The top 10 things to consider when looking at Lithium-ion batteries

The myriad of choices to be made from a facilities management perspective regarding effective energy management means it can be confusing as to which route or decision to make. One such area is establishing an effective uninterruptible power supply (UPS) to ensure business continuity and assured uptime. While many aspects of technology for uninterruptible power supplies have rapidly advanced, one that is still firmly rooted in a traditional approach is batteries. In particular, lead acid batteries still feature as a dominant and essential part of any typical energy storage mechanic within a UPS operation. Surprisingly, there has been little evolution in the battery arena for a number of decades, despite the significant advances in batteries for other electronic equipment, such as smart phones and vehicles. So the time is ripe for all the lessons learned in other technological environments, to spill over into the critical power world.

Yes, Lithium-ion batteries are already having an impact, but what should you be considering when looking at the battery options?

Prime time – the desire for data, power and information is not going to disappear, in fact it is rapidly accelerating with a danger of exceeding capability. So, every data centre, infrastructure or building with critical power requirements has to be several steps in front and unfortunately traditional lead-acid battery options are increasingly going to struggle to meet this demand.

Significant capacity – delivering substantially more energy and power, Lithium-ion batteries are ideally positioned to cope with the rising energy requirements that many operations now expect of their battery support.

Space advantages – the power to space ratio that these batteries provide, taking up a third or less than conventional lead-acid batteries means a reduced UPS footprint and importantly weight, which in turn means spaces, can be used more effectively.

Reduction in cooling requirements – their smaller size also translates into reduced cooling requirements resulting in more flexibility of where to install and also the associated costs of extensive cooling.

Reduced sensitivity – temperature fluctuations have limited effect on lithium-ion battery life, with them being able to withstand significantly wider temperatures ranges.

Increased visibility – more sophisticated battery monitoring systems means energy storage and the battery’s health can be checked and potentially predict UPS failures.

Extensive life expectancy – the cost of battery replacement (which can be costly and potentially include extraction and installation costs alongside the hardware, not to mention system down time) can be significantly reduced as Lithium-ion batteries are expected to last far more than the usual 10 years.

Reliability of energy – a UPS battery needs to kick in quickly just when you need it, and kick in with quite some power and only really for a relatively short period of time, until the generator establishes itself. This is contrary to how many other batteries operate, which is where the right

Lithium-ion battery is ideally suited to meet this instant and strong demand.

Lower total cost of ownership (TCO) – easily more competitive, Lithium-ion batteries may initially be more expensive to purchase, but as they last almost twice as long, ultimately their pay-back is assured. Plus as they are smaller, they save costs in terms of both the physical space they take up and their cooling requirements.

More environmentally friendly – obviously being recyclable and not containing hazardous materials is important, but in reality to give this a true view in terms of its environmental stance we need to consider the entire aspect of the Lithium-ion battery and their overall lower consumption of energy and cooling. This includes their requirement for less energy to keep them charged, plus they self-discharge at a lower rate than lead acid batteries. Granted, it is important to bear in mind the need to have a battery management system, which might potentially consume an equivalent amount in terms of energy.

With ASHRAE and other organisations recommending increasing data centre temperatures to save on cooling costs, Lithium-ion batteries are likely to become a core aspect of uninterruptible power supplies, as they are much better suited to these warm environments than their traditional counterparts. In addition, the overall design of a data centre is likely to shift, as they may negate the need for separately climate controlled rooms completely, with them being installed alongside the UPS in the IT room. So, the times are changing and we are on the cusp of entering a new arena in terms of UPS installation and management and it will be interesting to see the ripple effect that the use of Lithium-ion batteries are going to create in data centre design.


Time to consider a containerised power solution?

Cost of energy, increases in data volume, concerns about national energy supplies are all likely to feature as just one of many facility management headaches. Without obviously having the ability to predict the future, there is little else to do but be prepared for every eventuality. Granted this could prove to be a potentially costly exercise, but there will always be ways of at least trying to mitigate what tomorrow holds. With the best will, most energy management approaches will endeavour to allow for system loading and the potential for expansion, however budget and space constraints can mean from an IT perspective, it is difficult to move at the pace that computers, data processing and communications technology are developing. However, self-contained power solutions can be quickly delivered and installed with all the necessary switch gear and distribution panels to supply uninterruptible power or even provide a fully operational server room or data centre to meet demands.

Why might you want a containerised power solution?

Maybe the standby power solution originally purchased no longer meets the requirements, or unfortunately you have neither the space nor budget to complete a full UPS upgrade.  The current data centre might be overloaded, but there is a lack of space to add to the existing operation. Perhaps the business is not quite ready to take on the full expense of the capital investment, or a move is afoot and really you could do with a power solution that can move with the business.

Every situation is different, and not every environment requires a permanent standby power installation. In some instances a temporary system may be preferable to address energy management challenges.  This could be to deliver a resilient power supply for a specific project or event, to even supporting the replacement of existing critical power equipment.

The advantages of a ‘plug-and-play’ standby power approach

Whatever the intentions, a containerised power solution will deliver a flexible, modular and scalable energy management system – all designed to meet requirements. The advantages are that this is a realistic option to expanding the critical power capacity, either permanently or for a temporary hire on a short, medium or long term basis. Fully weather proofed, these self-contained spaces are ideal at optimising space and as they are built and tested off site, they arrive ready to connect and use.

In addition, the compact footprint (either a 20-foot or 40-foot container) means they can be located externally, allowing for more of the building to be used for the critical IT infrastructure and limiting alterations to the current site. Plus, the modular system makes them scalable and able to be easily integrated onsite using trailer mounted transport. Their efficiency using the latest technologies means they can actually save energy and reduce operational costs, while being affordable to fit with short or long-term business requirements and budgets.

A standby power system for today, able to react to tomorrow’s needs

Delivering power when and where you need it, containerised power solutions can be delivered, installed and maintained at your chosen location. Guaranteeing against power failure the options of what can be done with these containers are endless. You might be seeking a generator of 40 – 500KVA or even a self-contained unit of up to 2MVA backup power. With complete UPS systems of up to 1MVA, the variations are extensive and can actually be built up over time as the business expands.

Integrated air conditioning or natural ventilation cooling systems means that there are no concerns for equipment overheating. You may also have reservations about the noise, particularly if they are located outside of the building, however innovations in sound proofing means they are designed to meet 85 dBA at 1m with 70-80mm rock wool with the additional option for extra density and thickness to further control noise levels. And importantly, they can also be equipped with other essentials such as electrical services, including lighting, power, intruder, fire alarms and fire suppression systems.

As Martin Pearce, Sales Director at Critical Power says, “Whatever your reasons; a custom-made containerised energy management system, UPS, data centre or generator offers assured business continuity. The result is a transportable system that can be rapidly deployed to meet the requirements of your business.”


Voltage optimisation – a facility manager’s energy saving ally

Following the mandatory energy usage audits recently carried out by qualified assessors as part of the Environment Agency’s Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS), voltage optimisation emerged as one of the technologies most regularly recommended to companies as a viable solution to reduce energy consumption levels.

This article explains why, on the back of the recent ESOS audits, it is important that facilities managers fully understand the role voltage optimisation can play in their sustainability strategies.

Voltage optimisation is a well-established and highly effective method of reducing a company’s energy consumption, decreasing its carbon footprint and producing savings on electricity bills.

The concept behind the technology is simple. On the whole, power is supplied at a higher voltage than is necessary. Although the ideal voltage required for most electrical equipment in the UK is 220V, the average delivered is actually 242V – voltage can be delivered at levels as high as 253V. The mismatch between voltage required and voltage delivered results in a waste of energy and of course money. Voltage optimisation corrects the over-voltage and brings it in line with the actual needs of the equipment on site, through use of a device installed in series with the mains electricity supply.

High Voltage

High Voltage (HV) side optimisation technologies offer optimisation solutions to sites that own their own distribution transformers. Many technologies exist, but there is only one system currently on the market that provides HV, electronic variable voltage optimisation. This is a combined solution that replaces an inefficient on-site HV transformer with an amorphous core super-low loss HV transformer, with integrated electronic-dynamic voltage optimisation technology.

Depending on the age and type of the transformer that it replaces, an amorphous core transformer can provide between 1% to 5% savings simply because it is so much more efficient. In addition to savings on replacement of the transformer, the integrated voltage optimisation technology can be expected to provide further savings of anywhere between 12% and 15%.

Low Voltage

Low Voltage (LV) side optimisation is connected to the low voltage side of a building.
There are two variations of LV side optimisation technology available: fixed and variable (also known as electronic-dynamic, electronic or intelligent voltage optimisation). Fixed voltage optimisation systems reduce the incoming voltage by a set amount to the optimum level for site operations. However, output varies as the input voltage differs.

Variable voltage optimisation systems set the output voltage at the optimum level and maintain this by systematically managing the peaks and troughs in the power supplied, irrespective of the incoming voltage levels, to ensure that voltage is supplied at a constant, stable level.

Optimum savings

Voltage optimisation provides savings on a variety of loads but not all equipment will consume less energy. The greatest savings come from inductive loads such as lighting and motors, especially if motors are not always loaded at 100% of their capacity. A building that has fixed speed devices such as air-handling units, multi stage compressors (i.e. chillers), pumps and standard switch-start fluorescent fittings, will achieve high savings.

Some loads such as VSDs will also see savings but at reduced levels and some loads will yield zero savings but will benefit in other ways. It is important to understand the electrical loading characteristics of your site and to remember that no two sites are the same.

All sectors can profit from voltage optimisation technology – from hospitals that need to maintain a steady power delivery 24 hours a day to operate sensitive, multi-million pound equipment, to government buildings, hotels, supermarkets and warehouses that are keeping a keen eye on energy expenditure and carbon emissions in order to meet sustainability targets.

The manufacturing industry particularly benefits from its ability to lower the operating temperatures of motors, thus reducing maintenance costs.

There is no downside to voltage optimisation. It can be used in conjunction with other sustainable technologies such as solar or wind power, and pays for itself within three years. After that, the substantial savings are enduring and feed straight back to a business’s bottom line.

Designed, engineered and manufactured in the UK since 2002, Powerstar is the market leading voltage optimisation brand. Powerstar systems are able to deliver substantial reductions in energy consumption through fixed or electronic-dynamic optimisation at either the HV side (High Voltage) or LV side (Low Voltage) of a site without impacting on the business operations of the building itself.

Having worked with an impressive portfolio of blue chip clients, government departments and a range of SMEs the Powerstar team are industry experts in voltage optimisation, able to provide advice and guidance to facilities managers looking to implement voltage optimisation on the back of ESOS audit recommendations for their sites.

 For more information visit or email


Reduce energy costs with a holistic approach to energy management

With the climate discussions in Paris at the end of 2015, energy efficiency and usage reduction is understandably a hot topic. However, what does this really mean from an energy management perspective for facilities management?

You may well be happy with your current energy supply, usage and back-up support, but how do you really know that this is operating as efficiently as it can be? With energy costs likely to form a huge proportion of complete operating costs, the central task of energy management is to reduce cost for energy provision without compromising on the work processes. The only way of truly identifying this is by conducting a survey out, at the outset, to ensure all relevant information and system characteristics are gathered. Without a detailed understanding of an entire environment and what it is trying to achieve, it is very difficult to identify if a supply, with its associated load types, is even viable for power quality improvements. 

An effective survey will explore energy efficiency, conduct load or harmonic surveys and complete power quality investigations to give a complete picture. For example, what are the types of loads and what percentage do they represent? This could include heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) requirements, determining transformer type and what the tap setting are, right the way through to the levels of harmonic current and voltage distortion and how they are impacting on energy costs. The list goes on, but only then with the right information in place, can the right type of action or equipment be identified to ensure it will give the best return, while also allowing for redundancy and built in headroom.

Ultimately, an effective energy management approach needs to be an integral part of facilities management and in fact an essential part of a company’s overall strategy. It needs to encompass critical decisions on energy investments, while avoiding energy risks. Whilst also being transparent about the total cost of ownership (TCO) of equipment and maximising operating efficiencies, energy usage and running costs.

As Martin Pearce, Sales Director at Critical Power says, “Practically for facilities management, effective energy management is about adopting a holistic approach using a combination of tactics. This includes; market analysis of current energy supply, combined with site surveys to determine inefficiencies (and potentially efficiencies!), while adopting a turnkey approach for any installation changes required, so the headache is taken away.  However, it does not stop there, as it is important to minimise any downtime in the future by ensuring business continuity, through remote monitoring and regular service maintenance support.”

The likelihood is that energy management and efficiency issues will continue to proliferate as power demands increase and change. This is why it is so important that whatever the output from the climate conference in Paris, that businesses, particularly facilities management continue and in fact increase their focus on energy management. The pressure to address this will continue to be principally from a financial cost-saving perspective, however there is now likely to also be a shift in focus to it becoming more of an environmental one too.

Email   :


AirSource announces £280,000 investment

AirSource, one of the UK’s leading manufacturers of heat pumps and other products for commercial & industrial heating and air conditioning, has invested £280,000 in state-of-the-art equipment at its Eccles, Manchester site to meet additional customer demand. The company, whose applications are mainly in the healthcare, retail, education and hotel sectors, has installed a punch press machine and a test unit.

AirSource has invested £250,000 in an Amada EMK2510+ auto loader punch press for cutting and profiling the sheet metal required for the manufacture of air handling units and heat pumps. This major investment has resulted in increased capacity and improved component flow with just-in-time manufacture. A continuous process the auto loader offers flexibility and spare capacity for the future.

The company has also spent £30,000 on a test rig, a model Tempair 33T heat pump from the Tempair range, delivering a variable volume up to 2.7m³/s. The unit is used to test and develop new components, provide training for commissioning engineers, check the operation of controls and demonstrate working parts to clients.

Managing Director, Dave Clayton, explains: “The test unit provides information on temperatures, pressures, volume and power absorbed and is designed to simulate operating internal and external conditions. The unit will soon be modified for the further development of refrigerants with low global warming potential.”

Dave Clayton continues: “The investment in the punch press and the test rig demonstrates our commitment to future expansion, training and innovation and to the successful development of products for the building services market. It will help us dramatically improve our efficiency, particularly in the areas of quality, accuracy and productivity.”

AirSource has a turnover of £4m and a 40-strong workforce. Five jobs were created in 2015, including a new sales manager for the south, 1 apprentice and 2 young trainees. The company is also looking forward to exporting products in the future.

More information is available from: AirSource Ventilation Ltd,

tel: 0161 425 8553, email:, www:


Benning UK launches Enertronic S

Benning UK today announced the launch of the Enertronic S – the latest addition to the company’s dedicated range of industrial UPS products. Covering single-phase outputs from 1.25 to 10kVA, the cost-effective and scalable Enertronic S is targeted at the utilities, oil & gas, transport, telecommunication, industrial process and automation industries.

The Enertronic S is a true on-line tower configuration UPS, consisting of up to eight parallelable power boards within a single unit. Each power board offers an output of 1.25kVA for a maximum total system output of 10kVA (single phase). Manual bypass, extended battery autonomies, RS232 and volt-free communications options complete an already impressive specification.

Key to the Enertronic S’ affordability and flexibility is the product’s ability to offer users a “pay as you grow” approach to managing the UPS’ capacity. This is achieved through the quick and easy addition or removal of modules in order to match the UPS’ capacity to the size of the critical load. As power demands increase, the system can be expanded to ensure there is always adequate capacity to manage any site power quality issues without the need to over-specify the system at the time of initial purchase.

The Enertronic S boasts true modular construction, with each power board comprising its own inbuilt rectifier, inverter, controller and static bypass switch effectively eliminating any single points of failure. The true modular design of the Enertronic S also enables a very low ‘Mean Time to Repair’ (MTTR) thereby maximising system, and hence load power, availability.

The Enertronic S can also be operated in a parallel redundant N+1 configuration by fitting one more power board (+1) than the critical load (N) requires. In such a configuration, in the event of a power board problem the UPS will continue to operate in true on-line mode until the problem power board is replaced. Furthermore, the power board can be quickly replaced without disruption to the critical load.


£millions of energy is being lost

Installing the wrong meters is costing millions of pounds of wasted energy every year according to one of the sector’s leading experts.

Martin Wardell, Founder of MWA Technology, believes we are seeing a growing trend of industry not specifying or installing the right type of meters on projects, with the market not having the necessary knowledge to rectify issues before installation.

This is leaving building management specialists in the unenviable position of having inconsistent data and poor life expectancy on their meters and this can impact on their ability to make informed decisions.

There is also the very real risk of the safe and efficient operation of gas appliances being compromised.

“It’s not a new problem. However, we have definitely seen an increase in the last six months of organisations coming back to us to rectify the wrong installations,” explained Martin, who has more than 20 years experience in the industry.

“The sector has a much bigger workload and is under pressure to keep costs down on building services. A lot of time they are leaving it to the market to advise and they are often going with the option that suits them best rather than what will be the most effective solution in the long-term.”

“Industry tend to choose the lowest cost option without understanding the full implications around accuracy and reliability of the data.”

The MWA Chief believes a good “rule of thumb” is to follow the practice of UK utilities and install meters according to their criteria, as you can trust the data for many years to come.

Martin continued: “It might make sense at the time, but if the meter isn’t selected correctly in the first instance then you will never be able to make informed decisions on energy usage and how you can improve it.

“We have examples of firms that can’t account for £200,000 of electricity, or low grade mechanical water meters giving up the ghost after 18 months.

“The most worrying aspect from a health and safety perspective, is installing a check gas meter that exhibits an excessive pressure drop between the incoming supply and the appliance. This can lead to the safe and efficient operation of the appliance being compromised or impaired.”

Technical knowledge has been one of the key drivers behind MWA Technology’s recent growth, which has seen it reach £5m sales for the first time in its 22-year history.

The company currently supplies over 500 metering solutions to distributors, contractors, OEMs and energy monitoring professionals, with high profile projects completed at Oxford University, Kew Gardens and Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre and New Street Station.

Recent investment has doubled the size of its logistics and warehouse operation and a concerted recruitment drive means the firm can call upon more than 15 experts to deal with customer enquiries at any one time.

Martin went on to add: “I think the expertise of our team is what really separates us from our rivals. We don’t just give the client the meter they think they need, we investigate the end use and what they are looking for it to do and then advise them on all options.

“This means they receive the meter that will offer them the best possible long-term solution. Once they’ve installed it they can forget about it, safe in the knowledge that the data it is providing is 100% accurate.

“We have also developed a new CPD seminar for specifiers and architects that will give them a comprehensive insight into meters and different installation techniques.”

MWA Technology offer gas, water, electric, oil, steam and energy and heat meters from some of the world’s biggest names, including Elster, Itron, Kamstrup, Diehl and Siemens.

Its 20,000 sq ft distribution centre in the West Midlands means the company can offer fast response times, with most orders delivered within two working days.

For further information, please visit, contact 0121 327 7771 or follow @mwa_technology on twitter.


Cranfield University switches on to sustainable heat

Environmental pioneer Cranfield University in Bedfordshire is future-proofing its energy supply and helping protect against long term price increases thanks to the installation of a Flogas Renewables biomass system. Integrated into an existing gas-fired district heating system, the biomass boiler is expected to provide more than 30% of the university’s entire annual heating demand each year (with outputs of between 2 to 3,000,000 kWh) – all while saving up to 500 tonnes of CO2.

The new 950kW biomass boiler supports a gas-fired 1.4MW CHP system, and together they provide 24/7 heating and hot water for 34 campus buildings – including research and teaching facilities for science, engineering and technology. With a combined floor area of more than 66,000m2 and a high annual heat demand of between 6 and 7,000,000kWh, Cranfield University needed a high performance, reliable supporting system – one that would not only fit seamlessly within the existing district heating setup, but would also provide a cost-effective and sustainable fuel solution for the campus’s future.

Cranfield University’s energy & environment manager Gareth Ellis comments: “Cranfield is dedicated to the research and development of environmental technology, so it was important for us to practice what we preach by installing our own renewable heating technology to power our learning facilities. In fact, the install has been such a success, it’s actually become part of our teaching operation, helping students learn first-hand about renewables.

“We specifically opted for a biomass system, because it’s sustainable, effective and will ultimately help us protect against future market volatility. We knew what we wanted in terms of boiler supply and integration and Flogas Renewables was able to provide us with a solution that met our exact needs. They continue to work with us to ensure we achieve the very best outputs, savings and returns from the system. As well as meeting approximately a third of our entire district heating demand, the biomass boiler is set to save us up to 500 tonnes of CO2 each year – reducing our carbon footprint by around 5%. We have also applied for the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), which means we’re set to benefit from guaranteed, index-linked payments for all the renewable heat we’re generating on campus over the next 20 years.”

The biomass system is situated in the university’s main boiler house and interconnected to a new steel-framed fuel store, which holds the system’s wood chip supply. This top loader store has a capacity of 135m3 and can comfortably take a full lorry’s worth of woodchip (27 tonnes). During peak season, two full lorries of biomass fuel are expected each week to meet the university’s energy demand.

“Another key reason we opted for this particular system, is that it can handle wood chip with a high moisture content of up to 55%,” adds Gareth. “This was important for us, as over the next five years, we aim to source our biomass fuel from a local forest – so we needed a flexible system that would readily handle whatever it provides us.”

With outputs of up to 6MW, Flogas Renewables biomass systems are suitable for a full spectrum of applications, including district heating schemes and combined cooling, heating and power (CCHP) solutions. The boilers boast a high efficiency of 90%+ and are designed to ensure the best levels of environmental performance. With fully automated feeding, lighting, ash and soot extraction they offer straightforward operation and maintenance. The boilers can also accept biomass fuel with a moisture content of up to 55%, for greater fuel flexibility.

Head of Flogas Renewables Greg Hilton adds: “Cranfield University is an excellent example of how biomass can be successfully integrated into an existing district heating network. We were able to design a turnkey system that was fully tailored to meet their exact needs, so they can rely on optimum system performance and the very best returns for the lifespan of their system. As well as providing students and staff with a reliable and renewable heat source, the biomass system provides an economical, efficient solution for the university – one that will help it boost its sustainability credentials and ultimately provide long-term energy security.”

For more information on Flogas Renewables’ range of biomass energy systems, or any other product in its market-leading portfolio of renewable technologies, please visit or call  0116 264 4096.


Elmhurst Energy outlines efficiency solutions post-Green Deal

When the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) announced that the funding for the Green Deal Finance Company was to stop, many commentators described it as being the end of a ‘Green Deal’.

Martyn Reed, Operations Director for Elmhurst Energy, offers an alternative view:

There has been much written on the demise of the Green Deal. So much so that you could believe that the energy efficiency industry has been completely wiped out. This is simply not the case, but in the post-Green Deal world it’s important we remain positive about the need to improve energy efficiency across the UK housing stock and propose practical, positive solutions to get things back on track.

Green Deal plans were always just a small part of the whole process and responsible for less that 5% of the Green Deal Advice Reports issued, but its abolition has placed the industry in a precarious position – one that needs urgent resolution. The Government has asked Dr Peter Bonfield of BRE to undertake a review of Green Deal and recommend a way forward. The first meeting will be in mid September and it he is expected to report back in March 2016.

Sadly, by making the announcements on the closure of Green Deal with no fallback plan to speak of, DECC’s decision jeopardised a number of other Government initiatives, all of which refer directly to Green Deal. These include ECO, the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) and the Minimum Rentals Standards, that will start to apply in 2016. This means that a replacement solution is needed quickly.

We believe that much of that solution already exists, in the form of 5,000 plus accredited energy assessors. Therefore, Elmhurst Energy has a straightforward seven-point plan that it believes will make a success of a Pay-As-You-Save model;

1) Make full use of the existing Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) RdSAP and the resultant EPC are proven methods of assessing the appropriateness of making improvements.

2) Simplify the occupancy assessment

The concept of an occupancy assessment, i.e. tailoring the EPC (which is based on an “average” occupant) to one which more closely reflects the lifestyle of the current occupant is valuable in calculating cost benefit. Previously, the mistake was making it too complex with too much information required, much of which was too personal. We believe you can get adequate accuracy by asking four or five questions about the occupancy (age, profile, hours of occupation and so on) which are both appropriate to ask and easy to answer.

3) Offer advice and an occupancy assessment without commitment

Householders should be offered the opportunity to undergo an occupancy assessment and receive advice on energy assessment. If they agree, then that could be funded, either by paying a supplement on top of the EPC or by allowing the lead to be passed to a supplier, who will pay for the assessor time.

The energy assessor should be encouraged, not, as now, discouraged to provide advice and guidance on matters of energy efficiency. Such advice could range from installation of a particular measure, suggested suppliers and behavioural advice to make best use of the technology.

4) Simplify funding opportunities

The distinction between funds for those that can pay and those that are fuel poor should be removed. Funding, whether that be from ECO, Green Deal (or the extra VAT that will be collected when the rate reverts back to 20%), should be pooled and allocated on an ‘as deserved’ basis with those that are in most need, and have least ability to pay, getting 100% subsidy (as they do with ECO). Those with less to gain and/or an ability to pay get small incentive whilst those least needing improvement, get nothing. This could look something like this:


  Current RdSAP rating G F E D C or above
Ability to pay            
Fuel poor   100% 100%
Over state retirement age   100% 100% 90% 80%
Family tax credits   100% 90% 70% 50%
Basic rate tax payer   70% 50% 20% 10%
Others   20% 10%

5) Offer incentives

Incentivize improvement, as was done for low emissions cars, by reducing the Council Tax charge for high rated properties. For instance:

Energy rating         Discount

A                            20%

B                            15%

C                            10%

D                             5%

E, F or G                 0%

6) Keep out of finance

Involving energy assessors in funding created confusion, complexity and bureaucracy. If incentives and subsidies are set at the right level installers, private funding and private finance will find the rest.

 7) Keep it simple and remove bureaucracy around installation;

For consumers that receive no funding allowance, allow a post install EPC as sufficient to demonstrate that a measure has been installed. For consumers in receipt of subsidy the installer must be PAS 2030 approved and the subsidy paid on receipt of a pre and post install EPC and a certificate of completion from the installer. To safeguard the unknowing, all products would be industry recognised and independently certified by one of a number of routes including certification by a UKAS approved certification body.

Elmhurst Energy, through its position on the Green Deal Advisory Group and through the chairmanship of the Property and Energy Performance Association (PEPA), were involved in the latter days of the Green Deal and attempted to support its positive aspects, while identifying its weaknesses –all with the intention of proposing fixes. Remaining positive and with the confidence that increasing the energy efficiency of the UK’s housing stock is simply the right thing to do, we will be proposing this seven-point strategy at every opportunity.


Safety, speed and efficiency on tap

When it comes to the provision of drinking water in commercial kitchens, the key considerations for facilities managers should be health and safety, speed and efficiency. Jon Cockburn, head of marketing at Heatrae Sadia, explains more.

Although workplace catering facilities vary in size and type, they all require boiling drinking water. Traditionally, boiling water has been delivered via kettles or urns, but these solutions do not always offer safety, speed or efficiency – which is not good news for facilities managers.

Kettles and urns full of boiling water can be knocked over, trailing cables can be damaged and kettle users can be scalded by water spilling from the appliance, or by steam.

It is also time-consuming to continually fill a kettle or urn and wait for it to boil. This can be frustrating, especially in busy working environments where breaks can be few and far between.

There is also energy efficiency to consider. If an urn is filled and boiled, but not all of the boiling water is used, the excess hot water will lose heat through the insufficiently insulated tank, translating into massive energy wastage. According to an Energy Saving Trust report, 75 per cent of people boil more water than they need, and overfilling kettles costs British households £68 million on energy bills a year. We believe that workplace kettles are also overfilled – costing the commercial sector millions.

In light of the drawbacks of kettles and urns, in recent years we’ve seen increased demand for plumbed in boiling water units. Permanently connected to the cold water mains, electric boiling water units provide a constant supply of hot water, which can be used for multiple purposes, from making hot drinks to cooking vegetables. With varying capacities being available, they are suitable for any environment, from small office kitchens to larger workplace canteens.

Traditional boiling water products were quite industrial in appearance and operation, but the introduction of the boiling water ‘tap’ – widely regarded as a stylish kitchen accessory – has opened up the market even further.

Our easy-to-install, five litre capacity Aquatap is based on our market leading Supreme boiling water product, and includes similar built-in safety features and the same Intelliboil™Plus technology, but has a more stylish ‘hot tap’ design.

In workplace kitchens, hot taps like Aquatap are ideal for quickly making hot drinks, and for preparing instant snacks and soups. In larger commercial catering environments, such as canteens and restaurant kitchens, having boiling water literally on tap can save chefs huge amounts of time when blanching or cooking vegetables or preparing stock, sauces, rice, pasta or couscous, and making hot drinks also becomes quicker and easier.

Boiling water units are also safer than kettles and urns; securely mounted onto a wall or counter top, they can’t be knocked over and any steam produced in the boiling cycle is condensed and retained within the unit.

Importantly, boiling water units are also energy efficient, delivering the amount of water required on demand and replacing it as it is used. Our Intelliboil™Plus technology effectively and efficiently manages the boiling cycle by regularly bringing the contents of the water container to the boil in response to ongoing user demand. A ‘temperature ready’ LED indicator advises when Aquatap is ready for use.

Based on an environment of 15 people requiring four hot drinks a day, we estimate that the daily running costs of Aquatap is £6.96 lower than a kettle, which translates to a saving of £1,670 per year. For a commercial kitchen, the savings could therefore be much higher.

The other benefit of hot taps is that there is usually the option to have cold drinking water delivered from the same unit. Over recent years there’s been increased emphasis on drinking an adequate amount of water to remain sufficiently hydrated, with dehydration contributing to headaches, tiredness and irritability, as well as serious health problems. Studies have also suggested that water increases the blood’s ability to carry oxygen to the brain, improving concentration and mental performance.

Some facilities managers opt for bottled water coolers, but this can be expensive and involves a lot of maintenance in terms of replacing and storing the relatively large, heavy bottles. In addition, bottled water in general has come under scrutiny in recent years, in terms of its environmental impact and whether plastic water bottles actually harbour potentially harmful bacteria.

UK drinking water is of the highest standard, has a record level of quality and is the most stringently tested in the world. However, tap water can be poor tasting and warm – which can discourage people from drinking it.   So, a good solution is to chill and filter mains water via economical plumbed-in units.

We offer the SuperChill chilled water unit, and Aquatap is designed to deliver refreshing chilled or ambient water in addition to boiling water; there are boiling only, boiling/chilled and boiling/ambient versions available.

An increasing number of facilities managers are beginning to appreciate the benefits that instant boiling and chilled water products provide, whether the organisation they work for has a small kitchen or large catering facilities. Call 01603 420 220 or visit for further information.