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Posts Tagged ‘district heating’

Made it in the paper this week.

Casey Cole of low carbon consultant, Fontenergy, said the unregulated nature of heat has led to some “questionable practices” and needed outside regulation: “Both a technical standard for heat networks and a customer charter for heat are very welcome developments and we’ll be helping LEP with their work alongside the CHPA.

“While many buildings in London are now “district heat ready”, to date there’s been no common standard to ensure these schemes are actually able to connect to each other. In addition, rules for the provision of heat will give greater protection to customers and hopefully unify the many disparate methodologies in use at the moment.”

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If you build to Passivhaus standard, there’s no point in putting in a wet heating system. In fact, the key to the economics of Passivhaus design is that a conventional heating system is rendered redundant: you’re supposed to use the resulting savings to help fund the efficiency measures. Instead of a boiler and radiators you might only need a small electric heating coil in your mechanical ventilation system.

Level 6 of the Code for Sustainable Homes is modelled on the Passivhaus standard. As a result, until the Code changes, you’re likely to see more and more developers trying to move towards electric heating systems. You might argue that given the quantities of electricity we’re talking about (15 kWh/m2.yr), even if you source the electricity from the grid, it’s no carbon catastrophe. Unless you consider the bigger picture.

Making new buildings zero carbon is an excellent requirement, but by focusing our efforts (and a hell of a lot of money) on ratcheting down the heat demand from new buildings, we throw away the huge opportunity of using new developments to slash emissions from existing stock. (more…)

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Over the summer there was a debate between some big names in engineering over whether combined heat, cooling, and power (CHCP) using absorption chillers actually saves carbon. The theory goes that because engine size is usually dictated by the base summer heat load, the additional heat load from the chillers allows you to upsize your engine and generate more low-carbon electricity throughout the year.

However on a current project, we’re looking at the feasibility of installing a district heating and cooling network, including installation costs. And one thing is clear: regardless of whether CHCP saves carbon, the capital cost of cooling is unaffordable.

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