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Energy


Renewable technologies need to be part of the energy conversation


As the dust settles on the Government’s announcement on its plans for the future of the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), John Bailey, Commercial & Renewable Systems Director for Vaillant, discusses how renewable heating technologies should become a key consideration for specifiers and facilities managers when considering heating and hot water solutions for commercial buildings


T


he UK is still striving to meet its stated target of delivering 15% of total energy through


renewable sources by 2020. It is clear that renewable and hybrid systems need to be a part of the UK’s commercial energy mix to reach this target. Installing these systems to tick boxes is not enough, however. No matter how efficiently the energy is produced, it defeats the object of the exercise if the building is leaky. It is imperative that building managers have a holistic approach to energy conservation if there are to be real improvements in how we use the energy we produce. We see that facilities managers may baulk at the upfront cost of installing renewable and hybrid systems into their buildings, particularly when those buildings may be leaky. When assessing the initial outlay of a different kind of installation, it is no surprise that many building managers choose to replace their existing heating and hot water systems with something similar to their existing plant room. It is familiar, after all, and means that no other modifications to the building are necessarily needed.


What is vital at the planning stage of replacing or specifying a commercial heating and hot water system is a thorough lifetime cost analysis (including fuel usage), which includes ensuring the fabric of the building is optimally designed to ensure that the energy that is being produced is being used with utmost efficiency. The initial remit of the RHI was to address this particular issue by giving a return on the investment for fitting a renewable heating and hot water system as well as the measures needed to ensure that the full benefits of such a system could be realised, i.e. by better insulating the fabric of the building. However, the lack of publicity surrounding the scheme has meant there was a fundamental lack of understanding by businesses and by the general public as to what the scheme could deliver and how to access the funds available. When it has been researched, it has prompted homeowners, landlords and businesses to consider (albeit in small numbers) the installation of available green heating technologies


FACILITIES 43


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