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Effect of boiler oversizing on efficiency: a dynamic simulation study

Bennett, G; Elwell, C; (2020) Effect of boiler oversizing on efficiency: a dynamic simulation study. Building Services Engineering Research and Technology 10.1177/0143624420927352. (In press). Green open access

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Gas boilers dominate domestic heating in the UK, and significant efficiency improvements have been associated with condensing boilers. However, the potential remains for further efficiency improvement by refining the control, system specification and installation in real dwellings. Dynamic building simulation modelling, including detailed heating system componentry, enables a deeper analysis of boiler underperformance. This paper explores the link between the space heat oversizing of boilers and on/off cycling using dynamic simulation, and their subsequent effect on boiler efficiency and internal temperatures. At plant size ratio (PSR) 8.5 daily cycles numbered over 50, similar to median levels seen in real homes. Simulations show that typical oversizing (PSR &gt;3) significantly increases cycling behaviour and brings an efficiency penalty of 6–9%. There is a clear link between raising PSR, increased cycling and an associated decreased efficiency; however, in the UK, boilers are regularly oversized with respect to space heating, especially combination boilers to cover peak hot water demand. Current legislation and labelling (ErP and SAP) overlook PSR as a determinant of system efficiency, failing to incentivise appropriate sizing. Reducing boiler oversizing through addressing installation practices and certification has the potential to significantly improve efficiency at low cost, decreasing associated carbon emissions. </jats:p><jats:p> Practical application: This research provides the basis for a practical and cost effective means of assessing the potential for underperformance of boiler heating systems at the point of installation or refurbishment. By assessing the oversizing of the boiler with respect to space heating, unnecessary cycling and the associated efficiency penalty can be avoided. Plant size ratio, as an indicator of cycling potential, can be implemented in energy performance certificates (EPCs), through the standard assessment procedure (SAP), using existing data. The potential for real carbon savings in the existing boiler stock is considerable, and the findings have wider implications for next generation heating systems.

Type: Article
Title: Effect of boiler oversizing on efficiency: a dynamic simulation study
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1177/0143624420927352
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1177/0143624420927352
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Bartlett School Env, Energy and Resources
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10098290
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