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Got a story? Ring us on 01732 748041 or e-mail twood@unity-media.com INDUSTRYWATCH Hybrids paving the path to renewables Stewart Clements, Heating and Hotwater Industry Council director, gives his take on hybrid heating systems... Hybrid products are abundant in today's marketplace, phones, cars and household products are some obvious examples. While the world waits on the next product combination, the heating industry is delivering its own impressive fusion of energy sources - the hybrid heating system. Hybrids, or bivalent systems as they are sometimes known, are those that provide heat, water or energy from both a renewable source and a traditional one. By combining technologies, consumers can take advantages of each heating system’s best characteristics and minimise the modifications needed to use renewables in an existing home. For example, you might have a heat pump that is electronically interlocked with a traditional boiler: one controller decides when to use the heat pump and when to use the boiler to ensure both that demand is met and the most efficient energy source employed. Imagine being able to implement that theory elsewhere in your life? A happy medium for those wanting to introduce renewable energy sources to their home heating system; with energy prices and fuel poverty continuing to rise consumers are beginning to look to renewable systems as viable alternatives to their traditional heating solutions. Hybrid heating systems are an excellent way to introduce customers to renewable energy technologies, especially where the system is packaged with a familiar and trusted gas boiler. Hybrids also offer opportunities to decarbonise the off-gas grid sector. Renewable energy sources can be retrofitted to the existing boiler which opens up new market opportunities to ‘up-sell’ WWW.HPMMAG.COM existing heating systems. Hybrid products also offer the potential to achieve A++ ratings on the new Energy Label. In addition to these competitive selling points the carbon savings of hybrid systems has been widely recognised and they received formal acceptance by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) with their inclusion in the domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) and Low Carbon Networks Fund programme. We recognise the role hybrid heating systems play in the UK’s pursuit of carbon reduction. Steve Sutton, our technical manager, says: “HHIC and its members have been supporting this area of the industry since its inception. “European policy aims to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by increasing the share of renewable energy based products and improving energy efficiency of heating and cooling systems in buildings. The Energy Efficiency Directive, which was approved by the European parliament, is expected to accelerate the development of energy saving products in Europe. Under this circumstance, HVAC industry suppliers have been looking at ways to enhance the efficiency of heating products and systems. Hybrid heat pump systems have been designed as one of the high energy efficiency solutions. “Heating our homes accounts for around 46% of UK energy use, with the majority of the 25 million homes in the UK being heated by combustion of fossil fuels, a heat generating system that could improve domestic energy efficiency significantly has the potential to deliver dramatic reductions in primary energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions throughout the UK.” Intelligent (smart) controls are the key to such systems; they manage the operation of the hybrid system and are most of the time integrated in the unit in packaged appliances. They can, however, be a separate part of the system in a modular appliance. Intelligent controls ensure the most efficient operation of the system by means of choosing the least expensive energy and the mode of operation best suited to actual building needs. We believe that hybrids could provide the bridge to low carbon and renewables. Our hybrid working group, consisting of leading manufacturers, was established to ensure that everything is in place to mobilise this part of the heating industry. The group have been working with the Building Research Establishment in relation to SAPq; providing it with the required information and data, including a method for assessing hybrid heat pumps systems within the standard assessment process, by utilising manufacturers’ data provided under current SAPq Heat Pump Scheme. The purpose of the assessment method is to allow hybrid heat pump systems to be modelled more accurately under SAP than current SAP method allows for systems with two heat sources (bi-valent). It is also anticipated that this work will lead to greater government policy support, although they are included in the domestic RHI. DECC has shown an encouraging level of interest in our hybrid work, designating resources to look at hybrids and engaging with the industry; a promising position, and one which we intend to make the most of. Hybrids are recognised as being part of the solution to reducing carbon emissions and fuel bills. The technology also enables the UK to manage the increasing demand on the electricity grid. For consumers the big sell is that hybrids are a non-disruptive technology as they require very little modification or extra infrastructure. In order for the UK to meet its renewable energy targets everything that can be done, must be done; technologies require investment, installers require training, consumers require information and the industry requires the right conditions in which to deliver on renewable energy. The focus of HHIC and its members is to ensure that hybrid heating technology receives the appropriate support to enable it to deliver on its potential. Hybrids have the potential to become a real phenomenon. For homeowners looking to replace their old gas boiler with a hybrid system, the hybrid heat pump is an obvious choice because the indoor unit is designed to fit in the same space as a typical standard gas boiler and, with its high efficiency, will reduce total energy consumption and lead to lower bills. The hybrid system can be used in any boiler replacement project, regardless of the type of home and its location. The hybrid heat pump delivers heating water flow temperatures from 25°C up to 80°C, making it suitable for combining with any type of heat emitter, especially with existing radiators. This reduces the complexity of system design and means that the hybrid heat pump is ideal for replacing a gas or LPG boiler and makes it flexible enough to meet a wide range of space heating and hot water demands. HHIC believes that hybrids could provide the bridge to low carbon and renewables 14 APRIL 2016 HEATING & PLUMBING MONTHLY


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