Gareth Ash, Marketing and Technical Support Manager at Danfoss, looks at new regulations relating to domestic heating systems alongside the latest developments in heating controls to ensure compliance and keep homes comfortably – and affordably – warm.
The cost of heating a home, particularly during the colder winter months, typically makes up about 60% of household energy bills. The new Boiler Plus regulations for England reflect the need to find smarter ways of heating our homes to keep costs down, maximise comfort and reduce carbon emissions. As a pioneer of heating control solutions for over 80 years, Danfoss welcomes the new legislation’s official recognition of the energy-saving benefits of modern heating controls. Installed and used correctly, these devices are proven to improve a heating system’s efficiency, enabling homeowners to lower their energy consumption without compromising comfort.
In brief, Boiler Plus stipulates the installation of products such as time and temperature controls as a minimum standard for all new central heating systems. Combi boiler installations require an additional energy saving measure, which can be a flue gas heat recovery system, smart controls (with some level of automation and optimisation), weather compensating or load compensating controls.
From Danfoss’ extensive experience, to be truly effective heating controls must be accessible to operate with ease by homeowners and suit their individual capabilities and lifestyle. For example, an internet connected thermostat that provides remote control of the heating system via an App might be ideal for a tech-savvy consumer who is out at work all day, but could have limited value to someone who is housebound or has a fixed routine.
Having considered the regulatory aspects, let’s take a look at the different types of heating control in more detail, starting with room thermostats. A modern room thermostat featuring load compensation provides a compliant solution to Boiler Plus as it varies the flow temperature from the boiler in relation to the difference between the measured room temperature and the room thermostat set point. This is achieved by directly modulating the output of the boiler, thus reducing the amount of energy used.
TPOne – intelligent control made easy
Among the latest developments in the Danfoss range of room thermostats is TPOne. This fully programmable smart control combines superb efficiency and functionality with simple one-touch controls. TPOne includes 7-day programming, holiday function, and even offers timing for a hot water cylinder. Key features include a digital display with easy-read icons and information on status and settings. A backlight illuminates as soon as the display is activated and on-screen guides make it easy to navigate menus for setting or adjusting heating times and temperatures. The innovative quick access scenario interface provides the flexibility to make a temporary change to the pre-programmed schedule to save energy or deliver increased comfort – all at the click of a button. Danfoss has also designed TPOne with two new heating startup options to reduce energy consumption. In addition to the default Standard startup for instant heat at the scheduled time, users can select a Delayed or Optimised start which adjust dynamically according to the difference between the ambient and set temperature.
Thermostatic Radiator Valves (TRV)
A new report from the European Building Automation Controls Association (EUBAC) shows that energy costs for millions of households across the EU, including the UK, could be reduced significantly by upgrading heating systems with basic thermostatic radiator valves (TRV). At Danfoss we believe this new study provides compelling evidence for not only driving these upgrades but also ensuring that TRVs are installed in all new build properties. As far as the UK is concerned, the study estimates the potential energy savings of installing modern TRVs over manual radiator thermostats at 18,111 GWh (Gigawatt hours).
So why are TRVs such a significant factor in reducing energy consumption? An uncontrolled radiator valve runs non-stop, even when the room has become warm. However, a TRV can be set to heat a room to the required setting. Once the room temperature reaches that setting, the valve turns the radiator off. When the room temperature drops again, the TRV turns the radiator back on. According to the EUBAC report fitting TRVs to provide temperature control in individual rooms and so reduce wasted energy could lead to fuel cost savings of up to 30% or even higher.
Danfoss EcoTM – the smart TRV
Danfoss invented the first TRV back in 1943 and continues to drive TRV innovation and efficiency. Taking this technology to the next level is the new Danfoss Eco radiator thermostat and Eco App. This plug-and-play solution allows end-users to experience some of the key benefits of smart heating for a relatively low investment cost. Eco provides effortless control using the Eco App to program individual radiator thermostats via Bluetooth technology. Having downloaded the App and activated Bluetooth, Eco thermostats can be programmed individually from a smartphone from a distance of up to 10 metres. Alternatively, Eco can be adjusted manually using the turn-wheel option. Smart features include the open-window function, which avoids wasting energy by automatically regulating heat when a room is being aired. The away function can also save energy by reducing the temperature while homeowners are away, and warming it up again in time for their return.
Underfloor Heating Systems
As well as an extensive range of domestic heating controls, Danfoss also offers a ready to lay and easy to use electric underfloor heating system featuring its advanced heating control technology. The Danfoss ECmat is an ultra-thin heat mat with an earth screened twin-core cable that is only 3.5mm in height. Available in a range of sizes and output, ECmat is suitable for virtually any new build (or renovation) installation. Incorporating Danfoss’ ECtemp range of thermostats, ECmat reacts rapidly to changes in the indoor climate, radiating just the right amount of warmth whilst minimising energy consumption for homeowners.
For more information about Danfoss heating products visit www.heating.danfoss.co.uk