Decarbonising heat in buildings has been identified as an essential target for local authorities. Ultimately, the goal is to transition to low-carbon heating technologies such as heat pumps. Reflecting this, government funding such as the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme is mostly limited to full electrification of heat, helping scale up the heat pump market and meet its ambitious target of 600,000 units a year by 2028.
The advantages of heat pumps are well established in new and well-insulated buildings. But while new buildings should be designed to be energy efficient and heated by low temperature heating, most existing buildings will need a series of adaptations to make them heat-pump ready.
How can you tackle the heat decarbonisation challenge and achieve best value performance for budget from a heating system refurbishment?
On every refurbishment project, there will likely be a number of constraints, including time, budget, available power and physical space.
At Remeha, we can provide valuable support to local authorities looking to reduce emissions across their estates. A good starting point would be to identify immediate, medium and long-term goals, as well as the available time to complete the work, the budget and any funding opportunities. This will make it possible to plan out and design the phased stages of refurbishment.
Plotting a pathway to net zero has the advantage of enabling LAs to budget ahead while ensuring good practice design for maximum energy, carbon and cost reductions at each stage.
Energy efficiency is absolutely critical to reducing emissions and should always be the first consideration when dealing with existing buildings.
Implementing passive measures such as roof and wall insulation, draught proofing and improving the thermal performance of windows and doors will reduce heat losses and energy demand, delivering an immediate impact on a building’s energy consumption and heating bills.
Investing in energy efficiency measures will also help prepare the building fabric for the transition to low carbon heating.
Having a detailed understanding of how and where the building uses energy is also vital. Data can be gathered in a number of ways, through analysis of energy bills, meter readings, or interrogation of the building energy management system, or by measuring real flow rates in different places and conditions over a given time.
The energy usage patterns will reveal how the building operates, including the peaks in heating and domestic hot water demand and how it compares to the current plant and heat emitter sizing. Armed with this data and an awareness of the project constraints, experienced heating manufacturers, like Remeha can help identify where heat pumps can be most effectively used and design accordingly.
We know that heat decarbonisation is critical to achieving our 2050 net zero ambition. But we also understand that it can be a huge challenge in existing public sector buildings.
As heat experts, we are at hand to provide guidance and support. By working together to balance best performance for budget value with best practice for heat decarbonisation, we can tackle the task at hand and begin setting even the hardest to heat buildings on the road to zero carbon.
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