Are you up on your eco?

Ross McKenzie, Intergas heating engineer and Managing Director of Ross McKenzie Ltd Plumbing & Heating, very definitely is. His current annual heat and hot water bill for his family home is only £400 and most, but not all, is down to the heating system he designed. As the pressure’s on to cut down on fossil fuels and energy bills, your customers are increasingly looking to you for advice and practical support in becoming more frugal without sacrificing comfort. Budget can be a big dissuader when it comes to taking those energy-saving steps, but not always, and it helps to think ahead and be a little inventive as Ross has done. In 2015 he designed and built his 180m2 family house in Scotland, insulating it with 235mm spray foam insulation, installing triple-glazed windows and underfloor heating throughout, to keep heat loss to a minimum; solar thermal panels on the south-facing roof all feed into a 500L thermal store which can either heat the hot water or heating; one side of the house is glass to benefit from solar thermal gain; the 14kW in-room log biomass boiler, with digital direct air controllers, sends water into the thermal store where the underfloor heating manifold is located, and the mechanical ventilation and heat recovery system continually monitors and keeps the indoor air fresh without wasting any heat. If there’s a particularly cold snap or the house is unoccupied, there was an LPG back-up boiler, configured to provide support to the biomass burner via the Honeywell Evo home controller. This was replaced last year by a Daikin air-to-water heat pump (8kW split system), again only as a back-up, and now solar PV’s been added, mainly to help towards car charging. The net result of such detailed planning by Ross is an annual energy bill of around £400 a year (and that’s taking account of the recent energy price hikes). The property’s carbon footprint is vastly reduced as his entire home only uses energy from renewable sources.