New York State has a strict energy conservation code that follows the International Energy Conservation Code 2015 (IECC). It covers every element of energy efficiency for buildings both commercial and residential, from general insulation and fenestration criteria to electrical power and lighting systems, and service hot water systems.
This goes hand-in-hand with the State’s 2015 Energy Plan that has bold plans to achieve specified clean energy goals. These include:
- Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels by 40% by 2030.
- Decreasing total carbon emission from 1990 levels by 80% by 2050.
- Ensuring that at least half of the State’s electricity comes from renewable energy resources by 2030. These include solar, wind, biomass, and hydropower.
- Lowering the 2012 energy efficiency levels by 600 trillion Btu, the measure that is used for thermal (heat) energy.
Since the use of solar thermal collectors for domestic hot water is part of the Energy Plan, heated water circulation and temperature maintenance systems for service hot water systems are mandatory for certain residential occupancies that are no more than three stories high.
Heated water circulation systems operate with a circulation pump and a system return pipe that can be a cold water supply pipe. Gravity and thermo-siphon circulation systems are prohibited from the hot water system design. Essentially, controls for heated water circulation systems need a pump with controls that automatically switch it off when the water gets to the temperature required or when no-one is using hot water. These same controls also start the pump.
Temperature maintenance or heat trace systems run on electricity and utilize controls that automatically adjust the energy input to the heat tracing. This maintains the water temperature in the pipes and ensures it is maintained at the temperature required by the occupants of the building.
Our engineers frequently design demand recirculation water systems that comply with the IECC, especially for commercial energy efficiency. This is, in essence, a water distribution system that has at least one recirculation pump that is able to pump water from a heated water supply pipe back to the heated water source via a cold water supply pipe.
There are two important factors for hot water recirculation design:
- A control starts the pump when it receives a signal that is activated by someone using a fixture or appliance.
- That same control limits the temperature of the water that flows into the cold water pipe.