Environmental issues now assume central prominence in the design and implementation of building services. The government estimates buildings are responsible for over 50% of the UK’s energy consumption and carbon emissions and wants to improve the energy efficiency of our buildings. At Oakwood we are enthusiastic partners in this process, having been actively involved in energy conservation for over two decades.
When it comes to cutting energy consumption, Oakwood takes our responsibility very seriously. Here’s how we got our conviction:
As part of the European Union’s obligations under the Kyoto Protocol, the Community has taken action to regulate fluorinated greenhouse gases through EC Regulation No 842/2006 on certain fluorinated greenhouse gases (‘The F Gas Regulation’). The principal objective is to contain, prevent and thereby reduce emissions of fluorinated gases (F gases). The Fluorinated Greenhouse Gases Regulations 2008 (FGG Regulations 2008) are in force and put in place offences and penalties applicable in Great Britain to infringements of the following provisions of the EC F Gas Regulation: Leakages Leakage checking/leak detection Record keeping Instruction manuals Refrigerant recovery Provision of information Placing on the market prohibitions Qualifications for personnel working on equipment As a member of REFCOM, the register of companies competent to handle refrigerants, all Oakwood air conditioning and refrigeration installation and service staff possess the necessary qualifications to handle refrigerants safely and in accordance with the latest legislation. As a REFCOM member, we also abide by other requirements such as maintaining a close audit of refrigerants so we are able to clearly demonstrate where all new refrigerant is used and why.
Our environmental policy includes procedures to minimise the amount of waste produced on sites. This is achieved by managing the supply process and never over-ordering materials which could subsequently be disposed of as waste materials, and by ensuring all supplied materials are utilised in ways that minimise waste, rather than in ways which may make installation easier. We don’t cut corners. However, in some circumstances, production of waste materials is un-avoidable. Oakwood is registered with the Environment Agency as a Waste Carrier, meaning any waste removed from site will be taken to authorised waste disposal sites and waste transfer notes will be provided to our clients.
3. We can self-certify
With the introduction of the EC’s Energy Performance in Buildings Directive (EPBD), enacted in the UK since April 2006 as a statutory requirement through Part L of The Building Regulations, we were one of the first contractors in the UK to have selected members of staff undergo Accredited Certified training and Oakwood became registered as a Competent Person under the BESCA scheme. This allows us to self-certify that our work complies with Parts F & L of The Building Regulations and issue compliance certificates following commissioning – a vitally important issue for our clients who could otherwise risk fines and possible subsequent problems letting or selling the buildings in which the new or re-furbished services are installed.
4. Energy recovery
This expertise in energy recovery was extended to other areas such as boiler flue gas heat recovery, ventilation systems etc and still flourishes within the company to this day. Long before the introduction of the latest Building Regulations, we were pro-actively offering our clients energy saving design advice and making recommendations for improving the energy efficiency of proposed air conditioning, ventilation and heating systems.
5. Long Standing Expertise
In the 1980s, Oakwood became involved in designing and implementing ground breaking air-to-air and water-to-water heat recovery techniques in the laundry and textile industries. Utilising our directors’ backgrounds in thermodynamics and fluid mechanics and with grant funding from The Department of Energy, Oakwood built a highly successful pilot project in the North West. This was subsequently adopted as a “Best Practice” demonstration scheme by ETSU (Energy Technology Support Unit at Harwell Laboratories) and resulted in Oakwood carrying out several hundred installations around the UK, over one hundred in hospitals alone.