Tag Archives: energy efficiency

Aircon delivers perfect data centre solution

Some of the Panasonic GHP units installed on the roof of the Concentrix building by
Aircon Sales and Service of Belfast.

Given this emphasis on quality, Aircon only partners with brand-leading product suppliers. Panasonic is a prime example of this and over the years Ian and Vincent Mahony from Panasonic have worked closely on securing and executing a broad cross-section of commercial projects.

One of the most recent is the Concentrix Call Centre in Belfast. This was a very challenging project but, by working closely together, consultants Beattie Flannigan, mechanical contractors Harvey Group and Aircon Contracts’ Manager Stevie McGarry devised and delivered the perfect solution.

The design brief was to provide cooling to a new call centre located on the old Maysfield Leisure Centre site in Belfast. Cooling was required because of the shortage of electrical power to the site. The electrical power requirement in the building was at a premium because of the nature of Concentrix’s business with an enormous power load needed for lighting, computers, servers etc. This requirement was further compounded by the high sensible heat gains generated by the large volumes of computers and lighting, not to mention a staff complement approaching 1500 people.

The solution the team devised was based on larger numbers of indoor units of a lower capacity being used due to the low ceiling heights, while just under 1.2MW of Panasonic DX gas fired cooling was provided, using somewhere between 20kW and 25kW of electrical input. Full details of the equipment specifi ed were:

• 155 Panasonic VRF cassette indoor units to serve all call centre and meeting room areas;

• 13 Panasonic gas heat pump 3-pipe VRF outdoor units serving the indoors;

• Five Panasonic gas heat pump 2-pipe VRF outdoor units to server AHU DX;

• Panasonic centralised and full Modbus BMS control;

• 19 Panasonic split Hi Wall systems to serve various small UPS and comms rooms;

• Panasonic Air Off Control employed to provide a very high sensible heat ratio, 90%+;

• All indoor units were sized to meet duty at medium speed.

The Concentrix was a very complex and challenging project requiring a sophisticated solution that was high-performing, cost-effective, energy-efficient and 100% reliable. Between them the collective supplier, design and contracting team came up with the perfect answer and saw to its seamless installation and subsequent commissioning.

Million Home Retrofit Opportunity

Denis Naughten, TD, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment with Jim Gannon, Chief Executive, SEAI and Ms Victoria Burrows, Project Manager, World Green Building Council.

To tackle this challenge and to support the learning process, SEAI has unveiled the Deep Retrofit Pilot Programme, with support funding from the Department of Communications, Climate Action and the Environment. This new multi-annual pilot programme – with an initial budget

of €5 million in 2017 – will focus initially on the residential market and reflects both the depth and scale of the challenge which will require a broad multi-disciplinary approach.

The pilot is the first of SEAI’s multi-annual pilots which will investigate the challenges and opportunities that deep retrofit presents to the pre-2006 domestic housing stock. The learning from these pilots will inform SEAI’s approach and support towards the large-scale deep retrofit of buildings in Ireland.

Funding will be provided to projects that demonstrate an integrated, comprehensive strategy for significantly improving home energy performance. Conor Hanniffy is the Programme Manager for the scheme. With a background in mechanical engineering, Conor has over 18 years programme management experience in private and public sectors. He previously managed SEAI’s Accelerated Capital Allowance Programme for energy efficient equipment, and the Building Energy Rating (BER) Programme.

To support the early development of the Deep Retrofit Pilot Programme, SEAI has published both a definition, and the guiding principles, behind the concept to assist in providing a clear market target. Guidance underpinning high-quality delivery of deep retrofit pilot projects will include Standard Recommendations 54 (SR 54).

What is deep retrofit?                                                                                                                                         Deep retrofit is the significant upgrade of a building toward nearly zero energy requirements where it is practically feasible and achievable. SEAI has also provided the following guiding principles to support this definition:

— Minimum A3 Building Energy Rating (A3) requirement with a minimum of 150kWh/m2/yr uplift in the BER energy value;

— Whole-house solution focused on a fabric first approach;

— Deployment of renewables transition away from fossil fuels. The pilot scheme will only support renewable energy sources as a method for heating and electricity generation.

Who is scheme aimed at?                                                                                                                                   With a target market of one million homes, the pilot scheme will target building archetypes which are representative of building stock. SEAI invites projects to be delivered via community groups, local authorities, energy agencies and private-sector deep retrofit service providers who can provide end-to-end project delivery.

How are the projects funded?                                                                                                                               SEAI will provide up to 50% funding of the total capital costs and project management costs (including design fees). For voluntary housing association homes, and the homes of those that are in energy poverty (defined as meeting the Warmer Homes eligibility criteria), SEAI will provide a much higher rate of funding, up to 95%. This is only available as part of a wider project that includes a mix of non-energy poverty homes (75%) with the energy poverty component subvention applied to 25% of the total number of homes in each project.

The pilot provides an opportunity to show how the deep retrofit of dwellings can be achieved using a “fabric upgrade first” approach (insulation, windows and doors) coupled with renewable energy technologies. It will also provide an opportunity to demonstrate the  importance of ventilation systems for ensuring sufficient indoor air quality where the building’s airtightness has been improved.

SEAI will also provide a significant contribution to a mandatory pre-works and post-works BER to demonstrate the upgrade, and an air-pressure test package to maximise the impact of energy efficiency works.

Toward zero deep retrofit conference                                                                                                               SEAI recently hosted its inaugural deep retrofit conference which brought together over 200 key stakeholders. This included policy-makers, state bodies, researchers, project managers, property owners and landlords, technology providers, financiers and contractors.

This event will act as an annual review and information sharing platform as to best practice and innovation, research findings and delivery of deep retrofit in Ireland across all demographic areas, technologies and building types.

A broad range of international and national speakers shared insights and experience from the following perspectives — vision and policy; behavioural insights; building capacity; and leveraging the opportunity.

All presentations and the recorded webcast are available at:—                               www.seai.ie/Grants/Deep-Retrofit-Programme/

Home Heating Heroes Do It Best!

Joe Durkan, EEOS Programme Manager, SEAI

Plumbers and installers are the “go-to” guys in these situations. Whether it is emergency repairs, upgrades or a completely new installation, homeowners rely on their knowledge and expertise to advise them on the right approach. They represent the interface between  the home owner and the wider world of energy efficiency. They have become, in a sense, energy ambassadors.

This is because, in order to ensure that the heating system is correctly specified, the plumber first needs to be able to accurately determine the actual heating demand of the home based on the details of the property and the needs of the occupant. This is where a great opportunity lies, because in order to calculate the heating load, the specifier needs to assess the building fabric, ventilation system and existing distribution system in the dwelling.

In the case of new or yet to be built dwellings, all of the information to determine this data should be readily to hand. Details of the construction, such as the levels of insulation, build type, ventilation systems etc, should all be known and these, in conjunction with the Building Energy Rating (BER) heat loss calculations, will help accurately determine what the heating requirement will be.

However, the majority of heating system installations are more likely to fall into replacements or upgrades. In these cases, especially when a BER isn’t readily available, the specifier has to determine the heating demand the old fashioned way. CIBSE’s Domestic Heating Design Guide (www. cibse.org/knowledge/knowledge-items/ detail?id=a0q20000008I7odAAC) is the key tool in these situations. The guide shows how to identify the principle heat loss areas in the dwelling, and how to calculate the relevant u-values, ventilation rates and distribution losses necessary to determine the heating requirements of each room and the overall hot water and space heating demand.

Minimising this overall heat demand is the key to an economical and efficient heating solution. Ultimately, the type of heat source is secondary to the more important considerations of ensuring that the heat demand can be met efficiently and economically, and that all elements are installed to the proper standards.

The information gleaned in the initial the homeowner could carry out, such as insulation or controls upgrades, that will reduce the overall heating demand. This is the opportune time to consider these works, and carrying them out in conjunction with the heating system upgrade will be more economical. The overall result will be greatly-improved levels of comfort and reduced heating bills (courtesy of the appropriately-sized heating system).

Almost certainly, the new heat supply (whether it’s a boiler, stove or heat pump) will require a lower rated heat output than the unit it is replacing. This is because the overall efficiency of heating appliances has improved dramatically over the last number of years. Therefore, it is vital that the installer accurately determines  the heat load required to ensure that  the replacement unit is correctly sized to operate at maximum efficiency.

Click on the image right and see full article on Pages 14 and 15.

(Related post: Contact a Regents Park plumber for your plumbing woes)

Strengthened portfolio expands GT Phelan offering

Derek Phelan, Sales & Marketing Director with Kevin Phelan, Operations & Service Director, and Rodney Phelan, Managing Director.

Derek Phelan, Sales & Marketing Director with Kevin Phelan, Operations & Service Director, and
Rodney Phelan, Managing Director.

Already synonymous with Toshiba throughout Ireland for just on 35 years, the addition of Samsung in January of this year makes for a far stronger and more diverse, product offering. Both Toshiba and Samsung are recognised market-leading brands and they sit very comfortably as complementary entities within the GT Phelan portfolio.

Indeed, GT Phelan is a renowned brand in itself, serving the industry’s needs in Ireland since 1981. Founder Gerry Phelan was instrumental in establishing and spearheading the company’s early growth and his sons – Kevin, Derek and Rodney – have been very much an integral part of its expansion and development since taking the reins.

All are directors of the company and GT Phelan is every bit a service provider as it is a product supplier. Its objective is to clearly identify the clients requirement, and then to help the consultant and dealer devise the most energy-efficient solution that offers value for money and trouble-free operation.

GT Phelan is one of a handful of independent building services companies in Ireland who pioneered the introduction of air conditioning to Ireland back in the early 1980s. Since then it has played a major role in developing and shaping what was originally an insignificant market segment into the multi-million euro business it represents today.

As product innovations and technological developments were introduced, GT Phelan not only embraced them but championed their adoption by the industry at large. While conscious of its longevity and history, the emphasis has always been on satisfying current market requirements while, at the same time, looking to future solutions.

In essence, GT Phelan brings all the benefits and massive resources of Toshiba and Samsung to bear when using its own considerable experience and expertise to devise tailor-made solutions for the conditions which prevail in Ireland.

Contact: Derek Phelan, GT Phelan. Tel: 01 – 286 4377; info@gtphelan.ie; www.gtphelan.ie

Radiators — an architect’s viewpont

Architect Sharyn Flynn

Architect Sharyn Flynn

Purposefully-piped water goes back at least to the Bronze Age in the second millennium BC. In later times, hot water use was a normal part of Roman construction technology for comfort in buildings. That said, it is surprising that the implementation of this ancient technology hasn’t been entirely resolved and that it is a subject most people have a position on, irrespective of working in the field of construction.

When budget is not the key consideration, why do radiators often stand out as a troubled subject for discussion? Setting aside the basic technical skill required to size up, specify and install a radiator correctly and in compliance with regulations, other factors outside the discipline of building services come into play. Unlike most mechanical plant, radiators are not confined to ceiling voids and plant rooms.

Instead they are right in the field of vision (in interior design terms), and distinctly present in our awareness when they fail to operate on a wet, cold, windy day. Every member of the design and construction team could tell you a troubled story! Let’s look at the situation from their respective perspectives.

Taken from an M&E viewpoint, the architect finds a “sensational radiator” and presents it to the client using masterful persuasion about the interior aesthetics, the sight lines, the furniture layout and how many options are available in the RAL colour swatch. As you roll your eyes to the ceiling, this beautiful slim, light radiator (an artwork) is “sold” to the client to complement the room decor. The problem is it doesn’t necessarily provide the required heat output, carries an additional cost to re-paint, is not what the sub-contractor tendered and anyway won’t arrive on time because the MC has squeezed the commissioning window! Whereas the architect may be delighted with it, only time will tell if it functions adequately for the end-user.

From a quantity surveyor’s viewpoint, the architect is nearly always at fault for driving up costs and delaying the programme because of the care and control they wish to exert over the radiator selection. Anecdotally, it once led a sub-contractor to declare to an architect at a site meeting that “painting radiators lowers heat output and efficiency”.

Was this the same mechanical sub-contractor who “forgot” to price and plan for the colour change? It may have been included in the architect’s specification but it was not coordinated with the M&E tender documents. The truth of the matter is that beautifully-designed radiators, which function well and complement interiors, are available in an array of colours and design shapes at competitive prices. It only requires care and attention to shop around and source the appropriate fitting in time.

The anecdotal architect’s response, having not received a sales visit from a radiator supplier in 15+ years of practice, is to unashamedly “google” supplier names from cheap lookalike designed models after which a model is settled upon. High drama next ensues on site to achieve the “colour by number radiator placement” in the correct place. Then the architect’s snagging begins, picking up a lack of protection during construction, carelessness in the installation, and paint drips courtesy of Mr Painter on site.

Problems with radiators discovered at snagging stage are legendary but this one is the most amazing I’ve come across. Before the glue had a chance to dry, the architect discovered a most cunning plan to avoid a co-ordination issue. A total of 132 perimeter radiators were fixed with 528 sawn-off bolts, glued to the vinyl floor. Yes, the radiators were actually only supported by their pipework and glue-fixed onto vinyl because the M&E coordinator on site must have been too nervous to raise the issue of bolt-fixing through the steel flange of the perimeter beam!

But so much for the architect’s response, what about the  end-user experience? Radiators can create hotspots and draughts, dry the air (especially electric storage heaters), interfere with furniture layouts and curtain lengths, become air-locked at least twice a season and are difficult to clean (we’re talking fluff!). That said, they are good for drying wet washing in damp, rainy weeks or of course you can screen them with DIY store radiator covers. I accept that the profile of this end-user is probably somebody who doesn’t benefit from top-of-the-range controls, remote energy management applications (as utility companies are now promoting) and anything above the minimum specification.

For those who don’t always get along well with radiators, there is comfort in the move towards better-insulated houses, affordable underfloor heating and Passive Haus (now adopted by DLRCC and soon to be followed by other county councils).

The traditional radiator mounted on a wall below the windowsill may lose its prominence, just as the traditional hot press disappears in a properly-insulated home. Similarly, the commercial viability of 4-port fan coil units is leading to the trend of stripping out banks of radiators and providing heating and cooling from a single source at ceiling level.

However, for the rest of us radiators will not be eliminated as long as our day-to-day heat-producing activity within the building is less than the heat loss through the building fabric, vents and chimneys. The appended list of considerations below is non-exhaustive but may prompt further thought when designing for space heating.

There are three main challenges to radiator representatives who understand the intricate links between design and performance so that they aid better coordination of the design, specification and installation. These are as follows:

(1) Visit more architects with glossy brochures and teach them about sizing for new regulations and building standards. Leave them in a position to understand heat loss calculations and sizing of appliances for themselves. They will teach you about design and commercial trends.

(2) Visit building services engineers, adding a new dimension to the visit. Teach them about design, colours and materials. Explain to them what architects want and check that what is tendered is correct and agreed by all designers.

(3) Prepare CPD courses to up-skill the industry in design and installation fields.

In addition to the foregoing, all involved in the process should also consider the following.

Selection                                                                                                                                                      — Consider the energy source and the environment;

— Options for heating appliances;

— Energy efficiency and COP;

— Comfort;

— Controls;

— Materials: painted mild steel, cast iron, stainless steel, flat panel aluminium and, more unusually, clear and mirrored glass (13mm thick toughened glass) and glass panel fronts;

— Budget: Installation costs v maintenance and replacement costs, warranties and lifespan, import costs, currency differences, non-standard orders and lead times, certainty of fuel costs and fluctuations when oil prices (due to demand) or resource reserves alter.

Regulations and guidelines                                                                                                                                    – Take account of protected structures and conservation;

— Building Regulations and TGD Part L: Conservation of Fuel and Energy;

— European Normative Codes: e.g. BE EN 442 European Standard for Radiators/CE Certification;

– CIBSE Guide A Environmental Design 2015 Edition;

— CIBSE Radiator Product Data Templates (PDTs);

— CIBSE Guide H Building Control Systems;

— CIBSE Guide M Maintenance Engineering and Management;

Safety                                                                                                                                                                      — Consider by-products and emissions from the combustion process and venting to the outside, e.g. CO from gas boilers and solid fuel boilers, CO2 and moisture build-up, ash from solid burners, cleaning of flues and monitoring of toxic emissions;

— Potential hazards from leaks, spills and burns;

— Safety issues and requirements for LST (low surface temperature) radiators in schools, creches, hospitals and nursing homes;

— Safety of toughened glass on radiators;

— HSA Guideline: Health and Safety at Work in Residential Healthcare Facilities;

— HSA Guideline: Safety with Lead at Work.

In conclusion, radiators may be small building components but they are vital to the heating solution and deserve detailed consideration at the design, specification and installation stage.

Possibilities limitless with today’s BMS systems

Henry Lawson, Market Research Consultant, BSRIA

Henry Lawson, Market Research Consultant, BSRIA

The building manager or consultant looking to improve the energy efficiency of a building has a limited range of weapons at his/her disposal. These include making the structure of the building more energy efficient, but this can sometimes be difficult and expensive, especially where existing buildings are concerned.

Installing more energy-efficient HVAC systems is another route to go, but this can require substantial investment. However, the main option lies in monitoring and managing the building’s use of energy more efficiently. Hence the importance of Building Energy Management Systems (BEMS). These are computer software-based systems that help to manage, control and monitor building technical services and the energy consumption of devices related to the building’s use.

BSRIA research at the end of 2014 showed that the BEMS market was growing at about 10% annually in Europe and is expected to reach some €1.7 billion in Europe this year. BSRIA’s findings are also echoed by web coverage of major issues concerning energy and smart  technology. This includes both major news stories and company announcements.

Coverage of building energy efficiency trebled between the middle of 2013 and the end of 2014. But how is this growth in interest being focussed? To improve a building’s energy performance you need to understand how the various building systems are performing, and ideally to identify patterns and predict and pre-empt problems, as where, for example a piece of equipment is using an abnormally high amount of energy.

Accordingly, BEMS systems increasingly offer advanced and sophisticated  analytical capabilities, going far beyond simple charting and reporting. When we look at web coverage of building analytics, we see a massive surge of coverage in the second half of 2014 alone.

Of course this coverage reflects the attempts of companies offering analytics to promote their solutions as well as the interest of the media and the market. But the genuine growth in the BEMS market – with building analytics at the core – suggests that this is a lot more than just ”hype”. However, with such a range of BEMS solutions and associated analytics available, the client needs to make sure that any BEMS solution selected can collect the information that is needed, and present clear information that identifies what action needs to be taken.

Delivering building energy efficiency                                                                                                         Today’s BEMS facilitate different levels of interaction with buildings’ systems. These include:

— Automatic control

— Alarms

— Automatic optimisation

— Demand response

— Monitoring and targeting

— Equipment performance analysis

— Maintenance actions

— Estate monitoring and targeting.

Building managers need to be able to respond in a timely and effective way to problems and anomalies that are identified. At the most basic level this means that those operating and maintaining the building on a day-today basis – whether in-house staff or outsourced facilities managers – understand the information being generated, how to prioritise it and what concrete steps to take.

For many facilities managers the perfect BEMS would collect, analyse, act on and distribute all necessary information, and save energy, with the minimum of human intervention. The problem has always been that even with the best available hardware and software, the BEMS is only as good as the person who installed and programmed it on day one.

There is certainly a shortage of good BEMS engineers and controls technicians but the dominance of BACnet, providing plug-and-play hardware – together with open-source configuration and analysis tools – means that engineers’ and technicians’ time can be much more productive and added-value functions are much easier to implement. Good services are provided by the best of Oak Island Heating & Air Conditioning specialists.

Facilities managers no longer need to fear being stuck with a rigidly-defined BEMS from a single supplier as the ultimate specification is limited only by their imagination. A simple BEMS starting solution for one building can be progressively expanded in terms of scope and versatility across an entire organisation.

Need to integrate renewables, smart metering, carbon management, demand response, reactive maintenance etc? No problem. If you can think of an energy management task or energy saving opportunity associated with your building or estate operations, the new generation of BEMS can probably do it, probably more easily than you might think, and without the risk of drowning in data. Add components from the wider internet of things and the possibilities are limitless.

SEAI’s Energy Show 2015 grows 20% on last year

Stephen Grant, Grant Engineering with Jim Gannon, CHairman, Panel of Assessors, ENergy Show Product of the Show Awards 2015

Stephen Grant, Grant Engineering with Jim Gannon, Chairman, Panel of Assessors, Energy Show 2015 Product of the Show Awards.

Grant Engineering was presented with the Overall Product of the Show award for its condensing wood pellet boiler which also secured Best Renewable Product. Over the years the Energy Show Product Awards have championed innovative product developments, especially those incorporating smart energy solutions.

Considerable investment in R&D, coupled with rapidly-changing technology, has seen a wave of pioneering products and systems featured at the show, and it is now regarded as the preferred platform for most manufacturers and suppliers to introduce their latest innovations.

Apart from the prestige of winning one of the Awards, there are also very tangible commercial benefits. In addition to PR opportunities, shortlisted finalists are profiled at the Energy Show in their own dedicated exhibition area. Entries are divided into five categories. Four of these are adjudicated on solely by the panel of judges with the fifth, the Best Innovation, being reduced to a shortlist which was then open to a public vote on SEAI’s website. Full list of winners is as follows.

Overall Product of the Show Winner  — Grant Engineering Ltd for its Vecta Condensing Wood Pellet Boiler.

Best Energy Efficient Product — Winner: Belimo Automation UK Ltd for its Belimo Energy Valve;                                                                                                                                     Highly Commended: Dimplex for its Dimplex A-Class Heat Pump.

Best Services Provider — Winner: Ecological Building Systems for its Better Building: Putting the Fabric First Training Course;                                                                                                                                           Highly Commended: Irish Bioenergy Association for its Wood Fuel Quality Assurance Scheme.

Best Innovation  — Winner: IES Ltd for its  Ci2 (correct, investigate, compare and invest);                         Highly-Commended: Edina Ltd for its Containerised CHP with CO2 Harvesting;                         Commended: Reg Farrell Engineering Ltd for its PK-160 Android Tablet Thermal Camera.

Best Renewable Product — Winner: Grant Engineering for its Vecta Condensing Wood Pellet Boiler;   Highly-Commended: Construction PV for its Trina Honey in Black Solar Panel.

* No Product of the Future award was made.

Opening the show Alex White, TD, Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources said: “The sustainable energy sector is a significant contributor to our economic recovery and it is already supporting 15,000 jobs, a figure that is set to increase in the coming years. As we develop as a green energy location, Ireland will add sustainable energy expertise and access to secure, clean energy to the list of factors that are successfully attracting foreign companies to Ireland”.

Brian Motherway, SEAI CEO said: “Around €1.5 billion is being invested in sustainable energy technologies and services in Ireland annually. The Energy Show was a great opportunity for businesses to see and hear about the latest innovations in the smart energy technology and services sector. This year there was particularly strong international interest with 30 overseas companies and 13 embassies represented. Ireland is well positioned to capitalise on this global market given our expertise in this area, as evidenced by the vibrant and successful businesses at the Energy Show 2015.”

Highlights from the Energy Show 2015 can be seen on www.seai.ie/energyshow

Increase in Grants for Energy Efficiency

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Mr Alex White TD and Brian Motherway, CEO of the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland with homeowners Helen and Des Fox from Ballinteer who recently had their house insulated.

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Mr Alex White TD and Brian Motherway, CEO of the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland with homeowners Helen and Des Fox from Ballinteer who recently had their house insulated.

Minister for Energy, Alex White TD has announced a boost in the level of grants available to householders who want to undertake energy efficiency improvements. The cash value of every grant available to householders under the Better Energy Homes Scheme has been increased by between 25/50%. In addition, a bonus payment has been introduced which will see householders receive bonus payments if they complete three or more energy efficiency improvements.

The new grant levels are effective immediately and will apply to everyone who has applied for a grant that has not yet been paid.  The previous minimum grant threshold of €400 has been abolished and a bonus payment of €300 for householders who undertake three efficiency measures has been introduced, with an additional bonus payment of €100 available to householders who undertake four measures. The bonus payments are available to new applicants and to householders who have already availed of the scheme who wish to undertake further upgrades.

Under the revised scheme a family in a semi-detached house could benefit from a grant payment of up to €4700 for external wall insulation, a boiler and heating control upgrade, and cavity and attic insulation. A couple in an apartment could receive €3400 towards internal wall insulation, a boiler and heating control upgrade and the installation of solar thermal heating.

Specifically in relation to heating, the grant for a new gas/oil boiler installation with heating controls has been increased to €700 while that for a heating controls upgrade alone is now €600. The grant towards a solar thermal heating installation has been increased to €1200.




Heat pumps now a major force

Richard Sherlock, HPA Director and Heating Sales Engineer, Daikin Europe NV

The HPA has been a member of the EHPA for the past two years and in 2012 accompanied an EHPA delegation to the European Parliament. Among those we met with was Irish MEP Sean Kelly, who gave a positive reception to the idea of heat pumps as an alternative heat source for rural Ireland.

In some respects the marketplace in Ireland has already spoken in that heat pump sales across the entire country – in both rural and urban locations – are significantly up on last year. Sales for the first six months of this year point to a further significant increase for 2014. Essentially, heat pumps have come of age as a market segment and are now viewed as an energy-efficient, cost-effective alternative heating source when compared with traditional products and systems.

With the publishing of energy credits in 2013 on the SEAI energy saving credits table, heat pumps firmly took top place in the energy saving measures with more credits than any other technology. This further reinforces that a heat pump is the most energy efficient heating system and, when you factor in that it is also cheaper to run than traditional fossil fuel systems, it confirms heat pumps as the obvious choice for heating.

Heat pumps are the only primary energy-positive heat generator due to the use of a refrigeration cycle. Assuming a primary energy factor for electricity of 2.42 and a heat pump Seasonal Performance Factor (SPF) of 4:1, the primary energy efficiency of the heat pump is 165%.

This is important in terms of the reduction of primary energy and the carbon reductions needed to meet our 20-20-20 targets. Couple this with an electricity grid which is being decarbonised and has a reducing primary energy factor and there is a combined reduction in primary energy use associated with heat pumps that is unrivalled by any other heat source.

There have been multiple positive interactions with SEAI over the years and we would like to thank SEAI for looking objectively at the proposals which have been put forward, and for making some positive changes in order to show that the technology has a lot to offer in terms of running costs and energy and carbon savings.

The HPA represents the most proactive and responsible members of the heat pump industry in Ireland, all of whom work cohesively to achieve and sustain industry best practice; to promote the correct use of the technology; and to create a market awareness of the features of heat pump technology and the many benefits it offers.

Current members include Alpha Innotec/Origin; Nibe/Unipipe; Daikin; Dimplex; Panasonic; Danfoss/ Heat Pumps Ireland; Toshiba/GT Phelan; Water Furnace/Alternative Heating and Cooling; and Hitachi. 

Membership of the HPA is open to all bona fide companies – manufacturers, distributors and agents – involved in the sector. To find out more, and to join, simply email:hpaireland@gmail.com or log on to www.hpa.com

High efficiency pumps alert – call for market surveillance

Brian Huxley

Readers may recall that the EU Commission estimates that small circulators in inefficient heating system are responsible for about a 20% share of household energy bills. Removing them and replacing them with intelligent circulators could save several billion euros – said to be equivalent to the total annual electricity consumption of Ireland – across the 27 European member states by the year 2020.

Representatives of the British Pump Manufacturers Association (BPMA) recently met with the National Measurement Office (NMO) – the body responsible for enforcing the Energy Related Products Directive within the UK – to discuss how they could help monitor the products that do not comply with the ErP regulations. With no Irish pump representative body it is difficult to do likewise in Ireland. However, the impact of the BMPA activity in this respect can have positive outcomes for the irish marketplace.

The new ErP Directive states that old uncontrolled pumps were to cease being manufactured from the end of December 2012, and thereafter that only new high-efficiency products should be distributed by all pump manufacturers. However, the BPMA and its members have seen a number of non high efficiency pumps on the market and they are becoming increasingly concerned about the influx of non- Erp products imported from countries such as China. They are concerned that these pumps, although cosmetically looking like the new high-efficiency models, in some cases do not meet the requirements of the ErP regulations.

BPMA members have also noted that the labelling on these units is not in compliance with the ErP regulations, and they are concerned that some of the non-ErP products being imported at present seem to have been manufactured after the required date of January 2013. This is not in compliance with the ErP regulations.

If a consultant, distributor, wholesaler or contractor is unsure of the date of manufacture, the serial number normally contains the first four digits noting the month and year of manufacture. Therefore, with regard to the old uncontrolled products, this should not be after December 2012.

In its discussions with NMO the BPMA presented a number of products which theydeemed to be non-compliant. The NMO confirmed that they were aware of concerns in regard to circulators and informed the BPMA that they will initially be testing 20 circulators across three member states (including the UK) and also 10 water pumps across two member states (again including the UK) to ensure that all regulations are being complied with.

Accordingly, BPMA will continue to work with the NMO to monitor the situation. The BPMA is fully supportive of this enforcement and will, together with the pump manufacturers, work to ensure that all pumps comply with the new regulations. However, it is important that everyone involved in the pump sector is vigilant in respect of noncompliant circulators, and that they report the matter to the relevant Government authority where they do come across them.

Market surveillance critical

Indeed, market surveillance is a key element of a fair and efficient EU internal market. Properly-implemented market surveillance should ensure that:

• Products placed on the community market comply with EU regulations and do not pose any safety and environmental threats for users and the public at large;

• A level playing field/fair competition on the market;

• Safeguard the coherence of the European regulatory framework.

However, whereas consumer goods benefit from well-organised and efficient market surveillance, capital goods (pumps) suffer from a certain lack of focus. Market surveillance tends to be more reactive (eg, following an accident) than preventative.

For this reason Orgalime – the pan European Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Industry Association – suggests that the key elements of an effective market surveillance strategy to safeguard the competitiveness and interests of market segments like the pump sector should include:

• Allocation of sufficient resources (both financial and staff) to market surveillance authorities so they can actively control compliance of product and machinery entering the European market;

• The setting up of a common Commission- Member States co-operation platform under Regulation 765/2008/EC, with an industry advisory forum for preparing Europe-wide targeted campaigns focusing on certain products or product categories with a view to achieving maximum effectiveness with limited resources. The decision on the areas to be selected would be made after consultation with stakeholders, including the industry affected by non-compliant products (in this instance pumps);

• A better coordination of market surveillance and harmonisation of enforcement practices (eg, a common approach to risk assessment) with colleagues in other EU member states. It is of the utmost importance to enhance mutual confidence, avoid double checks, and maximise the use of human resources for multiple and intelligent market surveillance activities;

• The establishment of close relations between market surveillance and customs authorities: all customs officials should receive training to help them identify potentially non-compliant products (eg, by making use of the manufacturer’s declaration of conformity, as requested for all harmonised products);

• The implementation of actions as early as possible in the supply chain. The earlier the products are checked in the supply chain, the less damage they cause on the market if they are not compliant. This should apply first of all to imported goods;

• Setting up an agreement between the EU member states to meet a set of essential requirements for efficient Europe-wide market surveillance. This requires deterrent sanctions against rogue traders (eg, fines, destruction of noncompliant goods at the responsible market operator’s expenses). Sanctions should also be considered against conformity assessment bodies (eg, economic or related to accreditation), if necessary;

• The Commission to finance, within the framework of the European structural funds, assistance to member states whose geographic or economic conditions place them in a weaker position to fight against illegal trade and unlawful imports from abroad. This is especially true for countries with maritime ports, where 90% of the goods imported into the EU transit every day;

• Cooperation with colleagues outside the European Union. Close cooperation between all authorities involved in customs controls and market surveillance from the main EU trade partners, and in particular EU neighbours, is necessary to ensure that most imported products are compliant;

• Internal coordination at national level across the various authorities involved in the enforcement of different legal requirements (health and safety, environment, energy efficiency) because machinery often has to comply with various types of regulatory requirements;

• Increased awareness among market operators about the working methods and actions through a European awareness campaign (including awareness about the obligations related to the affixing of the CE marking and about sanctions in case of non-compliance). Economic players should be encouraged to inform authorities about non-compliance.