Time to put heat on the recycling agenda

Paul Sands of Stokvis Energy Systems examines the potential for making more use of waste heat to tackle our energy needs

become a part of our lives, with the once ubiquitous metal bins replaced by a varied set of brightly coloured containers to take plastics, paper, glass and other recoverable materials. It is a key element to an internationally-driven agenda which is aimed at making our use of finite resources more sustainable. Yet reducing energy usage and thereby carbon emissions is arguably an even more important goal. Which raises the question: why are we so bad at recycling heat? There have been some significant steps forward


over recent years with high-efficiency or condensing boilers, which feature larger heat exchangers recovering more energy from the flue gases, now dominant. But technologies such as mechanical ventilation with heat recovery (MVHR) are rarely seen in domestic situations as, although recognised

quick glance along almost any residential street in the UK when the rubbish collection is due reveals the extent to which recycling has

within SAP calculations, they are only mandatory for dwellings built to PassivHaus, or the Canadian Super-E specifications. The latter two standards have been responsible

for shaping some of the UK’s best performing properties but our own aspirations for having all new dwellings designed to the Code for Sustainable Homes Level 6 were shelved. Cost has also constrained the targets for improving the millions of existing properties which often score a ‘D’, or lower under an EPC. This means our homes are frequently cited as being responsible for more carbon emissions than transport or industry combined. However, looking across our infrastructure, manufacturing and even power generation, it is all too easy to see where heat energy is going to waste. It is not just huge cooling towers spewing out steam, but our supposedly low carbon nuclear power plants sucking in millions of gallons of seawater to cool the reactors, or factories ‘dumping’ process heat in rivers.

The idea of capturing waste heat and using it to

warm our homes is certainly not new, but compared to many of our European neighbours, the UK’s uptake of so called district heating schemes - or Heat Networks - has been negligible.

Safetymatters N

ew research from Logic4training, supported by the Gas Safe Register, indicates around half (53%) of gas installers are still not showing their Gas Safe Card on entering a customer's home, with just 37% producing their Gas Safe Card when asked to do so. The survey suggests that there is still some

way to go in encouraging installers to proactively use their Gas Safe Card, as well as a need to foster understanding among consumers. Around half (52%) of the gas engineers questioned felt that the Gas Safe Card could be improved to make it more comprehensible for the general public, suggesting changes such as larger fonts, increasing the visibility of the engineer's qualifications, using more accessible terminology and braille to make the card more inclusive. The importance of educating consumers on the meaning of the Gas Safe Card was a recurring

opinion among respondents, yet 15% of the gas installers questioned said they did not show their prospective customers that they were Gas Safe registered at all. Mark Krull, Logic4training's director, said:

"Installers on the ground have a huge influence on consumers' understanding of what it means to be Gas Safe registered and the Gas Safe Card is a great tool to facilitate this. Engineers need to be showing their Gas Safe Card to all their customers, providing a brief explanation of the importance of being Gas Safe registered and encouraging them to

check the credentials of anyone coming to work on their gas appliances in the future. "Following the results of this survey, we

encourage all gas engineers to review their use of Gas Safe Register branding across their promotional materials and ask themselves if they could use their Gas Safe Card more proactively. Not only is this a good marketing exercise, it helps to separate the genuine qualified gas engineers from the cowboys giving the industry a bad name. "From engineers and training providers to magazines and suppliers it's a good time to think about how we can all work together to draw attention to the dangers of poorly maintained gas appliances." *The survey ran between July 24 and August

15, 2018 and questioned 210 gas engineers working in both the domestic and commercial gas markets.

38 October 2018

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