Friday, 18 December 2015

Heat Networks: A guide to the code

By Ed Palmer, CIBSE Knowledge Editor

In a first for CIBSE, we released a Code of Practice on District Heat Networks earlier in the year that sets out what an engineer needs to know about installing and maintaining a heat network.

But what is the code for, what is it about, and what is a heat network, anyway?

To give us a hand, our Knowledge Editor Ed Palmer has written this handy guide to the code, which covers all this and more!

What is a heat network?
Heat networks (also known as district heating) supply heat from a central source to consumers, via a network of underground pipes carrying hot water. Heat networks can cover a large area or even an entire city, or be fairly local supplying a small cluster of buildings.

Heat networks can be used to supply new buildings and existing buildings ranging from residential dwellings to commercial offices and public buildings.

Indeed, a wider mix of building types is generally desirable as this provides a diversity of heat demands at different times of the day and year.

Vital Energi install a network at the former RAF Eastcote
The physical network infrastructure from the heat generation through the distribution network to the consumer heat interface typically includes:

  • Heat source – often comprising an energy centre or central plant room with heat generation equipment (often this is a low carbon, renewable technology).
  • Heat network route (i.e. the pipes) – usually pre-insulated to a high level in order to minimise heat losses.
  • Consumer heat interface between the network and the heat consumer. This can be a building thermal substation supplying a whole building or individual heat interface units, similar to an individual gas boiler, supplying each property.

What are the benefits of developing or connecting to a heat network?
District heating offers a range of benefits over conventional heating methods for heat consumers, building owners and developers. Well-designed and operated district heating schemes offer clear advantages in overall energy system efficiency, bringing financial and environmental benefits, as well as helping to meet planning requirements.

Economic benefits
In most cases the key motivating factor for developing or connecting to a heat network will be financial benefit through reduced energy bills. Connection to a heat network can:

  • Mitigate against rising energy costs and can provide attractive returns on investment
  • Significantly reduce the developer’s cost of compliance with Building Regulations
  • Reduce labour and maintenance costs compared with individual systems (evidence indicates that total operational costs can be lower than individual boiler options, with ongoing lower heat, maintenance and replacement costs).
  • Provide local authorities an opportunity to address fuel poverty and give peace of mind to vulnerable residential customers by providing lower, more affordable and more stable prices.
Reputational benefit
Heat networks facilitate the use of low or zero carbon renewable energy sources (they are technology neutral) such as combined heat and power (CHP), solar heating or heat pumps and so benefit the environment. They are therefore an excellent opportunity for individuals or organisations to reduce their carbon footprint and demonstrate corporate social responsibility, bringing associated reputational benefits.

Heat networks are often local and bring economic and social benefits to the community.

There is an increasing amount of national and international legislation aimed at decarbonising UK heat supply, such as the Climate Change Act 2008 or Energy Performance Building Directive (EPBD) etc.

Connection to a heat network is one of the ways to help comply with this legislation.
Meeting low carbon targets in planning consent can become easier. The Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP) rating achievable with HIU’s in dwellings, fed from a district heating system with low carbon heat source, will be significantly better than for systems with distributed combi-boilers or hot water cylinders.

Planning regulations often require new developments to include a proportion of renewable technology in order to reduce carbon emissions. Developing or connecting to a heat network offers a good way to meet planning requirements. This may even be the factor that enables developments to go ahead.

What is in the Code of Practice
The Code of Practice has been produced to raise standards in heat networks, by setting minimum requirements (and suggested) best practice and by integrating the supply chain across the whole life of a project.

The Code is written to cover all stages of the development cycle of a project from feasibility through design, construction, commissioning and operation.

The core of the Code is structured as follows:

  • The typical sequence of a project by stage from initial brief and feasibility through to operation and maintenance. The Code may be used either for the entire project or for a particular stage but the greatest value will be obtained when it is followed for all stages.
  • For each project stage, a number of objectives are set.
  • For each objective a number of minimum requirements are defined to achieve the objectives. All of these requirements will need to be met if the project is to comply fully with the Code.
  • Roles and responsibilities are established for different stages.
  • How to use the Code of Practice
  • Use of the Code of Practice can be specified in contracts or tender documents, for entire projects or for specific stages (e.g. construction). If the requirements in the Code of Practice are adhered to, you can be confident that:
  1. A carefully considered feasibility/design framework will have been followed
  2. Legislative and regulatory requirements will have been identified and met
  3. Reporting and information handover will allow effective oversight of the project.

You do not need to be a technical expert in heat networks to use the Code for procurement or contractual purposes. The Code has been designed (following extensive industry-wide consultation and in collaboration with DECC) to give clients and developers confidence that commonly agreed minimum standards are being followed, and to allow clear communication between different parties in the supply chain.

The Code of Practice in use
Greater Manchester is actively developing a pipeline of heat network projects and the first project is now going into procurement. We have used the heat networks Code of Practice (CP1) as a fundamental reference document in our tendering process for feasibility studies and will be using it as a key element of project procurement. It has provided a step change in helping to make these processes more robust and consistent.
Julian Packer, Low Carbon Investment Director, Greater Manchester Combined Authority

Switch2 is particularly encouraged that the document is very relevant to the whole supply chain, and we would encourage anyone who is considering or involved in managing a community heating scheme to read and use this Code.
 Ian Allan, Head of R&D, Switch2 Energy Ltd
E.ON Community Energy are hugely supportive of the introduction of this Code to drive up the design and build quality of district heating networks in the UK. As an ESCO provider we focus on lifetime value which can be compromised by a lack of focus on quality during the design and build phase of a project. CP1 hopes to address that.
Jeremy Bungey, Head of E.ON Community Energy

Next steps
Identify opportunities

  • Look for high density heat opportunities
  • Look for existing heat networks
  • Carry out a thorough feasibility study.

Download the Code of Practice
The Code of Practice is available for download/purchase from It is free to CIBSE and ADE members (electronic copy) and at a small cost for non-members or for printed copies.
Attend a 1 day training course ‘Introduction to Heat networks and the Code of Practice’.

This is a one day course which provides an introduction to heat networks and the Code of Practice for those who are involved in procuring/developing heat networks and those using or specifying the CoP.
The course runs regularly and can also be delivered at your site (minimum 6 staff) at discounted rates.

See for details.

Find and employ a CIBSE Heat Network Consultant
CIBSE’s Heat Network Consultant register contains details of professionals who have demonstrated experience and competency (through training and examination) understanding the principles and requirements of the Code of Practice.

Employing a heat network consultant is an effective way to ensure that a project is managed according to the principles and requirements of the Code.

For more information
CIBSE, 222 Balham High Road, SW12 9BS, www.cibse.

Friday, 11 December 2015

Being "El Presidente"

It's been a big year for the Society of Lighting and Lighting (SLL) and now, as an early Christmas present, we have a bumper blog from its President Liz Peck. Liz looks back on the last year in the run-up to, and start of, her Presidency

For me, my presidency effectively began in January. I was mapping out what I wanted to do, what I was going to say during "the speech" in May. By that time, I'd already decided I wouldn't be wearing a suit. I'd sounded out a couple of trusted SLL friends with mixed response, yet I knew I was right: I don't "do" suits. If I could be elected in jeans, I could give my Address in them too.

In January, my previous 'stalking' of the RIBA President Elect, Jane Duncan, came to fruition as she joined me and John Aston in Paris for the International Year of Light launch. In February, my personal quest to engage with the RIBA extended locally too as I joined the RIBA Yorkshire Awards judging team: a thoroughly enjoyable process indeed.

I spent time in the early part of the year going through the archives and looking back to the very formation of the Society. I tell people we are the Society who is open to all, that  having an interest in light or lighting is all we ask. I knew that that had stemmed from the formation when architects were as vital a part of the Society as illuminating engineers and I wanted to draw on that in my Address.

Liz makes her inaugural speech as SLL President

In March, my duty as president-elect was ramped up rather more than I had expected as I was to look after His Royal Highness, the Duke of York, when he attended the Fresnel Lecture at the Royal Institution. He's the UK Patron of the IYL and I have to say, was very interested in the subject, asking lots of questions as the evening progressed. A great honour, indeed.

During the spring, I started developing my "hit-list" of organisations who we have obvious - and some less obvious - synergies with and started doing what I hate doing most in my life: contacting complete strangers to introduce myself and the Society I'm so passionate about. Most replied in a positive way and I was especially delighted to have so many of them as guests at my inauguration in May.

The Lighting Family had been born. And I was "el presidente". Crikey.
Royal Photographic Society volunteers capture the Giants Causeway on
the Night of Heritage Light ©Gareth O'Cathain

In June, I went over to the National Media Museum in Bradford and met their press officer to discuss their forthcoming Light Festival and possible connections between the two organisations. We even discussed the possibility of having a temporary exhibition in the new year of the Night of Heritage Light.  I was also back at the Royal Institution for the ILP Lecture by Russell Foster as well as giving CIBSE Council an update on the Society's activities and a trip to Bath to meet with the Royal Photographic Society's Director-General, Michael Pritchard, who I'd been having regular and forthcoming correspondence with since meeting their then president, Derek Birch, in Paris. The RPS were very supportive of the Night of Heritage Light, promoting it in their Journal. Later, the ECA would come to our rescue with finding us electricians for five of the sites.
The Stirling Prize nominated Maggie's Centre in Lanarkshir©Phillip Durrant
In July we had the CIE Quadrennial meeting in Manchester and I was invited to be a guest at their celebration dinner at Manchester United. You can't have it all, I suppose, sacrifices have to be made! Brendan and I also had a further meeting with Jane Duncan at the RIBA regarding joint ventures and she pledged their support to the 2015-2016 Masterclass series.

September usually marks the start of the "busy season" at SLL and I met with Nick Mead, the CIBSE president along with Stephen Matthews and Hywel Davies from CIBSE HQ and the chairmen of SoPHE and ILEVE, when we enjoyed lunch together. Having reviewed the draft Masterclass presentations at Balham, I was back at the RIBA to see Jane take office and Jeff Shaw and I stayed on the president's fundraising dinner that evening. The same evening, Brendan was representing the Society at the Royal Photographic Awards; unfortunately I haven't yet mastered being in two places at once.
Liz accepts her Person of the Year 2015 award at Lux Live

Then came October 1st: the Night of Heritage Light. That's probably a whole story just in itself but on the day, I was over at Giant's Causeway. I'd landed the day before and immediately became part of the Ranger team there, welcomed by head ranger, Neville. I quickly understood the dark art of entertaining the visitors as Neville cried, not so much, wolf, more like "basking shark, right there, did you see?" and "Ah you've just missed the dolphin show". There's no such thing of course. He had me embroiled in his antics before I knew it! As everyone knows, the night was a huge success and well worth all of the effort involved by the whole team.

October is no time to rest on your laurels though, as we had a meeting of the Executive the following week and once again, I was able to make a presentation to CIBSE Council, this time, to show them the results of NoHL. To say the audience were dumbstruck would be under-playing it. The first question was "How on earth...?" - I think they were impressed. That evening, I was at the CIBSE President's Dinner and delighted to be there to congratulate past president, Kevin Kelly, who received a CIBSE Silver Medal in recognition for his work in the Republic of Ireland.

Cardiff was next on my itinerary as we kicked off the Masterclass series at the Millennium Centre.  Then it was off to Glasgow for the second Jonathan Speirs Memorial Lecture. An emotional evening as the subject was the Maggies Centre in Lanarkshire, shortlisted for the Stirling Prize and Jonathan's last project. Another honour.
Open to all: Ready Steady Light targets young lighters
November seems to be the start of Awards season and I was delighted to be invited to the Institute of Physics awards dinner. The IoP are integral to the UK's IYL efforts so it was a joy to be invited.

Before the Masterclass in Leicester at the end of November, we had Lux Live at Excel: another hectic two days with welcoming members new and old to the SLL stand. On day one, Jeff hosted the Mini Masterclasses, while I was able to introduce the session on the new SLL LED research which was conducted by Public Health England. My day finished with being a particularly fierce dragon, not buying into any of the inventions. Sorry about that! The second day for us is all about the Young Lighter of the Year Final. The four finalists presented their papers in the main Lux Arena, quite a formidable task. We invite all four finalists to join us at the Lux Awards in the evening and the winner is announced. My congratulations again to Youmna Abdallah.

The biggest surprise then came as I was just coming from the stage and looking to congratulate Youmna properly, completely oblivious to anything happening on stage when suddenly Brendan shouted at me to pay attention. I turned round to see my face on screen as the LUX person of the year. I'd heard nothing of the citation, so was probably the absolute last person to realise; it took me two days to get over the shock!

Six months to the day after my inauguration, I accepted that award on behalf of everyone who made that six months the most enjoyable - and challenging - I've ever experienced.

Now for some time off. Where those mince pies?

Friday, 4 December 2015

Fabricating a masterpiece

By Lee Mullin, Beyond Design
Follow Lee on TwitterGoogle+ and LinkedIn

Imagine you're in a beautiful sunny Florence in 1503, your name is Leonardo Da Vinci and you're painting the Mona Lisa, a masterpiece that will become one of the most famous paintings in the world. As you've only just started painting you haven't yet decided the exact pose or expression that the famous face will take, but the detail you have put into her smile is stunning and likely to draw the crowds from miles around.

Fast forward a year to 1504, and the painting is still under construction. You've been struggling for weeks with the tilt of her head, but finally your eureka moment arrives – you know exactly the angle you should use. Unfortunately, your new plan doesn’t fit with what you’ve created already, so you dig out a new canvas and have to start the painting all over again.

'La Gioconda' by Leonardo Da Vinci
Finally, as 1505 arrives, you're now happy with the new pose, and the background is now complete. You step back, taking in the whole masterpiece for the first time. But there’s a problem: now you can see them in the context of the whole artwork, the eyes are too small, and their beautiful detail is lost. Time to get the paints out again and work on those eyes.

This may seem a silly way to work but we see fabricators doing this every day, creating the final product before the bare bones are in place. Why would you produce a finished product before all of the structure of what you will produce has been assessed and finalised?

We see many practices that are well aware you should always have the end result in mind, but start designing the detail with the assumption that their envisioned end result is the right one. Design changes inevitably happen, whether because of changed needs, a new assessment of heating or cooling loads, or changes from other disciplines. Any change requires you to rethink your design. If you have already created a fabrication level model and need to make a change, this requires lots of rework on the design, this gets completed, then you move on, then another design change happens.... Sound familiar?

Workflows from paper to 2D CAD then to 3D CAD and now BIM have changed massively, but often the processes haven't. BIM is much more than a piece of technology, and if you use these tools correctly they can help streamline processes, speed up work and allow you to provide more services to your supply chains.

For building services the changes in the software industry have been very beneficial. Now it is possible to start with a concept design, and programmatically place heating and cooling based on room sizes and needs. You can run analysis from within the same environment, and make modifications based on new design changes. 

3D Building Performance Modelling from the new AM11

The platform allows you to create fabrication parts, get estimates and quantities, barcode those parts and then send and track them in the field. You can commission them with appropriate checklists and then send the part with serial numbers, photos, and manuals to any mobile device for the maintenance team. It’s amazing technology, but to realise the benefits your firm needs to have the processes to match, and the people with the relevant skills to put them into place.

Recognising that there is a need for specific workflows in the MEP fabrication phase, we have put together a suite of products that allow you to design, coordinate, quantify, convert to fabrication, layout on site and check as built information. We call it the MEP Fabrication Suite. Take a look, it may just be the toolset you need to create your next masterpiece.