New research shows heating controls even more effective in optimising energy consumption and comfort

New research shows heating controls even more effective in optimising energy consumption and comfort

It has long been known by members of the BEAMA Heating Controls Group TACMA, of which Danfoss is a member, that fitting basic, standard controls to UK heating systems will not only improve comfort but will greatly enhance the efficiency of the system. To further investigate this, TACMA members supplied a range of controls to a research project conducted by Salford University into home energy consumption.

Independent tests carried out in the University’s Energy House showed that energy consumption in a typical UK house can be reduced by up to 40% by installing a room thermostat and a full set of TRVs (thermostatic radiator valves), which is far more than previously assumed, and payback is typically 9 to 18 months.

TACMA commissioned the research in order to obtain an independent assessment of the performance of heating controls, explains Danfoss Marketing Director, Bjorn Sejr Nielsen: “TACMA has long felt that the energy saving potential of controls within standard calculation methodologies has been under-estimated. The results of this latest research are even better than expected and provide heating installers with a powerful sales message to take to their customers,” he says.

Salford University’s Energy House, which consists of a full size house built within an environmental chamber, is representative of over five million of the current UK housing stock. It is fully furnished and fitted as a typical working home with a conventional heating system with an A-rated condensing boiler and radiators. Controls’ tests showed how the application of TRVs, providing independent temperature control in every room, significantly improves both comfort and efficiency for householders by providing satisfactory heat distribution around a dwelling. The tests showed this is not achieved without TRVs, even if the system is balanced.

Bjorn Sejr Nielsen says this latest evidence that all homes with a conventional hydronic heating system should invest in a room thermostat and a full set of TRVs will bring benefits for heating installers and householders alike. He comments: “Installers can use these findings to promote sales of room thermostats and TRVs when fitting a new boiler, or to recommend heating controls as a valuable home improvement when servicing an existing boiler, for example. In turn, their customers will enjoy the benefits of a heating system that delivers both comfort and energy efficiency.”

Summary of tests Test 1 – The heating system was operated with no temperature control other that the internal boiler thermostat. Test 2 – The heating system was operated with temperature control by a room thermostat (with interlock) located in the living room. Test 3 – The heating system was operated with temperature control by a room thermostat (with interlock) in the living room and TRVs on all radiators other than the one in the living room. The tests were conducted using TRVs with the ‘keymark’ (also known as CEN approval) which independently guarantees reliability and performance.

The top line results from the tests are shown in the table below. Additionally, the results were used to estimate the annual cost, and therefore the cost effectiveness of installing heating controls, where they are not currently present:

i Based on savings in the test house and cost of measures if installed into a similar house. ii Based on British Gas Clear & Simple cash / card payment (4.274p per kWh gas, 12.797p per kWh electric) not including standing charge (24.439per day gas, 15.979p per day electric) – Prices taken on 07/05/2013 from: sim ple/clear-and-simple-rates.html iii Figures are based on a heating season of 243 days, with 75% of the savings in March, April, November and 50% in October and September. Paybacks are calculated using installation costs calculated by TACMA for the Green deal call for evidence in March 2011. The measure ‘TRVs at time of boiler replacement’ assumes that the system is already drained down.

Summing up, Bjorn Sejr Nielsen says: “Research carried out by TACMA with the Energy Savings Trust a few years ago found that around 70% of UK homes don’t have the minimum level of controls that should be installed with a new heating system, which means that millions of households are missing out on potential energy savings. This new research now proves that installing modern heating controls, specifically ‘keymark’ TRVs from leading manufacturers like Danfoss, is one of the most cost-effective ways to create homes that are both comfortable and affordably warm.”

Danfoss is a leading manufacturer of world-class heating controls, from programmers and thermostats to TRVs and motorised control valves, with factories in the UK and Denmark. The company’s extensive product range is supplied through a national network of stockists. As part of its commitment to improving the knowledge and profitability of its customers, Danfoss offers a programme of installer training courses and CPD seminars, covering all aspects of domestic central heating techniques. A comprehensive range of installer support services is also available, including the Danfoss Assist mobile website at, specially designed for viewing on a smartphone display screen and providing instant access to installation guides, handy helpline numbers and links to the latest offers from Danfoss.

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