|Lack of take-up in the UK results in a lack of data, |
creating a vicious circle of uncertainty
The Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) and the Association for Decentralised Energy (ADE) have now begun the second stage of the process to improve the image of heat networks and to make it into a first-choice option for developers in suitable sites, by conducting a consultation on the Code’s checklists. It is hoped that these new tools will help everyone in the supply chain know and agree what is expected of them, and hold every stakeholder to account.
One only needs to look to Scandinavia to see that it doesn’t always have to be this way. Heat networks in Europe are a much more mature concern; Amsterdam in the Netherlands, Malmo in Sweden and Denmark’s capital Copenhagen use heat networks to supply close to 100% of their heating, while the UK languishes far behind with less than 2% supplied that way.
The Code of Practice was originally produced to counter these problems, providing minimum standards on the topic where nothing substantial existed before. As with any technology a lack of information leads to low adoption rates among sceptical clients, engineers are less inclined to become experts in an unpopular system, and so there are few experts to publish more information and few active examples of the technology to provide in-use data. Thus, the cycle begins again. The checklist is the business end of this process, actually holding stakeholders to account on their ability and willingness to follow the Code.
|Heat Networks are much more mature in European cities such as Amsterdam|
The checklists are also underpinned by the developer setting performance targets at the initial briefing stage that can actually be used to measure a heat network’s anticipated performance at feasibility, design but then actual performance in-use. This combination of checking the code requirement have been met, an evidence pack has been produced and the original performance expectations have been met provides a new foundation for the sector.
Clearly, this starts with the clients/developers, as it is their responsibility to ensure that use of the Code and the assembly of an evidence pack is specified at the start of the project, but the support and advice of engineers is required to keep it on track. For it to be truly effective, the engineer needs to continuously measure against the original developer's targets and this approach strengthens the Evidence Pack. It is recommended that this whole process is monitored by employing a trained heat networks assessor to ensure compliance, highlight deficiencies but also to encourage a move beyond minimum standards in delivering the project.
|The Code can only be truly effective if pro-active clients work to assemble|
an evidence pack of information
Ultimately, the success or failure of CP1 checklist process will determine the future of heat networks in the UK. The potential is there to create sustainable, low carbon heat networks and a world leading specialism for UK engineers. But it requires the industry to grasp the nettle and embrace the Code, and cooperate with its minimum standards and checking processes.