tree with green leaves in sun cracked mud. climate change

COP28 – Climate Change Challenges

The 28th session of the Conference of Parties (COP28) is the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference. Inaugurated in 1995, COP is an annual opportunity for signatories to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to debate solutions to climate change.

The key outcome of the COP process has been the 2015 Paris Agreement, signed by 195 parties, which saw the agreement to cut global greenhouse gas emissions to ensure global surface temperatures remain below 2 degrees Celsius (ideally 1.5 degrees Celsius) in order to prevent dangerous climate change. 

COP26, which was held in Glasgow, built on the Paris Accord, with renewed commitments by signatory governments to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. 190 countries agreed to the phasing out of coal for energy production which is widely regarded as one of the fastest and relatively easy ways to cut carbon emissions. Timeframes for emissions reduction targets were also established, though crucially not legally binding.  

It was hoped that COP27, held in Sharm-el-Sheikh, Egypt, would build on this success and push targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions even further as UN reports suggest current commitments of signatories to the Paris Agreement don’t go far enough to successfully limit global warming to under 1.5 degrees celsius (vs. 1990s levels).

COP27 was feted for the creation of the Loss and Damage Fund, primarily aimed at helping developing countries cover the cost of damage caused by natural disasters related to global warming, such as wildfires, rising sea levels, heatwaves, drought, and crop failure. Questions over how quickly the fund will be able to get up and running, and how effectively it is able to function remain, clouding initial jubilation.

COP27 was also characterised by a lack of commitment to completely phase out fossil fuels. The final commitment stated a need to “accelerate efforts towards the phase-down of unabated coal power and phase-out of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies.” This has been a major point of contention for the green lobby. As a result, Cop27 was greeted with an equal mix of celebration and frustration, so much now rests on Cop 28 being seen as a success, but it poses significant challenges.  

The 2023 conference, COP28 takes place between November 30th and December 12th in Dubai. It marks a significant milestone with the completion of the first full assessment of the Paris Agreement begun at COP26. This “Global Stocktake” is intended to “assess the collective progress towards achieving the purpose of the Paris Agreement and its long-term goals.” It will explore how signatory countries are faring against the emissions-cutting commitments at an overall global level, identifying trends that should inform countries’ national climate commitments (NCC), which must be updated every five years. At COP27 governments were urged to revisit national climate plans to meet 2030 targets, and there is an expectation for them to demonstrate more ambitious climate strategies compared to those of 2022.  This could well be contentious for some, including the UK, which has been accused of slowing rather than accelerating targets.

Financing action against climate change will without doubt be high on the agenda. In 2009, at COP15, developed countries committed to a collective goal of mobilising 100 billion USD per year by 2020 for climate action and mitigation efforts in developing countries. However, a subsequent lack of commitment to funding pledges has created an atmosphere of mistrust amongst some COP signatories. With no agreement reached at COP27 on how large the funding stream would be for the Loss and Damage Fund, who will be responsible for paying what, and who will be eligible to receive funding, there are urgent expectations for greater clarity of purpose to come out of COP28 to support developing countries.

The UAE’s priorities for its COP of course will include a focus on how to implement the policies that were agreed in Paris and Glasgow. It is already clear that COP28 will take place in the context of challenging geopolitical relations.

The production of oil, natural gas, and coal, which is responsible for as much as 79% of total emissions worldwide will be a point of issue, especially as only the phasing out of coal was a subject of a commitment at COP27. Businesses in the region are at an earlier stage in their sustainability journey and much of the current focus is on how to achieve a ‘just transition’ – making sure that global decarbonisation efforts are equitable, fair, and inclusive. Expectations will also be muddied by the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine and rising tensions in the Middle East, both areas being major suppliers of oil and gas. Though expectation is for one of greater impetus in the drive toward non-fossil and renewable alternatives to ensure fuel security in developed nations.  

Alok Sharma, the UK Conservative MP and former minister who led the Cop26 talks in Glasgow in 2021, says the task is clear, “Cop28 must deliver strengthened emissions reduction targets, and a commitment to peak global emissions by 2025,” he said. “There must be a plan to turbocharge the clean energy revolution, and a commitment to phase out fossil fuels. And a meaningful agreement on how to scale up finance, both public and private, to support developing nations to decarbonise their economies – moving from the billions to the trillions.”

Read more about how you can embrace net zero in your buildings.

london commercial skyline shard, sunset

NIC Advisory Too Focussed On Domestic Carbon

The National Infrastructure Commission (NIC), the government’s independent advisory body, has published its second National Infrastructure Assessment.  The NIC advisory is a five-year review that sets out plans to transform the country’s energy, transport and other key networks over the next 30 years.

The immediate interpretation if the new NIC advisory is one of prioritisation of heat pumps and district networks in order to switch buildings away from gas heating, with many reporting recommendations for ruling out the use of hydrogen.

Less obvious from the headlines is that the Commission’s “comprehensive and fully costed programme of government support” once again mainly targets households to make the carbon emissions saving switch from gas to electric, observing that 7 million domestic buildings in England will need to make this transition by 2035 to meet the Sixth Carbon Budget.

Of the £6.4bn predicted to be required by the NIC advisory for this process, half would be destined for domestic properties and half used to improve energy efficiency and install heat pumps across the public sector estate and social housing.

The NIC’s stance on hydrogen relates specifically to domestic applications, ruling out its application for domestic heating estimating that a system with hydrogen heating would be around “1.2 times more expensive than a system without”. Heat pumps, it says, use around three times less energy than hydrogen boilers to produce heat.

The focus for hydrogen should be one of power generation and industrial decarbonisation states the NIC advisory report. 

Comments from the industry that, “Heat pumps already cost less to run than a gas boiler” are sweeping statements that when taken out of a domestic space heating context are blatantly untrue. This is especially the case when it comes to water heating where gas remains three to four times cheaper depending on tariffs and current grid costs of electricity and gas. In the commercial environment heat pumps absolutely have a role to play in decarbonising hot water production, but the technology still is best applied as a preheat resource, otherwise capital and operational costs begin to soar. Adveco remains an exponent of hybrid approaches that draw the best from a mix of technologies which include heat pumps, electric heating, solar thermal and ultimately green gasses, including hydrogen, to cut carbon emissions while still meeting the large-scale demands of the commercial sector for daily hot water.

The NIC correctly recognises that the heat pump market needs significant support to reach economies of scale and reduce costs if net zero targets are to be met, but the oft-cited “rapid replacement of the gas grid” by those lobbying for electrification of homes, fails to consider the wider impacts of the built environment. In particular, the commercial sector remains a major source of carbon emissions from its built estates. NIC’s commitment to industrial decarbonisation through hydrogen is to be supported but needs to more tacitly incorporate commercial buildings with high energy demands, such as for safe, business-critical hot water production. The danger is that the commercial sector continues to be a grey area of government oversight and more critically, lack of financial support.

Addressing homeowners’ concerns is a predominantly political play, especially with the expectations of an election in the near term but continues to be detrimental to the wider need to address energy use and climate change impact of the wider built environment of the UK.

Under the 2015 Paris climate agreement, 197 countries – including the UK – agreed to try to limit global temperature rises to 1.5C by 2100. To achieve this, scientists say that net zero CO₂ emissions must be reached by 2050. These are legally binding agreements with targets that critics have accused Rishi Sunak of watering down after he relaxed a plan to phase out the installation of gas boilers by 2035, instead aiming for only an 80% phase-out to save households money. NIC chairman Sir John Armitt said, “We’ve got a 2035 target [on boilers] which is only 12 years away, I find it hard to accept that we are likely to meet that when we are installing 50-60,000 heat pumps at the absolute most per annum at the moment when the government has set itself a target of 600,000 heat pumps per year by 2028.”

The International Energy Agency (IEA), the global energy watchdog, said in its latest report that the growth in clean energy and technologies was “impressive” and predicted renewables would provide half of the world’s electricity by 2030.

But it also added the caveat that the phase down of fossil fuels is not happening quickly enough and that the world’s reliance on fossil fuels means that we are still on track to be facing a global average temperature rise of 2.4C by 2100.

If the NIC chairman is concerned about hitting domestic targets for heat pumps that have been the focus of government policy and support, then the commercial sector represents a ticking time bomb, where a lack of grants and clear advice will only further exacerbate the problems of achieving future carbon budgets which are critical for meeting net zero aims.

In response to the publication of this latest NIC advisory plan, officials at the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero said it was incentivising investment in the heat pump market, providing up to £30 million to support UK manufacturing in a bid to make the switch a more “attractive choice”.  Some £6.6bn is being put into clean heat and energy efficiency, with a further £6 billion of new funding from 2025, the department added. A spokesperson also said in response to the IEA report that the independent Climate Change Committee recognised oil and gas would continue to be part of the UK’s energy mix on the path to net zero. This gives us hope that there remain opportunities to support the right energy and technology mixes for commercial demands but the sector needs this to be laid out in black and white. 

COP28 – the UN’s climate summit – takes place this November in Dubai, where it is hoped world leaders will make further commitments to tackling climate change. We wait to see if greater clarity and new commitments to action are forthcoming.  

UK Net Zero – A Moment Of Pragmatism Or Shame?

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has formally announced a shift in many of the timelines previously set for achieving net zero by 2050. Many claim this is a weakening of some of the government’s key green commitments and a major policy shift. It is now committed to reaching UK net zero carbon emissions by 2050 but in a “more proportionate way”.

The aim of UK net zero is to take out of the atmosphere as many greenhouse gas emissions – such as carbon dioxide – as it puts in. Mr Sunak intent is for the UK to continue as a world leader on net zero, but he is arguing that Britain has over-delivered on confronting climate change and that other countries need to do more to pull their weight. This realism does not, however, mean losing ambition or abandoning commitments.

Changes to core policy or commitments on UK net zero include:

  • Pushing the ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2030 to 2035.
  • Target plans to phase out the installation of gas boilers by 2035 see targets weakened to 80% phase-out by that year.
  • No new energy efficiency regulations on homes for homeowners and landlords who fail to upgrade their properties to a certain level of energy efficiency will no longer be fined as planned.
  • The 2026 ban on off-grid oil boilers will be delayed to 2035, with only an 80% phase-out target at that date.
  • No new taxes to discourage flying, no government policies to change people’s diets and no measures to encourage carpooling.
  • Cease of plans for ‘seven bin’ domestic recycling strategy.

In a statement, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said, “For too many years politicians in governments of all stripes have not been honest about costs and trade-offs. Instead, they have taken the easy way out, saying we can have it all. We are committed to Net Zero by 2050 and the agreements we have made internationally – but doing so in a better, more proportionate way. Our politics must again put the long-term interests of our country before the short-term political needs of the moment.”  

Lord Zac Goldsmith, Conservative peer and former minister responded that this was, “The moment the UK turned its back on the world and on future generations. A moment of shame.”

Many commentators have already drawn the conclusion that Sunak’s statement is a pointed barb at former Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s policies which were formalised at COP 26. Conservative MP Craig Mackinlay, who chairs the net zero scrutiny group, said he was “Pleased to see some pragmatism,” from Mr Sunak, and that moving back dates for net zero targets “will take pie in the sky ‘greenwash’ measures out of clearly unachievable deadlines”.

The government’s commitment to UK net zero has consistently come under fire, and we have commented on the general lack of support or advice given to the commercial and public sectors, along with too great an emphasis on specific and often limited technology in terms of commercial application. This became most obvious in terms of the drive for heat pumps which was focussed on domestic rather than commercial deliverables, despite the high proportion of commercial buildings with high daily energy demands. This has driven our call to accept the hybrid approach to commercial water heating, to not only deliver carbon reduction but make efforts to control spiralling costs reported by many who have followed government recommendations on a singular technology approach.

The recently reported changes to EPC ratings on commercial properties will not be affected, mandating change across commercial rental space. But we wait to see if any of the other policy amendments will actively affect the commercial sector. This does not seem the case, and the expectations placed on organisations in the commercial space remain the same. Net zero strategies should continue and at Adveco we continue to support a wide range of technology-based approaches for addressing the reduction of emissions from water heating and better managing associated costs whether on gas or transitioning fully to electric.

For the past year, the lack of clarity on hydrogen has been a particular sticking point, especially given the phase-out dates for new gas-fired boiler installation. Any weakening in the stance on domestic gas-fired appliances can only help the potential transition to blended hydrogen, but we continue to advocate the application of hydrogen as part of the mix of options for commercial hot water in the mid- to long-term. This is timely as the government has just opened its latest consultation phase looking at the value of blending hydrogen into the existing UK gas grid as a means to reduce overall emissions from the network has been launched by the government.

While there may be some potential benefits for reducing emissions from natural gas boilers, this was not considered the “primary strategic role” for hydrogen blending into the grid, that would be its application for industrial and commercial sites, the latter if there were high demands for hot water.

Blending hydrogen into our gas supply – through existing gas infrastructure – would open the doors to an expansion of its use as a fuel, one which could help cut emissions and stabilise bills for businesses as part of the drive toward UK net zero. Hydrogen currently makes up around 0.1% of the gas used in people’s homes and businesses – but proposals could see the volume of hydrogen in the network increase gradually over time, up to a maximum of 20%.

The consultation marks the next step in the government’s plans to reach 10GW of hydrogen production capacity by 2030, cutting carbon emissions and strengthening energy security, while helping to stabilise operational costs. Feedback is being sought until 27 October, after which we hope to see a decision taken on the issue of whether to begin blending hydrogen into the UK’s gas distribution networks.

mould, virus and dust particles IAQ

IAQ in Commercial Buildings

Given that most of us typically spend up to 90% of our time inside buildings, indoor air quality (IAQ) is a serious consideration, especially as it relates to the health and comfort of the people who occupy it. Poor IAQ can have several negative health effects, including respiratory problems, headaches, fatigue, and allergies. It can also lead to decreased productivity and increased absenteeism.

Despite hybrid working becoming firmly entrenched across the country, IAQ remains an especially important issue within commercial buildings, given the significant time people still spend within them, whether working or visiting. IAQ can be affected by a variety of factors, including the building’s ventilation system, the materials used in its construction, and the activities that take place inside it.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) guidance on air quality has advised member states to consider air pollution to be as big a threat to human health and well-being as climate change and adjusted almost all of its previous maximum target levels for airborne pollutants downwards. It linked long-term exposure to even relatively low concentrations of ambient and indoor air pollution to lung cancer, heart disease, and strokes – putting the health impact of pollution on a par with poor diet and smoking.

There are several things that can contribute to poor IAQ in commercial buildings. Some of the most common causes include:

Many building materials, such as carpets, furniture, and paints, can release harmful pollutants into the air. These pollutants can include volatile organic compounds (VOCs), formaldehyde, and asbestos.

Pollutants from activities that take place inside a building can also contribute to poor IAQ. For example, cooking, smoking, and using cleaning products can all release pollutants into the air.

And if a building’s ventilation system is not working properly, it can’t remove pollutants from the air. This can lead to a buildup of pollutants and poor IAQ.

When the Covid-19 pandemic struck, highlighting the role played by poor-quality indoor environments in the spread of viruses and other airborne contaminants, new standards were deemed necessary, elevating publicly available specifications in development by the British Standards Institute and BESA to a full British Standard BS40102-1.

The new standard gives recommendations for measuring, monitoring, and reporting indoor environmental quality (IEQ) in all types of non-domestic buildings. It includes an evaluation and rating system for air quality, lighting, thermal comfort, and acoustics.

Given that building retrofit work carried out to improve energy efficiency had, in many cases, led to poorer quality ventilation this new evaluation will give building managers a benchmark score to help them identify areas of below-par performance. This enables planned improvements which include IEQ measures in any retrofit and renovation work to improve the health and well-being of occupants.

To meet the new standard organisations will need to tackle conditions that have a direct impact on human health including humidity, and excessive levels of CO2, CO, NO2, volatile organic compounds (VOC), airborne particulates and mould.

Adveco has for many years operated a system of checks to ensure the comfort and safety of buildings, including initial system commissioning to ensure correct and safe installation of appliances, in particular its gas-fired water heating and flues. This is especially important in controlling and safely removing any CO2 and NOx emissions from proximity to building users. Regular annual service is a critical facet of such safety checks, yet can be a process that slips once products are no longer under their initial warranty period. This is both a false economy and of potential danger to building users. While new builds will embrace all-electric systems which effectively negate NOx and on-premise CO2  generation, pre-existing commercial sites need to be increasingly vigilant, especially when ageing gas-fired systems remain in use. Mould, a type of fungus which produces airborne spores, is also a contributor to poor IAQ so regular service also helps to identify or prevent cases of damaging corrosion (in soft water areas) and limescale build-up (in harder water areas) which can lead to leaks that then encourage growth of mould in plantroom areas.

Setting IEQ performance benchmarks will make it easier for facilities managers to target problem areas, but British Standards will require further tightening if they are to keep abreast of the WHO’s more stringent guidelines. 

If you operate buildings with ageing gas-fired hot water systems and have concerns about IAQ or wish to reduce carbon emissions as part of a sustainability strategy, speak to Adveco about Live Metering, system assessment and replacement options. Whether looking for high-efficiency, ultra-low emission gas appliances such as AD / ADplus water heaters and MD boilers, or a transition to electric boilers, heat pumps or solar thermal we can help with system assessment, replacement design, supply and ongoing service for more efficient, comfortable and safe working environments.   

Electricity pylon, hydrogen molecules, sunlight

Future Buildings

Are the Future Building Standards set to supply the necessary impetus for the commercial sector to deliver climate action in the UK before the 2050 net zero deadline? 

The government’s efforts to deliver climate action have been described as “worryingly slow,” and its showcase green heat pump scheme “significantly off track” by the “markedly” less confident UK Climate Change Committee (CCC). Its latest conclusions, the UK would struggle to reach its targets for cutting carbon emissions whilst losing its leadership position on climate issues.

For those operating in the commercial and public sectors, the complexity of the challenge has been long apparent, as has been the government’s skewed focus on domestic carbon reduction, despite the tremendous amount of existing commercial properties which contribute considerably to the UK’s total carbon emissions. National Grid modelling incorporates heat pump installations as a part of all future low-carbon scenarios, but within eight years its models also look to the introduction of hydrogen. Still, to be formally decided upon by the government, all we can say for certain is that hydrogen may be part of the future, and most likely for commercial properties with large demands for heating and/or hot water. What we do know is electrification of heat is part of our future and it is available now. Whilst there are macro challenges for an all-electric network, from production and transmission of enough electricity to meet increasing demands, to speed and cost of delivering new grid connections, our concerns as an industry must focus on the buildings before us.

As a hot water specialist, we recognise that low-carbon heat sources need do one thing – preheat the water, reducing energy consumption of the water heater to lower carbon emissions and better manage operational costs.

In recent years though it has become clear that carbon savings and cost savings for water heating are no longer aligned. As an example, if we take a building with an average occupancy rate of 23.5 with the provision of basins, and shower/wet rooms, typically seen in student accommodations, care homes or boutique hotels, the yearly running costs resulting from a change from gas to direct electric would increase from £1019 to £3019 (based on electricity on average currently costing as much as 3.8 times that of gas). As a result, clients will push back when faced with increased running costs. Even with an ASHP operating at optimum efficiency (for 35% recorded reduction in energy) costs would still more than double to £2862. Are modelled 70%+ reductions in carbon therefore enough of a reason to convince most organisations to actively invest in change? For some certainly, but many will struggle with this new reality. This means the deciding factor for investment in low-carbon systems needs to come from building regulations.

Although carbon intensity has been changing for years, Part L took five years to introduce new carbon figures in 2108, subsequently adopted by the Greater London Authority, and other larger UK cities. But delays have meant Volume 2 did not take effect until last year, and although carbon intensity figures were revised, there still is no separate document for new build and refurbishment. There is, as a result, great hope for the next iteration of Part L, which currently is under consultation for publishing in 2025 and is expected to be active the following year. 

The Future Buildings Standard (FBS) sets out proposals for providing a “pathway to highly efficient non-domestic buildings which are…fit for the future.”

What has become very clear from the consultation phase have been the concerns over reliance on the decarbonisation of the electricity grid and as a result increased pressure on the grid. This could well mean that we see a softening of stance from the government toward hybrid systems that allow for a more holistic and necessary approach to sustainable water heating.

With EU-legislated EcoDesign also being updated (and the UK could again recognise its directives) new gas connections are unlikely to be approved for most building types, essentially making it impossible to use on a project from 2029. Under the new FSB regulations commercial properties with large domestic hot water (DHW) demands, and those buildings that cannot easily be supplied by electricity could remain exempt. With the caveat that large amounts of renewables should also be installed.

In terms of DHW, that could be simply achieved through the addition of solar thermal systems and/or heat pumps. Interestingly this approach neatly aligns with potential future hydrogen connections, bringing new build and large-scale retrofit onto the same technology paths which could be decisive in helping reduce capital costs in the mid-to-long term. While some voice little belief in the likelihood of a hydrogen future, should the government opt to include it as part of a broader clean energy mix hybrid systems will inherently be required. This also would help alleviate serious concerns that not enough connections would be available if entire building and transport system were to depend on electric-only power.

We have alluded to the current higher operational costs of all-electric systems, but it would be a considerable surprise if, over the next five years, the government failed to address this. By matching the cost of electricity to that of gas, and levelling the field in terms of running costs, capital costs and emissions reductions become the decisive factors.

The government remains convinced that as heat pumps become more mass market prices will, later this decade, markedly fall. But we would not advise holding off on sustainability projects on this basis. Despite the complexity of current commercial hot water systems, prices are unlikely to greatly shift downwards over time, plus there is the added incentive that investment today delivers an immediate impact on a building’s carbon emissions.

To achieve net zero in buildings, we face a choice, electrify all equipment on the basis that the electricity grid will become zero carbon, or change natural gas to a carbon-free gas such as hydrogen. While the final energy solution remains undecided, planning requirements are and will continue to force change in the near term. These regulations will not completely exclude gas, but they do advantage electric-based heating and hot water, such that many buildings are already built without gas supplies, even though this reduces options in the mid-to-long term. Whichever route is chosen will require low carbon preheating and organisations need to understand this now if they are to successfully implement decarbonisation strategies.

Simply relying on the grid becoming ‘green’ is not enough. 

sustainable commercial property rentals

Enforcing Commercial Sustainability Through EPCs

What are EPCs, and why should they matter? If you own/rent or lease a commercial property then this legislation could have a far-reaching impact on both your buildings and how and where your business operates.

To ensure the timely conversion of building stock the UK has introduced increasingly stringent environmental, social and governance (ESG) regulations. The Energy Act (2018) is one such tool which has been designed to prompt landlords to ensure properties are energy efficient. When legislation relating to Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) was introduced as part of the Energy Act, there was much consternation from domestic landlords facing additional costs to bring buildings up to standard.

Since then, there have been a series of complaints cited against EPCs, not least because of the focus on the building fabric and the installed technologies, rather than how the current occupants use the buildings. Reduced Data Standard Assessment Procedure (rdSAP) software model used for EPCs, for example, ignores key factors such as the versatility of heat pumps and thermal storage in its calculations, despite these being core technologies deployed as we electrify heat. Another cited problem relates to the data which forms the foundations of the EPCs which, currently, use carbon emissions and Primary Energy Factors dating to 2012, which are no longer reflective of the UK’s energy mix which has more renewables and little to no coal.

Despite the complaints, the legislation has continued to move forward. Since 1st April 2023, the ensuing legislation – the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES) – prohibits landlords from leasing commercial buildings with an EPC rating of ‘F’ or lower. This also extends to existing tenancy agreements. The impetus for the legislation stems from the fact that rented buildings account for 61% of the total non-domestic stock in England and Wales, and are responsible for 37.5% of the total emissions from non-domestic buildings, according to recent figures from the Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS). As a result, the new legislation means buildings currently rated F or G are at risk of becoming non-performing assets for building owners and landlords. According to the most recent government estimates, around 11.4% of commercial buildings in Great Britain currently fail to meet the new standard.

And this is just the first move in the government’s overall net zero proposal for all non-domestic buildings, with requirements that the properties attain a C rating by 2027 and then a B by 2030.

The intent is to drive forward the government’s goals for net zero by 2050. Improving the energy efficiency of a building is, according to the government, “one of the most cost-effective ways in which businesses can reduce their energy use and lower the associated bills in the buildings they occupy.” The government estimates non-domestic property owners, landlords and tenants are losing around £1 billion in cost savings achievable through investment in energy efficiency, whilst capital expenditure (CAPEX) is tied up in depreciating assets such as equipment and systems. And it believes that by driving up business sustainability concerns, leaseholders inhabiting F- and G-rated properties will start searching for modernised and more sustainable buildings which help future-proof operations and the comfort of their workforces. Under EPCs properties become un-lettable, and landlords with lower-rated properties face penalties ranging from £5,000 to £150,000 based on the duration of the breach and a percentage of the rateable value of the building, the threat of non-performing assets is felt to provide new incentives for energy efficiency upgrades which should be a top investment priority.

But is an urgent implementation of energy efficiency improvements the response coming from landlords and property owners? The answer, at least from the domestic sector appears to be a resounding no, with recent research conducted by Green Building Renewables, suggesting 63 per cent plan to sell properties rather than invest in energy-efficient measures like insulation, heat pumps and solar. This figure climbs to 75 per cent of London landlords. The predominant cause for concern was one of how to raise the necessary capital for property improvements needed to meet EPCs’ ‘C’ rating. These costs increase exponentially for commercial properties where the size and age of the building, and system demands can add further complexity to refurbishments.

With expectations that 80% of the current built environment will still be in use by 2050, it is an issue that cannot be ignored, and facilities management and building owners must now urgently consider the implementation of energy efficiency improvements in commercial buildings if they haven’t already started. Financing refurbishment work through energy performance contracting is one option, using future savings on energy consumption to finance energy efficiency upgrades now. The problem we have seen though is that moving to electrification from gas does not save money, at least not based on current gas/electricity prices, and is unlikely to shift in the near to mid-term unless government policy on energy taxation shifts dramatically to bring electricity in line with gas prices. While the UK grid continues to rely on gas-powered generation of electricity, we do not see the current scenario where electricity is as much as four times the cost of electricity changing very soon.

So as a non-domestic building owner/landlord, what can you do to address EPC ratings?  As hot water specialists, we cannot address the fabric of a building as assessed for EPCs but we can address the installed water heating technologies which can be responsible for as much as 30% of the daily energy demand of commercial organisations and therefore be a main contributor to carbon emissions. We offer a wide range of low-carbon and renewable products, especially Solar Thermal and Air Source Heat Pumps (ASHP) that when packaged together with electric boilers such as ARDENT to create the FUSION water heater range, can deliver those all-important carbon reduction figures, as much as 70% compared to existing gas-fired systems.  But how can we help tackle those worrying capital investments?

The simple answer is to gather the necessary data to make the correct decisions for a property. Many organisations are making expensive mistakes looking to make a like-for-like transition from gas to electricity, not understanding that these systems work very differently when it comes to heating water efficiently to meet business demands and operational peaks. This can lead to oversizing systems and electrical supplies which comes at a considerable capital cost. Better then to use a service such as Adveco’s Live Metering, to gauge actual demands and gain theoretical usage models and design recommendations to steer sustainability strategies, whilst reducing the need for larger capital investment with fit-for-purpose design. As an added advantage, the modelling gives an indication of future operating costs which allows for greater long-term planning by facility and energy managers tasked with creating workable energy strategies to take businesses successfully towards 2050.

The cost to secure such expert survey work is minimal, and you can recoup 50% of the initial investment if you proceed with recommendations with Adveco. This means that for a matter of hundreds, rather than thousands of pounds, you can be in a position within a month or two to put actions in place that can not only help avoid costly penalties but help you be in a position to raise a rental property rating and counter threats of the building becoming a non-performing asset under future Energy Performance Certificates.

Adveco - Experts in commercial hot water systems.If your business is looking to improve its energy performance, then speak to Adveco. We ae the UK experts in commercial hot water systems with over 50 years experience.

Call now to discuss your project on 01252 551 540 or complete the contact form.

Mission Zero – A Review of Net Zero Policy

Mission Zero is an official response to the November 2020 announcement by then Prime Minister Boris Johnson of a wide-ranging plan with ten key deliverables to drive what he described as “Our green industrial revolution”. This lay the groundwork for the government’s Net Zero programme to fully decarbonise the economy by 2050 and in 2021 the  Heat and Building Strategy. The plan has received criticism, not least for the lack of financial support, with major failings highlighted in subsequent independent reviews.

Now, we have the official government-commissioned review, Mission Zero is a 340-page report chaired by Conservative MP Chris Skidmore. As with previous net zero documentation, the government and review focus is skewed toward the domestic, with much focus on the decarbonisation of homes. From the get-go, we have argued that if buildings – which are responsible for as much as 40% of UK carbon emissions – are to be successfully decarbonised there needs to be a holistic approach that evenly tackles energy demand in domestic, commercial and industrial properties. Unfortunately, the review follows the line of thinking laid out in the original documentation, so is a missed opportunity.

Next Generation Energy Supply

In terms of tackling the big issue of energy supplies, the Mission Zero review calls for the introduction of a “cross-sectoral infrastructure strategy” that will focus on building and adapting energy supplies and systems to look at improving the low-carbon production of electricity, hydrogen and other liquid and gaseous fuels. This is at least an admission that more needs to be done to address the sustainability of national energy supplies. The removal of coal-fired power stations has cleansed much of the grid electricity supply, and the addition of solar and offshore wind has meant carbon budgets have so far been achieved. This grid is less ‘dirty’ and our electric carbon footprint is on par and will soon fall below that of natural gas. Electricity still has its issues, not least the cost, which is why clear direction on the production of hydrogen and other gaseous fuels, which are seen as potentially quick and cheaper to roll out through the gas grid, is so vital for meeting future energy and heating needs, especially for heavy industry and commercial properties with high energy demands, as seen in hot water generation.

The government is to make a decision by 2026 on whether the gas should be considered as part of national heat decarbonisation plans, again this focus is domestic, but early reports suggest that hydrogen is best suited to more industrial needs, at least initially. The review does call for the government to update its analysis by the end of 2023, “Of the whole system costs of the mass roll-out of hydrogen for heating, in order to ensure that the case for economic optimality and feasibility still holds.” That said, it is perhaps telling that the review which focuses so heavily on the domestic fails to mention the development of hydrogen boilers for the UK market, although it does call for hydrogen heating community trials to continue.

This continues to place focus on an electric-led path to decarbonisation, with warnings that desired rollout of heat pumps risks being undermined without investment in grid infrastructure. As such, the review urges the government and regulator Ofgem to make sure plans are in place for the longer-term secure investment in the electricity grid to deliver sufficient capacity of cheaper, low-carbon sources of energy.

The comparable costs of wholesale gas and electricity remain problematic, with the latter on average still costing 3.8 times that of gas, creating clear running cost issues for those considering moving over from gas to direct electricity as a source for heating. The review rightly exerts pressure on the government to honour previous commitments to review the existing levies on electricity as they “adversely incentivise the use of gas”. Levying policy costs and taxes on electricity bills keeps the price of electricity artificially high, which counters the message to adopt low-carbon technologies. Of course, the application of renewables in the form of heat pumps and solar thermal can greatly reduce the need for expensive direct electric water heating. Using the technology to preheat water helps offset potentially crippling running costs. But it is worth remembering that the high temperatures required for domestic hot water (DHW) reduce the efficiency of heat pumps. The cited coefficient of performance (COP) of 4 in the review for heat pumps and their stated subsequent greater efficiency than gas alternatives has to be questioned. Operating at optimum ambient conditions and in a low-temperature space heating mode such efficiency is attainable, but it is not ‘real world’, and should a system be tasked with supplying heat and hot water combined, as most domestic boilers are required to do, you are not going to achieve that level of COP. That will require more electrical energy to be input, with consequential rises in running costs. For commercial scale systems this is further exacerbated as minimum working temperatures need to reach 60°C for safe operation, heat pumps will therefore be pushed as hard as they can to deliver preheat working temperatures of 45-50°C in order to reduce carbon. But this comes at a cost so long as electricity prices remain high.

Better then to consider the application of solar thermal, a proven, robust renewable that once installed is essentially free to operate, ensuring a more rapid return on investment. When correctly installed and maintained, solar thermal will offset as much as 30% of the energy demands of a hot water system. This is where more support is required, with a replacement for the Non-Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme (NDRHI) which closed in March 2021. The review’s focus on heat pumps fails to address this situation, or the widely regarded failure of government-funded installation of heat pumps to jump-start wider adoption either domestically or across small businesses able to apply for support.

An End to Fossil Fuels

The Mission Zero review’s clear aims are to ensure a more rapid and effective strategy to move away from relying on fossil fuels for domestic heat in favour of heat pumps, to the detriment of alternatives and the wider impact of energy use in buildings outside of homes. That reflects the relative speed in which this review was conducted and published, so it is perhaps not surprising that much is skimmed over, whilst other elements feel partisan and certainly not independent.

This is most overtly communicated through the call to introduce a ban on the sale and installation of existing natural gas boilers on the market by 2033 to ensure the widespread adoption of heat pumps. Whilst this makes for good headlines and presents the review as making aggressive recommendations, as we have seen, it makes no mention of ‘hydrogen-blend’ or ‘hydrogen-ready’ appliances which are expected to circumvent such a ban, and account for almost all gas boilers and water heaters currently being sold, let alone ten years from now. On a commercial/industrial scale, high energy users will have to be exempt, simply due to the comparable electrical demands which would be needed for replacement and the punishing operational costs that would come with it. A ban would also effectively lead to the closure of gas-grid connections. The gas grid is both a relatively modern system of national energy deployment and the core, existing storage facility for future hydrogen production. The cost of closing and then reopening gas connections should hydrogen become a major tool in delivering net zero through the 2040s would be immense and counter-productive to the rapid and low-cost rollout imagined.

For commercial organisations seeking insight into the options for attaining net zero, the Mission Zero review unfortunately provides little impetus to generate greater support for the sector at a government level. The continued focus on domestic property is another missed opportunity to address the wider criticisms of how achieving net zero is to be realistically achieved.

If you are actively looking for approaches to introduce or increase the sustainability of your property, as well as controlling operational costs from energy consumption, addressing hot water demands is a good place to start. At Adveco we can provide accurate monitoring, correctly sized applications and provide a wealth of technology options from high-efficiency gas replacement through to heat pumps, solar thermal and electric water heating which can be optimised to your property’s specific daily needs.

The ‘Mission Zero’ review of net zero policy is available here.

Hydrogen Needs More Government Support

Hydrogen Needs More Government Support

For net zero to be successful in the UK many feel hydrogen needs more government support. Hydrogen is perceived as the simplest, fastest and most cost-effective method for reducing carbon emissions from UK building stock prior to the 2050 net zero deadline. While the focus on heat pumps (ASHP) has captured the headlines as a sustainable alternative to fossil fuels they currently have their limitations in terms of delivering effective heating in legacy structures and high-temperature hot water required for commercial applications. Work continues at pace to improve the seasonal coefficient of performance (SCOP) and water temperatures required to meet commercial building standards on construction projects, but it is recognised across the industry that heat pumps alone cannot service all commercial low-carbon demands at a meaningful installation and operational price. Therefore many, especially those dealing with property refurbishment, are looking to hydrogen to fill the deficit.

Despite the calls for action, the government has not as yet made any firm commitments beyond the initial investment in research to understand the potentiality of hydrogen as an alternative to natural gas supplies.

Now, UK ministers have offered up a plan for considering all new domestic boilers be ‘hydrogen-ready’ from 2026. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has made a statement announcing with BEIS says such a strategy will reduce replacement costs but cautions there is no guarantee homes will ultimately run on the gas. The announcement also does not offer clarity on the types of boilers, but the expectation is that the ministerial consultation will focus on 100% hydrogen-ready boilers. These appliances are supplied as standard condensing natural gas boilers that can be easily refitted with a hydrogen-compliant burner in the future when 100% hydrogen supplies become available through the gas grid.

This follows the announcement of a ban on gas boilers in new homes that comes into force in 2025, although uncertainty remains over the timeframe for the phase-out of fossil gas in existing homes. A commercial ban on boilers in new builds is still set to come into play in 2035, which better aligns with the initial rollout of hydrogen services, with a blend of just 20%. Most early recipients of hydrogen blend are expected to be heavy industrial users and potentially the commercial space. Hence BEIS’ careful response about whether homes would even benefit from the installation of hydrogen-ready boilers, especially in the period from 2026 to 2040.

The consultation, which closes in late March, argues that the strategy will reduce ‘the costs associated with scrapping natural gas-only boilers before the end of their useful life. Mandating hydrogen-ready boilers will give the industry the confidence to prepare supply chains to ensure the benefits of the potential transition are maximised,” officials said.

Hydrogen needs more government support if it is expected to play a significant role in the decarbonisation of heavy industry and the transport network.  But opinion remains split on the practicality of using it in Britain’s gas network and the resulting cost to households and businesses. The consultation is aimed at also delivering confidence that consumers will not face a   premium for their purchase of hydrogen-ready boilers.

Adveco remains a strong proponent for replacing natural gas with hydrogen blends and then finally a truly green 100% hydrogen supply at a national level. Considerable technical and capital investment will be required to transform existing infrastructure, which we do not see occurring in the short term. With full ministerial support and investment, hydrogen would form a considerable portion of the technical delivery of net zero during the 2040s in advance of the 2050 deadline. Instigation of early bans on gas-fired boilers is likely to be counterproductive unless purchase costs remain on par with current appliances as we firmly believe most units purchased through the mid-2020s will never see conversion to hydrogen use, especially domestically. Better to commit to 20% blend projects and clarify that the current generation of gas appliances whether domestic or commercial must show the capability to burn the blended gas. Most, such as Adveco’s AD and MD ranges, already can without requiring any form of burner adaptation. This also has the advantage of countering claims of triallists being used as ‘lab rats’ for hydrogen rollout. The announcement of ministerial consideration may start to redress the lack of investment in the technology, as we have noted hydrogen needs more government support, but once again the focus is being placed on voter-friendly domestic responses, rather than addressing the considerable issue of carbon emissions from commercial buildings where arguably organisations are better positioned to make a difference starting today.

Read more about our hydrogen future here

Building Regulations for Commercial Hot Water.

Part L – New Building Regulations For Commercial Hot Water

Introducing changes to Part L of the Building Regulations (Conservation of fuel and power) for England represents a commitment to raising the energy performance of buildings to provide a pathway to highly efficient non-domestic buildings which are zero carbon ready, better for the environment and fit for the future. Although due to be formally released in 2025, the first of a number of interim measures come into force this month.

Whilst the new regulations will have a profound impact on new-build projects, refurbishment works are likely to be initially affected by the introduction on June 15th of new restrictions on the specifying of poor-efficiency direct-gas fired water heaters. Under Part L, new regulations for hot water systems essentially end like-for-like replacement for non-condensing water heaters by imposing new minimum efficiencies (91% for natural gas and 92% for LPG).

Each new fixed building service, whether in a new or existing building, must meet the legislated values set out for efficiency. Replacement fixed services must be at least as efficient, either using the same or a different fuel as the service being replaced with matching or preferably better seasonal efficiency.

If moving over to a new fuel system, such as oil or LPG to natural gas, it should not produce more CO₂ emissions nor more primary energy per kWh of heat than the appliance being replaced. If ageing renewables such as wind or solar are being replaced the electrical output must be at least that of the original installation, except where it can be demonstrated that a smaller system would be more appropriate or effective. And if work extends or provides new fixed building services energy meters will need to be installed.

When specifying a DHW system, sizing should be based on the anticipated demand of the building (based on BS EN 12831-3). The regulations demand systems not be “significantly oversized,” but we would argue any oversizing will have a negative impact on the efficiency and operational costs of a DHW system. So accurate sizing is critical in terms of delivering an optimal thermal efficiency assessment. That assessment will include the heat generator and any integral storage vessel, but will exclude all secondary pipework, fans, pumps, diverter valves, solenoids, actuator and supplementary storage vessels from the calculations.

As a guide the minimum thermal efficiencies for natural gas-based DHW systems, based on gross seasonal efficiency of the heat generator are:

91% –                                 Direct fired for new building with >30kW output*

91% –                                 Direct fired for new building with <30kW output*

91% –                                 Boiler efficiency for indirect-fired systems in new & existing buildings

100% assumed                Electrically heated new & existing buildings

* Product standard BS EN 15502-2-1:2012 for gas-fired boilers and appliances of a nominal heat input not exceeding 1000 kW / BS EN 89 gas-fired storage water heaters for the production of DHW

Adveco carries of range of stainless steel direct-fired condensing water heaters, the AD and new ADplus ranges, and MD boiler range, which all leverage advanced burner control to drive efficiency as high as 106%. Plus glass-lined condensing water heaters such as the AO Smith BFC Cyclone (97% efficient) and Innovo (98% efficient) provide a range of choices that already exceed the latest regulations under Part L and provides a safety net should regulations tighten in the future.

As with the broader regulations relating to space heating, controls form a necessary element of the new Part L regulations for combustion heated DHW systems. These all must incorporate a time control (independent of space heating circuits) and an electronic temperature control.

Additionally, regulations call for fully pumped circulation where compatible with the heat generator for primary hot water circuits. Automatic thermostatic control to shut off the burner/primary heat supply when the desired water temperature is reached, and primary flow if the system temperature is too high for all direct-fired circulator systems, direct-fired storage systems and indirect-fired systems. Direct-fired continuous flow systems should include a heat exchanger flow sensor to control outlet temperatures and detect insufficient flow with burner/heat input shut off. A high limit thermostat is also required to shut off the primary flow if the system temperature is too high.

Point-of-use, local and centralised domestic hot water systems should have automatic thermostatic control to interrupt the electrical supply when the setpoint storage temperature is reached or the system temperature gets too high. If there is an over-temperature trip manual reset should be possible.

Local and centralised DHW systems should have both a 7-day time control and the facility to boost the temperature by using an immersion heater in the cylinder.

Instantaneous water heaters should include a flow sensor to control the rate of flow through the heat exchanger. If the sensor detects insufficient flow, it should shut off the electrical input. Plus, a high limit thermostat is required to shut off the primary flow if the system temperature is too high.

Alongside gas, solar thermal is likely to be applied in the notional building unless heat pumps meet 100% of the actual building’s demand. Solar has been used in calculations in the past to overcome the poor fabric performance of a building. But, given the broad majority of heat pumps are currently used for preheat on commercial DHW applications, at most offsetting 70% of the energy demanded, solar thermal has a valid role to play and it’s a proven sustainable technology. Our expectations are for commercial DHW systems to continue in a familiar manner for the near to mid-term, with gas appliances used to provide cost-effective supply, especially during grid peak hours. Heat pumps and/or solar thermal will be deployed to provide preheat to that system.  As efficiencies improve and higher water temperature (more than 60°C) are achieved through heat pumps we see gas appliances slowly being phased out unless they can be replaced with green gas (hydrogen) alternatives. This naturally leads to the provisioning of hybrid systems for the coming decade, optimising a mix of current technologies that address the latest regulations, reduce emissions and crucially deliver value for money with lower operational costs.

These measures are designed to enforce a move away from fossil fuels to low carbon technology for heating and domestic hot water (DHW) and set a more rapid timeline. There is no doubt these new measures will ultimately represent a seismic shift in thinking when it comes to commercial hot water and heating applications, but a cushion has been built in to allow for the development of systems that are necessarily more complex than would be seen in domestic settings. This brings considerable opportunities for developers and specifiers willing to consider both existing and new technologies in order to deliver compliant applications in the next five years.

Whilst a fabric first approach is encouraged, low carbon technologies are being emphasised. This ultimately means heat pumps for the broad majority of DHW applications where there is a low heat demand. For commercial properties where there is typically a high heat demand gas is still allowed while the industry works to develop suitable alternatives.

One final observation on the implication for the specification and installation of commercial DHW relates to completion requirements. Part L tightens the commissioning requirements to reduce the gaps in performance over design and is intended to deliver improved project handover with accurate energy usage predictions. As a result, we can expect to see revisions of commissioning processes across the industry to help streamline delivery and speed up handover, crucial if government roll-out targets for low carbon technologies to achieve Net Zero by 2050 are to be met and superseded by commercial organisations.

Regulation changes take effect on 15 June 2022 for use in England. It does not apply to work subject to a building notice, full plans application or initial notice submitted before that date, provided the work for each building is started before 15 June 2023. Regulation changes do not currently apply to Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland. 

Adveco commercial hot water.If you’d like to discuss further our options for commercial hot water systems, speak with Adveco today.

Call us on 01252 551 540 or via our contact form.

heat pumps for education estates

A Strategy For Education Estates: Sustainability And Climate Change:

As the government pushes for rapid adoption of net zero, the brunt of early development will inevitably fall to the government-funded public sector, in the latest policy paper, the government has outlined a strategy for education estates to address climate change and sustainability.

The government has set a vision for the United Kingdom to be the world-leading education sector in sustainability and climate change by 2030. To achieve this will require education to play a positive role in responding to climate change and inspiring action by supporting the delivery of the government’s 25 Year Environment Plan and Net Zero Strategy.

The strategy applies to the Department for Education (DfE), its agencies and public bodies, as well as early years schools (and independent schools where applicable), further education, higher education and children’s social care. The strategy commits to encouraging children to be close to nature both in and out of school, whilst legislating to meet net zero by 2050 placing a restriction, through legally binding carbon budgets, on the total amount of greenhouse gases the UK can emit over a 5-year period. In the latest, Carbon Budget 6, the UK legislated to reduce emissions by 78% by 2035 compared to 1990 levels.

Strategy For Education Estates: Aims

The government’s vision for the education sector is based on delivering four strategic aims:

  • Excellence in education and skills: through learning and practical experience prepare skill base for delivering a more sustainable future
  • Net zero: by reducing direct and indirect emissions from education buildings and providing opportunities for students to engage practically in the transition to net zero
  • Resilience: adapting education buildings and systems to be resiliently prepared for the effects of climate change
  • A better future environment: enhancing biodiversity, improving air quality and increasing access to nature in and around education settings

Whilst the government has set out a broad holistic approach to addressing sustainability and climate change across the education sector, a considerable portion, through net zero and the need for resilience, directly addresses the buildings within the education estate.

Strategy For Education Estates: Where To Begin?

To reduce energy usage and achieve legal targets for carbon emissions the education sector needs to get a better understanding of the scale of the problem. Schools and universities represent 36% of total UK public sector building emissions with costs being both significant and on the rise. Financial benchmarking shows schools alone were spending around £630m per annum on energy in 2019, with costs rising subsequently.

Adapting existing buildings and designing new ones to respond to climate change and reduce emissions presents a significant challenge. By standardising reporting for decarbonisation and climate resilience the government aims to develop evidence-based actions to support a reduction in energy demand and help adapt buildings to climate risks through innovation in construction that also deliver capital and operational savings. With increased legislation on net zero, consistent reporting will become a necessity. The government’s Net Zero Strategy commits to legislate reporting of emissions if insufficient progress is made voluntarily. It has committed to working with BEIS in the development of guidance on monitoring and reporting for the education sector

This reporting is set to include published risk assessments of overheating of the education estate, to be reviewed on an annual basis from 2023, and on-site emissions from the education estate, baselined by 2024, and progress against national targets published from 2025 onwards. The reports should directly address the requirements of net zero, climate adaptation and decarbonisation activity within education buildings.

This activity is also seen as a way to enhance and contextualise valuable learning opportunities. Through participation, pupils should gain insight into the implementation of climate adaptation measures, learn how buildings can be designed for net zero, and better understand the impacts of energy and water use.

The government’s focus for education estates through until 2025 will involve evidence gathering and reporting on the various new technologies, innovation in sustainable building design, retrofit, and building management to supply further guidance alongside that already to help public sector organisations achieve net zero. Once a best value for money approach is decided upon the process of investment will accelerate.

Strategy For Education Estates: Existing Buildings

The building energy efficiency survey indicates that approximately 60% of energy use in education settings is associated with high carbon intensity fuels such as natural gas, coal and oil. Reducing demand for heating and hot water use, and/or delivering via more sustainable means is a critical need.

For existing buildings, the strategy begins with further trials of smart meters and energy management systems that can help reduce usage and operational costs. Improved collation and use of data on energy usage, water and heat will help to drive individual settings for education buildings. Current delivery of Energy Management Systems in schools which will provide real-time information about energy usage, enabling evidence-based decisions and wider advisory of setting to improve energy efficiency. This is designed to enable Climate Action Plans to be put into place to inform government on the implementation of decarbonisation strategies.

One approach is to address sustainable heating and hot water by providing off-site manufactured, low-carbon, heating systems on the existing school and college estate. These ‘Energy Pods’, similar to Adveco developed packaged plant rooms, are viewed as a potentially strategic approach to safely deliver sustainability for the education estate.

This year the government has also committed to testing the feasibility of replacing school boilers with ground or air source heat pump applications that can be upscaled to accelerate decarbonisation between 2025 and 2035 as part of a wider effort to replace fossil fuel heating systems with low carbon heating.

To support the future retrofit of the education estate and act as catalyst to the construction sector for implementing new technology the government intends to generate building technology pilots. These projects will provide evidence for mitigating the causes of climate change, investigating the resilience of existing buildings and how their environmental conditions can be improved.

Working with BEIS this year, education will be helped with accessing the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, with better-aligned application processes and funding windows. By 2023, all bids for capital funding for further education and higher education will need to consider environmental impact, carbon reduction and adaptation measures, and align with the government’s targets and objectives.

Strategy For Education Estates: New Builds

All new school buildings delivered by DfE which are not already contracted will be net zero in operation.

They will be designed for a 2°C rise in average global temperatures and future-proofed for higher indoor temperatures should there be a 4°C rise. The delivery framework for centrally delivered low-carbon, climate-resilient projects was published late last year and local authorities will need to consider environmental sustainability, carbon reduction and energy efficiency when planning with basic need grant-funding rates in place to deliver these new school capital projects. From now on bids into the Further Education Capital Transformation Programme will also be assessed to determine if the new works will be net zero in operation.

The implementation of ultra-low carbon education buildings will be accelerated. By 2025 at least four schools and one college will have been built via the Gen Zero Platform that was demonstrated at COP26. Over time, all centrally delivered new-build projects are to be built using ultra-low carbon methods.

To help understand how elements of this strategy can be quickly and cost-effectively implemented visit Adveco’s education resources for schools, academies, colleges and universities or contact us to discuss options for a site assessments to give you the accurate data you need to make a more educated decision on evolving hot water systems to be more sustainable.