Posts Tagged ‘BRE’

Heat networks finished 2015 on a high. In a year in which the Government hammered almost every other part of the low carbon sector, heat networks not only escaped harm, they unexpectedly received a £300m boost in November’s Comprehensive Spending Review. And there may even be further support if projects can secure a share of new innovation funding at DECC.

So you might expect this market to rapidly pick up speed. But funding is only part of the picture. Even more important is policy, because just like a species is shaped by its ecosystem, heat networks are shaped by their policy landscape.

This landscape can be defined by three key features: the CIBSE Code of Practice, the Heat Trust rules and SAP. Influential as they may be, these three features aren’t set in stone. Far from it. All three will undergo major changes in 2016, with so much potential to shake up the market that it’s tough to predict how projects will look (commercially, technically, legally) a year from now.

What might these upcoming changes mean for projects, practitioners and operators?


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This is the second time that I have written this post, as I had not saved the first version and then browser magic lost it… I haven’t posted for a long time and wanted to avoid a negative post for my return, but unfortunately events have determined this otherwise.

Last week I undertook BREEAM for Offices training to plug some holes in my various accreditations, but was woefully underwhelmed by the quality of the BRE Training. (more…)

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The UKGBC is launching plans for a Code for Sustainable Buildings to “address the confusion arising from the myriad of different green building standards.” Although they’ve used the name, this isn’t the same Code for Sustainable Buildings that we were promised a few years back and that was eventually pared down into the Code for Sustainable Homes. This is an “open-source” UKGBC-managed standard which could then be used in other standards.

Reading between the lines, the UKGBC have just pre-empted a situation in which BREEAM is adopted wholesale as the basis of a future Code for non-residential buildings (a situation like we saw with EcoHomes and the CfSH). It looks to me like they’re looking to usurp BRE’s place as guardian’s of the public interest when it comes to building performance and I suspect the use of the words “open-source” is a stinging reference to BRE’s increasingly mercenary approach. So take that BRE – you’ve just been King-slapped.

Or am I just looking for drama on an otherwise dull Tuesday?

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I’ve been spending some quality time with spreadsheets and have an update on the way building regs for housing treats CHP. It’s not as simple as I thought here, although the result is similar. The incorrect method I wrote about a few weeks back is still in use, but it’s different from what’s happening in SAP 2005. Here’s a breakdown:


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Much later than planned, but here it is. In summary, micro-CHP saves 5% to 10% of carbon in large inefficient houses but only if you use a flawed methodology and give yourself extra-extra credit for displacing grid electricity. A few of the key findings:

  • The trial has demonstrated that the carbon and cost savings from Micro-CHP are generally better for buildings where they can operate for long and consistent heating periods.
  • In small commercial applications, the field trial has shown that Micro-CHP systems can provide typical carbon savings of 15% to 20% when installed as the lead boiler in appropriate environments.
  • The domestic Micro-CHP systems monitored in the trial have the potential to provide typical carbon savings of 5% to 10% for older, larger houses with high and consistent heat demands (over 20,000kWh/yr).

So since the last report, the Carbon Trust has toed the industry line that the 0.568 figure should be used.

There’s some very interesting output from the boiler field trials in the report as well. In particular, the boilers they’re monitoring are generally performing 4% to 5% below their SEDBUK rating.

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[Update March 20 – while it’s true that SAP gives misleadingly high emissions savings for CHP, I got the methodology wrong. See an updated post here. Points 3 and 4 below are still valid.] 

The SAP results for dwellings using CHP are badly skewed. This may cause large developers to formulate strategies for meeting the Code for Sustainable Homes which fall well short of the targets.

Doing some research this week, I read the Housing Corporation’s report on the estimated costs of meeting various levels of the Code for Sustainable Homes. It’s an interesting document, but at a certain point I was confused by their claim that you can meet the carbon reductions required by code level 4 (i.e. a 44% reduction in DER relative to TER) just by using gas CHP. In fact, when I looked closer I found that in some cases, they were claiming an emissions reduction of over 50% – an extremely high figure. Something closer to 10 and 15% is much more reasonable, unless you want to get Orchardesque.

The source of these wild claims is the Government’s Standard Assessment Procedure for dwellings – SAP 2005. As hinted at in the CHP debate running in the BSJ over the summer, SAP does some funny things when it comes to CHP. Have a closer look at the SAP worksheets and you find that SAP:


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