Why it will pay you to take hold of the LPG reins
Many businesses in off-gas areas are calling upon heating contractors and consultants to help them take stock of their carbon outputs, review their energy use and reassess their heating systems. Lee Gannon explains the heating choices available to contractors looking to help businesses choose a new system
In the past, oil has tended to be the most popular heating solution for those located in off-mains areas. However, recently worries over issues such as theft and a desire to move towards a cleaner, less expensive fuel choice, has meant that a growing number of companies are embracing alternative solutions and are looking to take advantage of different technologies in order to increase their efficiency.
However, when it comes to the off-mains market there is no such thing as a 'one size fits all' solution. Heating contractors and consultants must familiarise themselves with all the options available to ensure that they can recommend a package specifically tailored to meet a business' needs.
For example, we have seen increasing numbers of businesses switch from oil to liquid petroleum gas (LPG) in recent years. Switching from oil to LPG is increasing in popularity as LPG has lower CO2 emission as well as being cheaper per unit of energy. This greener, cleaner solution offers significant savings and stands as a viable alternative to oil.
Renewable solutions such as solar power, ground source heat pumps and rainwater harvesting systems are also becoming more appealing to companies. For some smaller businesses, the initial investment may be considered high, but switching to a renewable heat source can offer a favourable long term return on investment both in terms of cost and carbon savings.
However, when considering implementing a renewable system, contractors and consultants must ensure that the recommended technology can meet the needs of the business in both the short and long term. For example, solar power offers a fantastic long-term solution to green energy when applied to the right specification. However, with a substantial initial installation cost and a somewhat lengthy pay-back period, consultants must be careful to only recommend this option when it works to the benefit of the business. Likewise, ground-source heat pumps are ideal for multiple installations, commercial applications and installations in open areas, but can be tricky if a large outside area is unavailable.
Dual-fuel systems, which pair up a renewable technology with a more reliable source, such as LPG, offer a good alternative for off-mains customers. By teaming the two fuel sources, businesses can enjoy the benefits that both energy sources offer; the efficient approach of the renewable technology and the reliability of LPG.
As the heating industry continues to evolve, it is important that consultants and businesses alike continue to work together to find new ways to become increasingly energy efficient.
From oil to LPG to renewable technologies, dual fuel systems and a new generation of biomethane, it cannot be denied that there are a whole range of options now available to off-mains businesses, which is why it is vital for contractors and consultants to keep up to date with industry developments. This will allow them to maximise their expertise and business opportunities, thus growing their business.
The author is sales and marketing director at Flogas
7 March 2013