Environmental Solutions For The Building Industry


North Walsham Round Table Beer Festival 2/3                                      August 2013

Alexander Assessments is proud to sponsor Woodforde's Bure Gold at the inaugural Beer Festival being held in North Walsham in August 2013. Apparently, a classic golden ale delicious with fish and chips. I cannot wait!

GEMSERV Calculation Confusion                                                                    July 2013

There seems to be perennial confusion regarding the MCS rules for calculating heat losses on dwellings. The rules now state that the method for new homes takes into account solar gain and thermal bridges and yet the on-line calculator is designed for old buildings based on the old CIBSE Guide A. Alexander Assessments has again tried to gain some clarity so far in vain. Please note that new build properties about to receive a biomass boiler, SAP can be used as the basis of the calculation, but not when designing a heat pump! No, we don't understand either!

Heat Pump Grants                                                                                           May 2013

Grants for installing Heat Pumps has been doubled up to £2300 for ground source and £1300 for air source heat pumps in existing properties. However, to be eligible, a Green Deal Assessment in addition to a heat loss calculations must be carried out; Alexander Assessments can produce bith.

Help with Calculation Error                                                                            June 2012

Whilst using the GEMSERV Excel spreadsheet from the MCS web-site we discovered a potentially serious error with the calculation process. Extreme caution has to be used in using the annual kWh figure that is produced for any calculation purpose, due to the incorrect way it uses degree days and internal elemental heat losses to give an annualised heat loss figure. Alexander Assessments has further developed a tool to include radiator outputs for each room and also created a work-around to the above error. As they say in computing “garbage in- garbage out”!

Future Regulations                                                                                          April 2012
SAP2013 and the Part L consultation periods are at an end and it will be interesting to see what will actually be imposed; especially as the Prime Minister waded into the “Conservatory Tax” debate stating that it was not going to happen. What should happen is that improvements should be made mandatory if one is extending a property, but tax all the works at 5% VAT, this would decrease CO2 emissions, reduce energy bills and increase workloads in a depressed market.

Alex is a Certified Passive House Designer                                               March 2011 

Alex Honey, founder of Alexander Assessments, is now a Certified Passive House Designer!

Passivhaus principles underpin low carbon house design which will be reflected in the Building Regulations by 2016. Passivhaus is a German software package that helps designers minimise heat losses and provides a more realistic model of energy consumption than SAP, making it more useful as a design tool. Please contact us if you require further information.

'Green Deal Scheme' update                                                                      October 2010

Chris Huhne (Energy Minister) has hinted that the 'Green Deal Scheme' will only apply to houses with a minimum fabric standard. Therefore, no chance of having a heat pump installed in your draughty stone castle!

Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)                                                               October 2010

The whole of the house-building industry is waiting to see if the new Coalition Government will fullly implement the new RHI in April 2011. The idea being that the householder will be paid a subsidy for technologies such as solar thermal panels and heat pumps. A SAP2009 calculation would be used as a basis for the payments, to negate the householder from turning up the thermostat and therefore being paid more by the Government.

'This would be implemented by paying the tariff not on the basis of a metered number of kWh generated, but instead on a 'deemed' number of kWh, namely the reasonable heat requirement (or heat load) that the installation is intended to serve', (DECC RHI: Consultation on the proposed RHI Financial Support Scheme, February 2010).

Alexander Assessments is well placed to produce SAP calculations, with several years experience of carrying out audits on existing houses and completing ocEPCs. We agree with the AECB that householders should improve the thermal performance of their property before receiving any such subsidy. A Government announcement is due before the end of 2010.