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Benefits of Renewable Energy in Domestic Houses

Chapter One: Introduction
Renewable energy is energy generated from natural resources that are renewable, constantly replenished by nature such as sunlight, wind, rain and geothermal heat. All of these forms of renewable energy can be used as a cleaner source of energy in houses. As these forms of renewable energy can be harnessed to generate sufficient electricity even for the most demanding of houses and then some, the electricity generated from renewable resource would be clean, safe, environmentally friendly, cost effective and efficient.
“Our present happy progressive condition is a thing of limited duration”
William Stanley Jevons 1865
This quotation shows that as far back as the mid 1800s civilisation knew the that worlds resources were not infinite and that one day they could run out, so for the past 150 years or so civilisation could have been planning for this and looking for alternative types of energy such as renewable energy.
“Traditional Fossil fuels are running out, they are getting harder and more expensive to obtain, and their emissions are polluting our planet. Newer, greener, alternative, renewable, energy solutions are available today. Emerging technologies are making them more efficient, and more affordable, with shorter payback times. This makes them a viable alternative to traditional energy sources.
Energy costs have snowballed in recent years. U.K energy wholesale prices have risen by 100% for electricity, and 230% for Gas since February 2007. Coal has seen a, massive jump with a 400% increase in the last 10 years, from just £23 a ton in 1999 to £100 a ton in 2008. Oil prices have increased dramatically recently and are always prone to fluctuation. Oil has reached peak supply and increasing demand from developing nations is likely to keep prices high”. (line.3,4,5. par 2 from home page of www.renewable website for Caron alternative energy systems.)
The Author found this quote to be very incisive as it not only shows that traditional fuels are no longer going to be an option in the future but with current demand for energy the price is going to sky rocket. This quotation also looks at how promoting and using renewable energy systems can help you to create a cleaner and more environmentally friendly environment, the quote also looks at how renewable systems can be more cost effective not only in the overall life span but also in the installation aswell as many governments of countries are now giving out grants to homeowners in order to promote renewable energy. The author will go into the details of the grants in greater detail later in the dissertation.
In this dissertation the author aims to show that installing renewable energy systems in domestic houses is not only encouraging green energy but also cost-effective and as productive as traditional heating systems in homes. Throughout the dissertation the author plans to name and describe the different types of renewable energy systems that are available to a dwelling to make it more energy efficient.
To establish an appropriate research methodology to support the research needs of the dissertation.
To analyse and assess the different types of renewable energy systems.
Conduct a survey of consumers who have purchased/installed a renewable energy system in their house.
To investigate the advantages and disadvantages between renewable energy systems and traditional heating systems.
Formulate conclusions and make recommendations on the basis of my findings.
Is Renewable energy in domestic houses more beneficial than traditional heating systems?
Structure of Dissertation
Chapter one introduces the reader to the dissertation. It provides a brief overture to the topics that will be discussed in the dissertation. It also discusses the aims, objectives and the structure of the dissertation.
Research methodologies
In chapter two the author discusses the research methodologies used to research information and this includes the research process, primary and secondary literature sources.
List of renewable energy systems
In chapter three the author makes a list of the different types of renewable energy systems available to the consumer.
List of traditional heating systems
In chapter four the author makes a list of the traditional heating systems available to the consumer.
Detailed description of renewable energy systems
In chapter five the author gives a detailed description of the different types of renewable energy systems and lists the advantages and disadvantages.
Detailed description of traditional heating systems
In chapter six the author gives a detailed description of the different types of traditional heating systems and lists the advantages and disadvantages.
Analysis of questionnaires
This chapter analyses the opinions of the home owners who have installed renewable energy systems in their homes. In this chapter the author has made up a customer survey and given it to home owners (who have installed renewable energy systems in there house) to complete. The author will compile and analyse the results of this survey.
Case study
In this chapter the author looks at different examples of similar research.
Conclusion and recommendations
This chapter provides the conclusions and recommendations of the dissertation.
Bibliography and References
The bibliography and references is a list of all the books, articles and websites used to research the dissertation
Chapter Two Research Methodologies
In this chapter the author outlines the various methods used to produce this dissertation. It identifies the different sources used and illustrates how with comprehensive research the information was collated. The author also discusses the limitations encountered in researching for this dissertation.
Research Process
The research process begins by the author preparing a preliminary literature review. This enables the author to acquire a sufficient grasp of the theories and methods of analysis in renewable energy systems.
The preliminary literature review help the author develop his knowledge of the planning system and legislation. The preliminary literature study also helps expand an overview of the primary sources of information available. The preliminary literature study in the initial stages in the research process presents a large amount of the material needed for the dissertation. The author uses this information to narrow his research. This focused his intentions on specific areas. The author then had to decide on what format the dissertation would take and how to go about producing it. By studying past dissertations on similar subjects it will assist in the expansion of the initial idea and will demonstrate the correct method to execute a dissertation.
Throughout the research process different information is collected. This information can be broken up into different headings primary and secondary sources.
Sources: Primary and Secondary
Primary Literature Sources:
“Primary literature is the most accurate source of information as it publishes original research” (Naoum, 2007).
The lists of primary sources included in this dissertation were academic research journals, dissertations, government publications and reports on the subject matter. Discussion was carried out with the librarians in both Robert Gordon University and Carlow Institute of Technology this broadened the research avenues. The main sources of information included:
Documents from the European Union
Documents from the Irish government
Sustainable Energy without the hot air by David JC Mackay
Renewable Energy Policy by Paul Komor
Secondary Literature sources:
Secondary literature sources are those that cite primary sources such as textbooks, trade journals, newspaper articles etc. The secondary sources were mainly conducted during the author’s research period. The author used many different sources such as the internet and the library amenities available. The uses of search engines specifically orientated to renewable energy were of great significance to the author. The internet was a very good source for up to date material. The author concentrated on the local sustainability websites, Departments of Environment in Austria, Germany, Ireland, United Kingdom European Parliament, and the national newspaper websites to source information for this information.
During the research for this dissertation there were various limitations. One of the greatest limitations the author encountered was the time restriction. Accumulating the information needed time it takes time to process the information and assemble the dissertation.
A problem the author encountered was there were very few books that discussed the issues of the “the performance of renewable technology in domestic houses”. One other difficulty was the response rate was very poor to the author’s emails and letters. The response rate was very poor and thus effected the author’s overall objective view on this dissertation.
Literature Review
The author undertook a literature review to source the relevant research interests.
The literature review provided the background information for the rationale. In researching for this dissertation the author used textbooks, newspapers, legislation and published reports as the principal sources.
Past Dissertations
Past dissertations in the Robert Gordon University provided a valuable source of information. The past dissertations were a considerable help with the layout and format of the dissertation and also helped with developing the content.
The use of questionnaires was a significant help in receiving feedback from the people who are most influenced by the renewable energy systems (the people who have had them installed in there houses) on their opinions and experiences.
Chapter 3 List of Renewable Energy Systems
The list of renewable energy systems falls under certain different criteria for example solar, wind power, biomass etc. these are some of the systems that the author will be looking at in greater detail later on in the dissertation.
Solar panels.
Photovoltaic cells.
Evacuated tube collectors.
Heat pumps
Geothermal heat pumps.
Wind energy
Wind turbines
Wood Chip or Pellet Boilers
Water management
Rainwater harvesting
Chapter 4 List of Traditional Energy Systems
The list of traditional energy systems that the author has decided to research falls under the following criteria Gas, Oil and Coal the author will be looking at these systems in greater detail later on in the dissertation.
Traditional heating systems
Chapter 5 Detailed Description of Renewable Energy Systems
Solar Panels
Solar thermal (heat) energy is often used for heating water used in homes and for heating the insides of buildings (“space heating”). Solar space heating systems can be classified as passive or active.
Passive space heating is what happens to your car on a hot summer day. The sun’s rays heat up the inside of your car. In buildings, the air is circulated past a solar heat surface and through the building by convection (meaning that less dense warm air tends to rise while denser cool air moves downward). No mechanical equipment is needed for passive solar heating.
An active solar thermal system relies on solar collectors to transform sunlight into heat that can be used for space heating or more commonly to produce hot water. Active systems often include some type of energy storage system. Information taken from: (
Solar Energy

Islamic Architecture in India

India is vast in culture and traditions, nature, religions, languages rich with historical monuments with vernacular architectures. Taj Mahal is one such wonderous monument structures built by ShahJahan as tomb in memory of his adored wife, Mumtaj Mahal. Taj Mahal is renowned for its glorious Indo-Islamic architectural presence in style, shape, color, location of the monument and material used to construct it. It is one of the eighth wonder of world’s famous monuments and appreciated by its visitors’ interests for their insight into its culture, time and history of the monument. Therefore, Taj Mahal architecture can be renowned as the largest model combination of the derivative of Byzantine, Persian, Indian and Islamic architecture.
The Indo-Islamic architecture takes live in form with the slave dynasty in India. It is credited to Mughal dynasty in Pakistan and India, the field of arts and architecture who gave special care to raise historical monuments in India. The earliest monuments what we find in India are the recycled material of the existing Jain, Buddha and Hindu monuments. The Islamic architecture was then fostered by the Delhi Sultanate and achieved excellence by the Mughal contributions.
The Background of Islamic Architecture in India
The Persian dynasties dating back to 500 BCE has seen many Islamic faith dynasties. Throughout the ruling dynasties, Persia (modern Iran) has modeled as center for many art, architecture, poetry and philosophy. Persia is well known for its trade since pre-historic times. The Silk Route acts as bridge between distant lands for trade, religious and material culture. The business also spread to main lands of central Asia, including Armenia, Georgia, and India.
Persia has also seen developmental fronts in architecture which spread many Asian countries as did business too. The climate, the influence of people, “available material, religious purpose and peripheral cultures, and patrons also played a important role in the development of architecture” (Mehraby).The magnificent architectural buildings take inspiration from the landscape, snow-capped mountains, valleys, and wide shining plains which conceived and accomplished novel ideas for building artifacts while mountains serve both physical and mental sources of inspirations in Iranian architecture.Thus, Beauty is regarded divine for ancient Persian civilizations.
The Architectural Intentions of the Taj Mahal
Taj Mahal traces its architecture as rooted with Islamic conjectures. Though the Persian or the Islamic civilization was not the first to concentrate their architecture on religious themes, it was a strong feature among Byzantine architects. The Byzantine Architecture records the religious buildings and their designs as achievements of the Byzantine Empire. The most remarkable example at Constantinople is Hagia Sophia, a Christian church at Constantinople (the present Istanbul) is a massive and ornamental church represents the glory of the Byzantine Empire.
The architectural intentions also note the power factor in Islamic architecture. The Islamic dynasties believe in spreading Islam and glorify to God by articulating through mosques, unmatching historical monuments and palaces of excellent beauty. To achieve this, they desire and acquire power to patronage architecture. The Islamic architecture spread as far as Egypt and North Africa, Spain, and Persia. Then, they developed their unique style by combining the arts of the Byzantines, the Copts, the Romans, and the Sassanids. This unique style specializes in fusing the native design elements with imported ones.
Taj Mahal suffices this stance. The memories of Mumtaj Mahal are spread all over the world symbolizing his love for her. The uniqueness of this monument is its dome structure which is feature of Byzantine architecture. The abstract designs are noteworthy of Persian architecture, the floral designs and painting goes to Safavid style, the location of the building is also an important factor which totally reiterates the presence of chief Persian architecture.
Communicating spirituality is yet another perspective attributed to Islamic Architecture. This perspective has been practiced among sages, philosophers, poets, and spiritual masters of Islamic countries. The disciple of proliferating Islamic law through the pursuit of knowledge, reflections on reality of nature beyond appearance, disciplined prayer is also reflected on their architecture.
The stone flowers of the Taj Mahal gives a picture of realism fascinating “the visitor with their grace and colorful freshness”, (Okado and Joshi). The Taj Mahal’s mention to “paradise can be seen in the motif of flowers carved on the funerary chambers of the mausoleum, as well as on the plinths of the inner iwan”, where flowers and roses symbolize the Kingdom of Allah, (Bin and Rasdi).
The Byzantines’ architecture also followed similar organizing principles. Whereas the Christian religious worship place and its design corresponds to the religion. Therefore, symbolism also played a significant role in the evolution of the form of the monuments. During the Byzantine period the Church itself became a symbol of the faith. The master piece of Indo-Islamic Architectural style, the beauty of the Taj Mahal, inspires numerous artists from all over the world. To this, Okada and Joshi (1993) relates to the four canals to the four rivers of Paradise referred in the Holy Qur’an. The symbolic nature of the garden and the canals at Taj Mahal is considered the funereal nature of the monument and the Quran inscription located on the southern entrance wall of the main Gate gives undeniable credibility to the comparison of the Taj Mahal with the Garden of Paradise, this inscription says:
(It will be said to the pious): O (you) the one in
(complete) rest and satisfaction!
Come back to your Lord, — well-pleased (yourself)
and well-pleasing unto him!
Enter you, then, among My honored slaves,
And enter you My Paradise!
The Holy Qur’an, Surah Al-Fajr: 89:27-30
Therefore, it is notable to see the students of Islamic architecture enduring Taj Mahal as an incomparable monument in Persian origin.
The Architecture, Structure of Taj Mahal
The Byzantine and Islamic architecture share a common style of architecture, the dome. The Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem is in response to the Islamic architecture which shows the influence of Byzantine architecture imparted as the dome style passed on to the Islamic architecture. It is also known as ‘Persian dome’. Today, it is called the Onion Dome. This architecture advancement of the use of dome is accredited formed a new style in global architecture. The most celebrated example is the Taj Mahal (A.D. 1630) built by Mughal Dynasty in India. But, this is not new to Indian architecture. The well known Buddhist Stupa at Sanchi, India 4th to 1st century BCE is “a commemorative monument associated with preserving sacred relics. Not only these, the Mauryan kingdom (c. 321-185 BCE) in India also fortify their cities with Stupas, Viharas, and temples were constructed,” (Kumar).
The Taj Mahal consists of sixteen chambers, eight chambers each on two levels that contain the octagonal funerary chamber overcome by a surbased inner dome. The funerary chamber consists of the tombs of Mumtaj Mahal and Shah Jahan together, adorned by “a baluster of delicately perforated marble and studded with semiprecious stones,” (Okado and Joshi).
Persians focused their efforts on reviewing their architecture in barrel vaulting, crenallated roofs, conical squinches, big bricks, oval arches and different designed brick work or now and again platerworks over bricks. Though the architecture is traced to 3000 years, the design elements of Persian architecture like “high-arched portal set within a recess, columns with bracket capitals, columned porch or talar, a dome on four arches, a vast ovoid arch in the entrance, a four iwan courtyard, early towers reaching up toward the sky, an interior court and pool, an angled entrance and extensive decorations” display their distinctive structural designs, (Mehraby).
The Structure
The intended tomb is made of large white marble structure standing on a square plinth beam consisting of a symmetrical building with an iwan (arch-shaped doorway) presented with a large dome and finial at the top. François Bernier noted how “the centre of every arch is adorned with white marble slabs whereon are inscribed large Arabian characters in black marble.” This structure styling reflects Persian architecture.
The base is multi-chambered cube with chamfered corners creating an unequal octagon of approximately 55 meters on all the four long sides. On each of these sides, a massive pishtaq, or a vaulted archway, frames the iwan with two similarly shaped, arched balconies stacked on either side forming a symmetrical shape on all sides of the building. There are four minarets frame the tomb and the main chamber houses the false graves of Mumtaz Mahal and Shah Jahan. The actual graves are located at a lower level.
The top of the dome is fancily decorated with a lotus design. “The columned bases open through the roof of the tomb and provide light to the interior. Tall decorative spires (guldastas) extend from edges of base walls, and provide visual emphasis to the height of the dome. The dome and chattris are topped by a gilded finial, which mixes traditional Persian and Hindu decorative elements,” (Wiki). Even the tenure of Byzantine architecture, the discovery of pendentives and dome on pendentives changed the expertise for constructing churches and eased the procedure during the Byzantine period.
The bronze make of moon and its horns pointing upwards, the heavenward in trident shape clearly indicates the mixing of Persian and Hindu decorations. The symbolic meaning can be derived as Hindu symbol of Shiva. “The minarets are 40 meters tall; each minaret dividing into three equal parts by two working balconies surmounted by a chattri that mirrors the design of a lotus design topped by a gilded finial,” (Wiki).
The subsequent Islamic architecture in India signifies in the form of Mosques and tombs’ facade beautification is the main form. The evolution of the dome style as called the basic cube and hemisphere terminology in past architecture was later brought into excellence at some stage in the Mughal Period. The experts say that Taj Mahal replicates Humayun’s tomb before the blueprint for Taj Mahal was formed. The best examples for the Indo-Islamic Architecture are the Gol Gumbaz at Bijapur, Agra Fort, Buland Darwaza, Qutab Minar and Safdarjang Tomb.
Hambly (1964) writes the architecture of Taj Mahal to be of Safavid style in his ‘Cities of Mughal India’ which accounts the amazing factors of Mughal dynasty. Safavid is yet another dynasty which ruled Persia during 1499-1722 B.C.E. Safavid has great deal of finest works of metal art works like arms, armor, candle stand, helmets, drinking vessels, and wine bowls. Ruggiero notes the events during “the Safavids, networks of caravansaries were constructed” to facilitate transportation and promote trade since Persia was business center for many countries then, (Hambly).
The calligraphy on the large pishtaq is definite work of Safavid. Anon says, the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan conferred “Amanat Khan” title for his work for his dazzling virtuosity. This inscription from the Qu’ran can be found underneath the interior dome are the inscription, “Written by the insignificant being, Amanat Khan Shirazi.”. Not only this, the calligraphy found on the marble grave is attended in detail and delicate.
Historical, Societal and Cultural Importance of Islamic Architecture
Haider (2002) studies the Islamic architecture along the fourfold phenomenon activity of societal implications namely, the dwelling imperative, the functional imperative, the constructive imperative and aesthetic imperative; these principles also project our images, expectations, definitions, and critique of Islamic architecture.
Functional importance of any building under this architecture marks as symbolic or a marker or an icon or a monument fundamental to uphold the longing remembrances and therefore, indicate meaning of a society. If we can cross these societal manifestations against the architectural intentions, a more focused and prolific discussion can be formed. Our study on Taj Mahal is one such productive result of these crossing. If we can view Islam as religion and as historical observable fact of power and patronage and inclined to seek the aesthetic imperative and symbolic expression in architecture, the focus is more likely on Taj Mahal.
The Mughal courts established in Pakistan and India were occupied by poets and calligraphy artists from Persia who took flight from their very little home country to fortune earning in India. The constructions what we see of Mughal dynasty is the work of these Iranians who were the special guidance of the Mughal Empire who gave attention for very detail to raise monuments for the public to praise the Islamic architecture. The Islamic architecture holds its generosity in various monuments found mostly in India. They portray their love for art and inturn to God. Their thrust to spread the fame is notable. We see every dynasty or the empire have their own set of values, cultures and traditions. These impacts are also well noticeable in their architectures. Therefore, the Islamic architecture is symbolic of the architecture they produce.
Work Cited
Amina Okada and M.C. Joshi. (1993). Taj Mahal. Abbeville press
Guido Ruggiero. (2002). A companion to the worlds of the Renaissance. Wiley-Blackwell
Roger Savory. (2008). Iran Under the Safavids. Cambridge University Press
François Bernier (1996). Travels in the Mogul Empire 1656-1668. Asian Educational Service Raj Kumar. (2003). Essays on Indian art and architecture: History and culture series. Discovery publishing house
Mohamad Tajuddin Bin and Haji Mohamad Rasdi. (2008). Reconstructing the idea of Islamic architecture: restructuring the academic framework and design approach within the perspective of the Sunnah. The Journal of Architecture, 13:3(6). pp 297 – 315.
Online Sources
Mehraby, Rahman.
Okado and Joshi.
Bin and Rasdi. “The Taj Mahal”. Islamic architecture. Islamic Arts and Architecture Organization. Accessed on 25 Nov 2009.
General Information about Iranian Architecture. Accessed on 25 Nov 2009.
Introduction of Islamic architecture to India. Accessed on 27 Nov 2009
Byzantine Architecture. Accessed on 25 Nov 2009.