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Prince of Wales delivers project to show value of renewable heating



When HRH The Prince Charles, Duke of Rothesay, personally brokered a £45million deal to secure the 2,000 acre Dumfries House Estate in Scotland, the idea was to create a sustainable business to help regenerate the local economy in East Ayrshire.

Offering a host of environmental, operational and cost benefits, the installation of renewable heating systems throughout the estate would be central to this sustainable approach.

With a range of old and new buildings serving a multitude of uses, it would be no easy task to convert the estate from oil to renewable heating systems. However, thanks to an ongoing partnership between heat pump manufacturer Dimplex and renewable energy installer Ecoliving, Dumfries House is now a shining example of how to successfully install renewable heating systems in commercial building stock – and the benefits it can bring.

The unique project, which started in 2012 and was still in progress by the start of 2015, covered a large number of renewable heat installations including Dimplex air source heat pump and ground source heat pump systems. Historic buildings have been refurbished to a high standard, whilst new facilities have been sensitively built to create new learning environments and improve local employment opportunities.

Combining high-performance Dimplex heat pumps with the skill of Ecoliving’s site installation teams and the expertise of Dimplex’s in-house renewable heating design team, the rolling programme has transformed the estate’s whole approach to energy; delivering low heating bills and ensuring a sustainable future for all.

Through careful design and high standards of workmanship, it has also enabled Dumfries House to successfully apply for non-domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) funding to support the cost of the installations.

Highlights from the project include:

Tamar Manoukian Outdoor Centre

The Outdoor Centre offers accommodation for up to 60 people in two separate wings, together with a central dining area and relaxation area. Used predominantly to house participants on residential courses, it has been designed to complement the existing architecture on the estate, including a corrugated roof, rope-hung case and sash windows, and Scottish larch cladding to exterior walls.

With a peak heating demand of 26.3 kW, a Dimplex SI30TE ground source heat pump was installed, while another Dimplex SIH20TE high temperature ground source heat pump delivers hot water for residents.

The heat pumps are installed on opposite sides of the plant room, together with six Dimplex WWSP 880L hot water cylinders with 6kW immersion heaters.

They take their heat energy from an aquifer buried deep below the site. This underground source of water (open loop) maintains a constant temperature all year round and is pumped up through a heat exchanger and then returned to the aquifer.

Drill Hall

Located next to the Tamar Manoukian Outdoor Centre, The Drill Hall is a purpose-built 630m2 sports and climbing complex used by day and residential visitors including those staying in the outdoor centre.

With underfloor heating installed throughout the games hall (below a sprung sports floor), storage areas and toilets, the building had a total heating peak demand of 41kW at -4°C.

With the assistance of the Dimplex in-house design experts, Ecoliving designed and installed an air source heat pump system to heat the underfloor system, comprising a high efficiency Dimplex LA 60 TU air source heat pump with 500 litre Dimplex buffer cylinder, which incorporates 12kW of backup heating.

The system will provide an output of 44kW at an outdoor temperature of -4°C, and will operate at an SPF of 3.7 – more than meeting the required heating demand.

Pierburg Building

The newly constructed Pierburg Building houses the Education Centre with two classrooms, a potting shed and a meeting space where, amongst other activities, local schools come to learn about gardening, food production and the use of fresh produce as a link to healthy eating.

Ecoliving installed a ground source heat pump system consisting of a Dimplex SI18TU ground source heat pump, Dimplex WWSP 880L hot water cylinder and two 200m boreholes adjacent to the building. Space heating is provided via radiators, fed by the heat pump system.

Morrisons Farm

A joint venture between supermarket chain Morrisons and Dumfries House, the farm aims to show how modern farming can be economically and environmentally sustainable.

Heating and hot water for a newly constructed five-bedroom farmhouse is delivered by a Dimplex LA9MI air source heat pump system, installed with a 75L Dimplex EC-Eau heat pump cylinder.

The rooms are heated by Dimplex Smartrad fan-assisted radiators, which operate at a low temperature to maximise the performance of the heat pump system. With less than 15 per cent of the water content in a conventional radiator, they also offer quicker warm up and cool down times for added comfort in the farmhouse.

Oliver Middlemiss, Estate Manager for Dumfries House, said: “At Dumfries House we value the working relationship we have with Dimplex and Ecoliving because they can be relied on to take a renewables project from feasibility right through to commissioning, on time and on budget.

“Both Dimplex and Ecoliving have a great range of experience in renewable technologies and the air source and ground source heat pumps installed on the estate have proved to be excellent products that deliver exactly what we need them to, in terms of performance, efficiency and running costs.”

Mark Henderson, Founder and Director of Ecoliving, said: “Dumfries House is an exemplar site for renewable heat in commercial buildings, as it shows the application of new, clean and innovative technology in old and new buildings and demonstrates the effectiveness of them within a variety of uses.

“Working in close partnership, Dimplex and Ecoliving have been able to successfully deliver a significant project, which offers economical, ecological, societal and educational benefits – all as part of a wider regeneration project.

Karen Trewick, Director of Communications for Dimplex said: “This rolling programme of bespoke heat pump installations has not only delivered benefits for the Dumfries House Estate, but goes some way to demonstrate the true potential of renewable heat, and particularly heat pump technology, in the commercial sector.

“We have supplied high temperature, high efficiency heat pumps for a variety of applications, transforming old buildings and securing the sustainable future of new ones. We were proud to be a part of this project and look forward to seeing the results for many years to come.”


Responsible Energy Investments Could Solve Retirement Funding Crisis




Energy Investments
Shutterstock / By Sergey Nivens |

Retiring baby-boomers are facing a retirement cliff, at the same time as mother nature unleashes her fury with devastating storms tied to the impact of global warming. There could be a unique solution to the challenges associated with climate change – investments in clean energy from retirement funds.

Financial savings play a very important role in everyone’s life and one must start planning for it as soon as possible. It’s shocking how quickly seniors can burn through their nest egg – leaving many wondering, “How long will my retirement savings last?”

Let’s take a closer look at how seniors can take baby steps on the path to retiring with dignity, while helping to clean up our environment.

Tip #1: Focus & Determination

Like in other work, it is very important to focus and be determined. If retirement is around the corner, then make sure to start putting some money away for retirement. No one can ever achieve anything without dedication and focus – whether it’s saving the planet, or saving for retirement.

Tip #2: Minimize Spending

One of the most important things that you need to do is to minimize your expenditures. Reducing consumption is good for the planet too!

Tip #3: Visualize Your Goal

You can achieve more if you have a clearly defined goal in life. This about how your money can be used to better the planet – imagine cleaner air, water and a healthier environment to leave to your grandchildren.

Investing in Clean Energy

One of the hottest and most popular industries for investment today is the energy market – the trading of energy commodities. Clean energy commodities are traded alongside dirty energy supplies. You might be surprised to learn that clean energy is becoming much more competitive.

With green biz becoming more popular, it is quickly becoming a powerful tool for diversified retirement investing.

The Future of Green Biz

As far as the future is concerned, energy businesses are going to continue getting bigger and better. There are many leading energy companies in the market that already have very high stock prices, yet people are continuing to investing in them.

Green initiatives are impacting every industry. Go Green campaigns are a PR staple of every modern brand. For the energy-sector in the US, solar energy investments are considered to be the most accessible form of clean energy investment. Though investing in any energy business comes with some risks, the demand for energy isn’t going anywhere.

In conclusion, if you want to start saving for your retirement, then clean energy stocks and commodity trading are some of the best options for wallets and the planet. Investing in clean energy products, like solar power, is a more long-term investment. It’s quite stable and comes with a significant profit margin. And it’s amazing for the planet!

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What Should We Make of The Clean Growth Strategy?



Clean Growth Strategy for green energy
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By sdecoret |

It was hardly surprising the Clean Growth Strategy (CGS) was much anticipated by industry and environmentalists. After all, its publication was pushed back a couple of times. But with the document now in the public domain, and the Government having run a consultation on its content, what ultimately should we make of what’s perhaps one of the most important publications to come out of the Department for Business, Energy and the Industrial Strategy (BEIS) in the past 12 months?

The starting point, inevitably, is to decide what the document is and isn’t. It is, certainly, a lengthy and considered direction-setter – not just for the Government, but for business and industry, and indeed for consumers. While much of the content was favourably received in terms of highlighting ways to ensure clean growth, critics – not unjustifiably – suggested it was long on pages but short on detailed and finite policy commitments, accompanied by clear timeframes for action.

A Strategy, Instead of a Plan

But should we really be surprised? The answer, in all honesty, is probably not really. BEIS ministers had made no secret of the fact they would be publishing a ‘strategy’ as opposed to a ‘plan,’ and that gave every indication the CGS would set a direction of travel and be largely aspirational. The Government had consulted on its content, and will likely respond to the consultation during the course of 2018. And that’s when we might see more defined policy commitments and timeframes from action.

The second criticism one might level at the CGS is that indicated the use of ‘flexibilities’ to achieve targets set in the carbon budgets – essentially using past results to offset more recent failings to keep pace with emissions targets. Claire Perry has since appeared in front of the BEIS Select Committee and insisted she would be personally disappointed if the UK used flexibilities to fill the shortfall in meeting the fourth and fifth carbon budgets, but this is difficult ground for the Government. The Committee on Climate Change was critical of the proposed use of efficiencies, which would somewhat undermine ministers’ good intentions and commitment to clean growth – particularly set against November’s Budget, in which the Chancellor maintained the current carbon price floor (potentially giving a reprieve to coal) and introduced tax changes favourable to North Sea oil producers.

A 12 Month Green Energy Initiative with Real Teeth

But, there is much to appreciate and commend about the CGS. It fits into a 12-month narrative for BEIS ministers, in which they have clearly shown a commitment to clean growth, improving energy efficiency and cutting carbon emissions. Those 12 months have seen the launch of the Industrial Strategy – firstly in Green Paper form, which led to the launch of the Faraday Challenge, and then a White Paper in which clean growth was considered a ‘grand challenge’ for government. Throughout these publications – and indeed again with the CGS – the Government has shown itself to be an advocate of smart systems and demand response, including the development of battery technology.

Electrical Storage Development at Center of Broader Green Energy Push

While the Faraday Challenge is primarily focused on the development of batteries to support the proliferation of electric vehicles (which will support cuts to carbon emissions), it will also drive down technology costs, supporting the deployment of small and utility-scale storage that will fully harness the capability of renewables. Solar and wind made record contributions to UK electricity generation in 2017, and the development of storage capacity will help both reduce consumer costs and support decarbonisation.

The other thing the CGS showed us it that the Government is happy to be a disrupter in the energy market. The headline from the publication was the plans for legislation to empower Ofgem to cap the costs of Standard Variable Tariffs. This had been an aspiration of ministers for months, and there’s little doubt that driving down costs for consumers will be a trend within BEIS policy throughout 2018.

But the Government also seems happy to support disruption in the renewables market, as evidenced by the commitment (in the CGS) to more than half a billion pounds of investment in Pot 2 of Contracts for Difference (CfDs) – where the focus will be on emerging rather than established technologies.

This inevitably prompted ire from some within the industry, particularly proponents of solar, which is making an increasing contribution to the UK’s energy mix. But, again, we shouldn’t really be surprised. Since the subsidy cuts of 2015, ministers have given no indication or cause to think there will be public money afforded to solar development. Including solar within the CfD auction would have been a seismic shift in policy. And while ministers’ insistence in subsidy-free solar as the way forward has been shown to be based on a single project, we should expect that as costs continue to be driven down and solar makes record contributions to electricity generation, investment will follow – and there will ultimately be more subsidy-free solar farms, albeit perhaps not in 2018.

Meanwhile, by promoting emerging technologies like remote island wind, the Government appears to be favouring diversification and that it has a range of resources available to meet consumer demand. Perhaps more prescient than the decision to exclude established renewables from the CfD auction is the subsequent confirmation in the budget that Pot 2 of CfDs will be the last commitment of public money to renewable energy before 2025.

In short, we should view the CGS as a step in the right direction, albeit one the Government should be elaborating on in its consultation response. Its publication, coupled with the advancement this year of the Industrial Strategy indicates ministers are committed to the clean growth agenda. The question is now how the aspirations set out in the CGS – including the development of demand response capacity for the grid, and improving the energy efficiency of commercial and residential premises – will be realised.

It’s a step in the right direction. But, inevitably, there’s much more work to do.

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