Comprehensive training required to support district heating development

Rising popularity of district heating developments across the UK as a means of decarbonising heat in buildings has highlighted the importance of training across the supply chain, according to a polymer pipework specialist.

01.10.2021

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This follows the release of the CP1 (2020) Heat Networks Code of Practice by the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) and Association for Decentralised Energy (ADE). Guidance provided by the publication advocates the need for further training in the heating sector, while also recommending a maximum flow temperature of 70°C for new schemes.

In turn, this has encouraged the uptake of fourth generation heating networks, typically installed with polymer district heating pipes, which can be used in conjunction with low-carbon heat sources such as heat pumps and waste heat.

With the push to net zero likely to result in further growth for the district heating market, Steve Richmond, Head of Marketing and Technical at REHAU Building Solutions, explains how training must be emphasised as more projects are established.

Steve says: “The increased uptake of district heating networks is a heartening sign for the UK’s net zero targets. However, we need to ensure that as more mechanical and civil contractors become involved with district heating, they are trained to a high standard to ensure new district heating installations run smoothly. 

“The key advantage of district heating networks is the efficiency – a factor which will ultimately form the crux of our wider efforts to decarbonise the heating sector. A poorly installed project may result in lower efficiency, so it is critical that proper training is deployed to ensure that all district heating networks remain high-quality.”

With the Government’s Green Heat Network Fund (GHNF) Transition Scheme also open to applications from July 2021, many industry professionals are predicting further growth in the installation of low-carbon district heating networks come April 2022 when the scheme is launched officially.

Comprehensive training schemes, such as REHAU’s RE04 District Heating Installation Academy course, cover the installation of pipes, accessories, shrouds and the company’s renowned Everloc jointing system – used over 850 million times to date. It is a combination of theory-based classroom learning following by practical sessions using the REHAU jointing system.

The course is also available to be completed either on the contractor’s premises, on site or at a local REHAU office, in order to provide support to installers looking to undertake additional training. Completion of such programmes awards Accredited Installer status, ensuring that practitioners are qualified to support the installation of REHAU district heating pipework.

Steve continued: “Moving towards low-carbon heating is a vital step in the nation’s move towards net neutrality. However, the integration of low-carbon heating networks will need to be supported by increasing number of specialist contractors.”

“Schemes such as REHAU’s RE04 training course are an effective way of ensuring that contractors are equipped to deal with district heating network installations. With this supporting framework in place, we can ensure that low-carbon developments are suitable for meeting upcoming emissions targets.”

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