Traditionally, individual properties in the UK have been provided with their own heating systems such as a boiler which provides domestic hot water (DHW) and central heating (CH) for various functions. Now, a shared heating concept known as District heating provides heating to a group of buildings from central thermal energy generation plant. This is achieved via a network of fluid distribution pipes to each property. This solution is increasingly used by residential, commercial, local authority, government, and industrial buildings. It is also now also deployed at universities and hospitals where there are a a number of discrete buildings located around a campus.
Over the last decade in particular, greater attention has been paid to our energy consumption and carbon emissions. District heat networks provide a means of supplying heat more efficiently, particularly in multi-storey developments. This is even more prevalent where alternative, individual low-carbon technologies have been more difficult to install.
Heat interface units (HIU) allow connections to a centralised heat network to multiple properties. The HIU systems still allow the occupants control over the temperature in their property. They also ensure individual metering and billing is possible. HIUs can provide heating only, or can provide heating and domestic hot water. Referencing the BSRIA Guide, BG 62/2105 suggests that installing a HIU linked to a heat network rather than to a conventional boiler system can have significant economic and environmental benefits. It goes on to say that successful operation depends on “appropriate system design and specification“, and “competent installation and maintenance“.
Here are some of the potential advantages to heat interface units:
- Central heat generation is generally more efficient than local generation;
- One system supplying multiple properties makes it easier to integrate low carbon technologies;
- As local boilers are not required, there are no gas distribution network or flue requirements. This reduces risk of gas problems, and can result in both capital an operational cost savings;
- HIU’s can be installed outside the individual properties, meaning better access for landlords with less tenant intrusion;
- Heat Interface Units allow remote monitoring and metering of consumption;
Smart 4u has forged a deal with Giacomini UK who is constantly developing its product range. The latest Giacomini innovations have seen changes being made to their heat interface units.
HIUs from Smart 4u are now available with a flushing bypass solution. This means that the annual maintenance of the HIU system is simpler and more efficient. Debris and other organic matter can be removed easily meaning less tenant intrusions and less service costs to landlords.
Giacomini, a European manufacturer, also added 22mm UK connections to its compression fittings, replacing the existing European cone connection. This increases the ease of installation and brings the products in line with the UK market and installer training programmes.
Finally, Giacomini’s third change, has been the addition of Y strainers to the jig bracket valves. Debris can reduce the width of the passage, causing a loss of pressure and performance – something which the new Y strainers prevent.