068 HPM 1012

HPM October 2012

BOILERS:RENEWABLES WWW.HPMMAG.COM Got a story? Ring us on 01732 748041 or e-mail twood@unity-media.com The stepping stone to sustainability Hybrid or split-system heating solutions are coming increasingly to the fore and provide an ideal stepping stone for homeowners on the path towards greater sustainability, says Martyn Bridges, of Worcester, Bosch Group... AUK households, especially, for example,s consumers we’re all acutely aware ofthe need to be greener. Recent years haveseen a significant mindset change among when it comes to recycling waste or conserving water. Yet when it comes to home heating, there is still a significant level of ambivalence among UK homeowners around embracing even the most basic of measures to make boilers operate more efficiently and sustainably. Indeed, typically, consumers only ever become truly engaged on the subject when something goes wrong with their own central heating system. Add to this the fact that nine in ten of UK properties use a gas or oil-fired boiler as their primary heat source and the prospect of widescale adoption of renewable technologies seems a long way off. That said, as the cost of With 60,000 units fitted in properties every year, solar panelling is becoming an increasingly common sight traditional fuels continues to rise and have a knock-on effect on prices, the whole issue of even on cloudier days in the winter months, a temperatures in order to maintain a comfortable sustainability will increasingly come to the well-sized solar system of two panels can provide living environment in the average home. forefront of consumers’ minds. up to 60% of a home’s hot water requirements. “When weather conditions are significantly Renewables are an obvious and sustainable This typically will have a significant knock-on colder, unfortunately heat pumps simply can’t solution for the long term – both to ease effect on the average household’s demand for deliver the high temperatures required without a increasingly tight household purse strings and fuel, leading to noticeably reduced bills in the supplementary electrical heater kicking in. As safeguard the environment – but it is clear the medium term without significantly affecting a such, during the depths of winter, an oil or domestic heating boiler is still here to stay for property’s aesthetic qualities. gas-fired boiler is still the best solution for most the foreseeable future. Furthermore, the preparations required before properties, unless they are built to the latest a solar thermal system can be installed alongside exacting insulation guidelines. TRADITIONAL FUELS an existing boiler are relatively modest. The key Insulation is an area where the UK falls down With this in mind, manufacturers are requirement is the fitting of a twin coil cylinder, badly compared to its European counterparts. As increasingly advocating the hybrid or split which is generally installed when the solar such, air to water pumps aren’t suitable for all heating system as a ‘half way house’ campaign panels are being fitted to the roof (although in homes and are always likely to lag behind solar between our existing dependence on traditional some cases this can be done prior to the project thermal systems in popularity until insulation is fuels and the renewable systems of the future. being undertaken). addressed on a more consistent level across the In a nutshell, they work by incorporating an Replacing older hot water storage cylinders UK’s ageing housing stock. That said, they can element of renewable technology alongside a affords significantly better insulation levels and still provide a viable home heating and hot water boiler, providing a practical and powerful ultimately, greater efficiencies. Quite apart from solution where the conditions are appropriate. introduction for consumers to the benefits that these benefits, it also means the property is While more popular in mainland Europe, the greener fuel sources can bring in terms of adequately future-proofed, enabling the addition market for hybrid systems in the UK is still increased efficiency and reduced bills. of other complementary technologies further relatively modest and niche and it is clear that Importantly, such systems can also be relatively down the line. more needs to be done in general to kick-start quickly and easily incorporated into the majority Although less popular than solar thermal consumer thinking about the wider power of of existing households and begin delivering systems, air to water heat pumps are another renewables. benefits from day one. hybrid method in which homeowners can take This will undoubtedly be a challenge, By far the more popular of the two suitable steps towards embracing renewable energy. particularly when so many UK homeowners only hybrid systems available in the UK is solar The technology works by using the constant embrace the most basic of control functionality thermal technology. With 60,000 units currently energy available in the air to heat a refrigerant on their existing home heating systems, if indeed being installed in properties every year, solar circuit within the heat pump, which allows the they use it at all. panelling is becoming an increasingly common temperature to be boosted to a useful level for It will be a gradual process, but by sight on public and private properties up and heating or hot water for the home. policymakers, manufacturers and installers all down the country. This is particularly useful in the autumn and joining forces to promote the benefits of more The UK, with its unpredictable climate, may spring months when heating is still required but sustainable fuel sources, the outlook for hybrid not be perceived as the best location to harness at significantly reduced levels compared with heating systems and greater consumer awareness the power of the sun, but the fact remains that mid-winter, when boilers need to fire at higher of the power of renewable technologies is bright. 68 OCTOBER 2012 HEATING & PLUMBING MONTHLY enquiry number 150


HPM October 2012
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