New code of practice boosts 14 per cent heat target

The Government’s plan to supply 14 per cent of the UK’s heat via heat networks (also known as district heating) will receive a major boost today (July 8th), as the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) and the Association for Decentralised Energy (ADE) unveil their new CP1 Heat Networks: Code of Practice.

CP1 Heat Networks: Code of Practice for the UK aims to support the procurement, design and operation of heat network technology by setting minimum standards and providing a framework of guidance for the whole life cycle of a heat network project. It was drafted by AECOM, supported by a steering group of experienced industry practitioners, and is the first Code of Practice published by the Institution.

Although widely regarded as an affordable way of providing low-carbon heat, their benefits can only be realised through good installation, appropriate usage and consistent measurement. This is not always the case, and as a result district heating can sometimes viewed with suspicion by developers. This new Code of Practice will considerably increase the success, efficiency and desirability of heat networks by setting clear requirements and responsibilities, which should eliminate poor commissioning and standardise specifications.

The Code has been welcomed by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), and is expected to provide a welcome boost to the deployment of heat networks, which are a significant part of Government plans for low carbon infrastructure in the UK.

Heat networks have been very successfully deployed in European cities such as Malmo and Copenhagen, where the waste heat from industrial processes such as power generation is channelled into the domestic supply. In the Danish capital, this accounts for 98% of the city’s domestic heat supply.

The Code will also benefit homes and businesses, for whom heating costs represent over half of their energy bills, by enabling them to tap into cheaper shared heat sources that will lower their living costs. Aside from making heat networks more desirable, the new code also introduces a training and accreditation scheme, which will increase the number of engineers able to build new systems. This will add to the UK’s sustainable energy generation capacity ahead of less secure oil, coal and gas which rely on imports.

Phil Jones, Chairman of the CIBSE Energy Performance Group, said: “These standards, with the associated training, will help change the face of district heating in the UK. Alongside a lot of good DH networks we are still seeing too many poorly implemented schemes in practice. The new code of practice will help prevent this and ensure that DH systems do what they say on the tin.

“It will also give the tools and confidence to developers to encourage greater use of heat networks and take the sector to the next level. With the right standards and skills in place, DH will become the solution of choice in high heat density areas.”

ADE Director Dr Tim Rotheray said: “Heat networks are increasingly recognised as an opportunity to reduce energy costs and meet our carbon targets in the most efficient way. By raising industry standards and promoting best practice, the new Code of Practice will help ensure district heating customers can feel confident in their supply of reliable low carbon, affordable heat.

“These standards are an important part of the foundation of this growing industry, alongside other consumer protections like the UK’s first independent heat consumer protection scheme, Heat Trust, and implementation of new metering and billing regulations. This foundation is the result of over two years’ of industry collaboration and demonstrate the sector’s aim to deliver the best possible service to heat customers.”

The Code of Practice is now available to download, free for CIBSE members, via the CIBSE Knowledge Portal. Training courses in the Code are now available to be booked on the CIBSE website.

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