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Specifiers Journal 2015-2016

Specifiers Journal 2015-2016

Renewables have taken a

Renewables have taken a battering, but are hardly down for the count It is not uncommon these days to hear of the turmoil in the renewables industry. Since taking office in May, the Conservative Government has driven a series of sudden and severe policy changes (the REA has tracked eleven so far) that caught most of the public and industry off-guard. They are attempting to manage the widespread public concern about the possible shortfall in electricity production capacity the nation may have this winter. Critically, they are interested in allowing for new thinking in design of buildings and of businesses that a step change in technologies like renewables provides. Because of the proposed cuts of up to 87% in the tariffs for many small-scale renewable projects, many companies are set to collapse and solar projects are set to be scrapped heading into Christmas. The Renewable Energy Association (REA), as the largest renewable trade association in the UK and as a representative of a substantial spread of technologies (ranging from local hydro to solar integrated into new buildings), has been at the fore of making the case in and around Parliament for the government to continue to support renewables. It may be surprising given recent media coverage, but support for decentralised renewables quietly runs deep, and it runs across party lines. Many established Parliamentarians are aware of why we chose the path 28 SPECIFICATION JOURNAL 2015-2016 of decentralised energy, and of the tremendous national benefits it is bringing. Many new MP’s are receptive to the message that social and environmental benefits aside, supporting technologies such as solar and storage is facilitating serious innovation in architectural design. They are helping the industry reimagine how to structure and power major infrastructure projects, and are changing a panoply of business models. The REA’s immediate goal has been to provide clear, accurate, and timely information to the right people. Working determinedly on consultations, coordinating with local businesses, and arguing our case to MP’s in hallways and constituency offices may not sound glamorous, but it is increasingly necessary. We are fighting in Parliament to retain what policies we have that support innovation and greater efficiency in the architecture and building industries. Many are beginning to listen, and certain messages are heard more than others. The government is keen to hear about keeping British industry and design competitive with that of Europe and the rest of the world. Our message is this: talk to your MP. 1 If you’re a business, a family, or an individual, call your MP’s office and find a time to tell them that renewables are allowing for new income streams, and allowing for new thinking about efficiency as buildings move from being producers, not just consumers of energy. Construction policies such as Zero Carbon Homes, or the Merton Rule (that encourages local authorities to develop new homes with on-site energy) would be of great help. This debate is not over, it will continue well into the new year. 1 You can write to your local MP easily using an online tool, found here: http://ppccontact.r-e-a.net

The Hot Water Association - delivering quality The Hot Water Association, (HWA), is a dynamic and forward focussed trade association, with a history going back over a 100 years. The HWA represent the hot water storage industry, within the larger umbrella of the Energy and Utilities Alliance (EUA). Initially formed in 1913 as the Copper Cylinder & Boiler Manufacturers Association, (CC&BMA), members were primarily manufacturers of storage cylinders and boilers. As the hot water cylinder has evolved, so has the association representing it. Today’s Hot Water Association (HWA) focusses on all forms of water storage throughout the UK within one member body. In 2013 the HWA became a member of the Energy and Utilities Alliance, (EUA), providing a collective voice across the industry, within both UK Government and European Parliament. Today the HWA is greatly involved in several layers of Government assisting with the formulation of forthcoming legislative changes; including the energy labelling of storage products, product safety criteria, providing expert witness, and creating standards within the industry. Energy storage is an additional area being championed by the HWA as effective energy storage can be used for a more efficient distribution of heat to homes and businesses. Isaac Occhipinti of HWA said “As the use of renewable technologies rises then energy storage of some sort is necessary and currently hot water storage is the only practical solution to turning the energy produced into something useful and banking it for when it needs to be used. At HWA we would also like the Architects, Developers and Building Contractors to address the need to future proof new buildings by making them ‘hot water ready’, this means designing new builds with adequate space to install a hot water cylinder as it is extremely difficult and expensive to retrofit and make them compatible for renewable technologies.” Specifiers can be confident in specifying a hot water storage as the hot water industry, like all manufacturing businesses, are governed by standards, be them British or European. Standards are part and parcel of modern-day living, so learning that a product adheres to manufacturing standards; whilst reassuring, is not unexpected. Recognising that today’s consumer wants to see businesses going beyond what is ‘expected’; members of the Hot Water Association (HWA) have developed an additional standards framework, which each member company signs up to – The HWA Charter. The Charter The HWA Charter offers consumers quality assurance, product satisfaction, and confidence in the manufacturer, that they will deliver a service beyond just supplying the product. The HWA Charter Code of Practice requires that, all members adhere to the following: • To supply fit for purpose products clearly and honestly described • To supply products that meet, or exceed appropriate standards and building and water regulations • To provide pre and post sales technical support • To provide clear and concise warranty details to customers Independently audited Charter members are independently audited before the status of Charter member is awarded. Consumers are flooded with brand marketing from companies that make bold claims about improving lives and the world through achieving environmental, ethical, or social milestones. Many can face rejection – unless they accredit themselves through unbiased third-party authority. Independent governance supports the Charter principle of, being clear and honest; not only do members have to comply with the Charters standards, they also have to show an external accreditor how they do it. When speaking of the Charter, Mr Occhipinti of HWA said; “The power of the third-party accredited quality mark is significant. Seals of approval are developing their own brand reputations, the Kitemark logo for instance, which is used in the UK for health and safety standards for products such as bicycle helmets and smoke alarms; has made it into the Top 500 Business Superbrands list for the third year running. HWA Charter members are proud of their brand and what it stands for; our aim is to get every business involved in the manufacturing and supply chain of domestic hot water products, to become Charter members.” Adapting to the changing world in which we live, members will continue to periodically review and develop the Charter standards, making sure that they maintain the standards set for the industry, and also continue to deliver on the needs of today’s consumer. HWA charter members are committed to providing hot water storage solutions that not only meet manufacturing standards, but deliver the ‘full package’, product, support, service and all. For membership enquiries contact; Isaac Occhipinti isaac@eua.org.uk 01926 513742 or visit www.hotwater.org.uk SPECIFICATION JOURNAL 2015-2016 29