Our homes are frequently cited as being responsible for more carbon emissions than transport or industry combined.

One of the key aims of the Government’s Round 6 HNDU funding is to move

consumers away from employing individual boilers, and onto communal schemes including centralised plant, CHP and solar. More adventurously, however, district heating schemes being fed by incinerators are growing in number while, in the capital, plans are in place to draw excess heat from the London Underground network. All these initiatives offer huge energy saving potential, but one of the

reasons district heating has failed to gain the traction it deserves has been the collective memory of early failures involving problems from leaking distribution mains to armies of Pharaoh ants marching around the ductwork of social housing schemes. Improved jointing and integral insulation have addressed these issues but

poor controllability and an inability to charge customers for what energy they actually use continued to stifle the successful of otherwise high quality installations. Which is why the modern Heat Interface Unit, or HIU, has the potential to finally deliver scale to district heating. For anyone not familiar with HIUs, they create the interface between the primary circuit and the consumer, using high efficiency plate heat exchangers (PHEs) to extract heat for the dwelling’s own requirements. They can incorporate a heat meter to provide accurate billing information and supply both domestic hot water and space heating, depending on their design. Importantly, though, they should be specified to match each system’s characteristics, including temperature, flow and demand load. They can also be customised to suit special needs such as space limitations in retrofit situations. With wind farms proving not only unpopular, but costly and unreliable, and

other renewable technologies such as wave power still in their infancy, the short to medium term viability of UK energy policy remains dependant on making best use of existing, mainly fossil fuel based generation. Modern Heat Networks using HIUs to meet consumers’ precise needs offer a ready solution.


iessmann has added a domestic oil boiler to its UK product range. The Vitorondens 200-T floor-standing oil-condensing boiler features Viessmann’s bespoke two-stage Vitoflame blue flame condensing oil technology and is future-proofed against tightening OFTEC laws on NOx emissions that came into force last month and are set to become more stringent in the next five years. Viessmann’s marketing director, Darren McMahon, said: “The

exceptionally high standards of the Vitorondens 200-T has been proven in Germany and other international markets for many years. With the upcoming emissions legislation, the time is now right for the Vitorondens boiler to be more widely introduced into the UK as an alternative to biomass and LPG boilers for off-grid customers and where renewable options aren’t always ideal – for example, in older and less well insulated buildings which need a high-temperature heating system. “This will be good news

for our installers, to whom we now provide a complete product range and access to technology that’s easy to install, well- proven and future-proofed against future changes in legislation. October 2018 39

hottopic Are you eligible?

John Thompson, CEO of the Association of Plumbing & Heating Contractors (APHC), explains the relationship between Employment Allowance and National Insurance Contributions


mployment Allowance can reduce the amount of Class 1 National Insurance that employers have to pay by up to £3,000 per year.

Most plumbing and heating employers should be able to claim the

government’s Employment Allowance, assuming they are paying employers’ Class 1 National Insurance on salaries above the secondary National Insurance Contribution threshold, which is currently £8,424 per year (2018/19). You can't claim the Allowance if you're the director and sole

employee of a limited company. Self-employed plumbers and heating engineers, i.e. those who don't operate via a limited company, are also ineligible to claim against any profits they draw down personally, as they pay Class 2 and Class 4 National Insurance Contributions. However, they can claim if they have employees and make Class 1 National Insurance Contributions on employee salaries. For those who are eligible, the Allowance itself is claimed each month via the payroll process. Zero employers’ Class 1 National Insurance Contributions are payable until the company’s £3,000 allowance has been used up. You can claim at any time in the tax year. If you claim late and don’t

use your Allowance, you can ask HMRC to either use any unclaimed allowance at the end of the year to pay any tax or National Insurance owed including VAT and Corporation Tax if nothing is owed on your PAYE bill, or you can request a refund from HMRC after the end of the tax year if you don’t owe anything. If you haven’t claimed in previous tax years, you can claim £2,000 for

each previous tax year dating back to 2014/15. Importantly, you will only benefit from this Allowance if you pay

yourself and your employees high enough salaries on which to incur and claim back Employers’ National Insurance Contributions – i.e. salaries over the secondary National Insurance Contributions threshold of £8,424 per year (2018/19). There are certain restrictions surrounding eligibility, so it is advisable to take guidance from a professional accountant.

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