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HPM August 2013

Got a story? Ring us on 01732 748041 or e-mail twood@unity-media.com SUSTAINABILITY&WATERSAVING Sustainably sourced products a must Mike Vernall, health, safety and environmental manager at Quinn Radiators, discusses why responsible sourcing and embodied carbon are becoming increasingly important factors when choosing radiators... Installers are increasingly aware that radiators have an important role to play in the efficiency of a heating system and the fact that, like boilers, not all radiators are the same when it comes to energy saving benefits. While energy conservation remains a key priority for both homeowners and in the construction of new homes, sustainably sourced products that have the least environmental impact are also becoming an important consideration. Buildings are responsible for almost half the UK’s carbon emissions, half of the water consumed, about one third of landfill waste and one quarter of all raw materials used. The environmental impacts of the construction industry have to be managed and reduced throughout the supply chain and that is why the issue of responsible sourcing and how a product is made is becoming increasingly important for specifiers and installers to consider. PURCHASING DECISIONS Social housing projects are increasingly asking suppliers, including radiator manufacturers, to demonstrate that we follow responsible sourcing principles through the tender process. It is also an increasing requirement in the private housing sector as housebuilders and developers are focusing on the environmental and social impacts of their purchasing decisions. So how do installers know whether a radiator or other product they are installing is responsibly sourced? Already adopted in the UK, installers should look out for products that are certified to meet the requirements of the Building Research Establishment standard BES 6001 ‘Framework Standard for the Responsible Sourcing of Construction Products.’ This certification is awarded to manufacturers that can demonstrate responsible sourcing throughout the whole lifecycle of a product, from initial sourcing of the raw materials through to manufacturing, installation, use, re-use and recycling until final replacement - as well as the environmental and social impacts of its procurement through all stages of the supply chain. This certification isn’t easy to achieve and companies have to demonstrate real commitment to responsible sourcing in order to gain the recognition. We have recently been awarded the BES 6001 standard for our facilities in Newport and all of our radiators. While there is currently no mandatory requirement for any products to be responsibly sourced, it does enable specifiers and end users of BES 6001 accredited products to achieve the highest credits in The Code for WWW.HPMMAG.COM Sustainable Homes and BREEAM certification schemes. Responsible sourcing will become increasingly significant as through the Strategy for Sustainable Construction, there are already targets that came into effect last year for 25% of all construction products to be responsibly sourced. On top of this, the UK Contractors Group has set an ambitious target for 100% of its products to be responsibly sourced by 2015. It isn’t just the way that materials are sourced throughout the production process that is coming under closer scrutiny but also how much energy is used in the manufacturing and transportation of these products and the carbon emissions produced throughout their whole life. Analysis of the environmental performance of radiator and central heating systems has tended to focus on the operational carbon reduction, i.e. how the product’s energy efficiency helps to reduce carbon emissions in use. However, to get the product’s carbon footprint, it is also necessary to look at the embodied carbon (CO2e), which radiator manufacturers are increasingly being asked to provide to specifiers and end users. CO2e covers all greenhouse gas emissions that arise from the energy and industrial processes used in the processing, manufacture and delivery of the materials required to make a product. While the government’s zero carbon policy and Code for Sustainable Homes encourage the use of products that have the lowest environmental rating, there is currently no mandatory requirement for housebuilders to provide embodied carbon information. However, many architects, housebuilders and contractors, are starting to demand carbon 54 AUGUST 2013 HEATING & PLUMBING MONTHLY certification from the products they use, as there is mounting pressure for the construction industry to account for the embodied carbon of the buildings it produces. Many housebuilders are also taking the opportunity to future-proof their product specifications because, although there are no current regulations surrounding embodied carbon, there may be some on the way. With no mandatory requirement to provide embodied carbon information, it can be difficult for installers to be able to provide this information to customers. However, manufacturers can already provide independent certification from accredited bodies to validate the carbon footprint and embodied carbon of their products and we have already done this. If you look at the whole product lifecycle, the embodied carbon of one of our compact radiators is just 108.3 kg/carbon dioxide per radiator. The operational carbon, i.e. consumer use in the home, accounts for the other 98% of life cycle carbon emissions. Our Newport site actually only contributes 0.19% of the total supply chain carbon emissions throughout the life of the product. However, this won’t be the case for all radiators that don’t use such modern and efficient manufacturing processes. REDUCING CARBON EMISSIONS We have already taken a lead in reducing carbon emissions, both associated with our own operations and across the life cycle of our radiators. We are also planning energy saving measures at out Newport site to further decrease the carbon intensity of the manufacturing process. As the main source of radiator carbon emissions is in the operational phase, we are also working with heating installers to promote the use of the most efficient panel radiators on the market that we have developed at our Newport site. Using our panel radiators can help to reduce energy bills and carbon emissions throughout the whole life of a heating system because they operate with less water and an increased surface area through greater use of convection fins, so can deliver the same heat output as comparable radiators with a lower temperature setting and reduced boiler energy use. So while responsible sourcing and the provision of embodied carbon data are not yet mandatory, installers may find that increasingly they are being asked by specifiers and customers, particularly in the social housing sector, to use products that can provide certification in both of these areas. enquiry number 140 Quinn is planning energy saving measures at its Newport site to further decrease the carbon intensity of the manufacturing process


HPM August 2013
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