The legislation lowdown

Earlier this month, changes to technical standards (known as Boiler Plus) under Building Regulations came into force in England. For housing associations, this means all new combi boilers will have to be fitted with one of four energy efficiency controls. Scott Ditchfield, sales director at Potterton, gives the lowdown on one of the easiest, most cost-effective ways to ensure compliance.

Government statistics show there are 2.28 million fuel-poor households in the UK. Social housing accounts for 19 per cent of the housing stock and residents are more likely to suffer from fuel poverty due to being on lower incomes. It’s a no brainer then that housing associations should fit low cost, energy efficient heating systems to drive down costs and ensure a comfortable environment for tenants. Thankfully, new legislation introduced this year will help facilitate this.

The requirements set out in the new Boiler Plus legislation include a minimum 92 per cent ErP space heating energy efficiency rating for all gas boilers together with mandatory time and temperature control for all boiler types. All new combi boiler installations must include one of the following energy saving options: weather compensation, load compensation, flue gas heat recovery or smart control with automation and optimisation functions.

Ultimately it varies on a case by case basis as to which control is best suited to a particular system. That being said, weather compensation can be one of the more cost-effective routes to compliance, making it perfect for housing associations.

The Building Regulations Domestic Heating Compliance Guide defines weather compensation as, “A control function which maintains internal temperatures by varying the flow temperature from the heat generator relative to the measured outdoor air temperature.”

Weather compensation improves boiler efficiency under part load conditions which is especially relevant in the UK, where for most of the year the boiler will run at a fraction of its maximum output. Using weather compensation means the boiler flow temperature is controlled to a reduced value for most of the year, while still maintaining constant comfort.

It also reduces unnecessary wear and tear caused by boiler cycling, which can be an unwanted side-effect when using a simple on/off heating control. Although Boiler Plus mandates controls such as weather compensation for new combi boiler installations, it should also be considered for retrofits as it can boost efficiency when installed alongside most modern boilers. This makes it a good option for housing associations and landlords who are upgrading their housing stock. By choosing a highly efficient boiler supported by an energy saving heating control, housing associations and landlords can not only ensure they comply with this latest legislation but also make sure their heating systems are future-proofed for years to come.