Engineered solutions

Published:  08 March, 2018

district heating, data centres, Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards, Energy Performance Certificate

In the March issue we are looking at a number of solutions to familiar problems – how to ensure that homes and businesses have affordable, reliable heat with minimal impact on the environment. Or how to keep temperatures in data centres within tight margins in the face of rising energy costs and planning requirements.

These are the sort of challenges that engineers are made for. Finding answers to complex, multi-faceted problems is what they do best.

Our features this month show that national and local government is looking for well-engineered district heating projects to meet the requirements for homes and nondomestic buildings (see our feature).

Energy costs are one of the major outgoings for data centres, so they’re also keen to hear about new methods of cooling, or how they can tap into renewable technologies (see pages 45 to 50).

Although there are numerous approaches on offer for pretty much any building challenge, one clear message is that discussing a project with experts from the outset results in much better outcomes. In fact, this is something that we often hear at MBS – talk to the engineers as early as possible, because with more information they can offer better ideas.

This links nicely with another big issue that’s on the horizon for commercial property owners: Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (see News and our News Analysis). This isn’t a one-off compliance issue, but a change in how property is valued according to a snapshot of its energy use, as shown on the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).

Building services such as heating, mechanical ventilation and domestic hot water are significant contributors to the EPC rating. The task therefore is to ensure that a building attains and maintains an acceptable level of energy performance when measured.

Now is the time for building owners and managers to start conversations with building services experts. They are best placed to offer solutions based on the latest developments in equipment and approaches.

The acceptable levels of energy use are going to be raised on a regular basis, so even if you’re a landlord who isn’t renewing leases for some time, it’s better to improve from an F to an E now, than have to reach all the way from a G to a C down the line.

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