If your central heating is trying to push air through a caked up filter, it’s not only wasting heat, it’s wasting electricity. The fan has to push harder and longer, and the reduced air flow means less warm air throughout the home.

3) clean the registers!

If you have heating registers along the wall, they can get full of dust, hair and more. Since they work by convection (warmed air rising), if they’re clogged, it takes more time and heated water to warm the air around them. The fins act as “heat sinks” the heat from the pipe in the middle of the register, and the air moves up through them, getting heated in the process. Lifting off the lids and vacuuming them clean will make a big difference in how fast the room warms up.

4) upgrade if you can to an energystar rated furnace!

A high Energy Star rated furnace is one of the most efficient ways to get the most heat out of the money you’re spending on fuel. 90% or better ratings give you some of the best heat/$ ratio.

Wood, Coal, and Pellets
Higher maintenance, sometimes lower cost, and pollution issues
Heating with wood has become popular again, especially after the last couple of years. There are many varieties of wood heaters available, from outdoor furnaces that pump the heat into the house via a fluid (water/antifreeze mix), to wood stoves, fireplace inserts and coal stoves. While not as convenient, they can be more cost effective, depending on your location and availability of fuel.

1) Keep it Clean!

If there are ashes built up in the hopper or under the grate, the air can’t flow and this won’t allow for efficient burning. Keep a metal container nearby to scoop the ashes into – you never know when there’s an ember waiting for more oxygen!

2) Check it Regularly

Have it checked by a professional to be sure it’s in good working order. Automatic feeders can get stuck/clogged, they can break as well. Be sure the seals are intact and working around the doors. Always keep a fire extinguisher nearby!

3) Have the Chimney swept annually

Chimney fires are one of the most common types of house fires. Creosote, an oily substance can build up in the chimney and catch fire.

4) Keep a good supply of fuel, and keep it dry!

Running out of wood or pellets can cause a cold morning, plus, you’ll have to restart the fire and get the stove back up to operating temperature.

5) Have a backup

Many times, the wood stove or coal stove IS the backup. If it’s the main source of heat, you should have a gas or oil burner in case you need to replace your primary source of heat.

Government Help for All
Getting a Home Energy Audit – or doing it yourself
Getting a home energy audit can range from a free simple “look-see yup you really should replace those windows, here’s a couple of free CFL lights”, to a more thorough (and costly – about $500) full home energy audit where they attach a “blower door”, suck the air out of your house and do a thermal analysis to see where the leaks are all over your house. This is the most comprehensive audit, but a lot can be done on your own

Insulation – Keeping The Heat You’ve Go
Small drafts add up to big losses

1) Great Stuff! – get some, don the gloves and old clothes, then seal everywhere you can: around the pipes going out of the house (in the cellar, in the attic), around the foundation of the house – the sill of the house – where the basement or crawlspace meets the base of the house is often not a perfect fit.

2) Seal around the Chimney

Use the proper sealant for this! You don’t want a fire starting because you “cheaped out” and tried to use the Great Stuff where it shouldn’t be used!

3) Make plastic covered frames for the windows to put up in the winter

Shrink wrap type plastic is available on most hardware stores that is made to take down in the summer, then buy more in the winter and redo. You can save a lot by making frames that fit into the windowframe, then covering both sides of the frame with this shrink-wrap, making a double layer with an air pocket. Using reusable caulking, you simply attach these to the inside (or outside if you have curious pets or children that would poke holes in them).

4) Put a blanket on it!

Insulate your water heater. It loses it’s heat to the cellar air if you don’t, and you keep reheating the same water more often.

5) Insulate the attic first, then the cellar

Heat rises. If you’ve got to make a choice, insulate the attic first. Be sure your soffit vents are properly installed, too otherwise you’ll find ice dams and water damage galore!

6) Once all of that’s done, you can check for leaks by either buying a Black & Decker TLD100 Thermal Leak Detector, or – if you’ve got one – you can use an infrared thermometer to check for leaks around the windows, electrical outlets and near the ceiling, where some of the wall insulation has settled.

Solar Heating
Using The Sun to Warm Your Water And Your Home
Once you’ve properly insulated, you can look into additional systems of heating like solar air and solar water heaters. Solar air heaters warm your home during the sunny days, and close up at night to keep the heat. Properly installed, they can take a bite out of your heating bill, and sometimes eliminate it altogether.

1) Be sure there are no air leaks around your solar heater!

Sure it’ll be warm during the day, but it will suck the heat out at night, and during the cloudy days as well.

2) Be sure that it closes at night when it’s not producing heat!

Same as above. If you’re going to spend the time and money to make/install one, be sure it’s done right!

3) Keep the snow off of it!

This can be tricky with the evacuated tube variety of solar water heaters. Be sure to use a soft brush, and don’t bump them with the wood end! Those tubes are expensive to replace. If possible, have them located under an overhang in snowy areas to protect them.

Choosing a Home Heating System

Are you trying to determine how your home will be heated? There are plenty of home heating system options available. Learn about the most common systems and figure out which one makes the most sense.

BODY: If you’re going to be building or renovating a home, one of the first issues you need to figure out is how the house will keep you and your family warm. When considering a home heating system, you’ll have to sort through several different options in order to find the one that will heat your home the best while saving you the most money. Each option has its positives and negatives, so it’s up to you to determine which one will make sense for your house.

Furnaces and Boilers

You may be aware that most American homes use either a furnace or a boiler as the home heating system. Furnaces are used to heat the house using air ducts, and boilers heat water, providing either steam or hot water for heat. If steam is being used, it’s distributed with pipes through floor systems. If you want to use a boiler, you might want to consider the hot water route, as steam boilers have to work at a higher temperature, making them more costly and less efficient. If you want to pay a little extra, you can get more efficient furnaces and boilers.

Portable Heaters

Portable heaters, known as space heaters, are generally used when it is too costly to install a main heating system or there are no other adequate options. If you are only interested in heating one room, a small space heater is your best bet. It can also be the perfect option to boost the heat in a bedroom overnight without causing the rest of the house to feel like a sauna. If you’re trying to save money and heat a specific room for a short period of time, the portable heater can be your home heating system when the temperature gets low.

Radiant Heating

Radiant heating systems use wall and ceiling panels in the house to heat the home. It can be a little more efficient that traditional forced-air heating and eliminates dust in the air that can use allergies. If you want to use radiant heating, it’s recommended that you do it with a liquid-based system. The flow of the water can be controlled, fixing the amount of heat delivered and making it financially efficient.

Regardless of the home heating system you choose, make sure you pick a qualified contractor to install the system. Don’t be afraid to ask people about heating recommendations, as your neighbors will likely not be afraid to share with you their opinions about saving money with heat. Keep cost in mind. If you think a potential project will be a hit in the wallet, consider the amount of money you may save over time by installing a more sensible home heating system.

When looking for a home heating system montgomery al residents know who to trust. Start your search at http://www.alagasco.com.

Four Steps to Refurbish Systems Using Home Heating Oil

Throughout the northeastern United States, No. 2 fuel is a very popular option for warming houses. Many experts recommend changing your tanks every fifteen to thirty years. In fact, some insurance companies mandate when the tanks must be changed. Chances are, if you use home heating oil in your house, you’ll have to one day dispose of the spent fuel or replace the tank. Removing the old tank or emptying the spent liquid is not terribly difficult, but there are some things you should know.

Be Careful of Fire Hazards

If you need to dispose of an old tank or if you believe yours is leaking, the first step is to contact your local fire department. Depending on the location of the tank and the effort needed to remove it, you may need to contact your supplier or another professional. Home heating oil presents a lower fire hazard than natural gas, because it is stored as a liquid and needs to be converted to a vapor before it will rapidly ignite. However, since combustible vapors can accumulate inside fuel tanks, they still present a potential fire hazard and homeowners should contact a professional or proceed with the utmost caution.

Home Heating Oil Must Be Recycled

Since it is considered hazardous waste, No. 2 fuel must be disposed of through the proper channels. You cannot just pour it in a sewer or throw it away. You should contact your local public works department and ask about the proper methods of disposal. Some counties or towns offer free pick-up and disposal. If possible, arrange for the used home heating oil to be picked up by a public agency or a professional service. If you need more information, contact your fuel provider or local fire department.

Have More Delivered to Your House

Now that you’ve replaced the tank or at least recycled the old oil, you will need to refill it. Many local companies have set delivery days for certain areas so that their entire service area can receive deliveries each week. Place an order with a company near your home so that you know the delivery will be timely. Many will charge extra for smaller orders (typically, under 100 gallons) or they will offer discounts for larger orders (typically, over 500 gallons).

Prime and Start Your System

New systems, or systems that haven’t been used in a long time, require some maintenance before they can be used again. Usually, the company that delivers your fuel will be able to prime and start your system for you.

Best Home Heating Practices For This Winter

Winter is almost here and people are starting to think about warming up their rooms with adequate home heating. There are many types of heating one can use, including gas, liquid petroleum, oil and even wood, and each of them have their main advantages and disadvantages for the homeowners. So what is the best way to heat your rooms this winter the most efficient way?

Only in the US alone if you use natural gas or bottled liquid petroleum, you might be paying per year an average of over $3000. Of course, it might be a bit more or less, based on where you live and how much heating you actually need. Also it is dependent on the quality of your furnace. An inefficient one will add lots to your average costs.

This is why it is very important that you get your furnace regularly checked as well as cleaned for a proper maintenance. Like I said, if it’s inefficient, it will cost you more, when you could use that extra money for your Christmas shopping instead.

Also you need to make sure that you change regularly your filters. They are not expensive and they need replacing on a regular basis for the furnace to give you optimal heat. The caked up filter will increase also your electricity bills and will keep your home colder than it should be.

An additional thing you need to do is clean the heating registers that are along your wall. These usually get dirty, full of hairs, dust and other debris. Unfortunately these work by air convection, so clogging up will mean extra time to heat up your room, which also means additional costs to bear.

If you know that you need to buy a new furnace, why don’t you get one with an Energy Star rating? This is a very efficient way to get your rooms warm, allowing you to get a great heat per dollar ratio every winter.

Has Coal Gasification’s Time Arrived

The global economy is affecting our industry dramatically. Rising demand for oil and natural gas means that power generators and industrial plants will be desperate for basic feedstock that helps feed the American economy.

New technologies will be created and innovation in our industry will continue to grow, which will invariably lead to more inventive uses for coal. With the right incentives and under the proper market conditions, companies will introduce relevant products and services too meet these needs and demands. Without this type of thinking in the energy sector — where the ever-increasing demand for power and gas is tapping the availability of vital fuels and putting upward pressure on prices, it will result in dire consequences to the global economy.

As we all know, natural gas is a finite resource, which at the current rate of production and consumption would last about 60 more years in the United States. We also must face the fact that developing nations will expand and demand more of the world’s oil and natural gas to fuel their growth. Since the U.S. comprises approximately five percent of the world population but uses about 30 percent of the energy, it is inevitable for that balance to shift, especially in light of the shift in manufacturing capacity to overseas markets.

With India and China seeking the same resources as the United States, costs for these commodities will rise. For instance, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) projects oil consumption to increase by 1/3 through 2030 while electricity demand will rise by 50 percent over the next decade. Some experts predict this will lead to oil that may cost as much as $100 a barrel while natural gas could run as high as $8+ per million BTUs, in the same time period.

As oil prices rise, it usually causes other commodities such as natural gas and coal to rise as well, generally at a lesser rate than oil. Coal typically rises at a rate of 40% of that of oil, making it the cheapest and most abundant alternative to oil, which would explain why the EIA projects its use to climb over the next two decades and does not expect nuclear or renewable energy to reduce coal’s market share during this time.

There are solutions to the increasing demand for energy, and include several which use coal as its feed stock. Coal-to-liquids, is one in which coal is broken down to form a fuel oil. While potentially much cheaper per barrel than oil, it is capital intensive and requires that oil prices stay high to motivate investors to risk this capital. Coal gasification plants are another technology we have seen in the limelight in our industry. These are power facilities that clean the impurities from coal before it is burned and sent out the smokestack, or in most recent developments (mimicking a DOE project from the 70’s), creating pipeline quality natural gas (PQNG).

When coal is burned, it produces sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide, which produces acid rain and smog. In addition it produces particulate matter and mercury. Under the Clean Air Act, those pollutants must be removed from exhaust gases that come out of the smoke stack. Coal combustion also produces carbon dioxide, which is not currently regulated. However the pressure to do so is increasing.

Coal gasification removes the sulfur dioxide, mercury and carbon dioxide from the “syngas” before it is combusted or converted to PQNG, say experts. And because the “syngas” is cleaner than raw coal, lower quantities of nitrogen oxide and particulate matter are produced during the combustion process. The carbon dioxide is more concentrated, which makes it easier to capture.

Four coal gasification power plants are now operating: two in the United States and two in Europe. American Electric Power expects to have engineering studies completed next month on two possible coal gasification plants in Ohio and West Virginia. It would like to have one or both facilities operational by decade’s end. Duke Energy has picked up Cinergy’s proposed coal gasification plant in Ohio, since the merger of the two organizations.

There are viable options to help reduce the global dependence on oil and natural gas. Employing energy efficient technologies is a good start as well as turning waste energy into power and heat.

To keep the global economy viable, creative solutions involving all different fuel forms are necessary. Coal will continue to play a major role, however the form of that role appears to be changing. New technologies are on the verge of becoming commercially commonplace, and those utilities who utilize the traditional combustion method must commit to controlling their emissions and their carbon footprints. Regulatory and market pressures are giving coal a chance to reinvent itself, and with oil and gas prices at their current levels, and no major relief in site, the bulk of the new power required will likely be provided using coal, the workhorse of the industry.

Coal is not without its problems. Eastern spot prices for coal have risen, and have reached their highest levels in more than 25 years. This is the second time in 4 years that coal prices have more than doubled their pre-2000 pricing levels . This spike has caused prices in new long term contracts to rise as well. The current prolonged spike in Eastern spot prices is mainly due to supply shortages, as demand has not grown much in recent years.

There are several reasons that coal prices have spiked. The coal industry has undergone significant consolidation over the past 15 years, with indications pointing to a continuation in that trend. The top ten producers controlled 64% of coal production in the U.S. in 2003, compared to only 36% in 1989. Three companies control 60-70% of production in the Powder River Basin, Northern Appalachia, and Colorado/Utah. This consolidation has contributed to the volatility of spot prices by reducing excess mining capacity along with the number competing for coal contracts.

The reduction in the number of small mines has affected the price of coal in recent years as well. An example of this is a 68% reduction in the number of small mines in Central Appalachia from 1989 to 2003. By reducing the number of small mines, the ability to meet spikes in demand are reduced, resulting in price spikes in the spot market.

There are other factors contributing to rising coal prices; including increase in demand, even though over the last 5 years the increase has been small. Other contributing factors are the reduction in the size of U.S. utility coal stockpiles, the reduction in miner productivity in all of the major coal producing regions (except Northern Appalachia), pressure from U.S. export coal demand, and the reduction decrease in the number of Class 1 railroads.
With spot market coal prices increasing, where do the opportunities for coal exist? They exist with integrated coal gasification combined cycle plants. Gasification, also known as partial oxidation, has been commercially practiced for many years; especially in the chemical industry, where most of the installed plants produce ammonia, hydrogen or other chemicals. The feedstock for these plants has included natural gas, oil-derived fuels, petroleum coke and coal. Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) is often proposed as an alternate method of converting environmentally disadvantaged fuels into electricity. Some believe that IGCC units will not be built in the short term unless natural gas prices remain elevated, there is high load growth and a national cap on CO2 emissions are implemented. However, with the arrival of the Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR) and the Clean Air Mercury Rule , and the availability of high sulfur (i.e. 7 lb. /MMBtu) coal, such as Illinois Basin coal, (See Figure 2) the market for these fuels rests on a technology like IGCC and other gasification processes, which benefit from high sulfur content and which reduce emissions simultaneously. The technology’s main long-term advantage is its ability to control greenhouse gas emissions. Integrated gasification combined cycle technology, combined with the sequestration of carbon stripped out in the process, is as close to a perfect solution for environmental emissions as there is. The biggest challenge will be to make it a reality, in light of the costs to develop gasification projects and their financial ramifications.

Gasification History

Gasification technology, although new to the power sector, has been widely used in the chemical industry for decades. Almost ten years ago, Tampa Electric opened an innovative power plant that turned coal, the most abundant but the dirtiest fossil fuel, into a relatively clean gas, which it burns to generate electricity. The plant emitted significantly less pollution than a conventional coal-fired power plant, and it was also 10 percent more efficient.
Though there are many gasification plants currently on the drawing board, since that plant opened, however, no other similar plant has been built in the United States, mainly due to the price of constructing such a plant, (about 20% more expensive than to build a conventional pulverized coal unit) and to the abundant supply of natural gas, which had been, until recently, a lot cheaper.

In recent years there has been downward pressure on that price differential. GE Energy, a division of General Electric claims the technology offers operational cost savings that offset some of the higher construction costs. In addition, if Congress eventually limits carbon emissions, as many energy industry experts say they expect them to do, the technology’s operational advantages could make it a bargain.

There are now several utility executives who are proponents of gasification, because they assume a carbon constrained world is inevitable. Duke/PSI, Bechtel, and General Electric Company have signed a letter of intent to study the feasibility of constructing a commercial, integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) generating station. This is the first plant of its kind announced under a GE-Bechtel alliance. However other projects utilizing this same alliance are close behind.
The operating savings for IGCC plants result from a number of factors, including more efficient combustion (15 percent more than conventional plants do, resulting in less fuel consumption). The plants also use about 40 percent less water than conventional coal plants, a significant consideration in arid locales, and given the increasing difficulty of securing water rights.
Many in the industry who anticipate stricter pollution limits believe the primary selling point of IGCC plants is their ability to chemically strip pollutants from gasified coal more efficiently and cost-effectively, prior to burning, rather than trying to clean the emissions on the back end.
Supporters of the technology believe that half of coal’s pollutants – including sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, which contribute to acid rain and smog – can be chemically stripped out before combustion. So can about 95 percent of the mercury in coal, at about a tenth the cost of trying to scrub it from exhaust gases racing up a smokestack.

The biggest long-term draw for gasification technology is its ability to capture carbon before combustion. If greenhouse-gas limits are enacted, that job will be much harder and more expensive to do with conventional coal-fired plants. It is estimated that capturing carbon would add about 25 percent to the cost of electricity from a combined-cycle plant burning gasified coal, but that it would add 70 percent to the price of power from conventional plants.
Disposing of the carbon dioxide gas stripped out in the process, however, is another matter. Government laboratories have experimented with dissolving the gas in saline aquifers or pumping it into geologic formations under the sea. The petroleum industry has long injected carbon dioxide into oil fields to help push more crude to the surface. Refining and commercializing these techniques is a significant part of a $35 billion package of clean energy incentives that the National Commission on Energy Policy is recommending.

The recent energy bill has some incentives for industry to adopt gasification technology, and the Department of Energy will continue related efforts. These include FutureGen, a $950 million project to demonstrate gasification’s full potential – not just for power plants but as a source of low-carbon liquid fuels for cars and trucks as well, and, further out, as a source of hydrogen fuel.

The Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle Process

In the IGCC process, coal or another carbon containing material (petroleum coke, coal fines, and residual oil) is converted to synthetic gas, composed mainly of carbon monoxide and hydrogen, which is cooled, cleaned and fired in a gas turbine. Next the gas turbine generates hot exhaust that passes through a generator to produce steam to power a steam turbine, whereby electricity is produced by both the gas and steam turbine-generators.

The feedstock is prepared and fed to the gasifier in either dry or slurried form. The feedstock reacts in the gasifier with steam and oxygen at high temperature and pressure in a reducing (oxygen starved) environment. This produces the synthesis gas, or syngas, made up of more than 85% carbon monoxide and hydrogen by volume, and smaller quantities of carbon dioxide and methane.

Coal gasification is a chemical process that removes potentially harmful matter such as sulfur and volatile mercury from the synthesis gas before combustion, when they are much easier and less expensive to remove. Non-volatile heavy metals can be removed in a non-leachable slag which can be usable in construction and building industries, becoming a potential added revenue stream for such a plant. The removal occurs because of the high temperature in the gasifier, and results in inorganic materials such as ash and metals into the vitrified slag material, resembling course sand. With some feedstocks, valuable metals are concentrated and recovered for reuse. The synthesis gas that is produced is much cleaner than raw coal, so it produces lower quantities of particulate matter and nitrogen oxides when it goes through the combustion process.

IGCC vs. Coal Combustion

There is a dramatic difference in the level of pollution reduction when comparing an IGCC facility to that of a traditional pulverized coal plant. A pulverized coal plant produces flue gas and flyash which compose the majority of the pollutants from the coal. Though the flue gases can be cleaned using current technology, which is capable of removing a large portion of the pollutants, it is not without cost, and those costs can be prohibitive.

Gasification on the other hand removes these pollutants more effectively and efficiently, without producing the additional wastes that the coal combustion process does, such as additional carbon dioxide, and sludges that contain sulfur (up to 5 lbs./lb. of sulfur removed). The removal of volatile mercury and carbon dioxide is a much more expensive process in traditional combustion plants, and it appears that this requirement will soon be looming over the industry, due to continued environmental constraints. To remove high levels of mercury from a coal combustion plant, it requires the injection and removal of powdered activated carbon, and the success depends heavily on the coal feedstock and other pollution control equipment

An Example of the levels emissions from an IGCC plant compared to a supercritical pulverized coal plant (SCPC) is in Table 1.

Table 1

Pounds of Pollutants per MWh

Pollutant IGCC SCPC

SO2 0.47 1.19

NOx 0.50 0.72

PM-10 0.06 0.16

Pollutant IGCC SCPC

Hg (Volatile Mercury) >90% Removed 30-80% Removed

Source: Eastman Gasification Services

1) Assumes Eastern bituminous coal with 2.2% sulfur

2) For IGCC, NOX is corrected to 15% O2, For SCPC NOX is corrected to 6% O2

3) Assumes IGCC plant is equipped with an amine scrubber, packed activated carbon bed for Hg, and no SCR

4) Assumes SCPC plant is equipped with wet flue desulfurization

The levels of pollutants for an IGCC can achieve additional reductions from those shown in Table 1, by using enhanced sulfur removal technologies such as Rectisol.

IGCC Economics & Financing

One of the hottest topics in the industry these days is coal gasification and IGCC. At recent industry conferences, the coal gasification sessions were standing room only. Commercial banks are interested in the topic as well, but not without reservations. The attraction is the potentially lucrative offtake agreements from such a project. Depending on where the plant is situated, as much as 30 percent of a project’s revenues can come from non-electricity production, for such things as hydrogen, nitrogen, sulfur and carbon sequestration.

One of the biggest problems with the growth of IGCC in the past is that the turbines and the gasification equipment came from different vendors, and no one wanted to guarantee the whole package, since there were uncertainties related to the other’s equipment. In 2003, Eastman Chemical Company’s Eastman Gasification Services Company signed a cooperative agreement with ChevronTexaco under which Eastman was to provide operations, maintenance, management and technical services to ChevronTexaco projects. In 2004, GE acquired the Chevron-Texaco gasification technology, and has paired that up with their existing turbine business, with guarantees around both. In addition they have partnered with Bechtel in a consortium, in order to construct the plants. Eastman Gasification continues to be prepared to provide their services to these projects. All these collaborative efforts help lend credibility and financability to these projects, by helping to eliminate the technology’s risk.

The total cost associated with building an IGCC facility is around $1 billion+, with some industry experts claiming that the technology costs 20% more than a pulverized coal plant. Without substantial federal and state subsidies, the future of IGCC technology is considered by some to be dim. In addition, credit ratings may be at stake for utilities, making airtight commitments with regulators a necessity, in order to avoid negative rating action. Strategies to manage the financial and regulatory risks will have to be in place to help insure this.

According to Eastman Gasification Services Company however, the capital costs for new coal gasification power plants are now estimated to be at parity with the newest generation of pulverized coal power plants. The capital costs for pulverized coal plants have risen in recent years and are projected to continue in that direction, due to the increasing severity of federal air pollution regulations. With coal gasification, there are fewer environmental side effects, and it is predicted that the costs will actually head downward as commercialization of the technology moves forward, improvements are incorporated into future designs and increased operating experience is realized.

Solid fuel plants have been recently bid for less than $1,000/kW on a turnkey basis, which is 30-40% of the cost of the first few IGCC plants. Since then, capital cost reductions have been achieved through gas turbine performance improvements, gasification system enhancements, IGCC configuration changes, and finally by moving further down the learning curve in the EPC process that has provided additional efficiencies. An example of configurations changes that have reduced costs is GE’s coupling of a 9FA based combined cycle with high efficiency quench (HEQ) which resulted in a 10% reduction in costs of electricity. The reduction was due to a large portion of the high temperature heat exchanger in the gasification plant being eliminated. GE’s next generation of gas turbines, such as the GE “H” machine, are expected to provide significant performance improvements and capital cost reductions. These types of improvements will continue to provide additional economic benefits for IGCC. The capital cost of an IGCC plant is estimated to be between $1,200 to $1,400/kW and is expected to go down from there. This range is competitive with the newest generation of supercritical pulverized-coal plants

When you consider total variable costs for a coal gasification plant versus any other fossil fuel based electric power generating facility, (including natural gas) O&M, fuel, waste disposal, and byproducts credits, they are much better with coal gasification. This is a result of the higher O&M costs of coal gasification being offset by lower fuel costs from higher efficiency, lower environmental treatment costs, and lower waste disposal costs. In addition, with the production of marketable by-products such as hydrogen, nitrogen, and sulfur, additional revenue streams can be provided. Finally, with the looming Clean Air Mercury Rule limiting the emissions from new power plants, and expected carbon removal requirements likely being instituted in the future, the costs for removal of these constituents has to be considered, and it is much less for gasification than other technologies.

With gas prices increasing to their current levels, the ownership cost of an IGCC has become competitive with that of conventional, natural gas-fired combined cycle plants. The range that this remains true is when natural gas rises above $4/mmBtu. Most forecasts of long range gas prices indicate that gas will be above this level for the foreseeable future.

State & Federal Incentives for Development

The Clean Coal Power Initiative (CCPI) is the President’s response to the National Energy Policy recommendations for developing advanced clean coal technologies to ensure clean, reliable, and affordable electricity for the future of the U.S. CCPI is a ten year, $2 Billion DOE program involving multiple solicitations for coal-based power generation technologies that significantly enhance efficiency, environmental performance, or economics relative to state-of-the-art technologies. The purpose of the program is to try to accelerate the implementation of these new advanced technologies through demonstration at the commercial-scale level. They require 50% cost sharing by industry participants.

Many states, whose coal industries have been dramatically affected by environmental laws requiring reductions in sulfur, have implemented various incentives, including grants and tax abatement, in order to encourage the use of coal mined in their state. States whose resources include high sulfur coal, such as that found in Illinois, western Indiana and Kentucky, Ohio and various areas in Appalachia have borne the brunt of the job losses in the coal industry, and have seen the market for their coal being dramatically reduced. Many of these states are anxious to put these mines back in business and their unemployed miners back to work. The incentives were put in place to do that, and many of these incentives are specifically focused on IGCC, in order to spur development, while acknowledging the concerns of environmentalists.


Early in 2005, clean energy legislation unanimously passed out of the Indiana Senate which provides additional incentives for clean coal gasification plants. Senate Bill 378 provides tax credits for companies who build and operate integrated coal gasification power plants in Indiana. The legislation established the Coal Gasification Technology Investment Tax Credit, which applies to newly constructed IGCC plants that exclusively use Indiana coal. The amount of the tax credit would equal 10 percent of a $500 million investment plus 5 percent of the investment above that amount. The tax credit would be divided over a ten year period.

In April 2005, Indiana’s General Assembly passed tax incentives that would save Duke $75 million on a $1 billion IGCC plant that they are considering building in a cooperative arrangement with GE/Bechtel, if it were powered with coal from Indiana’s mines.

In 2002 Indiana’s governor signed a clean-coal law, whereby electric utilities either building new generating stations or repowering existing power plants using Illinois Basin coal are eligible for potential financial incentives including up to 3% over their normal rate of return. The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) determines the actual level of incentives to be awarded on a case-by-case basis.
Since 1987, coal consumption in Indiana has increased by 30 percent, while Indiana’s coal production had increased by only 3 percent. Currently over half of the 43 million tons of coal used to generate electricity is imported into Indiana. If Indiana coal were to replace 22.5 million tons of the now imported coal, it would add $1.35 billion and 18,000 jobs to that state’s economy. Therefore it is obvious why the state has implemented these incentives.

West Virginia

West Virginia, through using coal as its premier electric generating source material, receives $13.1 to $17.3 billion of annual economic output, $4.1 to $5.6 billion of annual household income; and 111,747 to 162,143 jobs. Taken a step further, coal is responsible for $66 to $114 billion of annual state economic output, $38 to $55 billion of annual household income and 1.1 to 1.7 million jobs, across the entire Southern Appalachian region. In other words, coal is a huge part of their economy, and it is likely to negotiate incentives to use some of their high sulfur coal


The Kentucky Coal Association (KCA) has declared that economic incentives to promote Kentucky coal are a priority for the 2006 legislative session and during the interim committee meetings. KCA has helped pass legislation in the past including severance tax credits for thin seam coal and incentives for utilities to burn Kentucky coal, so it is a reasonable expectation that they will be successful in putting incentives in place.

Numerous governmental programs exist in Kentucky that might benefit an IGCC facility. These include:

-Enterprise zone programs

-Tax increment financing

-Tax credits

-Job assessment fee

-Industrial revenue bonds


The Ohio Coal Development Office (OCDO), within the Ohio Air Quality Development Authority (OAQDA), co-funds the development and implementation of technologies that can use Ohio’s vast reserves of high sulfur coal in an economical, environmentally sound manner. Ohio generates nearly 90 percent of its electricity from coal and is the third largest consumer of coal and the fourth largest consumer of electricity in the U.S.

Projects supported by the OCDO are sought through public solicitations and requests-for-proposals and cost-share is required. Proposals are reviewed by independent technical reviewers, and then submitted to the Office’s statutorily created Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), a 15-member group comprised of public and private members having an interest in coal, power production, and the environment. Projects favorably recommended by the TAC are submitted to the OAQDA for final approval, then grant negotiations commence.


Illinois has an extensive program in place to provide incentives to those willing to use high sulfur Illinois Coal which will put unemployed miners back to work. In recent years, the State of Illinois passed the Coal Development Act, which has the following provisions:

-Provides $3.5 billion in bonds for coal and energy projects under a consolidated Illinois State Finance Authority

-Allows sales and utility tax exemptions for new power plant construction started after July 1, 2001

-Gives property tax breaks of up to $4 million over 10 years for new power plants and transmission lines

-Orders the Governor Energy Cabinet to help develop clean-coal technology, help power companies gain required permits more quickly and look into creating a transmission corridor from the south to the north part of the State

-Calls for the IEPA to start investigating more limits on SO2, NO2, mercury, and CO2

The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity has pushed coal infrastructure grants through its Office of Coal Development and Marketing (OCDM). The coal infrastructure grants aim to increase domestic and international use of Illinois coal. The Illinois Clean Coal Review Board, established by Southern Illinois University and funded initially by monies from the sale of power plants of Commonwealth Edison Company, provides grants to innovative technologies seeking to increase utilization of Illinois coal resources.

In Illinois, programs that might benefit an IGCC generation facility include:

-Enterprise zone programs


-Temporary property tax relief

-Tax increment financing

-Development corporation loan program

-Community development assistance program

-Work force development program

-Community block grant program

-Linked deposit program



With the costs of BTU’s on the rise across the board, including not only natural gas and crude oil, but coal as well, the overall challenge in the energy business today comes down to replacing a higher cost Btu with a lower cost and being able to finance the cost differential. To do so means the banks and financial community have to believe that the spread will remain great enough between the sources for the life of the project, or mechanisms must be in place to protect these investments.

With recent advances in IGCC technology and development, including the ability of these facilities to burn high sulfur coal, such as that found in the Illinois Coal Basin and other high sulfur coal reserves, while meeting or exceeding all necessary environmental regulations, Gasification became a viable source of energy. Coupling those advances with public and governmental support of the technology by way of loans, grants and tax abatement, the bundling of the turbine provider with the gasifier so that they can wrap the guarantees, and improvements in operations, Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle technology is likely to become the solution to the looming domestic energy needs of the United States.

These improvements have opened the door to development of new IGCC generation facilities, such as the one by Duke, AEP, Southern Company, Exelsior Energy, Steelhead Energy, etc. However, an investigation of the transmission, fuel, and water availability, as well as, an understanding of the environmental and stakeholder issues is still critical to the identification and development of attractive sites, just as with any power plant option would require. As we have seen, these pieces can fit together in numerous ways highlighting the existence of numerous attractive sites in the Illinois Coal Basin and elsewhere in high sulfur coal territory, where there is potential to negotiate long term coal contracts for coal whose demand isn’t as high as it once was. Many believe the coal in this region will some day be the center of a huge energy complex for the U.S. Furthermore, with the increase in gasification projects that gasify coal and convert it to either PQNG, ultra-clean diesel or other liquid fuels, gasification is becoming closer and closer to being a commercial reality. Some of these gasification projects are even looking to partner with renewable energy technologies in order to achieve additional economies and convert non-dispatchable power to a dispatchable source by combining the technologies.

There is still a capital cost premium for gasification. In the interim (approximately 3-5 years), before commercialization, operation improvements and/or new environmental regulations narrow the price differential gap of gasification’s capital costs as compared to those of other technologies, incentives provided by both state and federal sources, coupled with long term contracts for the high sulfur coal and the use of hedging strategies, will be the way the first wave of gasification plants will get built. In the near term, these projects may be able to achieve the required economics through the sale of various byproducts, such as enhanced oil recovery, sulfur, and other chemicals.

Beer Lover and Green Proponent Builds Beer Bottle Castle in Argentina

Green home construction has certainly been big news in recent years, with new environmentally friendly building materials coming to market and new construction methods that are better for the environment as well. However, an Argentinian man has taken that quite a bit further and combined his love for beer with recycling and building. He built a home from used beer bottles. This “beer castle” stands several stories tall and is made completely from salvaged or recycled materials.

It took the man more than 20 years to amass a collection of more than 6 million beer bottles. The bottles are fitted together with mortar to make walls and even formed around other structures allowing the man to construct windows and doorways. White, green, blue and brown bottles are used throughout the home’s construction, giving the building unique color patterns as well as the distinction of being the only home built with beer bottles.

Located in the Argentinian town of Quilmes, the home’s size is truly astounding. Tito Ingenieri constructed the place over the course of two decades and even mixed his own mortar for the work. Even the interior walls of the place are made from bottles (both glass and plastic). Pieces of scrap iron are also used here and there throughout the construction as well. When it comes to going green, this Argentinian is certainly leading the pack.

While Tito’s home was essentially completed in 2010, he continues to add on and regularly makes runs into town to retrieve more bottles from other residents. He’s made quite a reputation for himself in Quilmes and residents of the town regularly leave bags of plastic and glass bottles out for him. Incidentally, Ingenieri has also helped to clean up the town by removing tons of plastic and glass that would have otherwise littered the streets or made their way to the landfill eventually.

Quilmes is a major brewing city in Argentina as well, so it seems fitting that Tito Ingenieri built his home here. In addition to being an eye-catching edifice, he says it also helps him to recognize changes in the weather, as the exposed bottle openings catch the wind as it changes and alert him about storms coming in. While the home might be a bit out of the norm, it certainly is a testament to what can be achieved by those with the desire to follow their own paths.