When it comes to specifying new or replacement heating systems, social housing providers are looking for low maintenance technology and predictable costs of ownership, as well as greater fuel economies for residents. Vaillant has worked with a number of social housing providers to develop a new range of boilers designed specifically for the sector.
After another mild Christmas, the UK experienced some serious bouts of cold weather in January. Whilst many people cranked up their heating systems to keep out the cold, for the four million people in the UK languishing in fuel poverty, the cost of heating often forces them into making stark choices, in the most extreme cases choosing between being warm, or putting food on the table. Fuel poverty is an ongoing problem affecting vulnerable households across the UK.
In October Sadiq Khan made a welcome pledge during Mayor’s Question Time, after the Health Committee chair aired his concerns over the health impacts of fuel poverty on older households in London. In response the Mayor pledged to play a more active role in tackling cold homes across the capital and committed the GLA to the development of a new fuel poverty action plan.
Peter Smith, Director of Policy and research at fuel poverty charity National Energy Action (NEA) welcomed the plan: “We welcome the Mayor prioritising ending the cost and suffering caused by cold homes in the capital. Whilst its’ still early days, he has rightly outlined many of the actions that are necessary. In particular, the Mayor stated that GLA will develop a new fuel poverty action plan and new energy efficiency initiatives focused on reducing fuel poverty. This is particularly welcome given likely reductions in national programmes.”
There are a number of schemes in operation across England, Wales and Scotland aimed at tackling the scourge of fuel poverty, such as HEEPS in Scotland and NEST in Wales.
Vulnerable people of all ages are affected by fuel poverty, living in poor performing expensive to heat homes and struggling to keep warm — an issue most acute at this time of year. Whilst the biggest proportion are in the private sector, the social housing sector is not immune — for example 31% of social housing tenants in Wales live in fuel poverty. For social housing providers, ensuring residents have warm, comfortable, healthy and affordable homes to live in is a top priority.
When it comes to specifying new heating systems, councils and housing associations are looking for high efficiency SAP ratings, low maintenance technology and predictable costs of ownership. Increasingly, social housing providers are also keen to explore heating systems with in-built remote monitoring technology which can assist contractors and DLO teams in identifying problems and determining the best cause of action.
Heating and hot water specialist Vaillant has launched a new boiler aimed specifically at the social housing sector. Designed by company’s research and development team, the ecoFIT sustain can be fitted with connectivity options to assist with remote monitoring and fault notification, which in turn, helps to reduce repair call-out costs, minimise heating downtime and improve residents peace of mind.
Alice Woolley, Sales Director – Specification, at Vaillant explained: “Our team has worked closely with social housing providers and contractors to design a heating solution that provides them with a predictable cost of ownership, offering reduced long-term asset costs and reduction in maintenance time required by their in house DLO or maintenance contractor.”
The boiler range features a high quality, highly durable, lightweight, automotive grade aluminium heat exchanger. The design of the sand cast heat exchanger also incorporates large water channels and four sided cooling to reduce the risk of blockage, increase life span and further improve efficiency.
In addition to high quality long life components, it offers a standard DIN layout to reduce labour time on boiler swaps. For increased siting flexibility, the boiler is available with rear and top flue options, fits neatly inside a cupboard and has an excellent size to output ratio.
Whilst providing comfort and reassurance to tenants, the ecoFIT sustain will help reduce energy consumption, essential for keeping fuel costs down. Residents also benefit from a warm start hot water function and simple, clear controls with easy operation, helping to reduce call-outs and reduced boiler downtime means less disruption for tenants.