53 HPM 0413

HPM April 2013

Got a story? Ring us on 01732 748041 or e-mail twood@unity-media.com RENEWABLEENERGIES Renewables gaining in energy James Rudman, technical services director at Flogas, highlights the renewable energy options available to customers and explains how installers can take advantage of this expanding market... With so many renewable technologies now available to the heating industry it is important that suppliers, as well as installers, keep up-to-date with developments. In recognition of this, Flogas’ parent company DCC Energy acquired UFW, a UK-wide renewable energy business offering the latest technologies for homes and commercial buildings, enabling Flogas to identify the most suitable solution for each of their customer’s needs. And this is exactly what installers and contractors are required to do if they wish to embrace these changes and build their own confidence when specifying the most suitable solution for a particular end user. There are a range of energy efficient technologies available and each has their own advantages and considerations depending on the individual customer’s circumstances and location. Both ground and air source heat pumps (GSHPS and ASHPs) are growing in popularity across the domestic, commercial and agricultural sectors. The efficiency of a heat pump can be in excess of 400% greater than traditional fuel systems, which means for every unit of electric energy used by the heat pump you will get four units of heat in the house for free. GSHPs can provide both heating and hot water for a property, have virtually no maintenance requirements and are well-suited when incorporated with an underfloor heating system, which has become the system of choice. However, with GSHPs, installers should bear in mind that due to the coils being laid underground, a reasonable amount of land would be needed, although bore holes can WWW.HPMMAG.COM overcome this requirement. ASHPs also need little maintenance and are widely considered a ‘fit and forget’ technology – they are smaller than GSHPs and generally easier to install. Of course the decision to install this type of technology needs to be measured – a lot of thought and expertise is needed to create the right system for each individual property. Every building has its own specific design and, therefore, will require a different system to provide optimal energy and cost savings. Guidance in selecting the optimum system solution from experts in renewable technologies is paramount; after the initial installation costs the correctly specified system can offer paybacks to the homeowner for the life of the system and, therefore, it is critical that the specified system offers the maximum energy output. Manufacturers are thankfully giving increasing consideration to the design of their heat pumps and the challenges installers can face; however, UK properties and homes in particular are widely different to those in Europe and in the Far East, so installers need to be diligent in sourcing and specifying a product that fits correctly. They cannot fall into the trap of ‘one-size-fits-all’ that can lead to a poorly designed and inefficient system. Solar thermal is an excellent option for home and property owners to provide their hot water, with water heating accounting for around 25% of an average home’s combined annual energy bills. A well designed and specified solar thermal system can provide an average of 60% of hot water needs, which can rise to above 90% in the summer months when the days are longer. 52 APRIL 2013 HEATING & PLUMBING MONTHLY Generally, no planning permission is required to fit solar thermal collectors and retro-fit installation is just as simple as on new-build properties. This makes it a very sensible, cost effective solution for water heating. As it cannot be employed as an independent heating system, installers can look at a range of solutions to run alongside the collectors. As it is a straightforward and flexible technology to install, solar thermal can be adapted to work with both GSHPs and ASHPs, conventional (hot water only) boilers, off-gas systems such as LPG and combi boilers. Solar thermal systems are one of the easiest renewable energy technologies to fit. Therefore, we would expect that most people in the heating, plumbing and electrical industries will not face any problems in training up in this area. However, consumers will be looking for an Microgeneration Certification Scheme accredited installer to qualify for the Renewable Heat Incentive and, therefore, we would always recommend a BPEC accredited training course. DUAL-FUEL SYSTEMS For off-gas customers, dual-fuel systems which pair up a renewable system with a carbon system, such as LPG, offer an alternative solution. By teaming a renewable technology with a fossil fuel that requires a lower initial investment, homeowners can enjoy the benefits that both energy sources offer. Other increasingly popular sustainable systems include biomass heating and rainwater. Biomass boilers can provide a home with a steady supply of carbon neutral, highly efficient heating and hot water throughout the year. Wood-fuelled heating systems, also called biomass systems, burn wood pellets, chips or logs to power central heating and hot water boilers. Advanced wood heating systems are an environmentally responsible and economical alternative (or addition) to conventional heating systems for fossil fuels. Advantages include all year round reliability – however installers and specifiers should be aware that a considerable area is needed to house the boiler and they will need to source a reliable supplier of biomass fuel. Overall, the more tradespeople with good technical knowledge of microgeneration the better – consumers with well designed and installed systems will pass on the benefits through word-of-mouth and this is one of the best ways of creating a buzz about renewable technologies. enquiry number 139 Solar thermal fits easily and discreetly onto buildings


HPM April 2013
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