Boiling Point Spring Summer 2019

CLIMATE CHANGE ACT – THE PAST, THE PRESENT AND THE FUTURE The Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) invited their Patrons to the annual policy briefing to run through legislation changes which affect the building services sector. Hywel Davies, CIBSE’s technical director, elaborated on ‘radical change’ in the sector thanks to the Hackitt Review which was initiated after the Grenfell fire in June 2017, the impact of Brexit on environmental legislation and the Climate Change Act. The latter commits the UK to a reduction of 80% carbon emissions compared to the 1990 baseline by 2050. Withdrawal Act – but what about existing EU legislation? As outlined in our Boiling Point issue Spring/Summer 2018, the Withdrawal Act commits to maintain an existing European body of legislation from 30th March onwards, although those laws can undergo changes and have an unclear ending date in terms of commitment. For the foreseeable future, it will mostly stay as it currently is. The UK has to meet the Climate Change Act commitments and is not withdrawing from the Paris Agreement which stands independent from any EU legislation. This means while the long-term target is set, the means and ways to achieve it might change. What progress have we made? The Clean Growth Strategy, published in October 2017, identified how ‘heating our homes and businesses’ has a significant impact on carbon emissions. The Committee on Climate Change (CCC), an independent body which advises, monitors and analyses the Government’s efforts to reach targets, published its six-monthly progress report in June 2018. While carbon emission fell by 3% in 2017, mostly thanks to changes in the way we produce electricity, the UK needs to act now to achieve the 4th and 5th carbon budget which equates to 51% (by 2025) and 57% (by 2030) carbon emission savings respectively compared to the 1990 baseline. This is mainly due to other sectors not having made the same progress in decarbonisation as electricity generation. While the CCC reports that direct emissions from buildings in 2017 have fallen by 4% compared to 2016, a closer look paints a different picture. Largely attributed to higher winter temperatures, a comparison taking this into account actually shows an estimated rise of building emissions by 1% - a worrying phenomenon observed in the last two years. Simple and low-cost solutions for existing buildings with long-term support The CCC criticises the UK government for dropping and changing regulation and warns of higher costs for the entire economy. Just one of the examples mentioned was a fall in the number of homes being insulated: as a result of withdrawing incentives, the rate was 95% lower compared to 2012. Actions like this are an easy and cheap way to save energy and costs. The CCC also advocates a better reporting structure and a more strategic focus on energy efficiency for public and commercial buildings, especially in terms of operational savings. It criticises how Julia Maul – Marketing Communications Executive, Hamworthy Heating TRANSFORMING HEATING – GETTING THE PRIORITIES RIGHT The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has provided an insight into its thinking in a new publication. Ross Anderson, Director of the Industrial and Commercial Energy Association (ICOM), considers the key points. As one might expect, the new document from BEIS, entitled ‘Clean Growth - Transforming Heating’ , reiterates the UK government’s ongoing focus on decarbonising our energy structure. It also notes that heating is the dominant source of greenhouse gases, and that gas is the predominant energy source for heating. To that end, BEIS also observes the need for changes to the ways that heating is supplied to residential, commercial and industrial buildings. Unsurprisingly, and in keeping with the views of other industry ‘pundits’, there is an emphasis on heat networks, as well as use of low carbon heating technologies such as biomass, biomethane, solar thermal and most notably heat pumps. A strong focus on the latter is rather concerning, as the power generated to run most heat pumps is currently from highly inefficient gas and coal fired power stations. However, it’s also worth noting that our installed capacity of wind and solar energy is increasing rapidly, so that more ‘green’ electricity will be available to run heat pumps in the future. But, of course, that’s only when the sun is shining, and the wind is blowing! TURNING BUILDINGS INTO SAFE HAVENS The UK’s growing air quality crisis means proposed clean air laws are now urgent, says Giuseppe Borgese* – President-elect of the Building Engineering Services Association (BESA). Air pollution is blamed for 40,000 premature deaths in the UK every year and almost half a million across Europe. It costs our economy upwards of £20 billion a year, largely due to the additional burden on the NHS. Over 12 million people across the UK live with a lung condition and rising pollution makes their condition worse. Children are particularly vulnerable as their lungs are still developing. Living near a main road effectively means that a child is suffering the same effects as passively smoking 10 cigarettes a day. Yet, while there have been plenty of high profile efforts to measure outside air pollutants – there has been less attention paid to what this means for the indoor environment. This is despite the fact that we spend more than 80% of our time inside buildings. However, there are signs of change. Indoor air quality (IAQ) is mentioned 20 times in the new Clean Air Strategy recently published by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), which highlights many sources of indoor air pollutants and plans to tackle them. At the same time, a draft Clean Air Act to replace outdated legislation from the 1950s was put before the House of Lords last summer and is expected to be debated in Parliament later this year. This also makes explicit reference to IAQ and would give UK citizens the right to take legal action to protect their indoor environment from pollutants damaging to their health. Emissions The heating industry is already subject to legislation aimed at improving IAQ particularly in terms of reducing emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) from the process of combustion. Since last September, all new commercial gas boilers and water heaters have Giuseppe Borgese President, BESA Ross Anderson Director, ICOM irregularity of energy performance assessments and weakening the requirement for Display Energy Certificates risks energy efficiency not being taken seriously at a strategic level. It also warns that estimated savings from planned policies will not be achieved if measures aren’t followed through. Compliance, enforcement and consistency The CCC calls for effective, tougher regulation and enforcement with a longer-term view to drive consumer demand, innovation and cost reduction. Any existing standards under European Law have to be kept or replaced with comparable or stricter UK policy after the EU exit. This also means keeping policies consistent without being cancelled last minute, such as the Zero Carbon Homes policy which was scrapped in 2015 and replaced by lower standards which can mean costly retrofits later. Failing to improve now comes at a greater cost for the entire economy at a later point. Homes should not only be low-carbon but also future-proof to deal with climate change. The CCC requests greater ambitions to achieve high standards and halve energy use of new buildings by 2030 as outlined in the Government’s mission statement. Their advice follows the buildings regulations review by Dame Judith Hackitt. While focused on fire safety, her audit raises how ignorance, indifference, lack of clarity on roles and responsibilities as well as inadequate oversight, regulation, enforcement and low penalties trigger a ‘race to the bottom’ in terms of build quality. Infrastructure preparation and technology improvements The CCC urges the Government to put in place infrastructure to make carbon reductions possible. This comprises key technologies such as carbon capture and storage programs and rolling out low-carbon technology such as heat pumps and heat networks as a priority. Lastly, it is also about making use of existing infrastructure which lowers the cost for consumers, such as the use of biomethane for the decarbonisation of heating. Our thoughts We live in a time of unprecedented threat caused by climate change. While we have to make sure new buildings meet the highest standards to make them most energy efficient, it is crucial not to forget about existing buildings which make up the vast majority of our building stock. Low-cost quick fixes bring immediate and long-term benefits, but this needs to be combined with a strategic approach (equipment and operational costs). From a legislation perspective, loopholes need to be closed which means exemptions would actually stay true to the word. As a manufacturer, we see our responsibility in not only developing efficient products but also advising our customers on operation and setup to reap all benefits. We are convinced that improving what we’ve already got, reassessing our own behaviour and developing and using new products of highest standards is the way forward. Further reading • The full June 2018 CCC report is available here: CCC-2018-Progress-Report-to-Parliament.pdf • More information on ‘green gas’ (such as biomethane) can be found here: *Giuseppe Borgese is president-elect of the Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) and works for Apleona HSG Ltd. A B C D E F G ENERGY EFFICIENCY This situation has led to a reduction in the average carbon content of the power grid, which has prompted a proposed lowering of the carbon factor in the Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP) used for designing dwellings, and possibly in the Simplified Building Energy Model (SBEM) used for other types of buildings. This, in turn, has encouraged some people to favour electric heating instead of gas, which would reduce costs for developers but greatly increase energy bills for consumers. However, BEIS has recently announced that it is reconsidering the lowering of the carbon factor in the forthcoming version of SAP – SAP 10. Alongside these considerations there is also a desire to make wider use of hydrogen and bioenergy. In relation to hydrogen, there is still work to be done on the safety aspects of converting the gas grid, a task that will be comparable to the change from coal gas to natural gas in the 1960s and 70s. All of these issues have an impact on the heating industry, and heating companies such as Hamworthy have an important role to play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. We will certainly see space heating and hot water systems served by a wider variety of heat sources and this needs to be paralleled by more sophisticated control than has historically been the case. The BEIS document weighs in at 136 pages so there is much more detail available to those who want to find out more. The message that comes through clearly, though, is that there will be significant investment in areas such as heat networks, hydrogen and bioenergy. Find out more about ICOM at had to meet a maximum NOx emission level of 56mg/kWh in order to comply with the revised Energy related Products Directive (ErP). This applies to natural gas and LPG water heaters and new boilers up to and including 400kW on both new build and replacement projects. As a piece of EU legislation that is already in force in the UK, it will continue after Brexit. We have also seen the launch of the UK’s first scrappage scheme for commercial boilers in London. SMEs will receive 30% towards the cost of installing a new high efficiency, low-NOx gas or LPG boiler and this figure can rise to 35% in areas where there is a particular air quality problem. The scheme applies to existing coal or biomass boilers of any age and gas or LPG boilers that are a minimum of 10 years old, with a minimum total output of 70kW. The replacement boilers must be at least 90% efficient and have NOx emissions of 40mg/kWh or less. At BESA, our IAQ Group continues to promote guidance and best practice including ISO, CEN and BSI technical standards that will help us turn buildings into safe havens from external pollution to protect the health of occupants. BESAmember companies have a wide range of solutions to offer including filtration, but also other (mainly low cost) improvements, such as upgrading fans and basic maintenance tasks that can make a huge difference. These can reduce health risks to building occupants while also improving the overall efficiency of the building services and significantly cutting running costs. Find out more at 8 SPRING / SUMMER 19 9 Products that perform | Service that delivers | People that care  @hamworthy  @heatingatwork  hamworthy-heating-ltd  HamworthyHeating