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HIES Blog

What Are Transpired Solar Collectors and How Can They Help Your Business?

Transpired Solar Collectors (TSCs) are a very simple and effective way to harness energy from the sun to heat a property. The technology is relatively new to the European and UK markets but has seen success over the last 20 years across USA and Canada.

Transpired Solar Collectors are made from perforated pre-finished steel and are installed as a skin onto an existing or new building. The skin creates a cavity with the wall which is then used to draw the sun’s radiant energy into the building.

Installing transpired solar collectors can save up to 50% of space heating costs for commercial properties including, but not limited to, warehouses, hotels, office buildings, multi-residential buildings and schools.

How does a Transpired Solar Collector work?

Transpired Solar Collector’s draw the ambient air warmed by the sun through the perforations in the skins surface into the cavity. The warm air then flows to the top of the building and is circulated using mechanical ventilation. This air is then fed either directly into the building or into a HVAC unit to pre-heat the main heating system.

What are the benefits of Transpired Solar Collectors?

Transpired Solar Collectors have been developed during the last twenty years and are designed to pre-heat fresh air and improve indoor air quality. Installing TSCs can reduce fuel bills by up to 50% and they benefit from a fast payback of up to 3 to 12 years depending on the fuel replacement.

TSCs are up to 80% efficient, maintenance free and have a 30 year life span. Properties featuring TSCs will also benefit from a massive CO2 reduction.

What should you consider when installing Transpired Solar Collectors?

Before installing TSCs you must consider the suitability of location and building, as well as the area of collector required to make the installation viable. The possible energy savings and payback period should also be considered before installation begins.

Renewable Heat Incentive: Now Available For Domestic Properties

The Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is what the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) call the first step to transforming the way we heat our homes.

The government scheme provides financial support for renewable heat which targets primarily, but is not limited to, off gas grid households. The scheme supports the installation of air source heat pumps, biomass systems, ground source heat pumps and solar thermal technologies, and support is paid at a set rate per unit of renewable heat produced for seven years to the owner of the technology.

The tariffs available vary depending on the technology installed, and are paid in pence per kilowatt hour (p/kWh). The current tariffs available are 7.3p/kWh for air source heat pumps, 12.2p/kWh for biomass systems, 18.8p/kWh for ground source heat pumps, and 19.2p/kWh for solar thermal technologies.

All installations must be certified under the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) and the scheme will cover single domestic dwellings with eligible technology installed since 15th July 2009. New build properties other than self-build will not qualify for RHI.

Greg Barker, Minister of State (DECC), said in the government’s namesake publication “We have sought to develop a scheme that is sustainable and delivers renewable heat in the most cost-effective way, learning from past experience.”

An additional incentive is also available for applicants who install metering and monitoring service packages. This incentive currently stands at £230 per year for heat pumps and £200 per year for biomass boilers, and is similar to a service contract where the installer will be able to view measured data from their system over the internet. The intention is to encourage peace of mind in the customer that the technology is working as expected, and to enable the installer to improve performance and diagnose common problems.

Mr Barker continued: “Renewable energy and energy efficiency go hand in hand, which is why it is so important that the RHI works alongside the Green Deal. Renewable heating technologies work best in an energy efficient home, and reducing the size of the heating demand in each house means we can support more households through the RHI.”

Over time as threshold figures are reached, a system of degression will be introduced to control costs. This, put simply, is a reduction in tariffs, and further details will be announced in Autumn including whether an overall cap will be introduced

Green Deal: New £20M Communities Scheme Launched

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) recently announced the launch of the new Green Deal Communities scheme designed to drive Green Deal installations on a street-by-street basis.

The idea behind Green Deal Communities is to encourage local authorities to identify the areas within their own regions that will benefit the most from the Green Deal, and then offer households within these areas incentives to encourage them to install energy efficient products. The authorities can then use these incentives as part of their bids for funding.

Greg Barker, Energy and Climate Change Minister, said: “If we are going to deliver the Green Deal at a real scale then we need a street-by-street vision and a ‘street-by-street’ plan!”

The Green Deal Communities scheme boasts £20 million to help households benefit from the Green Deal, and local authorities will be able to bid for funding from the pot. DECC will assess all of the bids made, and to enable authorities to make strong bids bidding will be available until 31st December 2013, or until the funds are exhausted.

Greg Barker continued: “The Coalition is committed to helping hard pressed consumers and this £20 million funding will help more families benefit from the Green Deal, making homes warmer and more efficient, and protecting consumers against rising energy bills.”

In addition to Green Deal Communities it was also announced that Newcastle City Council has launched Warm Up North, a £200 million energy efficiency scheme set to benefit up to 50,000 households and businesses. A Green Deal Provider Forum has also been established to look at ways of supporting the Green Deal. The forum will be chaired by the Group CEO of Kingfisher Plc, Ian Cheshire, and will be supported by the Green Deal Oversight and Registration Body.

What Are Solar Panels & How Can They Help Save Money & Energy?

Solar Panels (also known as solar photovoltaics or solar pv) are energy efficient systems that can be installed on both domestic and commercial properties. In simple terms the panels work by capturing the energy transmitted by the sun’s rays to help generate electricity. The photovoltaic cells found on the panels convert the sunlight into electricity, helping you to save money and energy supplied from traditional sources.

What are the benefits of installing Solar PV?

The benefits of Solar PV are both financial and ‘green’. You can save money and reduce your carbon footprint at the same time. By using electricity produced by solar pv you are using ‘green’ or renewable energy, and according to the Energy Savings Trust “a typical home solar PV system could save over a tonne of carbon dioxide per year – that’s more than 30 tonnes over its lifetime.”

The financial benefits of installing Solar PV are the reduced costs of your electricity bills and the opportunities available allowing you to get paid for the electricity you generate. The energy source, sunlight, is free and available to everyone, meaning that your only expense is the initial installation fee. Through the government’s ‘Feed-In Tariffs’ you could get paid for the energy you generate, and you can even sell any surplus energy back to the grid

How do solar panels work?

Solar (PV) panels are made up of photovoltaic cells usually made from silicon. The light produced by the sun shines onto the cells and an electric field is produced as a result. The electric current is then fed through an inverter which converts it into electricity used to power everyday appliances in your property. Naturally, the stronger the sun’s rays are the more electricity produced, but it is important to remember that solar panels can produce electricity even on cloudy days.

How much do solar panels cost?

Solar PV systems vary in cost depending on both the size and type of system to be installed. Consumer magazine, Which!, states “an average PV system between 3.5 and 5 kWp (kilowatt peak) costs about £7,000.”

What are Feed-In Tariffs?

A Feed-In Tariff (FIT) is money paid to you by your energy supplier for generating your own electricity. The cost per kilowatt hour (kWh) is set by the government and the rates vary on the system size and technology installed. As well as generating funds, you can also sell surplus energy back to the grid and receive what the government calls an ‘export tariff’.

The Green Deal: First Quarterly Statistics Show Encouraging Signs

On the 27th June 2013, The Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) released the first set of quarterly statistics for the Green Deal and Energy Company Obligations (ECO).

Greg Barker, Minister for Energy and Climate Change, said: “The Green Deal is an ambitious and uniquely long-term programme designed to upgrade the energy efficiency of Britain’s homes. It’s only just getting started, but the early signs are encouraging.”

Launched on 28th January 2013, the Green Deal has completed 9,294 assessments across the UK and seen 30,506 energy efficient improvements recommended in Green Deal Advice Reports. 90% of properties receiving a Green Deal Assessment had an energy efficiency rating of band D or lower, and only 5% of assessments were carried out in Wales (4%) and Scotland (1%).

The most common measure recommended under the Green Deal was to upgrade the properties existing boiler, whilst other frequently recommended measures included solar pv, wet central heating controls, and floor insulation.

Greg Barker, continues: “78 per cent of people who have received a Green Deal Advice Report, following a Green Deal assessment, said they had, were getting or would get energy saving measures installed.”

Compared to the long term targets of the Green Deal, ECO runs until the 31st March 2015 and focuses on providing energy efficient measures to low income and vulnerable consumers living in ‘hard-to-treat properties’.

After a Green Deal Assessment has been carried out, and dependent upon the range of measures and/or the property, the cost of the ‘Green Deal Plan’ could be part-financed by ECO funding. Possible measures available for ECO funding are Solid Wall Insulation and hard-to-treat Cavity Wall insulation.

Greg Barker concludes: “81,798 installations have taken place with the support of the new Energy Company Obligation, helping those most in need or with particularly hard to treat properties. But this is just the start. 38,259 Green Deal assessments is also a clear sign that many consumers genuinely want to make their homes more efficient; but we are keen to do more.”

To find out more about the Green Deal contact us on 0844 324 5242.

How The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) Can Benefit Your Business!

The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) was launched in November 2011 to reward the non-domestic sector for generating and using renewable energy to heat their premises. The scheme provides long-term financial support to industry, business and public sector organisations.

RHI is the main scheme of the governments heat strategy and will help the UK to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and will also contribute to the UK targets for reducing climate change.

There are many types of heating covered by the RHI, including biomass and heat pumps (ground and water source) and payments are made every three months and spread over 20 years. The amount you receive depends on the type of technology you install, the capacity of the equipment, and how much energy you use.

Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) Examples:

  • Biomass

The tariff associated with small and medium biomass heaters is split over two tiers and based on the amount of energy used, similar to regular energy bills. Tier 1 offers payments for energy used up to a certain limit, and if you go over this limit the rest of the energy is paid at tier 2.

Small biomass with a capacity of less than 200 kWth will get you 8.3 pence per kWth at tier 1 or 2.1 pence per kWth at tier 2., whilst medium biomass that produce between 200 and 999 kWth will get you between 5.1 pence per kWth at tier 1 or 2.1 pence per kWth at tier 2.

Large biomass heaters have only one tier, and with a capacity in excess of 1000 kWth will get you 1.0 pence per kWth.

  • Heat Pumps (ground and water source)

A small heat pump with a capacity to produce less than 100 kWth will get you 1.0 pence per kWth, whilst a large heat pump that can provide in excess of 100 kWth will get you 3.4 pence per kWth.

Renewable Heat Incentive Eligibility

To benefit from the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) you must meet the eligibility criteria to receive payments. To name a few criteria, the business/industry must have installed the technology after 15th July 2009, the technology must have a certain capacity, and the equipment must use liquid or steam to deliver the heat. The installer employed and the equipment itself must also have MCS certification (or equivalent) if applicable to the type of installation.

For full details on RHI and the eligibility criteria contact Ofgem or read the government guide to the Renewable Heat Incentive.

What Is Cavity Wall Insulation & How Can It Help?

One of the most cost effective ways to improve the energy efficiency of a property is by installing cavity wall insulation.

Cavity walls are likely to feature in most houses built after 1920, and if the house was built in the last 10 years then they are more than likely already insulated. But not all properties with cavity walls are suitable for this installation, for example those regularly exposed to wind driven rain.

How Cavity Wall Insulation Works?

Cavity wall insulation works by filling the gap between the two layers of the external wall, this is normally done with a foam spray. A registered installer will be required to do this and can check the propertys suitability for the installation beforehand.

If a property is suitable, the insulation is blown into the cavity through a drilled hole in the exterior brick wall. Each hole is around 22mm in size and are spaced at intervals of around 1m. Every part of the wall must be filled with insulation and the process can take around two hours depending on the size of the property. Installing cavity wall insulation should be simple, quick and make no mess.

Cavity Wall Insulation Benefits!

Installing cavity wall insulation can contributed to savings of up to 35% of all heat loss from your home. The insulation can be made from mineral wool, beads or granules, and foamed insulants. All three types are manufactured to British standards; however foam insulation must be certified by the British Board of Agrement.

Further information on cavity wall insulation can be found on theEnergy Saving Trustand Which?

 

BIOMASS BOILERS: WOOD-FUELLED HEATING

Biomass Systems are available as stoves and boilers and are designed to generate heat by burning wood. Stoves can be used to warm a single room, whilst boilers can be connected to a properties central heating and hot water system.

How Do Biomass Boilers Work?

Biomass boilers are the most common form of renewable energy and if installed correctly can provide heating and hot water for an entire property. A biomass boiler generates heat by burning logs, wood pellets or chips and can cost less than conventional heating fuels. A typical automatic boiler for an average home can cost around 11,500 pounds (including installation, flue and fuel store) whilst manually fed boilers can be slightly cheaper.

What Are The Benefits Of Installing Biomass Boilers?

One of the benefits of installing a biomass boiler is the savings in carbon dioxide emissions. When a wood-fuelled boiler replaces a coal system the saving in emissions can be around 7.5 tonnes per year. Financial savings depend mainly upon the system being replaced. Replacing a gas system might save you 100 pound per year, whilst upgrading from an electric heating system could save as much as 580 pounds per year.

Government Incentives For Biomass Boilers

Homeowners installing biomass boilers may receive payments for the heat produced through the governments Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) which launches in summer 2013, whilst installation costs could be helped by a one of grant available from the Renewable Heat Premium Payment Scheme.

AIR SOURCE HEAT PUMPS: HOW TO HEAT YOUR HOME!

Air Source Heat Pumps (ASHPs) can be used to provide heating and hot water and can absorb heat from the air in temperatures as low as -15o C. Unlike conventional boilers, ASHPs deliver heat at lower temperatures over longer periods of time and are available in two systems; air-to-water and air-to-air.

How Air Source Heat Pumps Work?

ASHPs transport the heat from the air outside into a fluid that moves through a compressor which increases its temperature. The high temperature generated is then used to heat the property.

Air-to-water systems generate heat via a wet central heating system, whilst air-to-air systems circulate warm air through fans. Air-to-air systems are more suited to heat a property and are unlikely to provide hot water as well.

What Are The Benefits Of Air Source Heat Pumps?

ASHPs contribute to making a property more energy efficient, which in turn could lower energy bills and the properties carbon emissions. Typical installation costs are between 6,000 and 10,000 pounds, and running costs depend on the size of the property and how well insulated it is. ASHPs are powered by electricity so wont negate the need for fuel bills, however you will save on the fuel you are replacing.

Government Incentives For Air Source Heat Pumps

After installing an ASHP you may be able to receive payments for the heat you generate through the governments Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) launching in summer 2013. Installation costs for any systems installed after 1st August 2011 may also receive a one off grant through the Renewable Heat Premium Payment Scheme (available until the RHI is introduced to domestic customers).

Green Deal Launched 28th January 2013

This week the Government launched its new renewable energy initiative, The Green Deal.

Designed to encourage home owners to modify their properties to increase their energy performance, The Green Deal is hyped as the next big thing. It officially launched on Monday 28th January 2013, and has already featured on the BBC and in the Guardian.

Under the Green Deal, properties can be assessed for ‘measures’ to be installed and financed by a government endorsed loan. The loan is attached to the customer’s energy bills and stays with the property, so should the customer decide to move the outstanding balance can either be paid off during the transaction or transferred to the new property owner.

To qualify for Green Deal the proposed results of the improvements must outweigh the costs, something more regularly referred to as ‘The Golden Rule’. The Golden Rule is there to ensure a customer doesn’t end up paying more than they did before the measures were installed, however it doesn’t guarantee savings. Green Deal Assessments are based on assumptions and some customers may only break even.

There are 45 measures available to help improve properties energy efficiency, and these include everything from small improvements like boiler jackets and draft excluders, to the larger installations of wind turbines and solar panels.

The process to complete a Green Deal Plan is fairly straightforward:-

1.Arrange an assessment with an approved Green Deal Provider.

2.A survey is completed on your property by an approved Green Deal Assessor, who then reports on the measures that could be installed to increase your current energy efficiency.

3.The Provider will make an application for finance, and an approved Green Deal Installer will install the measures required.

4.The customer repays the finance through their current energy bills.

For more information on The Green Deal visit www.greendealorb.co.uk or call 0300 123 1234.

 

HIES Provides New Green Deal Information Leaflet For Installers

With the Green Deal preparing for its launch in early 2013, HIES has created a new four page information leaflet to help the renewable energy sector understand exactly how it will work. The new leaflet provides answers to the 23 most frequently asked questions and updates installers on all aspects of the Green Deal, from outlining the sales process to informing the industry on how much money has been invested by the government.

Tony Pickup, Founder of HIES, explains: The Green Deal is gaining more momentum each day and there is a lot of information out there, but installers simply dont have the time to sit and research it all. Thats why we created this new information leaflet. To help installers understand what the Green Deal is trying to achieve and how it will work, without having to spend hours trawling the internet themselves.

The Green Deal: Whats It All About leaflet explains the roles of the Providers, Assessors and Installers, in addition to who regulates the scheme and who the official Ombudsman is. It also explains the Golden Rule which all Green Deal Plans must meet.

HIES can provide underwritten warranties and independent dispute resolution for all of the technologies covered under The Green Deal. For more information on HIES, or to request a copy of the leaflet call 0844 324 5196.

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