The CRC – a benefit not a burden
Get ready for a surge in demand for energy efficient building services equipment as big energy guzzlers get to grips with the Carbon Reduction Commitment, says Mark Northcott, managing director of Remeha Commercial.
When it comes to drivers for the take-up of energy efficient building services in the UK, there is none bigger than the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme (the Carbon Reduction Commitment).
The CRC (see box), enabled under the Climate Change Act, is a major legislative plank in the government’s drive to meet its carbon dioxide emissions reduction commitments of 34% by 2020 and 80% by 2050 from baseline 1990 levels. The scheme is mandatory and aims to raise revenues of around £1 billion per year by 2014-15 by effectively taxing organisations for the carbon dioxide emissions that are attributable to energy consumption. Tariffs have been set at £12 per tonne of CO2 emitted.
As the CRC targets the UK’s highest energy users, we are talking about the likes of the big supermarkets and retailers, large government departments and banks, who will now have to raise their game to avoid the new tax and drive down emissions. You might assume that such major organisations are already at the forefront of energy-efficient thinking? Not so, says the Carbon Trust. Analysis of large private and public organisations by the Trust found significant potential for cost-effective emissions reductions through energy efficiency. Its recent analysis of the non-domestic building sector suggests 70-75% reductions could be made by 2050 at no net cost using options which exist today.
Good news for the building services sector then as large energy users seek to reduce their carbon emissions. So how can this be achieved? The Government is supporting renewable technologies. However, low carbon renewable solutions can be costly and impact on the profitability of a business. What’s more, when the embedded carbon from the renewable product is factored in, they may not all necessarily be environmentally sustainable.
Also, there is too much emphasis placed on new build projects. According to the Building Research Establishment, 60% of the buildings that will be standing in 2050 are already built. Yes, we must opt for low-energy solutions on new build projects, but the majority of savings on any building estate have to come from both a better approach to maintenance of existing building services and simple energy efficiency improvements on refurbishment projects.
According to the Carbon Trust, about a third of the UK’s energy consumption is used for heating or producing hot water. A significant proportion of this is provided by commercial boiler plant, so it should be top of the list of any energy reduction strategy. Typically, energy improvements of 10% or more can be made relatively easily through maintenance and low cost improvements. Many building owners or operators may still have a 25- to 30-year-old atmospheric boiler in place, wasting up to 50% of the energy they input up the chimney.
At Remeha Commercial, achieving carbon & NOx reduction for our customers through energy efficiency is our top priority, be that in new build or the refurbishment of existing plant. While today’s boilers are very highly energy efficient, we have identified the need to improve efficiencies still further to deliver affordable heating systems that perform well at all operating conditions. Unfortunately, the maximum efficiencies achieved by condensing boilers under laboratory conditions at low temperatures (30-50°C) and half load are rarely achieved in real conditions. More typically, boilers are run at high loads and high temperatures and waste around 20% of the energy input through the flue.
We believe that with our latest product, the “super condensing” Quinta Eco Plus developed in association with our partner Zenex Technologies, will prove to be the Holy Grail of condensing technology – a system that achieves maximum condensing at all times by use of a passive flue gas heat recovery device. Quinta Eco Plus offers a new level of attainable efficiency of 97% GVC at 82/71°C flow and return temperatures. That means £97 of actual usable energy for every £100 of gas input in real time installations rather than laboratory conditions.
We at Remeha Commercial look forward to working with contractors and consultants to bring affordable, replicable, energy efficient heating systems to customers, helping them lower their carbon emissions and make savings to help ease the strain on the bottom line in tough economic times.
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