Mahendra Mistry explains how the 18th edition UK Wiring Regulations will constitute one of the biggest regulatory shake-ups to date.
08 May 2018 | Mahendra Mistry
Modern FMs not only have to ensure that electrical systems and equipment are in safe working condition to support the core business of an organisation, but also that they operate in the most energy-efficient manner.
A large driver has been the government's green agenda. We are one of the most successful countries in our carbon reductions, but there is still progress to be made to reduce emissions by 80 per cent on 1990 levels before 2050.
Most of our green economy lies with UK businesses and industry, particularly as they are usually bigger premises than domestic properties so energy-efficiency measures are more cost-effective.
This is seen in a raft of initiatives and legislation including the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS), the ErP Directive, Energy Performance Certificates, the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme, the Waste Resources Action Plan (WRAP) and more.
What this means for FMs
FMs can play a big role in this transition by developing in-depth knowledge of the latest green products and solutions.
Yet until this point there has been no official best practice regulation on the design and installation of energy-efficient technology - meaning it has been all too common for installations to be chopped and changed, with little regard for the distribution of electricity or potential losses.
Cue the arrival of the 18th Edition of the Wiring Regulations in July, which goes beyond looking solely at safety requirements to include a new section to ensure that energy efficiency is incorporated into electrical installation designs as a prerequisite.
Part 8 aims to lessen environmental impact, reduce energy losses and energy costs, use energy only when required and potentially at a lower tariff, reduce maintenance by making sure that equipment is installed correctly and to enhance general lifetime efficiency.
Key energy-efficiency performance measures
-Switch to LEDs with a lifespan of up 70,000 hours, which is eight times that of traditional options and can reduce lighting energy bills by as much as 90 per cent.
-Use high-quality, reliable capacitors to compensate for any reactive non-working reactive power demand, restoring power factor as near to unity as possible and delivering fewer CO2 emissions, less consumption and lower electricity bills. There is also guidance on:
-Best practice installation of transformers and cables to negate losses through more energy-efficient models
This is a clear sign of the growing urgency for energy-efficient technology and smart installations. The good news for savvy FMs and electrical contractors is that it will help to coerce even greater demand for smart solutions and open up new business opportunities.
FMs should invest time and resources into familiarising themselves with Part 8, along with the wider changes in the 18th Edition. Indeed, it may mean time dedicated to extra training, but the likelihood is that it will pay dividends in the years to come. And help is at hand - many leading organisations are offering dedicated support to help contracting firms ensure that they are trailblazing the best practice guidance detailed in the 18th Edition.
Amid new legislation and a volatile fuel market, there has never been a better time for FMs to up-sell smart services to commercial clients. Not only is it vital in terms of legal compliance, it can have a beneficial impact on a company's bottom line - guaranteeing a happy customer and often repeat custom.
Mahendra Mistry is technical manager for electrical systems at Bureau Veritas