BESA introduces a revamped HIU test standard in the UK


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BESA’s updated HIU test standard

The Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) has launched a new testing system for Heat Interface Units (HIUs) in the UK.

This updated protocol replaces the original standard introduced in 2016 and later updated in 2018. More about the latest updates can be found here.

Aiming for consumer protection

The purpose behind BESA’s enhanced UK HIU Test Regime is to provide clearer information to specifiers and to optimise the experience for the end-users.

The standard was devised with the intent of safeguarding consumers and to ensure the industry aligns with the requirements of those involved in the creation and design of heat networks.

Boosting efficiency and choice

The test regime is a voluntary measure, offering manufacturers an independent means to evaluate, measure, and compare the effectiveness of their products.

The protocol has proven beneficial in elevating HIU performance within the industry. This enhancement has equipped specifiers with vital data, aiding them in making knowledgeable decisions when choosing HIUs for their ventures.

HIUs play a pivotal role in channelling heat from district heating systems to individual structures and residences.

Their functioning is integral to the system’s overall efficacy.

The BESA Standard was conceived from an efficiency research initiative backed by the UK government, aiming to bolster the performance of this vital technology.

The BESA HIU Steering Group, a collective of representatives from various stages of the testing procedure, has overseen its subsequent evolutions.

This group liaises with stakeholders spanning from developers, specifiers, and purchasers to manufacturers, suppliers, and ultimately, the consumer.

Enhancements in the latest standard

The third iteration of the HIU standard showcases notable advancements. It has been revamped into a modular design, allowing the evaluation of diverse HIU types, inclusive of space heating-only models.

This edition introduces a DHW load test and revises how the annual volume weighted return temperature (VWART) is determined.

Currently, the standard encompasses seven distinct HIU types, stipulating pass/fail criteria culminating in the documentation of a successful evaluation.

The test’s modular format is tailored to reduce the need for retesting while augmenting the data available to specifiers.

Trials adhering to this benchmark facilitate the comparison of varying HIUs under customary UK operational conditions.

This provides proof of adherence to other performance metrics, including domestic hot water response intervals.

A BESA technical consultant validates the outcome before it’s listed on the BESA HIU Test Register.

This catalogued data aids specifiers in making well-informed HIU choices for their projects.

BESA manages the regime as a not-for-profit initiative, reinvesting testing revenues into the scheme’s prospective growth.

Manufacturers choosing to list their test findings on the Register can label themselves as ‘BESA registered’, and are granted permission to utilise the Association’s emblem.

Industry reactions

“We’re thrilled to present the latest phase of HIU testing in the UK,” expressed Gareth Jones, Chair of the BESA HIU Steering Group.

“The foundational test standard has already fostered positive industry transformations.

“The latest standard symbolises a considerable progression, especially in acknowledging the transition to eco-friendly technologies.”

Jones further highlighted the relevance of the new standard with the upcoming Heat Network Technical Assurance Scheme and the impending heat network regulations.

He emphasised that the revised standard aligns seamlessly with these novel prerequisites, instilling enhanced confidence in the industry.

He also spotlighted the test’s contribution to market evolution, stating: “It exemplifies the constructive influence of consumer-driven initiatives on market growth.”

Looking ahead

With over 50,000 HIUs being set up annually in the UK, their role in the country’s decarbonisation blueprint is escalating.

This surge underscores the significance of establishing performance benchmarks, as articulated by BESA.

Jones added: “Ultimately, consumers stand to gain from the enhanced performance of heat networks.

“As manufacturers utilise the test results to further research and refine their offerings, specifiers are poised to make increasingly informed decisions.”

For further details on the BESA HIU Standard, click here.

IFSJ Comment

The revised HIU test standard by BESA showcases the industry’s commitment to continually elevate standards, ensuring consumers receive top-tier products.

As HIUs play a growing role in the UK’s decarbonisation strategy, it’s essential for benchmarks to be robust, transparent, and in line with contemporary needs.

This step by BESA is a testament to the industry’s forward-thinking approach and the emphasis on aligning with green initiatives.

The new standard, by enhancing transparency and promoting better-informed decisions, is set to drive both industry growth and consumer satisfaction.

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