With budget season well underway, now is the time to place budget allocations and start to consider the communal or district heating replacements which may be required next financial year. There are many things to consider so we’ve compiled a list of top tips to help guide you through the process.
1. Know what you want to achieve
Is it cost savings, reduced carbon emissions, improved performance, more robustness, or a combination of all of these?
2. Find out if you are eligible for funding
Ensure you identify any possible sources of funding to alleviate the cost of the project. If you don’t know, give us a call to find out how we can help.
3. More than just a boiler
Undertaking a communal or district heating upgrade is the ideal opportunity to look at your whole system. This will drive out optimum performance and achieve the greatest fuel savings for the residents being served by the system.
4. Don’t just swap like-for-like
If your boiler needs replacing, it’s tempting to simply replace like with like but without looking at the system as a whole, you may end up installing a boiler that is oversized or a poor fit for the building’s energy demands. A like for like swap may be the lowest upfront cost option, however over the long lifespan of the system, are often not be the best return on investment.
5. Beware of false economies
Ensure system components/materials are specified to maximise the lifespan of the system and equipment where economically feasible. For example, aluminium heat exchangers within boilers are less expensive than stainless steel but they are more susceptible to corrosion so they are unlikely to last as long.
6. Consider water treatment
Update water treatment to modern standards as new boilers are much more susceptible to dirt and corrosion than the boilers you are replacing.
7. Don’t over-specify your boiler
Ensure system loads are reviewed to avoid excessive sizing of equipment, saving capital costs and ensuring available equipment turndown is as low as possible, thereby improving system efficiency and reducing energy consumption. Check the current building usage, occupancy, heat loss and demand to ensure your upgraded systems fit the current and future requirements.
8. Ensure optimal water temperature
Ensure systems are designed so that return temperatures are low enough for condensing to occur for the majority of the year, as opposed to having a system design that makes condensing operation a rarity – this is a very common pitfall.
9. Consider meters to monitor your system’s performance
Think carefully about your metering strategy, consider the types of information you may want collect, how often you may want to collect it and for how long the data is stored.
10. Ensure compliance to regulations
There are various codes of practice and regulations which must be complied with. These include the Heat Network Metering and Billing Regulations (HNMBR) and CIBSE/ADE Heat Networks Code of Practice. For further advice on compliance please get in touch and we’ll be happy to help.
Want a little extra support?
Following our top tips will mean specifying systems that respond to demand to reduce temperatures and flow rates, subsequently saving you energy, costs, and increasing the life of your new system. Our expert heating engineers provide optimal heating solutions, working to your budgets, heat system requirements and operating schedules to ensure that your upgrades are set to provide efficient and resilient performance for the future. If you would like to speak to an expert about your communal or district heating upgrade, please get in touch.