The Government’s Clean Growth Strategy aims to decarbonise the UK through the 2020s, encouraging homeowners and business alike to benefit from low carbon fuel options, while meeting national and international commitments to tackle climate change.
This shift in Government policy considers the longevity and environmental impact of fuel choice. Essentially, in order to future-proof their energy, customers need to consider cleaner, lower carbon options.
Coupled with the recent Clean Air Strategy commitments; a further policy aim to ‘tackle all sources of air pollution, making our air healthier to breathe, protecting nature and boosting the economy’, it is clear that specifiers of heating and hot water systems need to be fully abreast of the low-carbon technologies available.
For Specifiers working with customers off the mains gas grid, there may be some concern about which boiler system will best suit these requirements, with oil, electricity, air source heat pumps and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) often considered.
Karl Bateman, National Specifier Manager at Calor details the benefits of LPG and in particular, the company’s new BioLPG fuel offer, and how these can help specifiers meet Government targets for low carbon opportunities.
Focus on greener technologies
LPG is already the lowest CO2 emitting fossil fuel available off grid and can offer up to 20 per cent lower carbon emissions than oil. Now, in support of a low carbon transition, Calor has brought BioLPG to market – a renewable fuel that can help cut carbon emissions further still.
BioLPG is currently available to rural homeowners and the transport sector, with plans underway to increase supply and infrastructure to support more consumers and businesses in the future, such as rural housing developers.
The fuel is created from a mix of renewable and waste materials and can reduce a customer’s carbon footprint by up to 38 per cent compared to heating oil. What’s more, no retrofitting is required, meaning any LPG boilers installed now can be fuelled by BioLPG in the future.
“We have a brand vision to improve air quality and dramatically lower carbon impact by offering 100 per cent renewable energy solutions to our customers by 2040, and BioLPG is our first step on the journey.
“It’s classed as a drop-in fuel, so it’s compatible with current LPG heating systems and appliances, and the system requires no additional upgrades or adjustment,” explains Karl.
Specifying for homeowners
When it comes to fuelling a home, residents want a fuel that is affordable, reliable, flexible and familiar. It’s no surprise, then, that LPG fares so well and architects and specifiers can take advantage of its proven benefits when working on single-properties or larger-scale developments.
Traditional rural fossil fuels, such as oil or electric heating, can require significant additional energy-saving measures, such as solar PV, triple glazing or mechanical ventilation heat recovery, to meet Part L of the building regulations. This creates extra expense and additional pressures to ensure the development is meeting environmental compliance.
Alternatively, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) does not require the same level of energy-saving measures to reach the desired SAP ratings, often requiring only low-cost modifications – such as the addition of hi-therm lintels or waste water heat recovery – to achieve compliance.
With electricity prices generally three to four times higher than gas prices per unit of energy, LPG offers a cost-effective option for homeowners, alongside its carbon credentials. Payment is simple to manage, with companies such as Calor offering easy payment plans and the ability to manage an account online. In short, this means owners can spend less time on worrying about bills and instead focus on enjoying rural living.
LPG can be installed as a communal system on an off-grid development, with the gas stored centrally in underground tanks and distributed through a network of pipes to properties in the same way as mains gas. This creates a ‘metered estate’, with each resident billed separately for the gas consumed. The LPG supplier owns the central tanks, maintaining and refuelling automatically as necessary.
The versatility of a fuel is another key factor. Because it is just like having mains gas, LPG is perfectly suited to providing heating and hot water, as well as a fuel for cookers and gas fires. LPG provides an instant, controllable flame for cooking, with the additional reassurance that even in the event of a power cut, appliances running off gas will not be affected.
Specifying for business
According to statistics gathered by BEIS, non-domestic buildings account for 12 per cent of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions. If the UK is to meet its carbon reduction targets, then every sector must be closely examined for possible savings.
Heating poses its set of challenges for each of the non-domestic sectors – whether public, business or commercial. However, LPG can offer a logical energy solution for any building based off the mains gas grid.
As well as being the lowest off-mains carbon-emitting fossil fuel available on the market, LPG emits far fewer harmful nitrogen oxides (NOx) than oil, kerosene or coal fired heating systems.
Industrial businesses are being encouraged to invest in low carbon and renewable technologies as a way to reduce environmental impact. The latest government statistics, for example, show the UK’s installed capacity for renewables grew by almost 14 per cent in 2015.
In order to make sure buildings have continual access to heating and hot water, a practical option is to partner some renewable technologies with a back-up fuel supply, such as LPG.
LPG can be used to power a range of renewable hybrid technologies, such as gas absorption heat pumps or mini combined heat and power systems. For those rural businesses already working hard to cut their emissions but who cannot compromise on their process or building’s heat demands, it makes sense to partner with the lowest carbon fuel available.
It is imperative that the UK achieves urgent and drastic cuts in carbon emissions, and Calor has demonstrated its capability and commitment to meet the carbon challenge with the launch of BioLPG.
Architects and specifiers working with self-builders, as well as designing homes for larger-scale developments, can take advantage of Calor’s latest CPD course, on the benefits of its BioLPG fuel, which is accredited by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).
As a RIBA-certified presentation, the course enables attendees to continue their professional development, while explaining the opportunities available to help homeowners living off the mains gas grid cut their carbon emissions significantly. This includes help and guidance on how to specify BioLPG.
To learn more about BioLPG register to attend www.all-emergy.co.uk/register and meet the team.
 LPG’s Carbon Footprint Relative to Other Fuels: A scientific review, page 6 http://www.shvenergy.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/atlantic_consulting_scientific_review_carbon_footprint_june_2009.pdf
 Greenhouse Gas savings for BioLPG vary according to the feedstock used; the more waste residues used the higher the carbon savings. Based on the feedstocks used in Calor BioLPG the minimum carbon savings that would be made will be 15% and up to 32% (based on a blend of 60% BioLPG and 40% conventional propane) compared to the European approved Renewable Energy Directive Fossil fuel comparator. Feedstocks used in the production of Calor BioLPG by NESTE are verified with International Sustainability and Carbon Certification
 Which? Energy Review, Electric Central Heating, http://www.which.co.uk/reviews/home-heating-systems/article/home-heating-systems/electric-central-heating
 Combustion of fuels and nitrogen oxides (NOx) emission http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/nox-emission-combustion-fuels-d_1086.html