Unfortunately, many of the heat networks installed in new developments across the UK are destined to fail to live up to performance expectations, costing operators and end customers large amounts of money over their lifetime.
This can be for a variety of reasons such as insufficiently robust specifications at the outset, and M&E engineers taking a conservative approach to design due to a lack of real-life performance data.
The latter issue in particular can lead to non-optimal design decisions, particularly oversizing, resulting in higher than required CAPEX and lifetime operating costs.
Through its unparalleled access to real life performance data derived from multiple live networks, system interventions (changes designed to improve efficiency) and extensive testing of heat network hardware, FairHeat can get things right from the start.
Put simply, FairHeat has a unique insight into how to best specify new heat networks and an unrivalled understanding of what makes heat networks work.
Working with the development team, we use an evidence based, data driven approach to ensure that heat networks are right from the start.
FairHeat ensures schemes are correctly designed and built, setting minimum and best practice standards. This affords piece of mind for specifiers and developers, and should also be used as part of the tendering and contractual process to specify minimum requirements for a project.
As well as working on a project-by-project basis, FairHeat can embed best practice at an organisational level to ensure that you have the correct frameworks and resources in place to ensure that all new heat projects are properly specified.
Our services in the specification stage include:
Employer’s Requirements: Heat Networks Design Supplement
FairHeat’s Heat Networks Design Supplement for new build developments acts as a bridge between employer’s requirements and the ADE CIBSE Heat Networks Code of Practice.
Working to tailor the Design Supplement to each clients’ specific needs, FairHeat uses the code as a framework ensuring clients understand practical implications of key decisions and that the end solution is workable.
A key element of the process is assisting clients to adapt internal processes to the demands of successfully delivering heat networks. As part of this process FairHeat provides training.
Performance measurement framework
FairHeat’s performance measurement framework is built into network specifications and tailored to clients with specific performance targets.
Ideally this would form part of the development of a client specific design supplement but can be run as a standalone exercise.
Setting peak loads
The oversizing of heat networks is a common cause of inefficiency. In many cases, peak loads (the maximum amount of heat that needs to be delivered at any one time) are set too high, making networks larger than they need to be. This leads to higher capital costs, higher operating costs and overheating.
In order to avoid costly upfront mistakes, FairHeat can assist in setting peak load requirements based on empirical data as part of their Employer’s Requirements.
Monitoring and metering systems
Having access to system performance data is a pre-requisite to delivering efficient heat networks.
From plant room surveys through to overall site metering strategy, FairHeat can assist clients in determining their metering and monitoring strategy.
Working with M&E designers, FairHeat takes an empirical, data driven approach to optimising design. This avoids common design pitfalls, such as system oversizing and over complexity in order to minimise both CAPEX and ongoing operating expenditure.
FairHeat provides specialist support during the design phase and can work with clients and designers to assess network design and act on our clients’ behalf to meet the guidelines.
FairHeat’s services in the design stage include:
Design review of M&E proposals
FairHeat will review heat network design using the CIBSE Heat Networks Code of Practice as an assessment framework alongside any Employer’s Requirements, and/or bespoke design supplement.
Taking a pragmatic approach, focused on key design parameters, FairHeat can help achieve significant CAPEX savings as well as reducing longer term operating costs.
Support design consultants to refine heat network design
FairHeat will identify areas of risk, analyse likely performance based on empirical data and work with designers to ensure that plans result in better networks.
FairHeat can assist clients in assessing and evaluating equipment proposals, particularly within the context of equal and approved provisions, and where necessary, review operational data and facilitate the testing of equipment.
FairHeat will ensure that networks meet with the design levels of performance by catching mistakes early and recommending rectifications in the build phase. This includes supporting the project manager (who may lack experience in heat networks), and witnessing the installation of key components.
Our services in the install stage include:
Support to project manager and delivery team
FairHeat will deliver support as required including training and ongoing support throughout the project.
Witnessing of key equipment installations
FairHeat will witness the installation of key equipment onsite, along with periodic quality assurance inspections on your behalf. We will focus on key risk areas such as insulation, heat meters and HIUs.
Prior to completion, FairHeat will support the client and/or employer’s agent to ensure that commissioning is carried out correctly. This support can include reviewing the commissioning schedule, delivering a desktop pre-commissioning check based on live meter data, and site inspections where required.
FairHeat takes a proactive approach to commissioning, setting out clear schedules at the design stage and through taking an exhaustive approach to the process and achieving significant savings in future operating and upkeep costs.
FairHeat can also help embed client capabilities and provide support during the commissioning process as an employer’s agent.
Our services in the commissioning stage include:
A review of the commissioning schedule
Review of the commissioning schedule at the outset to ensure that it is fit for purpose.
Desktop based pre-commissioning support
Where metering systems have been correctly set-up at the outset, FairHeat is able to conduct a desktop review of the pre-commissioning stage to identify where equipment has been commissioned incorrectly. This might include identifying faults such as open bypasses and poorly commissioned HIUs.
As part of this stage, FairHeat will work with contractors or the EA to ensure that any issues are identified and rectified prior to handover.
Support to Employer’s Agent for heat networks
FairHeat will provide support throughout the commissioning period, including desktop analysis and, where required, inspections on site. FairHeat can also act as a specialist employer’s agent for heat networks.
FairHeat can ensure that performance requirements have been met by carrying out testing prior to handover. FairHeat has developed a performance measurement framework, along with a defined testing methodology that can be adapted for specific scheme requirements.
Acceptance testing measures efficiency at the outset, ensuring that clients are not exposed to excessive operating costs and ensuring that any defects are identified in time for rectification during the defects period.
Heat networks are often complex, and require a 12-18 month bedding in period. FairHeat is on hand throughout this stage, providing a bridge between the client, the design consultant and the contractor.
Our services in the test stage include:
Initial acceptance testing
Where heat network performance targets have been set as part of the specification, FairHeat will carry out independent acceptance testing prior to handover.
Remote monitoring during defects period
Where adequate monitoring and metering systems are in place, FairHeat offers periodic system performance monitoring throughout the defects period. Where performance deficiencies are identified, FairHeat will flag these to the client, design consultant and contractor so that defects can be rectified.
Pre-defects expiry performance review
Prior to the expiry of the defects period, FairHeat can carry out a detailed performance review, identifying any issues and, where these are due to failures, help contractors to meet specification.
Post defects, FairHeat can assist with ongoing monitoring, helping clients to identify underlying causes of poor performance and thereby avoiding high operating costs.
FairHeat believes that performance monitoring is best carried out by the heat network operator or its maintenance company, with trained employees overseeing network performance on a day-to-day basis.
To assist with this FairHeat also provides training to ensure that operators’ staff are able to identify and remedy poor performance.
FairHeat can provide expert support to those responsible for heat networks to assist the diagnosis of underlying performance issues and identify options for improvement.
Our services in the operating stage include:
Ongoing monitoring support
FairHeat provides ongoing support to operators, with periodic meetings to review performance and identify potential options for improvement.
Detailed performance analysis
For systems that have not had a rigorous monitoring regime in place from the outset or less structured Employer’s Requirements, FairHeat can carry out detailed performance analysis to identify root causes of poor performance and identify improvement interventions.