Good news for the RHI following the Government’s Spending Review

There has been a fair amount of speculation on the future of the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) over recent months, so many were pleased when Government confirmed that they are committed to the RHI until at least 2021.

The outcome of the recent Spending Review was a positive move with the Government continuing to fund the RHI as an incentive for homeowners, with the aim of encouraging many to opt for an efficient and eco-friendly way to heat their home.

This announcement is great news for anyone currently looking to install a renewable technology such as a heat pump, solar thermal, or biomass, in their home as they can apply for funding with certainty that the scheme will continue to run. The RHI offers a tangible benefit with the tariffs helping to offset the cost of system installation

The continuation of the RHI is also good news for installers. By backing such an appealing incentive we can expect the interest in renewable solutions to grow, bringing more work of this type to installers across the country.

 

Useful resources

You can find out a bit more about heat pumps and solar thermal through our list of useful resources:

» Heat pump selector tool
» Ground source heat pumps
» Air source heat pumps

Nu-Heat also offers a range of MCS support packages for installers, ensuring any plumbing & heating engineer is able to install a renewable system that complies with strict MCS guidelines, qualifying for the RHI. Call us on 01404 540650 for more info.

 

RHI tariffs

When opting for a ground source heat pump (GSHP), you could receive around £15,000 back in tariff payments over the 7 years period thanks to the RHI.

Current RHI tariff rates (December 2015)

RHI PAYMENTS
GSHP
ASHP
SOLAR THERMAL
RHI Tariff payment
pence / kWh
19.1
7.42
19.51
Possible RHI payments over 7 years using Nu-Heat renewable technologies*
£14,154
£4,907
£1,540
*An average two-bedroomed house, using 15,000kWh of heating per year with a SPF of 3.4 on GSHP and 2.7 on ASHP.
Solar thermal based on average 3-bedroomed, 4-person household using 49,640 litres of hot water p.a.
May 2014.

Domestic RHI – set to revolutionise the UK’s home heating market

Nu-Heat welcomes DECC’s confirmation of the payment levels available under the Domestic RHI.

“The industry has been waiting a long time for these figures and the announcement made by DECC is not only what we wanted to hear but necessary, also,” says Adrian Troop, Nu-Heat Sales Director.

“Homeowners that had put their plans to invest on hold and those now interested in heat pumps and/or solar thermal now have clarity on tariff rates; a clear financial incentive to commit to the installation of a renewable heating system.”

The much anticipated RHI tariff rates are encouraging and at the higher end of those suggested by DECC in its consultation of the scheme.

 

Long term RHI tariff support has been set at:

Air source heat pump: 7.3p/kWh

Ground source heat pump: 18.8p/kWh

Solar thermal: 19.2p/kWh at least

Typical example: Average 3-bedroomed house using 29,000kWh of heating p.a.#
Technology SPF## Renewable heating amount Tariff payment Annual payment Payment over 7 years
GSHP: 3.7 14,595kWh £0.188/kWh £2,743.78 £19,206.49
ASHP: 3 13,333kWh £0.073/kWh £973.33 £6,813.00

#According to the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
## Seasonal Performance Factor based on UFH or radiators running at 45oC design condition.

What is the RHI?

The Renewable Heat Incentive aims to repay the installation cost of a renewable technology, such as a heat pump or solar thermal, meaning that homeowners can protect themselves from ever increasing energy prices. Payments will be back dated to mid-2009 when the scheme was first announced and will be paid over a 7 year period.

The Renewable Heat Premium Payment (RHPP) remains available in the run up to the launch in Spring 2014 with the value of the grant subtracted from any RHI payments.

Those off the gas grid could cut their fuel bills by thousands of pounds a year by taking advantage of the Domestic RHI. In addition to and unlike the RHPP the RHI is now also available to those dwellings that are on the gas grid, in an aim to encourage better practice. Payments for those on the gas grid will also be related to predicted efficiency performance.

The renewable technology must be MCS accredited, as must the installer, for the system to be eligible under the RHI. Installers are advised to carry out relevant training on renewable products and consider becoming MCS accredited in their own right.

Nu-Heat’s full range of air and ground source heat pumps and solar thermal products are all accredited under MCS.

Energy & Climate Change minister Greg Barker said the announcement sent a clear signal to industry that the Coalition is 110% committed to boosting and sustaining growth in this sector, and stressed that government remains committed to opening the scheme for applications in Spring 2014.

Why UFH Offers a Practical Solution for Low Temperature Heating

“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that the lower the flow temperature required for central heating, the more efficient the performance of the system,” says Adrian Troop, Nu-Heat’s Sales & Marketing Director. “Underfloor heating is an extremely practical choice to support the drive towards energy efficiency and, as such, continues to offer opportunities for installers wanting to explore new business openings.”

 

Applications

Underfloor heating (UFH) is the perfect partner for most kinds of heat source, including condensing boilers and renewable technologies such as heat pumps. By enabling the lowest flow temperatures to be achieved, UFH helps to maximise efficiency and improves heating bills. It is an extremely flexible product and can be installed in a wide variety of building types including new build (domestic and commercial), renovations and increasingly in retrofit, through the use of low profile floor constructions. UFH is being successfully used in a diverse range of properties, from family homes, barn conversions and apartments to offices, hospitals and even castles.

Floor constructions

UFH works well with screed floors, floating floors and suspended floors, each meeting different requirements with regard to specification and installation. Screed is the simplest floor construction and often gives the best performance as screed is such a good heat conductor. The output from a suspended floor is lower than screed but good system design will ensure that output requirements are easily met. Floating floors have a higher heat output than suspended floors although still not as high as screed; however, installation time is quicker as there is no drying time to be factored in, making this a popular and effective option.

Retrofit

The potential of UFH to support low temperature heating systems in older properties has frequently been dismissed due to questions surrounding floor height build up, response times and insulation, but recent developments in floor constructions suitable for retrofit now make UFH a feasible option. For example, Nu-Heat’s low profile UFH floor construction LoPro10™ has a height build-up of just 15mm and can be laid over the existing deck, so there is no requirement to pull the existing floor up. With one-third less thermal mass than a screed floor, LoPro10™ heats up rapidly, which is an obvious advantage in older properties.

To get the best performance insulation levels will need to be increased through improvements such as double-glazing, loft and cavity wall insulation, meaning that Georgian and Victorian properties with little or no insulation are generally unsuitable for UFH due to the poor levels of air tightness. A design and supply company such as Nu-Heat will advise on the suitability of underfloor heating on an individual basis as well as provide projected performance details and a bespoke design for each system.

Design

System design is key to good performance so it’s important to establish the most suitable floor construction and flow rates for a property. Nu-Heat takes elements such as existing insulation and heat loss parameters into account to ensure that not only the desired amount of heat is provided but that the system is also economical and efficient.

Light commercial

For many domestic installers, the light commercial market presents opportunities for UFH installation. Care homes, social housing, holiday complexes, schools, showrooms and warehouses are all potential applications for UFH. The system is relatively straightforward to install, as long as it has been well designed and is supported by clear, comprehensive installation documentation.

Nu-Heat usually supplies 14mm pipe for domestic properties, whereas commercial projects use a 20mm pipe system that is flexible and easily worked into spaces greater than 45sqm. For acoustic floor constructions that meet Part E, Nu-Heat has over a dozen commercial Robust Detail (RD) options and has recently developed AKA 14, which, although it is not RD, has been tested and proven to meet required acoustic levels whilst removing the need for a second layer.

Heat source – heat pumps

Underfloor heating and heat pumps are widely recognized as perfect partners as they are both suited to the low temperatures needed to maximize system efficiency – the higher the flow temperature that the heat pump is asked to produce the less efficient it becomes. As a result, UFH, which typically operates at a low temperature of 40-45 oC, allows the heat pump to operate at optimum efficiency and ultimately minimize fuel costs for the homeowner. Further reductions in flow temperatures to around 30oC – 40oC can be achieved by using additional tubing and more efficient floor constructions.

Heat source – condensing boilers

For properties that remain reliant on fossil fuels, the best option is for the homeowner to upgrade their boiler to a condensing boiler. Where a conventional boiler is 85% efficient, a condensing boiler can be up to 92% efficient. The condensing boiler actually needs less fuel to raise the temperature of the heating water by the same amount. This means that UFH will offer better energy efficiency than a radiator system which cannot make the most of a condensing boiler’s capabilities at typical system temperatures.

Lowest temperatures

Code 6 is getting closer, with just three more years until it becomes mandatory. In the run up to 2016, flow temperatures will become increasingly lower – and effective heating may well be achieved at just 35°C. As the business of heating houses changes, UFH continues to offer a way to reach lower temperatures, and remains an ideal solution for many applications.