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EU could offer energy efficient homebuyers better mortgages

Homebuyers across the EU could be offered better borrowing rates on mortgages in return for purchasing more energy efficient homes or committing to implement energy saving work within properties as part of a “ground-breaking” new project.

The European Energy Efficiency Mortgage initiative is aiming to create a standardised “energy efficient mortgage” based on preferential interest rates for energy efficient homes or additional funds for retrofitting homes at the time of purchase.

The scheme has been cited as the first ever collaboration between groups of major banks, mortgage lenders, businesses and organisations from the building and energy industries for the purpose of addressing the concept of energy efficient mortgages, with the project having been launched by a consortium led by the European Mortgage Federation (EMF) and the European Covered Bond Council (ECBC).

Partners of the project include the Ca’Foscari University of Venice, RICS, European Regional Network of Green Building Councils, E.ON, and SAFE Goethe University Frankfurt.

Commenting on the new initiative, Luca Bertalot, EMF-ECBC Secretary General, said: “We have the responsibility to design a sustainable environment for future generations by developing a pan-European mortgage financing mechanism, according to which energy efficiency investments are made more accessible and affordable for consumers and institutional investors, and the subsequent energy efficiency improvements reduce risk for banks, creating a win-win for all involved.”

The World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) claims that creating a private bank financing mechanism to encourage improvements in the energy efficiency of households is a key means of helping the EU to meet its energy saving target of 20 per cent by 2020 and to deliver on the ambition of the Paris Agreement reached at COP21 last December.

James Drinkwater, Europe Regional Director, World Green Building Council, believes the Paris Agreement has set a course to keeping global warming to within 2 degrees, but organisations will need to develop innovative ways of financing energy efficiency in Europe’s homes if we are to stand any chance of meeting that goal.

“Mortgages which reward consumers and investors by recognising energy efficiency represent one such way, and will undoubtedly play a key role in helping to achieve our ambitious climate change targets,” he said.

Emmanuel Normant, Vice-President for Sustainable Development at Saint-Gobain, which is on the project’s Energy Efficiency Committee and is a Partner of the European Regional Network of Green Building Councils, added: “As we need to speed up progress to meet our climate ambition, Saint-Gobain welcomes this timely initiative which has the potential to accelerate the uptake of renovation in Europe.

“Forging a common understanding of the value of energy efficiency between all players and private banks is an essential step to unlock investment in energy efficiency.”

Source: Energyzine

New retrofit scheme gives Scottish landlords efficiency options

A major programme to retrofit public sector buildings in Scotland and give all public sector organisations and registered social landlords the choice of having a combination of energy efficiency installations across their buildings has been launched.

The measures include building fabric, environmental service systems and their controls such as heating, cooling, lighting and water as well as local generation such as combined heat and power and district heating systems, with a total of 12 suppliers having been appointed to a procurement framework to deliver the retrofit works, which is estimated to be worth £300 million across Scotland’s public sector.

The scheme is expected to help save up to £30 million a year on energy bills, with Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing stating that the programme could transform Scotland’s public sector buildings and has the potential to save taxpayers millions of pounds.

“Improving the energy efficiency of all of Scotland’s buildings is a National Infrastructure Priority and this is a significant step forward in the drive to cut energy and maintenance costs and reduce carbon emissions,” he said.

“These projects pay for themselves as energy savings will, over time, pay for the installation costs and will also deliver a variety of wider community benefit including employment opportunities and business growth opportunities for the Scottish supply chain.”

Source: Energyzine

Ofgem leaves door open for ECO EPCs

Despite its enthusiasm for the re-introduction of installers’ ‘deemed scores’, ECO administrator Ofgem e-serve has left the door open for some use of EPCs in the utilities-funded energy efficiency scheme, provided that ministers agree.

As expected, Ofgem e-serve told the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy in its response to the Energy Company Obligation Help to Heat consultation that GDARs and EPCs should be eliminated from the scheme, and replaced with ‘deemed scores’ to determine eligibility of measures.

The regulatory organisation said the change would simplify the administration of the scheme, and added:  “The introduction of deemed scores reduces this risk (of inaccuracy) as all scores are based on assumed property characteristics for certain property types, rather than the characteristics of the specific property receiving the ECO measure.”

Critics might think this effectively means that installers’ ‘deemed scores’ are so vague that it is very difficult to prove they are inaccurate.

Despite this, Ofgem e-serve acknowledged what many independent assessors have said about problems with ECO EPCs, saying: “assessors are often directly employed by the installers. This has led to concerns over the accuracy of these reports.”

However the organisation argued that SAP or RdSAP should be used to provide ratings identifying the least efficient E to G domestic properties, so that help could be targeted at those families which need it most, and EPCs should also be used for homes with district heating.

The use of EPCs for ECO home ratings from April 2017, if it is accepted by BEIS, could mean that most homes eligible for improvement through ECO could continue to need an EPC, which would be very good news for DEAs who have seen ECO work dry up in past months.

Source: Energy Assessor Magazine

Heat pump plan would cost £300bn, says Policy Exchange

Plans proposed by the previous Government to decarbonise heating by fitting electric heat pumps in most homes by 2050 would cost about £300bn, claims a new report from the Policy Exchange.

The paper, which takes into account the installation cost of more than £8,500 per heat pump, the cost of upgrading the grid, and the additional 100GW of power generation capacity that would be required to meet the demand for electricity, reveals that it would cost as much as £12,000 per household to deliver the coalition’s plans to reduce carbon emissions from domestic heating.

The analysis argues that the newly created Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (DBEIS) needs to “completely re-think its approach and look at alternatives,” with the research organisation also highlighting that the government could still meet its target of reducing carbon emissions from domestic heating by 80 per cent through a range of measures.

The UK-based think tank suggest that improving energy efficiency by tightening standards for new build homes and for existing private rented properties, linking the stamp duty system to energy performance to encourage households to improve their properties and making better use of gas by encouraging people to replace old boilers with new highly efficient boilers could all contribute to the government’s carbon reduction goal.

The report also proposes expanding the use of “greener gases” such as injecting biomethane into the gas grid, which can be made from food waste, along with supporting the development of new technologies which convert “black bag” residual waste into synthetic biogas and exploring the possibility of converting the gas to the grid to run on hydrogen.

The paper warns that the UK is significantly off track to meeting legally binding carbon budgets covering the period to 2032, and the lack of progress to decarbonise heating could make or break the UK’s carbon plans.

It also urges the government to put affordability at the heart of its decarbonisation strategy by shifting away from its focus on electric heat pumps to alternatives.

Source: Energyzine

Scotland committed to energy efficiency

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s newly-released Plan for Scotland includes a continuing commitment to energy efficiency, and a hint that there could be more energy saving schemes in the offing.

The document, published yesterday, sets out the Scottish Government’s plans for the remainder of this parliament until 2020, and while there are no new initiatives for energy efficiency yet, there was  confirmation that Scotland will be pushing ahead with its previously announced plans.

And Ms Sturgeon (left) pledged £20 million of stimulus funds to be channelled to Scotland’s planned energy efficiency programmes.

In addition, the First Minister added: “The Government’s commitment to addressing climate change will be a prominent theme in this Parliament.

Our Climate Change Plan and an accompanying Energy Strategy will be published this winter, outlining our intention to reduce Scottish emissions by 80% between 1990 and 2050.

“This represents a bold statement of the Government’s priorities for the coming decades. In early 2017 we will outline proposals for a new Climate Change Bill to reduce emissions further.”

The Scottish Government announced plans earlier in the current parliamentary session for the introduction in 2018 of a Scottish Energy Efficiency Programme, designed to improve the efficiency of Scotland’s homes and businesses.

Local authorities and their partner organisations were invited in January  to bid for funds for a trial of SEEP, and Ms Sturgeon said these pilot projects could start as early as later this year.

SEEP is being developed to deliver the new national infrastructure priority for energy efficiency. It is intended that SEEP will offer support for the next 15-20 years to ensure that all buildings in Scotland, domestic and non-domestic, can achieve a good energy efficiency rating.

It is not yet certain exactly how the programme will operate, but the Scottish Government said it hopes that the 2016/17 pilot projects will help the development of SEEP, contribute to the design of future programmes aimed at tackling fuel poverty and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and inform how future SEEP funding is best deployed.

It has already introduced one innovation involving energy assessors, with the introduction of the Section 63 Advisor role, for which the first accreditation bodies received approval from the Scottish Government in July – see First Approvals for Scots’ S63

The roles will enable non domestic assessors to produce Section 63 Action Plans and DEC assessments for commercial buildings over 1,000 square metres, which came into force across Scotland from the beginning of this month.

The new roles are required by The Assessment of Energy Performance of Non-domestic Buildings (Scotland) Regulations 2016, made under Section 63 of the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009.

Owners of non domestic buildings in Scotland over 1000m2 being sold or let must have an Action Plan drawn up by a Section 63 Advisor for how they will improve the building’s energy efficiency.

The plan is based on an EPC for the building, but unlike the 2018 ‘minimum energy’ standards in England and Wales, where a building without an EPC is exempt, in Scotland a building owner eligible to obtain an Action Plan must get an EPC if they don’t already have one.

Once an Action Plan is finalised, the owner can chose to improve the building or to defer the improvements by reporting operational energy ratings (actual measured energy use) via a Display Energy Certificate on an annual basis.

To download a copy of A Plan for Scotland go to http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2016/09/2860/downloads

Source: Energy Assessor Magazine

Post Brexit confidence in efficiency takes dip

The energy efficiency sector has seen supplier confidence continue to fall following Brexit, according to the latest quarterly report from Energy Efficiency Verification Specialists (EEVS).

The UK Energy Efficiency Trends report, which takes into account trends in supplier order books, staffing, sale prices and government action, reveals supplier confidence dropped 21 points in the first quarter of 2016, falling below zero for the first time since the report was initially published in 2012, with the figure tumbling from -4 to -38 points in the second quarter.

The survey, conducted in partnership with Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) and Bellrock, received statistics from 89 UK-based respondents, with energy-efficient lighting seeing one of its biggest drops in deployment to date, falling from a rolling four-quarter average of 70 per cent to 59 per cent.

However, it remains the leading energy efficiency technology, with smart meters and remote lighting controls catching up.

The report also shows that commercial property continues to lead the way in terms of energy efficiency technology installed, while around 38 per cent of suppliers rated customer demand as their main concern in the sector, followed by national competition and raising finance, totalling 26 and 12 per cent respectively.

Ian Jeffries, director at EEVS, believes that the fall in supplier confidence can be directly linked to lacklustre order book growth but is likely to have been exacerbated by the Brexit uncertainty, while also emphasising how customers’ buying habits have adjusted.

“This quarter’s results have also shown some material shifts in consumer buying preferences. Until now, lighting has been the dominant technology of choice. It is still top of the pile, but consumer interest in BEMS and smart metering has shot up considerably,” he said.

“Lighting looks to have taken much of the hit and we saw an uncharacteristically sharp dip this quarter. If this trend were to continue, these performance management-based technologies could potentially challenge lighting for the top spot in the forthcoming quarters.”

Richard Singleton, managing director, corporate, at Bellrock added: “Without doubt the Brexit decision has created uncertainty whether or not organisations have international reach.

“The universal response is to be cautious and focus on business as usual. Reducing energy bills and creating more certainty for operating costs is a positive response for helping to stabilise for a positive future.”

Source: Energyzine

Building controls and energy management: the perfect marriage

Once separate, building control and energy management are merging to bring the smart building to life and cut energy use and fuel bills, argues Alan Hickman, managing director at Carlo Gavazzi UK.

Building automation and energy management were once different disciplines. At Carlo Gavazzi, we have always had a foot in both camps.

When the company entered the energy management market many years ago, the sector was driven by systems integrators and panel builders incorporating metering on the primary incomers to measure what was happening within the building.

Data acquisition systems evolved so that you can gather all that metering data, analyse it and report on it. The energy manager was born.

The other side of the business is building automation. This is driven by controls systems houses, incorporating building management systems (BMS) to control and integrate the lighting, air conditioning and other building services.

The integration of these two technologies is becoming paramount. I would argue that the technologies are rapidly overlapping and ultimately will become one.

Although the fundamental foundations are pretty much defined, the technology, and the ways you can gather data and control the building, is growing exponentially, driven in part by energy legislation, corporate social responsibility and the desire to cut fuel bills.

Increasingly, we are seeing BMS companies offering energy solutions and the energy management the providers diversifying to offer smallto- medium controls solutions on single and multi-site applications. The overlap is becoming quite considerable as awareness among enduser clients grows.

A simple, two-wire bus system, such as Carlo Gavazzi’s Dupline system, offers the best of both worlds, and offers many advantages over conventional solutions. In typical building automation systems, each data point needs to be wired back to the direct digital controller (DDC). This complicates the installation, particularly in applications with widely distributed data points.

The Dupline two-wire bus technology significantly simplifies level field wiring, eliminates expensive wiring home runs and saves money on installation costs when compared with traditional device-to-DDC solutions.

Also, the installation cost reduction is achieved without increasing material cost due to the reduced need for DDC inputs and outputs (I/Os) and standard sensors.

Two-wire bus systems reduce commissioning time and offer the possibility to integrate HVAC and lighting controls, for example, at the field level – one network, two solutions.

Systems are based on bus-powered sensors and small I/O modules. The cost savings of such a decentralised I/O solution can be considerable.

The beauty of a two-wire bus system for smart buildings is that it can be expanded by simply extending the bus cable and adding extra I/O modules. This means it is flexible and modular, again saving on the cost of any future expansion and accommodating any last-minute changes.

The first step in any metering strategy is to consider all energy that is imported or exported: main incoming supplies and renewables.

The second step is to identify all sub-main circuits requiring meters: ie for end users, tenants and various activity areas.

The third step is to provide metering that enables consumption loads to be identified in all key categories, such as: heating, hot water; lighting; small power; ventilation, pumps etc.

Specifiers also need to be aware of the EU Measuring Instruments Directive (MID) for any meter to be used in conjunction with the re-sale of electricity. This legislation became effective on 30 October 2006, with a ten-year transition period, and replaces Ofgem’s Schedule 7 of the Electricity Act 1989. Any new meter to be used directly for billing must be MID-approved after October 2016.

According to the Building Research Establishment, controls are the easiest and most cost effective solution for saving energy in buildings. Clients and building occupiers, however, have failed to exploit advanced control solutions, says the BRE, because many of the innovative technologies they employ are perceived to be overly technical and complex to operate.

Simple two-wire bus solutions such as Carlo Gavazzi’s Dupline system offer a cost-effective means of improving the poor take-up identified by the BRE, tackling energy reduction and improving occupant comfort.

Source: Energyzine

HVACR a new approach

Tim Mitchell, sales director at Klima-Therm, believes that integrating renewable energy with high performance battery technology will be a game-changer for the HVACR industry.

Battery technology has come a long way in recent years. The main driver has been the relentless demand for ever faster charge times and higher capacities in ever smaller spaces for use in mobile digital devices.

This has spawned a new generation of high capacity, compact batteries based on lithium ion technology that out-perform conventional lead-acid batteries in almost every way.

As production volumes have increased, the high initial costs have become affordable enough for the technology to be applied in areas as diverse as home appliances.

The recent announcement by pioneer Tesla, that it is developing an attractively priced all-battery-powered mid-range saloon, was met with an overwhelming volume of preproduction orders, outstripping even the carmaker’s own most optimistic forecasts for demand.

The characteristics of new battery technology that make it such a potential game changer in the automotive industry (i.e. that it packs an unprecedentedly large amount of energy into an increasingly compact space and lightweight structure at an affordable cost) lend themselves very directly to application in the building services industry.

Indeed, in this age of potential brown-outs and Demand Side Response (DSR), it opens up a potentially transformational range of new and exciting possibilities for powering and controlling HVACR plant, which the industry is only just beginning to consider.

The key is to take a “total energy approach”, which combines and integrates advanced battery technology with multiple renewable energy sources and mains power, to optimise plant performance and efficiency resulting in lower running costs, reduced environmental impact and more comfortable and sustainable buildings.

Some fleet-of foot pioneers are already working on practical application. Innovative Italian company Geoclima, for example, has developed what it calls the Teslamiser, a new power supply management system initially designed for use with chillers based on Turbocor variable speed, magnetic bearing compressor technology.

Although designed primarily for use with Turbocor because of its superior part-load performance, there is no reason in principle why the approach cannot be used with any chiller or HVAC system.

At its heart is a compact power pack based on the latest lithium polymer batteries, with a converter that controls charge and discharge of power to the chiller. The Teslamiser module can be mounted as an integral part of the chiller, or installed remotely in a suitable location and then connected to the unit.

Under the control of an intelligent power management system, Teslamiser automatically optimises energy flows into, within and out of the system. This includes managing the respective power inputs from the mains electrical supply and renewable sources, such as photovoltaic (PV) panels and wind energy, according to pre-set criteria.

This enables the system to harness the preferred energy source at any given time to power the chiller, with the battery pack providing the buffer. The power source selection could be based upon the lowest cost, lowest carbon, perhaps even the most profitable, with some energy providers now paying customers to consume energy at certain times.

On a similar principle to a night storage heater making use of off-peak electricity, the chiller batteries could be charged at night, when tariffs are lowest or the greenest electricity is available, and the accumulated charge used during the day, avoiding peak electricity costs.

This delivers significant savings in itself, given the 15-20 per cent reduction in night time energy costs. However, there are further savings to be made through limiting peak power demand on a site, using the batteries to augment mains supply and renewable inputs to keep peak power within a predetermined limit.

This approach, known as peak lopping or Demand Side Response, is likely to become increasingly attractive for two reasons: first, the closure of older, more polluting power stations to comply with European carbon reduction and clean air targets is putting pressure on peak time energy supply availability; second, the continuing roll-out of smart metering will see costs for peak power being driven higher, very much more than costs for off-peak power are reduced.

An essential aspect of the Teslamiser approach is the close integration of the chiller, battery pack, renewable energy inputs and mains supply. Geoclima has particular expertise in software design and control engineering. It’s custom algorithms are designed to make the most of, first, free energy from renewable or even profitable sources; second, low-cost energy from the batteries; and, finally, to manage the mix of mains supply, battery augmentation and renewable inputs to deliver the optimum chiller performance for the lowest possible cost.

Looking ahead, there are exciting possibilities for extending the capabilities of technologies such as Telsamiser to include intelligent recovery of energy directly from the chiller to charge the batteries – watch this space. This would create a genuine total energy system that optimises power from all sources – mains, renewable and self-generated sources – for even greater efficiency and savings.

In the same way that all cars on our roads will one day likely be battery powered, we believe that in future all HVAC systems will be designed and built according to these principles, as total energy systems.

From thermodynamic, economic and environmental perspectives, it is the only rational way to go.

Source: Energyzine

UK set to miss 2020 heat target

The Government is being pressed to take urgent action on renewables heating after MPs warned that the UK is set to miss its commitment to reduce carbon emissions in four years.

MPs on the Energy and Climate Change Committee have warned the Government that, on its current performance, the UK will fail to achieve its 2020 renewable energy targets—to provide for 15% of its energy needs from renewable sources.

The overall obligation includes three separate targets, to obtain 30% of its electricity from renewables, 12% of its heat, and 10% in transport.

The UK is three-quarters of the way towards its 30% electricity target and is expected to exceed it by 2020, but it is not yet halfway towards 12% in heat and the proportion of renewable energy used in transport actually fell last year.

Energy and Climate Change Committee Chair Angus MacNeil MP (left) said: “The experts we spoke to were clear that the UK will miss its 2020 renewable energy targets without major policy improvements.

“Failing to meet these would damage the UK’s reputation for climate change leadership. The Government must take urgent action on heat and transport to renew its efforts on decarbonisation.”

The UK’s 2020 renewable energy targets are European Union targets, and may not therefore be binding since we will probably have left the EU by that date, but failure to meet those targets is likely to undermine confidence in the Government’s commitment to its 2050 carbon targets, which are legally binding.

The report identifies a number of ways in which the key policies to meet the heat and transport targets—the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) and Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO)—could be improved.

MPs said the Government’s proposed reforms to the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) are not the optimal pathway to the 2020 renewable heat target. Many heat pumps have proved to be unsatisfactory in actual use, they said, yet are being prioritised over biomass—which has been successful.

They said Biomethane is also crucial to meeting the 2020 target and must remain a funding priority. They added that the Government should revise its RHI reforms to reflect these priorities, especially in protecting Biomethane support.

The committee’s report noted that beyond 2020, heat and transport are likely to depend on some combination of bioenergy and electrification.  Bioenergy had an important role in the UK’s future energy mix, but MPs noted concerns about its carbon footprint and therefore saw electrification as key.

However, in heat, it was clear that the Government cannot rely on complete electrification—especially given limits to electricity-network capacity.

The select committee was set up in 2008 to oversee the work of the Department of Energy and Climate Change, which was created five years earlier but was closed in May by incoming Prime Minister Theresa May, when the Energy function was transferred to a revamped Department.

The report notes: “Closing the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and bundling it into the new Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) will, at best, enable more joined-up thinking on a low-carbon economy and place clean growth at the heart of a more influential Department.”

However, at worst, the Committee warns, energy and climate change issues could be buried by conflicting concerns.

For further details of the report go to :


Source: Energy Assessor Magazine

Why fuel handling is critical for renewables

Matt Drew, managing director of Saxlund International, discusses a new fuel-to-boiler processing line at one of the UK’s largest biomass plants, and explains why fuel handling is critical to a range of renewable power generation projects.

Despite some high profile failures, notably the closure of two plasma gasification sites in the Tees Valley earlier this year, confidence in Energy from Waste and biomass power generation, whatever the selected combustion technology, remains strong with a growing number of plants either fully operational or under construction across the UK.

A critical area, and one that is sometimes not given due focus, is the automated bulk-material-handling solution at the front end of most plants. This is designed to receive, store, convey, dose and feed the alternative fuel into the selected combustion process.

A typical solution involves reception and storage for incoming fuel, with discharge and reclaim conveyors plus screening to remove contaminants and out-of-spec material. Pneumatic injection, together with weighing and dosing systems may also be required.

However, biomass and waste derived fuels (WDF) composed of municipal solid waste, plus commercial and industrial waste and waste wood, are notoriously tricky to handle, non-free-flowing with a tendency to bridge and compact. This means the flow can easily be disrupted.

Blockages invariably result in system shut-downs, both timeconsuming and costly with processes idle while the issue is resolved.

Furthermore poor material handling means that some plants may never reach their full potential, so it’s important to get this right.

Understanding material behaviour is therefore crucial to system design and plant reliability.

Factors covering particle size, mass flow properties, density variations, moisture content and compressibility are all important considerations.

The composition of the biomass/WDF and its source may also change over time, and this needs to be factored into the system design to ensure a robust, enduring solution.

In this respect the strength of the relationship with the fuel supplier can be paramount and all of this can be challenging for mechanical and process engineers unless they are working with these systems on a continuous basis.

Saxlund Group is currently delivering the fuel handling systems for ten renewable energy power stations in the UK with more in the pipeline.

A critical element is the push floor or sliding frame technology incorporated in the design of the fuel reception and storage silo. Continuously developed by Saxlund since the 1960s, this is based on ‘first in, first out’ design principles to ensure fuel stocks have minimal chance to compact or degrade.

The technology is designed to break up the material, preventing any build up or bridging, to ensure a consistent, homogenous delivery to the discharge point.

One highly successful and long standing example is Slough Heat & Power. Owned and operated by SSE Enterprise, it is one of the UK’s largest dedicated biomass fired Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plants, supplying steam and hot water to major businesses on the Slough Trading Estate and generating in the region of 100GWh electricity per annum.

A new fuel-to-boiler supply system, to broaden the fuel envelope at the site and increase fuel flexibility, is now running at full capacity feeding shredded waste or waste wood chips at a rate of 25 tonnes per hour to an existing boiler.

This is a second Saxlund Push Floor that can feed the boiler and the additional fuel stream was designed to upgrade the fuel reception storage and screening capacity.

Lead contractor for the project was O.Kay Engineering, a specialist in waste processing technology and turnkey recycling plants.

The Saxlund element within the plant incorporates a new 720m3 fuel reception area with live storage for approximately six hours of operation using the company’s well-tested push floor discharge solution.

The overall system was designed and project managed by O.Kay Engineering’s in-house team of designers and project managers.

The Saxlund discharge system is at the front-end of the O.Kay system and delivers the material onto outtake conveyors which feed the material in the fuel screening system before onward delivery into the fuel hopper of the boiler.

The system can handle both woodchip and RTU (Ready to Use) fuels and incorporates screening of the fuel stock and removal of metals to ensure correct particle size and quality of fuel.

Material is continually weighed and the system can also be fed from an existing back-up feed stock via an existing Saxlund Push Floor and discharge system.

The main handling and screening system was designed and installed to run in an ATEX 21 (Explosive Atmosphere directive) environment.

This is another important consideration for biomass CHP projects and dust suppression including covered conveyors may be required in some installations.

The installation presented some challenges in that three of the existing four feed lines had to be removed in stages while the plant was still running.

The removal of the final line and main installation could then be carried out with the resulting installation providing Slough Heat & Power with a simpler, more efficient and reliable fuel feeding system.

Source: Energyzine

New efficiency policy will push up rental prices

The government’s policy to improve the energy efficiency of the UK’s housing stock will almost certainly place upward pressure on rents in the private rented sector, warns the Residential Landlords Association (RLA).

The RLA is concerned that the new law coming into play from 2018 which will make it illegal to rent out property with the worst energy efficiency, will ultimately lead to higher rents for tenants, as private landlords pass on extra energy efficiency improvement costs onto renters, while also citing that almost a third of private rented housing was constructed before 1919, making them some of the hardest to treat properties for energy efficiency improvements.

The RLA has criticised the government for making no reference to the PRS in its recent consultation on the future of the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) and, despite ECO being designed to focus on fuel poverty, the consultation does envisage extending the scheme to the already heavily subsidised social sector, which has newer housing stock and fewer tenants in fuel poverty.

It is estimated that buildings produce almost half of this country’s carbon emissions, almost double that of cars and planes, with the way a residential building is constructed, insulated, heated, ventilated and the type of fuel used all contributing to its carbon emissions, which can now have a serious impact on the cost of running the property and even its value.

The RLA has been told landlords could potentially face having to pay up to £5,000 up front for improvements following ther closure of the Green Deal.

Richard Jones, RLA Policy Consultant, said: “Whilst we all want to see improvements in the energy efficiency of homes to rent, that cannot come at the expense of driving up rents.

“The government’s proposals will amount simply to another tax on tenants.”

Source: Energyzine

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