Shaun Hurworth from Glen Dimplex Heating & Ventilation examines the benefits of modern electric heating technologies for housing associations.
It is a common challenge for housing associations and PRPs across the UK. How can they improve the efficiency of their housing stock and meet increasingly stringent regulations, when faced with tightening budgets?
Capital expenditure projects may well be coming under increased scrutiny, but if they are shown to deliver long-term savings for residents and improve the efficiency of properties, then many believe there is no better time to invest. Especially considering the pace at which technologies have advanced in recent years.
Setting the scene
Take electric heating, for example.
More than 60 per cent of energy in the home is used for heating so it’s easy to see the potential of an energy efficient heating system.
Almost ten per cent of social rented homes in England use electric heating, according to the Government’s English Housing Survey, using figures from 2016, and there are a number of factors driving the viability of heating upgrades in such properties.
A Lot 20 to consider
Firstly, the continued development of innovative heating technologies from leading manufacturers like Dimplex. Housing associations now have a decision to make on electric heating solutions, with a range of options available including direct acting heating (for example panel heaters and radiators), conventional storage heating and high heat retention storage heating, which stores energy during off-peak periods and uses advanced insulation properties to deliver heat at any time of the night or day.
There is also legislative change, like the recent introduction of Lot 20 of the EU’s Energy Efficiency Directive, which sets minimum efficiency standard for ‘fixed’ electrical heating appliances.
To meet the requirements of the new legislation, thousands of products have been redesigned to include more advanced controls with smart features such as temperature control via open window detection, distance control via an app, and even adaptive start control to suit the individual requirements of the user.
The changes also mean entry-level products have integral controls such as mechanical and electrical temperature/timer controls.
Warming to electric heating upgrades
With all of this in mind, and with a legacy of ageing electric storage heaters installed in hundreds of thousands of social housing properties, there is ample opportunity to deliver significant improvements.
Whilst these storage heating systems may still be working, they are incomparable to modern technologies in terms of efficiency, comfort and control – not to mention running costs. We estimate that there are more than two million properties in the UK with outdated storage heaters in need of replacement and a good proportion of those are in the social housing sector.
A modern replacement
The best solution lies in replacing conventional storage heaters with high heat retention storage heaters like Dimplex’s innovative Quantum system, which remains the only heating system categorised as a high heat retention heater according to SAP 2012 specification criteria. In fact, findings show that upgrading the electric heating system in a residential property to a Quantum system can improve the EPC rating of a property by up to 11 points, potentially raising it by a whole band.
Independent research shows that Quantum’s clever use of off-peak energy can also provide up to 47% running cost savings when compared to an electric convector or radiator system, and a 27% running cost saving compared to a standard storage heater system, so it will certainly appeal to residents too.
And if that’s not enough, Dimplex offers a free trial for qualifying housing associations – so you can see the benefits for yourself.