With spring in full swing, now is the time to think about implementing those much needed upgrades to your heating and energy systems. You’ve waited out the winter, and are keen to get any building stock upgrade programmes underway, but where should you start? Whether you want to replace an old and inefficient boiler, optimise your system controls or insulate your plantroom, the spring and summer months present a golden opportunity to make improvements in time for when the cold sets in again. If you are planning on making upgrades, it’s important to think long term and not simply replace like with like. Here are three things to consider to make the most of your upgrade programme.
If you haven’t done so already, make sure you have a clear strategy for your upgrade work. Set out what you want to achieve – be it cost savings, reduced carbon emissions or improved performance – and how you can make it happen. Let’s say your boiler is nearing the end of its life cycle and it needs a replacement, instead of just opting for a new for old replacement, plan ahead. Exploring your options in detail as well as looking at your existing system (which we will come onto in a moment) will allow you to identify how to meet your upgrade requirements.
It may also be beneficial to identify possible sources of funding to alleviate the cost of the project. Sustain have funding available for communal heating upgrades, so it may be worthwhile to find out how we can help ease the financial burden.
Take stock of your whole system
Undertaking a communal heating upgrade programme presents an ideal opportunity to take stock and look at your whole system. Doing so will help identify how to optimise performance and achieve the greatest fuel savings to benefit residents. If your boiler is underperforming, for example, it’s easy to simply replace ‘like with like’. But without looking at the system as a whole, you may end up installing a boiler that was oversized or poorly fit for the building’s needs in the first place. As the boiler will have a long life-span, this can be a costly mistake.
We recommend looking at the whole system including the boiler, distribution and controls to pin point any problems or bottlenecks that may be hindering performance elsewhere. By doing so, you will be able to build an accurate picture of your heating system and hone in on an upgrade project that will really add long term value, improve system performance and provide cost and carbon savings for the future. For more information on where the most effective upgrades can be made to your heat networks, read our previous blog post on the subject.
Additionally, if your organisation has been required to conduct a compliance assessment in recent years, for the purpose of ESOS, the Heat Network regulations or others, you may have a wealth of valuable building data available to you. This data can be used successfully to guide building upgrade work that can improve the overall energy efficiency of your heat systems and building as a whole.
Follow Best Practice
Lastly, but most importantly, make sure your upgrade programme follows best practice. This may be a given, but it’s crucial that your upgrades provide optimal efficiency for your buildings. We recommend:
- Don’t invite like-for-like swaps. It might be the lowest risk but it’s not the best return on investment.
- Challenge your supply chain to follow the CIBSE/ADE Heat Networks Code of Practice.
- Ask for an assessment of options including fuel types and renewable technologies.
- Check your specifications – we often come across systems with boilers that were sized and specified up to 30 years ago. Check your current building usage, occupancy, heat loss and demand to ensure your upgraded systems fit the current and future requirements.
- Consider installing meters to monitor your system’s performance.
At Sustain, our expert heating engineers work to provide organisations with an optimal heating solution. We work to your budget, heat system requirements and operating schedule to ensure that your upgrades are set to provide efficient and resilient performance for the future.
If you’re eager to get your energy system upgrade programme underway, find out more about our services or get in touch today to discuss how we may assist you with achieving optimal performance or provide you with funding towards your plans.