Understand underfloor heating for a return on RHI

Understand underfloor heating for a return on RHI

The launch of the domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme in April 2014 has provided installers with a potential business boosting form of revenue when it comes to underfloor heating, as Polypipe’s product manager for underfloor heating, Andrew Coy explains.

“Homeowners are being encouraged to install renewable heat sources, for example air or ground source heat pumps, via the domestic RHI scheme, in exchange for a quarterly cash dividend for each unit of heat generated. This move is part of the government’s drive to make Britons less reliant on traditional heating methods; Westminster is aiming for 35,000 homeowners to sign up to the scheme by the end of the year*, helping to meet its target for the UK to generate 15 per cent of its energy demand from renewable sources by 2020**.
“Because of its energy efficiency and low operating temperatures, water-based underfloor heating is the perfect accompaniment to the heat sources which qualify under  the scheme. Installing such a system means that as well as receiving payments for generating heat through the renewable heat source, homeowners will also be able to reduce their energy bills. The use of wet underfloor heating offers more control over bills, as the cost of water isn’t affected by fossil fuel availability and is less prone to price increases, unlike gas and electricity.
“Homeowners who are made aware of the benefits of underfloor heating may well consider installing it in their property when signing up to the RHI scheme, if they are looking for further ways to improve their property’s energy efficiency. With a system available for every possible application, including retrofit options, underfloor heating is now a possibility for homeowners conducting a renovation or extension project, as well as new build projects.
“Although each project will be unique, installing underfloor heating doesn’t have to involve major excavation work and can be quite straightforward. Typically, in a new build property, underfloor heating will be fitted within the floor and sealed with a concrete screed at the same time with little, if any change, to the floor construction. Advancements in the underfloor market have made retrofit systems simpler to fit than ever before too. New, low-profile over-the-floor solutions can be installed beneath an existing floor covering with minimal disruption and are as thin as 2cm in depth, removing the need to raise the level of the floor.
“As RHI applications can be backdated, if homeowners already have a renewable heat source in place, installers could encourage them to take advantage of the scheme while also explaining the advantages of teaming it with an underfloor heating system. The government estimates 18,000 households are eligible to retrospectively apply for the RHI scheme in this way.
“As the domestic RHI scheme has already been open to homeowners for three months, installers need to make sure their underfloor heating product and application knowledge is up-to-date. Many manufacturers provide a wealth of free on and offline training opportunities, from product literature to short courses, so installers should make sure they are making the most of this in order to make trusted recommendations to their customers and ultimately maximise the invaluable sales opportunity presented by the RHI.”
For more information visit www.polypipe.com/plumbing-heating or call the Polypipe team on 01709 770 000. Alternatively, more information can be found in Polypipe’s online installation guide.
*According to The Guardian: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/apr/09/renewable-heat-incentive-homeowners-money-oil
**According to the Department of Energy and Climate Change: https://www.gov.uk/government/policies/increasing-the-use-of-low-carbon-technologies