A road to innovation…

When designing the HVAC scheme for a large project such as Chruch Road, Leyton, there are often unforeseen hurdles to overcome. However, when MEPH consultants EDC came across a space issue with the plantroom, the search for a solution led it to a new innovation – the Zeroth Energy System. 

This article originally appeared in the CIBSE Journal in April 2019

In an up-and-coming area close to Stratford and Central London, Church Road, Leyton, promises to be a development in demand. Galliard Homes acquired the site in 2017 and gained approval for the development of 48 one, two and three-bedroom apartments alongside two three-bedroom townhouses. 

Galliard Church Road

Galliard Homes appointed MEPH and energy specialist Engineering Design Consultants (EDC) as the MEPH consultants for the scheme, and as they began working on the projects HVAC design. 

The original intention was for the development to use traditional central plant heating technology; however, an issue at pre-planning stage meant that the plant space allocated had been underestimated and there was no longer a suitable location for the central plant within the development. 

EDC set out to find an alternative solution. Galliard has a safety policy that does not allow individual gas boilers within their apartments. With this and other restrictions in mind, air-source heat pumps (ASHP’s) soon became EDC’s only solution to the design constraints. 

While sourcing the solution, EDC contacted HVAC solutions provider Glen Dimplex Heating and Ventilation (GDHV) about the benefits of the Zeroth Energy System. This system comprises of a refrigerant-free, low-temperature network and in-apartment heat pumps to provide heating, cooling and hot water to each local space. 

When applied to the project and paired with roof-based ASHP’s, the Zeroth Energy System remained viable and met compliance, despite the many restrictions of the project. The solution resulted in such high energy efficiencies that the carbon emissions reduced significantly for the footprint of the entire site. 

EDC decided to propose the system to Galliard Homes as the solution for Church Road. “We’ve always been promoters and supporters of leading cutting-edge technology, and we could see the benefits that the Zeroth Energy System could bring,” says Stephen Harper, Group M&E Services Manager at Galliard Homes. “The implementation of this solution produced heating and hot water in a low carbon way while staying within the limited electrical power available for the site. However, the real beneficiary will be the end-user, with very low energy bills and increased thermal comfort”. 

It is because of this, among other benefits, that this project has been selected by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy as a case study for 2050 being zero carbon emission. 

The development is due to be completed this year and will be one of the first developments in the UK to benefit from the Zeroth Energy System.

For more information on this project, contact EDC Senior Project Manager Robert Higgins rhiggins@edcengineers.com or Lead Mechanical Engineer Josh Tobin jtobin@edcengineers.com.