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Trusts under fire over refusal of limescale recognition

15 May 2009

The Carbon Trust and The Energy Saving Trust have both been criticised for their soft stance on recognising limescale as a major factor in increased energy consumption.

The amount of damage caused by hard water is enormous, however advice on how to prevent it is sadly lacking from both the relevant agencies. Search for the term “water treatment” on The Carbon Trust or Energy Savings Trusts’ website and no guidance is on offer for businesses, organisations or even consumers. Indeed these organisations hardly recognise there is any problem with hard water or limescale whatsoever. 

The Carbon Trust does state that 1mm of limescale causes a 7% increase in energy within their Low Temperature Hot Water Boilers document (CTV008), but their advice appears to be to - let the problem happen and then annually use chemicals to remove it.   Now that very effective non-chemical methods exist for preventing and indeed removing limescale, surely these should be The Carbon Trusts’ preferred sustainable solutions.

Of course, energy is only part of the equation. Scaling and chemical treatment methods both cause premature failure of water-fed equipment, appliances and sanitary-ware.  Take for example direct-fired gas boilers; these have a very much shortened life in hard water areas. Scale builds up on the bottom surface, above the hottest part, causing the casing to split and emptying the contents on the plant room floor.

The boiler then has to be replaced.  This involves mining raw materials somewhere in the world, processing them into components, assembling and transporting the replacement across the globe. Now multiply this simple example with all the other items requiring premature replacement and plain common sense would conclude that this has an immeasurable impact on every aspect of sustainability and carbon footprint.

In an effort to influence the various agencies, Environmental Treatment Concepts is an active member of three key organisations; British Water, Environmental Industries Commission and the UK Green Building Council.  These are proving to be excellent forums for lobbying Government to achieve recognition of the need to consider water treatment.  Through these, some success was achieved in getting a change made to Part L of the Building Regulations.

ETC also offers approved CPD (Continuous Professional Development) to members of RIBA and CIBSE.  This is proving to be an excellent method of getting the message across to those that can influence the adoption of a clean and green way to prevent the many problems caused by limescale.

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