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Entries in OFTEC (14)


Does Northern Ireland’s new carbon monoxide legislation go far enough?

A new carbon monoxide (CO) legislation, which requires new homes in Northern Ireland to be fitted with a CO alarm has been welcomed by OFTEC. The Northern Ireland Building Regulations require a CO detector or alarm to be fitted in the location of a boiler or solid fuel store. However, it has been warned by OFTEC Ireland Manager, David Blevings that there remains a great risk for older properties with poorly maintained heating systems.

Mr Blevings commented: “While this is certainly a positive step forward in acknowledging the dangers of carbon monoxide and the importance of fitting a CO alarm in a new property, we believe there is potential for a much greater risk within existing properties which may have old and poorly maintained boilers.

“We also agree with the Health and Safety Executive of Northern Ireland (HSENI) that a carbon monoxide alarm is a secondary measure only.   An alarm, while important, can give a false sense of security and the best protection is to have appliances serviced regularly by a qualified technician.”

OFTEC works closely with industry stakeholders to increase CO awareness in Northern Ireland. As part of this year’s campaign alongside the new legislation, OFTEC is urging households who burn fossil fuels (oil, peat, wood, gas or coal) to take the necessary actions to prevent any carbon monoxide incidents.

Mr Blevings continued: “Almost 70% of all existing homes in Northern Ireland use heating oil as their primary heating source. These householders should always use an OFTEC Registered Technician when having their appliances serviced. These highly trained technicians use a flue gas analyser to check for carbon monoxide emissions and will perform a combustion test that can lead to improvements in energy efficiency and cost savings on energy bills.”

An additional safety measure for households with natural gas applications has also been urged by OFTEC. The governing body for oil are calling on the Northern Ireland Executive to introduce a mandatory registration scheme for oil technicians. This scheme aims to ensure all fossil fuel technicians are suitably trained and qualified to detect carbon monoxide, resulting in competent servicing and installation works.


Claim £130 cashback with the Green Deal Cashback Scheme

Under the new Green Deal Cashback Scheme, households could be eligible to claim £130 cashback when replacing boilers with high efficiency oil fired condensing ones. The government has set aside up to £40 million for this scheme. The aim is to offer more cashback with every home energy improvement.

The government is hoping that the scheme will influence homes to improve their energy efficiency not only by upgrading their heating systems, but also by improving their insulations, front doors and windows. The Green Deal Cashback Scheme will be made available to households in England and Wales from January 28th 2013.


Both owner occupiers and landlords are eligible for the scheme. To qualify for the cashback under the Green Deal Scheme, households must:

  • Undertake a Green Deal assessment – this can be done at any time before the scheme is made available
  • Arrange for the work to be done through Green Deal providers who have registered  with the scheme
  • Pay part of the installation cost

OFTEC is currently offering installers Green Deal registration to allow them to take advantage of the new scheme.

Registered providers can encourage customers to get Green Deal assessments early. This will allow customers to get approval for their Cashback voucher as soon as the scheme opens and before work commences.


The Green Deal Cashback Scheme is a first-come, first-served offer and is limited while funds last. Packages could be worth up to £1000, with £100 cashback offered for loft insulations, £250 for cavity wall insulations and £390 for flat roof insulation. As the scheme is a limited offer, once the £40 million funding has been used, cashback rates could decrease. Up to £125 million has been assigned to the whole scheme.

According to the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) “householders can choose to donate some or all of their cashback to a registered charity or community interest company signed up with the scheme.”



New Consultancy Services Offered By OFTEC

In response to customer demand OFTEC have launched a new consultancy service to provide householders, facilities managers and landlords alike with detailed independent evaluations concerning oil-fired installations.

Through the consultancy service OFTEC aim to assist customers in both the private and public sectors with the assessment of individual installations and help resolve disputes. In the event of not finding common ground in the dispute and if both parties agree OFTEC can offer the service of carrying out an unbiased inspection. A report will be issued after the inspection of which both parties must abide by.  

OFTEC's Technical Director Paul Rose says, "The new service is designed to be flexible and can be tailored to suit the particular requirements of the client. We will also be working closely with Local Authority Building Control (LABC) to provide additional expertise when required."

This service is provided by OFTEC's experienced in-house technical team who offer:

•    On-site assessments to ensure compliance with Building Regulations and industry codes of practice
•    Detailed, illustrated report is provided with recommendations for any work that is required to make the installation compliant
•    Advice on major system upgrades and help with preparing tenders or evaluating submissions

Thanks to Locks Online for publishing our guest post on fuel tank security. Locks Online are a premier supplier of security products, specialising in a range of locks including door, cylinder and multipoint locks.


OFTEC – Lobbying for the inclusion of the B30K fuel in the RHI 

The Chairman of OFTEC and Managing Director of Riello Burners, Barry Gregory along with many other heating oil equipment manufacturers have sent a letter to the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Rt. Hon. Ed Davey, MP urging him to include bio-liquids in the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI).   In the letter it has been illustrated to the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change that refusing the inclusion of bio-liquids will only encourage oil households to "do nothing" to make carbon savings.

Heating oil equipment manufacturers who are backing the campaign include Worcester Bosch, Warmflow, Grant, Watson Fuels and the Federation of Petroleum Suppliers (FPS).

Since 2008 OFTEC and the FPS have been conversing with the government exploring the many ways in which bio-liquid fuel could assist in de-carbonise heating. According to OFTEC 1.5 million oil households and 250,000 commercial oil users in the UK use kerosene to heat domestic and commercial dwellings.

However, the body has recently developed a new fuel, B30K that uses 28% less carbon content than the traditional fuel and are urging the government to use it as a replacement for kerosene. B30K was used in 2010RHI consultation, but over time new policy statements have dismissed what the bio-liquid fuel could do in regards to lowering carbon emissions from heating.

In the letter Barry Gregory wrote, "By excluding bio-liquids from the RHI, DECC will, we believe, fail to provide an easy way for current oil homes and businesses to de-carbonise their heating. This is because technologies which are included in the RHI will still be more expensive than conversion to B30K and in many cases cause severe disruption for homeowners.

"Heat pumps are inappropriate for most oil homes which are older rural properties as the design of existing wet radiator systems do not meet the design requirements of heat pump systems. Therefore, for a heat pump to perform correctly, the existing system will have to be redesigned and configured, adding cost and disruption on the consumer. Biomass boilers require a large amount of space which may not be viable for many homes and solar thermal/PV panels usually require back up - usually from carbonised electricity if they are to heat a property effectively.

"If the RHI is granted to bio-liquids - at an appropriate tariff - our industry will encourage the installation of high efficiency bio-compatible boilers and new oil tanks. We estimate that, if the RHI is granted, bio-liquids could be installed in sufficient homes to save two million tonnes of CO2 per annum by 2020."


OFTEC to provide a registration scheme for Green Deal installers

OFTEC have been awarded with approval from the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) for its commendable persons scheme for the heating oil industry. OFTEC has become one of the first certification bodies to gain such recognition and has also been accredited to provide a registration scheme for Green Deal Installers.

Green Deal installers will be provided with OFTEC registration and come October the initiative will be available to households across the UK. However, this work will only be accredited to installers under the Green Deal name.

Working closely with UKAS and DECC, OFTEC can now extend their scope of services and will allow their registered technicians to add Green Deal to their registration. With this new accreditation OFTEC registered technicians can now cover upgrading systems to high efficiency oil-fired condensing boilers, energy saving heating controls and associated cylinder/pipework insulation.

Registration services director for OFTEC, Jacqueline Crawford said: "We've worked hard to gain the UKAS accreditation which is a milestone in OFTEC's development. It's rewarding to know that UKAS has recognised the work that we do and also reassuring for our technicians to know that OFTEC is independently assessed to make sure we're doing things right."