The relaxation of planning restrictions on converting commercial property into residential opens up the market for low-height warm water underfloor heating solutions, especially for those projects requiring compliance with building regulation Part E, which covers acoustic transmission.
With this in mind Nu-Heat views the apartment sector as a key growth area for 2014, particularly when the building market improves, as we expect it to, and the ‘Buy-to-Let’ purchasers return.
We anticipate that the introduction of the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) will give a boost to solar thermal and heat pumps in particular, as the RHI tariffs favour these technologies and customers can expect decent levels of return.
We are already witnessing a trend toward ‘future proofing’ heating systems so that additional technologies can be integrated as incentives or finances allow. For example, cylinders that link to a boiler but allow for heat pump or solar integration at a later date are a sensible option. However, this does rely on using a company that takes responsibility for the overall design and specification of the system and also communicates effectively with the installer.
Little promotion and no sign of serious conviction or political resolve means that we do not expect the Green Deal to increase in popularity to any great extend before the next General Election in May 2015. Fundamental issues with processes and the burden of regulation have added to its slow take-up.
We previously predicted growth of the retro install market in underfloor heating for 2013, in which we have been proven correct. For 2014 we foresee this trend continuing but with added requirements brought about by the arrival of the RHI in spring of 2014. As a result we are already seeing retro installed UFH systems linked to ground or air source heat pumps. This is positive for the underfloor heating industry as long as systems are correctly designed to match the heat output requirements of buildings with inevitably higher heat losses than new-build.