Modern heating controls play a pivotal role in the new Boiler Plus regulations aimed at improving domestic energy efficiency. Gareth Ash of Danfoss considers the implications for oil-fired boiler installers.
Introduced in England in April 2018, Boiler Plus mandates a range of measures to keep household energy costs down, maximise comfort and reduce carbon emissions. In what many see as a welcome move, the new standards recognise the energy saving benefits of installing heating controls, such as room thermostats. Compared with the rather vague requirements in the Domestic Services Compliance Guide (the document that supports Part L of Building Regulations) Boiler Plus clarifies the application and use of controls. Correctly installed, and used, these devices are proven to minimise energy consumption, maintain a comfortable temperature and avoid wasteful overheating.
According to Government figures, there are 1.8 million households with oil heating in the UK. Around 850,000 of these homes are in England so Boiler Plus affects a sizable market. Whilst there are no changes for oil-fired wet central heating systems in new dwellings, the following now apply for upgrades and replacements in existing dwellings:
• The efficiency of the new oil-fired appliance should be as specified for new systems and have a European Related Products Directive (ErP) efficiency of at least 89%.
• A boiler interlock must be installed for new systems.
• Time and temperature control should be installed for the heating system, if not already present and working.
Unlike new gas combi boilers, Boiler Plus requires no additional energy efficiency measure, such as a load compensation or weather compensation control, when installing a new oil-fired boiler. However, the efficiency of any home heating system can be significantly increased by the effective use of controls. Let’s look at some of the options to provide both compliance and comfort.
Electronic room thermostats are designed to calculate how long the heating needs to stay ‘on’ to achieve optimum comfort and boiler efficiency. ‘Real world’ tests show that this type of load compensation control can result in a potential 10% reduction in energy consumption by the heating system compared with a slower reacting mechanical thermostat. These effective controls are available in many different types to suit all users, from basic dial models to the latest smart devices.
Smart thermostats, like the Danfoss TPOne Wi-Fi for example, let consumers with busy lifestyles control their heating remotely via smartphone or similar device. Boiler Plus highlights automation and optimisation as two of the key energy saving features of these products. Automation relates to the way the heating system is controlled automatically in response to programmed demand or occupancy detection, while optimisation calculates how long it will take for the property to reach the desired comfort level. This function then times the operation of the system to minimise the amount of work it has to do.
Unlike some of the Government’s voluntary energy efficiency schemes that have fallen by the wayside in recent years, Boiler Plus is a regulatory requirement. So whilst we know that many professional installers already fit modern heating controls as a matter of course, this ‘good practice’ is now part of the Building Regulations and cannot be ignored. To help installers keep up to date with changing standards and ensure compliance, Danfoss offers advice and support, as well as training sessions and online courses. For more information visit www.heating.danfoss.co.uk