BEAMA is the leading trade association for manufacturers of electrical infrastructure products and systems, including services for the domestic and commercial built environment. We spoke to marketing director Kelly Butler to learn more about the organisation
CAN YOU TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT BEAMA’S WORK AND THE ROLE IT PLAYS IN THE HEATING AND PLUMBING INDUSTRY?
Energy efficiency is core to the work of BEAMA’s manufacturing membership across a broad range of product groups, including the heating and ventilating sector.
For this market, their work focuses on the 75 per cent of energy lost through a building’s central heating system and the increasingly important role that ventilation plays as insulation becomes more airtight.
BEAMA’s vision is for member products to provide a sustainable, safe, efficient and secure UK electrical system that delivers invaluable economic, social and environmental benefits.
HOW IMPORTANT IS IT FOR INSTALLERS TO RECOMMEND THE RIGHT HEATING CONTROLS?
Despite the importance of and general industry understanding around energy efficiency in a home’s central heating system, installers still commonly overlook or forget the opportunity to improve the heating controls, and in turn make an up-sell and more profit in the process.
Data from the government’s Energy Follow-Up Survey of more than 2,600 households, published in 2014, showed that around half of UK homes with a gas or oil central heating system lacked either a room thermostat or thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs), and sometimes both. That’s around 10 million UK homes without the basic temperature controls, which have been compulsory for new heating systems since the 2005 update of the Building Regulations.
These householders are either using far more energy than they need to in order to keep warm and/or are struggling with a system that does not provide satisfactory heating when and where it is needed.
WHAT IMPACT CAN EFFECTIVE CONTROLS HAVE?
We have conducted research in association with the University of Salford using its Energy House, which found that a heating system with a room thermostat and TRVs could cost up to 40 per cent less to run than a system without these controls.
The research also demonstrated that a well-controlled system distributes heat more effectively and efficiently around a typical home, highlighting the huge potential for UK householders to reduce their energy bills.
For installers worried about disruptive work when installing controls such as room thermostats, consider that wireless options can save £120 on the average heating bill, along with the saleable benefits of draining down, cleaning and treating systems while installing TRVs.
Our campaigning work continues to raise awareness of the benefits of heating controls for consumers and installers, and there is a lot of information to be found at www.controlyourhome.org.uk
AS WELL AS THE USE OF HEATING CONTROLS AND THERMOSTATS, WHERE ELSE SHOULD INSTALLERS FOCUS THEIR ATTENTION?
Working with BEAMA, the underfloor heating industry has experienced year-on-year sales growth of around 10 per cent since launching its Ask for Underfloor campaign. That’s not surprising when you consider that underfloor heating has become a more popular and desirable feature in a home than conservatories and hot tubs, thanks to some successful industry promotion.
Research demonstrates that underfloor heating systems are an aspirational purchase for consumers, with 36 per cent of respondents to a One Poll survey saying they would prefer to have it as their first choice in a new home rather than other aspirational features. Through its website, BEAMA gives customers all the information they need to push their installers to consider this low-temperature option, and not only for aesthetic and comfort reasons, but for energy savings too.
According to a research-backed report published by Euray (the European Radiant Heating Association), the energy efficiency benefits are compelling, with 25 per cent energy saved using conventional heating sources as the boiler can operate at its most efficient setting. Consumers buying a low-temperature heat pump can enjoy up to 40 per cent energy saving benefit compared with using radiators.
Again, some installers have shied away from underfloor heating, considering it a disruptive measure, but the technology has moved way beyond the old perceptions of difficult construction integration.
Low-height and lightweight thin systems are growing in popularity as they can be simply applied to existing floor surfaces (including upper floors) with various degrees of insulation required. Visit www.askforunderfloor.org.uk or www.beama.org.uk to find plenty of information on new system types and benefits to your customers.
BEAMA’S TOP ENERGY-SAVING TIPS FOR INSTALLERS
First, always make time to look at the heat generator and consider whether low-running-cost, renewable options, such as heat pumps, are suitable. Remember, there are government incentives available as the UK phases out high-carbon fossil fuels from the network. For many households, now is the time to consider renewables.
When it comes to heating system controls, ensure a full set is in place or the home owner is using them correctly. Check that the system is working effectively; if the radiators are not uniformly providing heat, you may need to clean and treat the system to remove sludge and scale. Constant use of inhibitors and filters will ensure a healthy and efficient system in the long term.
Consider comfort, lifestyle and long-term benefits. Low-temperature systems are renewable-ready, and systems such as underfloor heating can improve energy efficiency through optimising system functionality and providing even temperature distribution.
Get the most out of BEAMA: installers can learn more about ventilation and indoor air quality by researching ‘my healthy home’ online, as well as connected homes and smart meters by visiting the BEAMA website. For all the latest information, follow BEAMA on Twitter at @BEAMA_Htg and subscribe to the BEAMA Heating and Ventilation Portfolio Group on LinkedIn
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