For the landlords of social housing, leaving a legacy has always been a core objective - whether that's in the shape of supporting communities to reduce their fuel bills through smarter energy use, or upgrading housing stock to improve efficiencies. But with ongoing pressure to tackle fuel poverty, what tools are available to help the housing associations of today? Bill Jones, sales director at Potterton considers what it means to build for the future.
Government statistics show there are 2.28 million fuel-poor households in the UK. It is therefore crucial that homes have access to low cost, energy efficient heating systems that can improve the lives of residents, as well as the environment.
Today's boilers offer the highest levels of efficiency. Following the introduction of the EcoDesign Directive - part of the Energy related Products, or ErP Directive - last September, minimum energy performance criteria has been specified for products which must be met if they are to be sold within the EU. The Energy Labelling Directive works in conjunction with Ecodesign, which is why energy labels are now supplied with boilers (as well as water heaters and hot water cylinders).
Potterton has updated its entire Potterton Promax range of boilers to fully comply with the ErP Directive. In addition, all Potterton boilers have ultra-low NOx emissions, achieving the top Class 5 rating.
Aside from the boiler itself there are a number of ways in which social housing developers can facilitate smart energy use, resulting in lower fuel bills.
Developers should consider innovations such as flue gas heat recovery (FGHR), shower heat recovery units (SHRU) and make sure adequate controls are installed with a high efficiency boiler.
Our FGHR GasSaver sits neatly between the boiler and flue, recovering latent heat from the flue gases that are normally expelled into the atmosphere via the flue. This heat is recycled and used to pre-heat water coming into the boiler from the cold mains supply - reducing the energy required.
Meanwhile, a SHRU recovers useful heat from discharged waste water. SHRUs generally comprise a length of pipe within a pipe, which forms part of the vertical section of the waste drain pipe leading to the soil pipe. The waste water from the shower is discharged down through the inner pipe, while the clean, cold water flows up through the outer pipe. The heat from the discharged waste water is transferred to the incoming supply feeding the shower, rather than being lost.
Advancements have also been made in controls. While Part L provides guidance on the types of control that are legally required when a new boiler is installed, there are some additional controls outside of the legislation which can reduce energy consumption further. One example is weather compensation, which adjusts the performance of the boiler in line with outdoor temperatures.
It's also important not to forget the benefits that increased use of renewable technologies will provide for homeowners and tenants. The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme, whilst still in place, will help to encourage investment from homeowners and landlords. The RHI provides long-term financial support in the form of a quarterly payment, calculated in line with the amount of renewable heat their system has produced. Payments are made to the property owner for up to seven years. In terms of housing associations, whilst they would receive the RHI payments, the use of renewable technologies should lower tenants' fuel bills.
Potterton's NewDesign team provides a complete design service for residential developments and is able to work with SAP assessors and other technical parties to help housebuilders to meet carbon or energy targets. In addition, Potterton's whole life costing model helps housebuilders to analyse all the costs and revenues associated with installing a Potterton boiler.
Once installed, every boiler has access to life-long support from Potterton's UK Customer Support team and a vast nationwide network of approved Gas Safe registered installers to help if any problems are encountered.
Housing associations are faced with many options when it comes to heating systems. By choosing a highly efficient boiler supported by energy saving innovations, they can ensure a futureproofed solution that will result in satisfied tenants and low bills for years to come.