THE HEAT IS ON – BEAMA-led research reveals HEATING CONTROLS can reduce gas use by 10-12% amid record price hikes
New research has been released as UK gas prices soar by 40% to record highs. As the heating industry rises to the challenge of long-term decarbonisation and supporting households hit by higher energy costs, what can be done in the short term to lower heating costs and carbon emissions?
Is there a simple way to lower energy costs now?
A new study by BEAMA shows the significant role that heating controls play in reducing energy bills and improving home energy efficiency. It reveals that replacing a standard room thermostat with an ON/OFF load compensation thermostat can reduce gas use by 10%, and by 12% if switching to a directly modulating load or weather compensating thermostat.
How were upgraded heating controls found to reduce energy use?
Independent tests were carried out in a unique collaboration between BEAMA, the trade association for energy infrastructure technologies, Salford University’s Energy House, the OpenTherm Association and a number of leading manufacturers including Drayton:
- ● 2 sets of complex 7-hour tests at Salford University’s Energy House.
- ● Phase 1: Testing the impact of a range of different controls, from basic ON/OFF through to load and weather compensation advanced thermostats, on a typical 30kW combi boiler system.
- ● Phase 2: Tests repeated on a smaller 24kW boiler tuned to suit the system, with radiators balanced to DT20 and lower flow temperature (which will be required in Part L 2022 regulations to optimise condensing efficiency).
The results offer a fascinating demonstration of the impact that small changes in installation practices, and the use of more advanced heating controls, can make in reducing fuel consumption and carbon emissions.
How much energy was saved by better heating controls?
Among the headlines, the study found that simply replacing a standard room thermostat with one that controls the boiler using proportional ON/OFF load compensation can reduce gas used by 10% over the heating season.
Where the boiler and control can talk to each other through a suitable communication protocol, a directly modulating load or weather compensating room thermostat can be installed to replace a standard one, which can deliver a 12% saving.
Colin Timmins, Director of Building Technologies at BEAMA said of the research: “As Government lays out its plans for decarbonising heat in our homes it remains critical that we look at cost effective ways to make our homes more energy efficient, while also futureproofing them for future low carbon heating. Better heating controls provide a route to achieve both of these.
“Our research provides a compelling validation of the benefits of heating controls in fuel consumption. As we go forward in the challenge ahead, we hope this important research will help to fuel the fire for heating controls and provide more informed decision making in the strategy for low carbon heating systems.”
The report underpins BEAMA’s ‘Saving Energy with Heating Controls’ householder guide, which offers a raft of useful insights and tips around all aspects of the sector.
The new Drayton Digistat, launched in 2021, features ON/OFF load compensation and could therefore reduce gas use by 10% when replacing a basic Class I thermostat.
Wiser, the smart heating controls range from Drayton, features both direct OpenTherm load compensation and weather compensation, meaning savings of 12% can be achived when replacing a basic Class I thermostat.
Additionally, according to BEAMA research, Wiser's smart multi-room control could save an extra 19% energy vs. no room-to-room control, Away Mode automation using IFTTT an extra 24% energy, and enabling Eco Mode could save even more, at an additonal 7% reduction in gas use. In all, Wiser could save you up to £200 a year in gas use.
For more information of saving energy with Drayton heating controls, visit our Energy Efficiency page.
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