46 HPM 0813

HPM August 2013

Got a story? Ring us on 01732 748041 or e-mail twood@unity-media.com HEATRECOVERY MVHR solutions: the industry standard? Mark Quigley, Xpelair’s commercial director, looks at the regulations that are shaping the ventilation industry... Mechanical ventilation with heat recovery (MVHR) solutions are undoubtedly on their way to becoming the industry standard in the UK. Driven by the government’s need for greater efficiency, installers are being encouraged to adopt the use of these systems more widely or risk falling behind. With this in mind, one of the biggest issues facing installers over the next few years is the tide of new regulations that are being introduced to drive a low carbon society, intent on reducing emissions and improving the efficiency of the UK’s building stock. January 2013 ushered in the first wave of such regulations with the introduction of the Energy Related Products Directive (ErP). Part of the Kyoto agreement on carbon emission reduction, the regulations are a framework for minimum eco design for energy using and energy related products. In ventilation terms, the ErP relates directly to fans between 125W and 500kW. The directive is set out in two phases with the second, more rigorous, phase scheduled for 2015 and has been designed to aid in achieving the 20% EU increase in efficiency by 2020 set out by the agreement. EU REGULATIONS Where fans do not comply with the efficiency guidelines under the directive both currently and in 2015, installation will not be permitted throughout the EU. Use of non-conforming solutions could, therefore, drastically affect the efficiency of properties and affect its compliance with EU regulations. Looking specifically at the introduction of the 2013 ErP regulations, almost 30% of fans in use were instantly rendered obsolete due to non-conformance with the rigorous efficiency criteria of the directive. A further 20% of models are predicted to be ineligible when the 2015 regulations are introduced, meaning that, in total, almost 50% of fans that were marketable and useable prior to 2013 will become redundant. As a consequence, ventilation manufacturers have had to adjust their product specifications accordingly. Where existing products have been unable to be brought up to standard, alternatives have been commissioned. Another piece of forthcoming legislation to consider is section 49 of the Energy Act 2011 scheduled for April 2018. This specifies that it will be unlawful to rent out any residential or commercial property if it fails to reach a minimum energy efficiency standard by 2018. While the final details of this are yet to be WWW.HPMMAG.COM issued, it is likely this will mean that properties will have to achieve an Energy Performance Certificate rating of at least E by April that year. Current estimates project that 680,000 homes, and 20% of the country’s commercial building stock are currently falling into the lower efficiency bands of F and G, with this level expected to rise in the coming years. With such a diverse range of domestic, commercial and public buildings at risk, it highlights just how big an issue this is facing installers whose task it will be to help bring such buildings up to code. The fact that the regulations have yet to be fully defined, shouldn’t detract from the fact that installers need to start taking action now to ensure properties conform to regulatory requirements. The drive for efficiency has resulted in a shifting from traditional extract ventilation to a solutions approach, specifically relating to a rise in the adoption of MVHR and demand control ventilation (DCV). MVHR systems are designed to continuously extract stale polluted air while simultaneously passing this air over a heat exchanger, transferring it to the incoming air. This supplies fresh, filtered air into the premises creating a balanced airflow throughout while being exceptionally efficient and recovering up to 94% of heat that would have been lost. DCV utilises a number of intelligent sensors that continuously measure the ambient conditions within a specific area and feed back to the zone controller in real time, adjusting the ventilation requirements as necessary. These sensors measure occupancy, temperature and carbon dioxide levels making constant adjustments to ensure optimal indoor air quality 46 AUGUST 2013 HEATING & PLUMBING MONTHLY at all times, while ensuring less wastage. The efficiency of MVHR and DCV systems undoubtedly give them the potential to develop into the industry standard for the future. This has been furthered by recent developments in the technology that has allowed companies to drastically reduce the unit size, making installation of MVHR and DCV systems more practical for installers. One stumbling block for the ErP and Section 49 is that they have both come under fire from many within the ventilation industry for their lack of clarity. The difficulty for installers with the ErP is that it states non-compliant and low efficiency units can be used as like-for-like replacements for fans that are built into other products. This could lead to misinterpretation of the rules, leading to non-compliant fans being replaced in general, such as in ducting systems, which would violate the regulations. Since the directive stipulates both the “placing on the market” and “putting into service” of fans, engineers could risk failing to comply with regulations and resulting rectification costs. The complication with Section 49 is that it has not been drafted yet and while this is mandatory, no timeframe has been given on when the industry can expect this. Using the information for the initial draft, it clearly states that non-compliant and low efficiency buildings will be ineligible for rent. INDUSTRY CONFUSION But with so many currently falling into the nonefficient category and with many question marks still lingering over the final efficiency requirements, there is understandably confusion within the industry and the government must address this well before the 2018 implementation date. Despite a lack of clarity with both, it is vitally important for engineers to quickly get up to speed with these new developments if the industry is going to reach its efficiency targets. Companies must work closely, through training programmes and a consultative approach, with installers to ensure they are kept up to date with legislative developments, know which products satisfy requirements and advise where breaches in the regulations might take place on a project by project basis. The next few years will be pivotal for the success and growth of the ventilation industry and the building industry as a whole. Installers must be ready to embrace these newer technologies in order to safeguard their future. enquiry number 134 Xpelair’s XCell Compact XR is one of the smallest and most energy efficient MVHR solutions with the ability to recover 91% of heat from extracted air


HPM August 2013
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