1945 Planned Electrical Heating Installs & Upgrades
Name of customer: Epping Forest District Council (EFDC)
Value of contract: £100,000 pa
Duration of contract: 5 years
Scope / Overview of Works: Installation of new heating and hot water systems using either natural gas or renewable energy technologies (air source heat pump systems). Works also required the upgrade/rewiring of existing electrical systems to be carried out at the same time as the heating installations so as to minimise disruption to tenants. Systems installed must be energy efficient, meet the tenant’s particular heating and hot water needs; be easy to operate and have the financial benefit of reduced fuel costs.
The five selected properties were rurally located with no access to piped gas and had minimal insulation e.g. no double glazing, no cavity wall or loft insulation. Tenants were reliant on electricity and fuel deliveries to provide heating and hot water. Fuel deliveries could be problematical during winter months especially during adverse weather conditions. Current energy bills were high.
Gracelands has well established trading accounts with leading manufacturers of boilers and air source heat pump technologies. Specifically for this 5 year contract, and in collaboration with the Council, our project team engaged with Mitsubishi and GlowWorm sales and technical teams and negotiated favourable pricing and supply and delivery terms for the duration of the contracted works. Our project surveyor designed and specified a heating system that, whilst meeting the tenant’s particular demands for heating and hot water, was energy and cost efficient and provided flexibility and ease of use.
In planning and preparing for the works particular challenges were identified, including:
- Convincing the elderly residents of the benefits of changing to a renewable energy heating system.
Our project team appreciates that installing a new modern heating system can be a stressful time for some tenants. Our project surveyor and works supervisor are therefore mindful of the need to keep tenants engaged and fully informed throughout the process – from survey through to handover. During the system design the tenant is consulted to determine their specific heating and hot water needs so that the system is sized appropriately. They are also informed of the cost savings associated with the new system and how this will result in reduced fuel bills for them going forward.
The tenant is also provided with a “Customer Information Pack” which has been developed in collaboration with the Council and with our preferred suppliers. Contents of the pack include the system manufacturer’s informational DVD, Homeowner Manual CD and laminated A5 size “User Guide” explaining use of the system controls. For tenants less technically competent, a paper-based version of the pack is left with them. Our project surveyor and works supervisor make themselves available to answer any questions the tenant may have.
Handover of the new heating system to the tenant includes a demonstration of the system controls and an explanation of annual service visits, and contact information for reporting system faults or failures.
- Siting of the outdoor unit to guard against noise to neighbouring properties.
In compliance with MCS installation requirements, consideration is given to the appropriate siting of the outdoor unit to minimise operational noise and potential vibration.
- Consideration of the aesthetics of running surface mounted pipework and electrical trunking.
Given the age of the existing systems (heating and electrical) and original method of installation, new pipework and electrical trunking had to be surface mounted. Less visible routes were selected where possible following the natural contours of the property. Where more visible routes were the preferred/only option, design decisions were taken in consultation with the tenant.
- Joint negotiation of significant supplier volume discounts for selected equipment to be used for the contracted works, with savings passed on directly to the Council.
- Installation of energy efficient systems resulting in reduced fuel consumption and lower fuel bills for the tenant.
- Reduced carbon footprint supporting the Council and central Government targets for lower carbon emissions and increased use of renewable energy technologies.
- MCS certification enabled the Council, as a social landlord, to apply for quarterly RHI grant payments estimated at £4,320 per property over a 7-year period. Over the 5-year programme RHI grant funding is estimated at over £500,000 over a 7-year period.
- Completed installations were added to the annual gas service and maintenance works programme ensuring access to these rural properties on an annual basis, which may otherwise not have been possible for the Council to achieve with existing heating installations.
- Rural properties not previously included in the annual works programme now benefit from the proactive annual service and maintenance visit and have 24/7 cover for system breakdowns and emergencies.
- A scheduled annual visit of a property provides for collaborative working with the Council in respect of reporting:
- Safeguarding issues; and
- Noticeable property deterioration e.g. kitchen replacements, bathroom replacements, necessary building works.