A 5 step checklist to assess your project for renewables

Ground source heat pumps

Nearly any property, new build or retrofit, can benefit from renewable technologies.

Whilst the majority of properties can enjoy some type of renewable solution, there are a handful of important considerations to ensure that the system installed is efficient and worth the initial investment.

We’ve put together a simple 5-step checklist to help you assess your project for renewables:

  1. How old is the property and how well is it insulated?

    Insulation is extremely important when installing a heat pump as they operate at their most efficient when producing lower flow temperatures. The more insulation you have, the less heat that is lost. If your property is a new build (built in the last 10 years), the insulation should be up to current Building Regulations, meaning it ought to be suitable for a heat pump.

    If you are renovating it is essential that the insulation levels are being brought up to Part L1B standards in order for the heat pump to be efficient. In this scenario, you will need to consider the costs of insulating your property versus the benefit of installing a heat pump.

  2. Does the property have access to mains gas?

    Heat pumps are ideally suited to properties without access to main gas as you’re likely to see a greater return on investment when compared to electric and the fluctuating prices cost of oil and LPG fossil fuels.

    A heat pump is still be a viable eco-friendly solution for a new build property that is on the gas grid, as the high levels of insulation mean that the heat pump will operate very efficiently.

  3. Does the site have plenty of free land?

    When it comes to choosing a heat pump, the site plays a big part in the type of unit required.

    A GSHP requires free, accessible land that is approximately 3 times the total floor area of the property to accommodate the ground loops. There is also the option of digging boreholes, although this is considerably more expensive.

    If space is not available, an ASHP is a good, cost-effective alternative.

  4. Will the property require planning permission?

    It’s important to check if your property requires planning permission before installing an ASHP.

    There is varying criteria for different Planning Authorities, so it is best to obtain clarification on planning permission. The main consideration is around the heat pump’s proximity to neighbouring properties and also the noise levels emitted.

    The majority of installations will fall under permitted development and one of the checks for this is that the heat pump is sited more than 1 metre from the edge of the property’s boundary (3 metres in Wales).

    Solar is also covered by permitted development rights, however you must check with planning if you are in an AONB, a Conservation Area or if the building is listed.

    As a GSHP unit is situated inside the property, planning is not required.

  5. Electricity supply

    Most heat pump installations should only require a standard single-phase electricity supply.

    For larger properties, usually over 330m2, where a heat pump over 12kW will be specified, it is likely that a three-phase supply will be required. You would need to contact your electricity supplier for more information.

 

Qualifying for the RHI

One of the big appeals of a renewables system is that the installation cost can be offset by applying for the Government’s Renewable Heat Incentive. In order to qualify for the scheme the system must meet strict design and installation criteria, something that Nu-Heat can help you and your installer with.

Find out more about whether a heat pump is right for your project by watching ‘Everything you need to know about heat pumps‘.

You can also visit use our Heat Pump Selector Tool or call 01404 540650 to speak with an expert.

A closer look at your online quote from Nu‑Heat

Online quote

As soon as you send Nu-Heat a set of project plans and we have taken all of the relevant information required, work begins on your bespoke quote. Within 72 hours you’ll receive an email which includes a link to view the quote online.

The online quote contains a lot of useful and specific information about the system we have specified, and because it’s hosted online it is quick and easy to amend so is always up to date. The price you see covers the complete design and supply of the system, including all components.

Here’s what you can expect:

Your underfloor heating (UFH) quote

Quotation summary and price
This is a summary of everything we have included in your quote. You will see the recommended solution we are quoting under ‘system specification’ with the option to view more detailed and technical information.

This section also includes the price. Our quoted price will not change, so what you see here is what you will pay unless the project scope alters and we have to make significant revisions.

Contact details for your Account Manager are clearly displayed should you have any questions or wish to proceed to the next step.

UFH quote
Rooms
This includes a breakdown of all of the rooms in the project that require UFH, their design temperature, the system specified, and whether they require a thermostat. This is useful as it allows you to check that every room you are expecting to be part of the UFH design has been covered. It also states the number of manifolds being used for the system and in which rooms these will be located.

If anything needs changing at this point, or you have questions, simply contact your Account Manager who can help.

What’s included
A detailed breakdown of all of the components included in your UFH quote, from the manifolds right down to the tube staples. This can be a useful checklist further down the line, when you receive your delivery, to double-check quantities before installation.

Upgrades & extras
Every Nu-Heat UFH system comes with a dial thermostat as standard. This section covers popular system upgrades, such as smart or wireless thermostat options, along with the cost of upgrading.

Your heat pump quote

Quotation summary and price
This is a summary of everything we have included in your quote. It gives details on the heat pump model we are quoting along with some benefits of the particular unit, whether air source or ground source, with the option to read a data sheet for more detailed product information. You will also see a breakdown of exactly what is included as part of the heat pump system (ground loops, the heat pump unit and other components) and an energy rating for the system we have put together, also known as an ErP rating.

It’s likely that the system will qualify for the Government’s Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme and you will see that some information is included in the summary on the potential paybacks for your chosen system.

The price we have quoted is fixed unless the project should significantly change and your Account Manager’s contact details are included should you have any questions or want to progress to the next step.

System performance
This is where we get a little more technical! Expert system design is essential to creating an efficient heat pump solution. Every heat pump we design and supply must provide 100% of the property’s heat load for at least 99% of the year. In this tab we set out the Seasonal Coefficient of Performance for your heat pump system so that you can see how it will perform year-round based on local regional weather data. It also includes the total building heat requirement, based on information you provided pre-quote, together with the heat pump’s output for heating and hot water together with the ‘free energy’ you can expect the heat pump to produce.

Help with MCS compliance
In order to receive the Renewable Heat Incentive payments the heat pump must be installed to strict MCS guidelines. We have a number of installer support options to help with this, whether the system is being installed by an MCS or non-MCS registered installer. Your Account Manager will be able to talk through the best option for the project.

Get a quote

Getting a bespoke quote is quick and simple – just send us a copy of your project plans. If you are renovating and do not have drawn plans, that’s ok, you can draw the rooms and provide us with measurements to work from.

Plans can be sent via email to info@nu-heat.co.uk or through our website. You can also speak with one of the team beforehand if you have any questions about how UFH or a heat pump can work in your project by calling 01404 540650.

Nu-Heat wonders why the winner of The Apprentice was advised against the renewables market

Joseph Valente

This year’s The Apprentice winner, Joseph Valente, is a young plumber who set out with a vision of expanding his business into the renewables market. He showed drive and passion for our industry but was advised to steer clear of renewables by experts, instead focusing on smart technologies. We can’t help but wonder, why?

The advice and comment given on the show was interesting, arguing that these eco-friendly, efficient and sustainable solutions are “not that big in the UK” and that smart controls would be a better investment. It’s a contrast to recent figures from Ofgem which show that over 30,000 heat pumps, biomass, and solar thermal systems were installed in the first year of the Government’s Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme (RHI), and this doesn’t take other installations such as PV into account. You could argue that the smart stat and controls market is far more saturated with some very big players including Heatmiser, Nest and Hive. Adrian, Nu-Heat’s Marketing Director, explains further:

“There has never been a better time to start installing renewable technologies. This is in part due to the confirmation that the RHI will continue until at least 2021, acting as a huge financial incentive for homeowners to consider an alternative, more environmentally-friendly way to heat their home.

“Whilst it’s true that the yellow tape surrounding renewables can make it tricky for plumbing & heating engineers to install some of these technologies, there is support available to make this far easier. MCS accreditation can be costly, but experienced suppliers can take on this work, dealing with all of the paperwork and even visiting site to commission a system to ensure they meet the strict guidelines required for RHI payments. This allows every plumber to install renewable technologies to the highest standard without the worry, or cost, of MCS.”

» Find out more about heat pumps here

» Find out more about solar thermal here

» You can also watch our new video ‘Everything you need to know about heat pumps’ here