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HPM August 2013

WWW.HPMMAG.COM Got a story? Ring us on 01732 748041 or e-mail twood@unity-media.com SPECIALREPORT ‘Getting it right from start to finish’ The 49th annual IDHEE conference encouraged delegates to think about the new and forthcoming technologies the industry will present over the coming decades. HPM editor, Tim Wood, also attended… Any of the heating professionals who attended the 49th annual conference of the Institute of Domestic Heating & Environmental Engineers (IDHEE) could not have been more impressed with the line-up of speakers – who between them had more than 200 years of experience in the industry. The conference - held at the Holywell Park Conference Centre at Loughborough University at the end of May - focused on the rapidly changing systems, technologies and regulations that the industry has to understand to succeed. ‘Getting it right from start to finish’ saw the stellar line-up of speakers go through the processes and procedures that every heating installer, engineer and designer needs to understand, now and well into the future. The event proved, once again, to be an invaluable place to learn more, be better informed and ultimately to be more productive. Subjects highlighted that would have helped every heating engineer included: how to approach customers; designing systems that satisfy Building Regulations; choosing the right way of getting heat into a system; integrating the most efficient systems and controlling them and commissioning the final products and getting them used properly. Peter Thom, owner of Green Heat, and one of the most experienced speakers having joined the industry as an apprentice with Eastern Gas in 1965, opened the morning’s proceedings. THE RIGHT QUALIFICATIONS Peter explained how a domestic heating engineer needed to prepare before making first contact with a customer. He said, in the modern age of the Green Deal and the Energy Company Obligation (ECO), it is more than just having the right qualifications and years of experience, it’s about meeting ‘onerous’ government requirements, management systems, ticking boxes and wading through lots of red tape. “It’s not as easy as ‘it’s business as usual’ any more,” he admitted. As an example, Roy highlighted the Green Deal Advisor role, which means 110-220 learning hours at a cost of up to £10,000 before the qualification is gained. Peter also expressed his dislike of lead generating websites. “There are thousands of them,” he said. ”You need no qualifications to join them, they offer poor leads and are totally unregulated. I have been in touch with Trading Standards to see what it thinks of them, I am that concerned.” The experienced line-up of speakers at the 49th annual IDHEE conference Peter added that the first contact an engineer makes with a customer is vital. It gives them the chance to explain the technologies available and ensuring that they make the right decision. “They need to give good advice about the grants available, the Green Deal and the ECO to highlight the new game we are now in,” he said. Up next was David Matthews, a sustainable energy consultant and training specialist, who spoke about ensuring that system design complies with current Building Regulations and certification standards. David, also chief executive of the Ground Source Heat Pump Association, highlighted the benefits a properly installed heat pump system can bring, stressing the importance that they are properly sized. Accurate measurements, U-valves and temperatures are also critical parts of the modeling process, David added. Roy Oxley, chair of the IDHEE education group, entered the industry in 1963 “when central heating was still clockwork and there were no pumps”. He talked about heat generation, what is available now, how it can be used for heating and hot water in a domestic environment and at what is available over the next five years. Roy believes solar PV and wind can play a major part in heating, but heat pumps grabbed his attention most. “They come across as a brilliant piece of kit, but they need to be designed, installed and commissioned properly,” he said. Roy then explained the individual merits of solar thermal, biomass, log burning stoves and oil firing products. He concluded: “We have lots of great technology, with great potential, but we require the skills to be able to think out of the box on how to use them. Once we have the skills to be able to link them all together, we can create a very efficient heating system.” In a speech entitled ‘Integration, all working in unison’, Graham Hendra, managing director of Freedom Heat Pumps, provided answers to the following questions: are they the perfect solution?, can you connect them to other heating systems?, how does a heat pump best fit in your heating system? and why do we use heat pump cylinders? Graham concluded that currently 10,000 pumps are sold every year. The market is growing rapidly, but key to the growth is how they will best connect with other renewables. Eric West, of the IDHEE renewable energy group, highlighted the renewables on the market and some of the problems associated with using them. These included: the perceived high capital costs when compared to gas boilers; a lack of installation and commissioning experience; the variable availability of using a mixture of energy sources; and service delivery outputs. Eric also asked who is responsible: the compliance engineer, designer, equipment supplier, energy provider, or installation contractor and said 90% of the problems for the customer come through the selling, commissioning and fitting of the renewable. Finally, Steve Alldritt, technical director of PTS Renewable Energy Systems, talked about the design of heat pump packages from initial concept of air source and ground source heat pumps and exhaust air systems. He explained the importance in particular of the heat loss load matching, emitter matching at low grade temperatures and the commissioning/handover process to the client. “It’s all about making everything as simple as possible for the customer,” Steve concluded. A statement all the speakers would agree with. 26 AUGUST 2013 HEATING & PLUMBING MONTHLY enquiry number 119


HPM August 2013
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