“No Central Heating” standard
The ‘No Central Heating’ specification dramatically reduces the space heating requirement for new homes and provides a route to zero carbon neutral homes as required by Government by 2016.
Various commercial systems and standards already exist, but these tend to involve complex and costly components and design procedures. The ‘No Central Heating’ specification is based on established industry standard components and working practices and can achieve extremely high levels of energy and carbon reduction at minimal additional cost over current norms.
Aims – what the specification is designed to achieve
The received wisdom is that a law of diminishing returns applies when it comes to insulation – the more you put in the less benefit you get from it. Of course, the legal minimum standards are continually increasing – legislation through Building Regulations is requiring ever higher levels of thermal performance, while the UK Government has set a deadline of 2016 for “carbon neutral” new homes.
The ‘No Central Heating’ specification, however, is so efficient that it allows the heating system to be “designed out” in a new home, thus removing the single greatest element of energy consumption and carbon emissions in dwellings. In economic terms, a tipping point is reached where the cost of additional insulation is balanced (or exceeded) by the avoidance of capital cost for a central heating system – with greatly reduced running costs and carbon emissions over the lifetime of the dwelling.
Comfort levels are maintained throughout the dwelling at all times of the year via specification of a room heater in the main living area. Additional options include towel radiators run from the hot water cylinder, which itself is supplied via either solar water heating panels and a back boiler on the room heater, or an air source heat pump, depending on various factors including the client’s preference. A wood pellet room heater, for example, with integrated air source heat pump and hot water cylinder (complementing solar water heating panels) requires minimal intervention by occupants and achieves ultra low energy and carbon performance.
A key element of this project was the development of a highly energy efficient dwelling specification using industry standard components rather than specialised manufactured systems or elements. In so doing, the cost of achieving “passive” performance is greatly reduced compared to certain other commercially available systems.
actions taken to establish the concept –
Our System Explained
Key to the ‘No Central Heating’ specification, on which a patent has been secured for UK and Ireland, is a highly insulated fabric using industry standard timber frame panels, with high levels of air-tightness and a simple domestic mechanical ventilation heat recovery system. Extensive analyses were carried out to arrive at an optimum fabric specification using industry standard components (eg 150mm timber stud external wall panels) which would allow the central heating system to be designed out.
Dynamic heat loss calculations were performed taking into account fabric and ventilation heat loss (with heat recovery), and solar and internal heat gains, to ensure comfort conditions and to allow sizing of a room heater in the main living area. The specification can meets the “passivhaus” space heating benchmark of 15kWh/m² pa.
Impact and benefits –
goals achieved through implementation
The ‘No Central Heating’ specification provides a route to 2016 carbon neutral new housing using industry standard components. The specification represents a decrease in capital costs over the anticipated 2013 standards assuming building regulations minimum fabric and ventilation performance which the cost savings for the projected 2016 standards are even greater. In the social housing sector in particular, the impact on fuel poverty could be immense – removing at a stroke the single greatest element of energy consumption and cost for most dwellings.
Benefits to Homeowners
- Indemnified against rising fuel costs
- Avoidance of maintenance burden and costs
- Enhanced quality of life
- Higher disposable income
- Reduction in Fuel Poverty Risk
- Enhanced resale value
Benefits to Housebuilders
- Cost benefits – lower build cost compared to projected 2013 and 2016 standards
- Consistency of approach – building fabric remains the same through 2013 and 2016 upgrades
- No central heating system (avoidance of cost, time and coordination on site)
- Enhanced sale value due to lower running costs
- ‘No Central Heating’ Quality Assured Integrated Design
- Unique selling point to differentiate from competition
- Future-proofing of cost base up to and beyond 2016