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Energy efficiency and the growing importance for clients

Author : Bill Wright, ECA Head of Energy Solutions

08 May 2017

At present, the IET Wiring Regulations – otherwise known as BS 7671- only take steps to safeguard against fire and electric shock.

Currently these regulations are under full review, with the ECA having a major presence on the main JPEL committees which oversee and implement the changes.

One of the biggest changes within the new 18th edition of the Wiring Regulations is expected to be on energy efficiency, which is set to be included for the first time.

The reasoning behind this addition is the increasing importance to clients of having energy efficient electrical installations.

This proposed new section on energy efficiency details the steps to be taken during the design process to consider the energy efficiency of an electrical installation.

The implication of these changes to the electrical installation design hierarchy is broadly as follows:

Effectively there will be two design requirements – the first is to understand the energy profile of the building and both the passive and active measures taken within it, while the second is to undertake steps to reduce energy losses within installations.

This update will therefore provide a framework for clients to stipulate levels of energy efficiency, in order to achieve:
• Less impact on the environment
• Reduction of energy losses and energy cost
• Use of energy at lower tariffs
• Less reactive maintenance
• Optimisation of performance for life cycle

IEC 60364-8-1 – which is the international document the proposed update is based on - considers a number of factors for energy efficiency in electrical installations, which include:
• The efficiency placement of the electrical intake
• Electrical distribution wiring system efficiency
• Types of controls to avoid wastage
• Provision of energy measurement
• Types of loads which can be switched off without impacting safety and usability
• Electrical system energy management
• Energy efficiency impact of maintenance work

Significantly, IEC 60364-8-1 recognises that replacement of existing building stock is low – around 5 per cent or below, and therefore this regulation states that it should also apply to existing buildings as well as new developments.

Other headline changes to the Wiring Regulations are expected to include the following: Protection against overvoltages – Updated guidance on Surge Protection; Protection against Fire – Updated guidance on Arc Fault Detection; and Updated guidance on Special Locations.

The updates are intended to bring UK regulations in line with both CENELEC and IEC 60364 standards, which will ensure existing regulations are clearer, and will allow for new technology and methodology to be incorporated.

A draft of the 18th edition will be open to public consultation from June this year, with anyone in the industry able to offer feedback until late August.

During this time, the ECA will be consulting with members and other stakeholders within the electrotechnical sector over the changes, and how they may impact firms across the industry.

For more information about the timeline for introducing the 18th edition, please visit:

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