Around 55% of the energy used in commercial buildings is spent on heating and hot water, according to figures from the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC).
Anyone wanting to lower their energy use to meet carbon reduction targets or reduce energy bills could, therefore, do a lot worse than start by looking at their heating to find more energy efficient ways, and a new CPD-accredited guide has just been launched to help.
The independently written guide is produced for Mitsubishi Electric and is part of a series of CPD briefings, all designed to enhance knowledge and provide a view of the key issues facing our industry today.
Many legislative drivers are forcing building operators and owners to find new ways to reduce their energy consumption and there are also strong arguments for reducing the use of primary fuels by switching to more energy efficient and renewable sources of heat for commercial buildings.
The guide highlights that over 5,000 UK organisations are affected by the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) scheme which involves both financial incentives and penalties aimed at cutting carbon emissions. Even smaller companies that are not affected by CRC face the need to display energy performance certificates in their buildings. Anyone looking at building new properties also needs to clearly demonstrate energy efficiency to get through the planning process and the requirement to include the use of renewable technology is growing.
Finding energy efficient and renewable solutions for heating commercial buildings is certainly a challenge, but heat-pump systems now offer a new approach to heating a commercial building. These are based on well established and reliable technology which offers the added benefit of being officially recognised as renewable.
New Government initiatives, such as the Renewable Heating Incentive (due in April 2011) are also starting to make heat pump systems a more financially and technologically attractive option compared to gas or direct electric.
With the increased use of energy-efficient heat pump technology, we could also start to see a massive impact on our fossil fuel consumption. This is clearly illustrated in the guide as we follow 100 units of primary energy through the network to be used in a modern, 93% efficient gas boiler leading to 93 units of available heat in the building.
By contrast, 53 units of primary energy used in a 50% efficient power station (taking the inefficiencies of the grid into account) would emerge as 26.5 units of power being fed into a heat pump heating system. With an easily achievable COP of 3.5, the heat pump can then add 66.5 units of renewable heat energy harvested from the outdoor air to provide the building with the same 93 units of available heat.
To get hold of a copy of the free, CPD-accredited Information Guide on Commercial Heating send an email to [email protected]