An urgent review is needed
Climate change has been a major issue that has shaped our industry for a number of years, and still is, with global warming and depletion of scarce energy resources the main areas of debate. Over the last year we have seen steep rises in energy prices and these, it seems, are set to continue, dominating the political agenda.
Now, more than ever, we have a great need to optimise our use of energy and at the same time to protect the environment. According to government figures our buildings account for around 50% of energy consumption and carbon emissions in the UK, with heating and hot water representing as much as half of all energy costs in these buildings.
Building Regulations Part L2 have taken a big step forward by imposing energy efficiency requirements for commercial premises, based on the success of reducing carbon emissions through SEDBUK regulations in the domestic sector. These new commercial regulations, which were introduced in 2006, require a minimum 84% boiler operating efficiency level together with additional minimal control packages and, importantly, apply to both new build and to replacements for heating systems in existing commercial premises.
There is a huge potential for energy and fuel saving in the UK commercial sector because, quite simply, there are many thousands of old and inefficient boilers still tucked away in dark recesses of buildings wasting valuable fuel every time they’re switched on. Renewing these with modern versions would reduce the nation’s fuel usage and reduce carbon and NOx emissions significantly. This would not only help the environment but would also reduce fuel and maintenance bills dramatically. Further fuel savings can be effected by the use of the latest controls and, at the same time, consideration should be given to opportunities to incorporate other new and highly efficient systems such as solar thermal – and developments in renewable and other technologies are coming onto the market all the time.
The role out of energy labelling schemes such as DEC’s (Display Energy Certificates) and the far reaching implications of the EPBD will create opportunities for a thorough examination of how savings can be made. It will also allow the occupants of the building to see for themselves the building’s efficiency – or otherwise. The results of such surveys into buildings energy performances are likely to be of great interest to those with financial responsibilities.
A modern heating system can pay for itself in a relatively short time scale if properly planned and efficiently controlled – and now is the time to do it. A company will be reducing their fuel consumption from day one. It is vitally important however to achieve the optimum system setup, based on factors such as the size of the building, and the patterns of heat demand. With the right advice, this needn’t be complex, but is often where mistakes are made.
The availability of a suitably qualified technical advisory service to assist specifiers in selecting the best installation solution has proved to be a key factor in the growth of Buderus’s business in the UK. With several decades pioneering the development of fuel efficient heating technology throughout Europe, Buderus have the expertise and experience to advise investors on a whole range of boilers, solar and energy management control systems and assist heating system designers to help their clients to start saving at the earliest possible opportunity.