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Heat network operators urged to take advantage of funding

Heat network technology provider, Evinox is sign-posting heat network operators to access the Heat Network Efficiency Scheme (HNES) – which is the part of Government’s Net Zero Commitment 2050 – while the funding is available, warning of potential regulatory implications in the coming years.

Helen Näslund, sales director at Evinox

The regulations are predicted to include a minimum standard of efficiency well in excess of current network performance.

The HNES is a £32 million grant package which runs until 2025 offering funds to applicants in the public, private, and third sector in England and Wales. The goal of the scheme is to fund improvements to district heating or communal heating systems that are currently inefficient or otherwise defective. It follows a successful pilot program which assisted 73 projects in finding cost-effective enhancement options in addition to delivering upgrades to 37 heat networks.

According to Evinox, most heat networks currently function at an average of between 30% and 40% efficiency which clearly demonstrates the need for significant improvements. By increasing the efficiency up to 65%, which Evinox says is readily achievable through some straightforward measures, the savings for a typical resident can be around £550 per annum and provide a reduction of 1,000kg of carbon emissions for each apartment. 

As a low-carbon method of heating multiple residences, heat networks are expected to go from providing 2% of the UK’s heat, to 18% by 2050. To progress towards this goal, heat network regulation is expected to come into effect in early 2024. Part of the regulation is intended to accelerate the decarbonisation of heat and improve the outcome for consumers.

Due to the recent merger between Evinox and Minibems, Evinox now has access to new technology which can significantly improve the efficiency of existing communal heating systems irrespective of which type or brand of heat interface unit is installed.

Evinox is thus now positioned to become the industry leader in the decarbonisation of heat networks. Providing a full range of equipment and services including consultancy on HNES projects, Evinox is ideally placed to help network operators fulfil incoming regulations and take advantage of funding opportunities. Their offerings include plant room and network optimisation and retro-fit upgrades that maximise the performance of heat interface units.

Helen Näslund, Sales Director at Evinox, said: “We fully expect the regulations to include a minimum efficiency standard – probably at least 60% efficiency. Most heat network operators have a lot of work ahead of them if they’re going to meet this standard and while it may be a serious challenge for some, help is available.”

Through a holistic approach including plant room improvements, smart heat interface units (HIUs), retrofit solutions for existing HIU installations, billing audits and insulation inspections, Evinox can help heat network operators simplify the process of raising heat network efficiency.

Helen continued: “By taking advantage of the funding available through HNES, heat network operators can prepare now for the incoming changes. With Evinox’s 20 years of expertise in heat network consulting and technology, heat network operators can now use data analytics alongside traditional energy saving measures to affect a significant reduction in both carbon emissions and cost of heat for residents. In taking advantage of the HNES funding, they can prepare for the forthcoming regulatory control of heat networks by OFGEM.”

11 May 2023


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