Section 6: Community heating

6.1 Scope of guidance

This section provides guidance on the specification of community heating systems for dwellings to meet relevant energy efficiency requirements in the Building Regulations.

A community heating system is one that supplies heat to a number of dwellings from a common heat source. A system may heat a small block of flats or a large number of buildings.

The guidance in this section applies to systems that:

• supply 15 or more dwellings from a central boiler, or from a low carbon source such as combined heat and power (CHP), biofuels, heat pumps and solar panels

• distribute heat from the central source using a wet radiator system (although warm air heating and underfloor heating systems may also be used).

Metering requirements for community heating schemes are being introduced, starting in June 2014, as a result of the EU Energy Efficiency Directive. See the DECC website for details of the requirements and the technical standards that apply (for example on meter specifications):

6.2 New and existing community heating schemes

The central heat source should comply with the requirements in the Non-Domestic Building Services Compliance Guide except where specified in this section.

Guidance is provided for two scenarios:

• connecting dwellings to a new community heating scheme

• connecting dwellings to an existing community heating scheme.

Connecting dwellings to a new community heating scheme

New community heating systems for both new and existing dwellings should meet the minimum standards for:

a. energy efficiency in Table 25

b. low carbon heat sources in Table 26

c. system control in Table 27

d. hot water production, storage and treatment, heat metering and commissioning in Table 28

e. insulation of pipework in Table 29 and Table 30.

Connecting dwellings to an existing community heating scheme

Where existing community heating systems are connected to new or existing dwellings:

a. If the existing community heating system is in need of replacement or improvement, a study should be carried out to assess the economic and environmental benefits of a range of options, including the use of CHP and other low carbon heat sources, especially where individual heating systems are being considered as an alternative to continuing with the community heating system.

b. Replacement boilers should meet the minimum standards for boiler efficiency in the Non- Domestic Building Services Compliance Guide (available from approveddocuments/PartL > Associated documents).

c. If thermal energy is purchased from an existing district or community heating system, an assessment of the carbon intensity of the scheme should be carried out. Emission factors should be determined based on the particular details of the scheme, but should take account of the annual average performance of the whole system – that is, of the distribution circuits and all the heat generating plant, including any CHP, and any waste heat recovery or heat dumping. The calculation of the dwelling carbon dioxide emission rate should be carried out by a suitably qualified person, who should explain how the emission factors were derived.

d. Controls should meet the minimum standards in Table 27.

e. Pipework insulation should meet the minimum standards in Table 29 and Table 30.

****Table 25 Recommended minimum standards for the design of community heating systems to maximise efficiency of heat generation and minimise energy use by pumps***

****Table 26 Recommended minimum standards for design of low carbon heat sources where these are included in community heating systems****

****Table 27 Recommended minimum controls for community heating systems within dwellings****

****Table 28 Recommended minimum standards for domestic hot water (DHW) production, storage and water treatment, heat meters and commissioning for community heating****

****Table 29 Recommended minimum standards for insulation of internal pipework in community heating systems****

****Table 30 Recommended minimum standards for insulation of external pipework in****

****Supplementary information****

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