Installing commercial heat pumps – what to look for

Adveco’s FPi32 commercial heat pumps range are not only a renewable source of hot water with low running costs but are one of the easiest to fit when it comes to installing commercial heat pumps.

With the government-led push to replace ageing commercial hot water systems with new, more environmentally friendlier technologies, the demands for heat pump based applications is expected to soar in the coming decade. One of the key concerns raised by the HVAC industry is the availability of trained installers capable of working with heat pumps. While the number of commercial installations may be superseded by domestic sites, their complexity means installers will increasingly be in demand. To prevent costly hold-ups, projects incorporating ASHPs should take into account how difficult or easy installation of commercial heat pumps might be.

The FPi32’s compact monobloc design, with a built-in circulation pump and plate heat exchanger, allows for an easy installation for a multitude of work areas. This includes both indoors and outdoors. They can be installed in small unused spaces, mounted on exterior walls or flat roofs of the site. Installed on flat roofs or mounted onto GRP plant rooms.

An FPi32 installation also requires few ancillaries (strainer, expansion vessel and pressure relief valve) to enable its operation as part of a hot water system. This also helps to keep system purchase costs lower as well.

Another advantage of installing commercial heat pumps, such as these compact FPi32 units, is that less construction work and time is needed to fit them. They can be up and running quicker, providing working flows of hot water sooner than other units currently in the commercial market. They can then efficiently and effectively sustain the necessary working temperature of 50°C required to provide preheat as part of a hybrid all-electric system in new build projects.

Ease of installation goes hand in hand with significantly reduced maintenance costs.

The design of these FPi32 units incorporates effective frost protection, enhancing the option to install outdoors. The FPi32 range is equipped with a 1.5-metre ‘trace heating cable’ as standard, which is there to protect the pipework between the heat pump and the building from frost conditions. This ‘trace heating’ via the mechanical thermostat is always available when the heat pump has power. This guarantees protection against frosty conditions when needed, regardless of whether the heat pump is operating.

This monobloc design simply requires regular cleaning of the coil and water filter in terms of regular maintenance. The internal parts are easily accessible for all maintenance needs. A refrigerant circuit high-pressure gauge is cleverly positioned so that this can be read clearly and easily through the external cover to monitor the pressure and indicate whether a leak may or may not have occurred. Access to the internal parts, in the need of any replacements, can be achieved without long evaluation wait times. For example, if the replacement of non-return valves on sensors and switches is required then the quick replacement time is advantageous, reducing the amount of “down time” on the unit. All of which equates to an extremely work effective and reliable unit for your commercial needs. This demonstrates that, once supplied by Adveco, installing commercial heat pumps is easy and is also a more forward-thinking way for a greener environmental contribution. Reliability and efficiency equal greater sustainability, as well as keeping those costs lower all round.

We would argue that under the right circumstances, installing commercial heat pumps can be a relatively straightforward and successful way to introduce greater sustainability into the hot water system for new build projects. The FPi32 heat pump range represents a win-win, ticking all the boxes for a sensible purchase, offering a simpler, more efficient option for installing commercial heat pumps in a variety of ways. Once fitted, required maintenance is quick and easy, all whilst helping contribute to a project’s green credentials.

Learn more about renewables.

Adveco SSB-E Lower Carbon Electric Water Heating

The Adveco SSB-E is a range of tough, stainless steel electric water heaters for commercial DHW applications. Based on the SSB buffer vessel, the SSB-E, through the addition of a specialised single or double-mounting flanges integrates electric immersions becoming a full-fledged electric water heater. SSB-E is available from 200 to 2500 litre capacity variants with up to 84 kW of heating for larger scale commercial hot water demands.

Heating capacity is achieved with up to four primary three to 12 kW immersion heaters. The addition of an immersion of three to 36 kW, installed in the side port is typically used to supply built-in redundancy, but can be used to raise overall heating capacity in high-demand scenarios.

The specialised flanges angle the primary heating elements downward into the vessel ensuring water is heated from the bottom of the tank for optimal efficiency. This energy efficiency is further improved through the addition of 100-125 mm removable insulation.

Alongside the advantages of built-in redundancy, the multiple immersions allow for individual element control. Adveco can supply bespoke control box systems that enable full, individual control of temperature, with easy switching and customisation allowing for varying periods of demand or differential tariff supplies.

Manufactured from high-grade AISI 316L austenitic stainless steel, the Adveco SSB-E range is designed and manufactured to the requirements of the Pressure Equipment Directive (97/23/EC) capable of delivering a maximum working pressure of 6 bar at 85°C. All vessels are tested to the procedure defined in BS EN 12897:2006 and are WRAS certified.

With a wide choice of water capacities, single or double flanges plus a range of immersion sizes and combinations, the Adveco SSB-E provides a bespoke water heater for the most demanding commercial hot water applications.

Discover more about SSB-E and Adveco’s other stainless steel hot water tanks for your bespoke applications.

Fossil Fuels – Their Future In UK Commercial Buildings

The future of fossil fuels is a key issue that needed to be addressed by the government’s Heating & Buildings Strategy report which was published late last year. Statistics (PDF) from the Non-Domestic National Energy Efficiency Data-Framework (ND-NEED) from the Department for Business, Energy, & Industry Strategy (BEIS) defined more than 1,656,000 non-domestic buildings in England and Wales at the end of March 2020. 278,000 or 17% of this building stock is off-gas grid. It is estimated that these non-domestic buildings are responsible for nearly one-fifth of the UK’s carbon emissions, a scenario that will be further exacerbated by a predicted one-third rise in non-domestic floor space by 2050.

A major function of the campaign to Build Back Greener, the report outlines the near and long-term ambitions for phasing out unabated fossil fuels and a transition to low-carbon heat in order to achieve net zero in the UK. The intention is to use ‘natural replacement cycles’ and seek ‘trigger points’ to set long-term expectations within the building sector.

For commercial on-gas-grid buildings, this means putting in place a process to phase out installation of new natural gas boilers from 2035, with a caveat that the costs of investing in low-carbon alternatives have been suitably reduced. To achieve this will require the development of the market for replacement low-carbon sources of heat. The core technology for driving these new markets will be heat pumps, but there is also to be a consideration for other natural gas replacements. By 2026 the government intends consultation to be completed on the case for gas boilers/water heaters to be hydrogen-ready. The process of ‘greening the grid’ is perhaps the most interesting and least disruptive option, improving efficiency and replacing the current supply for those already connected to the gas grid with alternative low-carbon fuels, whether biomethane or hydrogen injection into the gas supply. The government has already committed to enabling the blending of hydrogen in the gas grid (up to 20% volume) and continuing to support the deployment of biomethane through the Green Gas Support Scheme as a method for decarbonising the gas grid.

To support early adopters in the small business space and lure them away from appliances that burn fossil fuels it has been proposed that a new Boiler Upgrade Scheme be launched this year which will support the installation of low-carbon heat pump based heating systems with a payment of £5,000, in line with domestic applications. Given the current additional complexities of commercial systems, with higher temperature demands, this may not be enough to encourage early adoption without the support of higher temperature devices designed specifically to meet commercial DHW demands. To further drive early adoption, the intent is to limit support for the construction of new gas grid connecting heating systems, effective this year. That does not apply to existing legacy structures with a grid-gas connection. Replacement boiler or water heater connections should be, as a minimum, more efficient than those being replaced. This it is proposed will be driven by the application of smart controls and supported by a new Boiler Plus standard that reflects improved efficiency and carbon savings. This should ape conditions set in ERP standards in 2018 for new boilers and emissions set under SAP10. Given that the latest generation of gas-fired condensing boilers and water heaters already greatly exceed the mandated requirements this policy could be seen to be redundant before it ever comes into law.

For the moment if your business uses gas, then you can upgrade to new gas appliances up until 2035, with hydrogen-ready options extending that window well into the 2040s based on current appliance lifespan. If you are considering upgrading a boiler of water heater, you could opt for a natural gas appliance, one that is not considered hydrogen-ready, for at least the next ten years without concerns of breaching new regulations, so long as the new unit is more efficient than the unit being replaced. This provides a safety net while assessing new technology options prior to the 2035 deadline. It would also be well worth considering the implementation of solar thermal preheat for gas-fired systems if you wanted to make sustainability commitments with proven and genuinely renewable technology.

Off-Grid, But Still Being Watched

For the 17% of commercial buildings currently operating off the gas grid, many of which will use LPG variants of boilers or water heaters versus oil, the report proposes phasing out the installation of new fossil fuel heating systems and switching to low-carbon alternatives. Plans would see the introduction of regulations to address large off-gas-grid non-domestic buildings (over 1,000m2) no earlier than 2024, followed by small and medium non-domestic buildings from 2026. Where low-temperature heat pumps cannot be reasonably or practicably accommodated other low-carbon heating options (such as high-temperature heat pumps, and potentially liquid biofuels) may be accepted as an alternative.

The wider aim is to support this near term change with greater investment in heat pump innovation, reducing footprint and making them easier to install. This process is, however, already front and centre for heat pump manufacturers without requesting government support. Better, more efficient, more environmentally and cost-friendly appliances is a clear market driver. At Adveco the recent introduction of the FPi-32 ASHP is a case in point, being extremely compact and better for the environment whilst being more efficient and therefore more cost-effective to operate. Despite being off-grid, potential developments in hydrogen delivery could also be a significant development for the future of fossil fuels, especially in more rural areas, although commercial off-gas grid sites are not uncommon in larger urban areas.

To further encourage this adoption, support for new LPG and oil heating systems could well be refused from this year onwards, with the potential for limited commercial funding support for replacement schemes, depending on scale, coming from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme or the proposed Boiler Upgrade Scheme.

The process of transitioning commercial buildings from fossil fuels to low-carbon will, the report accepts, be gradual. It describes a process similar to the electrification of vehicles, which has depended on a mix of incentives and reducing the cost of entry.

Details of any incentives and clear evidence of where cost reductions are to come from remain hazy. Currently, production and operational costs of heat pumps remain high in comparison to traditional gas appliances that make use of lower-cost fossil fuels. The report, however, anticipates aggressive cost reductions of at least 25-50% by 2025 leading to parity with boilers by 2030. This then anticipates the natural replacement cycles of heating systems throughout the late 2030s and 2040s’ where capital expenditure on low-carbon replacement technology should it believes have lowered substantially. This is why 2035 has been set as the date when all new heating system installations should be low-carbon or hydrogen-ready (at least in those areas where future hydrogen supply has been established) effectively reducing the broad use of fossil fuels across a wide span of the commercial built environment.

Is A Calorifier The Right Choice For My Project?

Today we take a look at commercial-grade indirect-fired water heaters, and ask is a calorifier the right choice for your hot water or heating system?

A calorifier is a commercial-grade indirect-fired water heater that provides hot water in a heating and hot water system.

It is designed for projects requiring large volume storage of water at high temperatures, but rather than using a burner, the water is heated by heat exchanger coils containing liquid from another heat source, such as a boiler.

In a typical application, the hot water directly heated by a gas or electric boiler passes through the calorifier and is used, via heat exchange, to heat up the cold water in a separate system of pipework. This does mean that a calorifier cannot react as quickly to demand as a direct-fired water heater, however, with the calorifier working as a buffer and storing the hot water, it reduces the operational demand placed on the boiler. With the boiler no longer required to work as hard to meet the domestic hot water needs (DHW) of a building, energy is saved, costs are reduced and emissions fall.

With the increased efficiency of modern condensing gas boilers, having a dedicated hot water boiler to heat the calorifier is no longer a requirement as they can easily supply heat to both the calorifier and the heating system. The compact Adveco MD range of gas condensing boilers, for example,  are both high capacity and can be arranged in cascade to scale to provide both heating and, with an indirect calorifier, the DHW needs of a wide variety of commercial projects. It must be noted that when space heating is not required, such as during the summer months, the boiler will still be required to provide heat for the hot water system.

FUSION Hybrid Hot Water System File: ATSH cutaway. Another advantage of the indirect approach to heating is that due to the transferral of heat through the walls of the heat exchanger element the two fluids do not mix. This allows for more options in terms of the external heat supply and introduces a range of renewable technologies that use other fluids for heat transfer including solar thermal collectors and Air Source Heat Pumps. At Adveco, these options are supported by a variety of calorifiers. The Stainless Steel Indirect (SSI) range, for example, is supplied with a single high-output internal heat exchange coil at a low level to serve as an indirect calorifier in DHW installations. The ATSx range provides water heaters designed to be used with indirect heat sources as calorifiers across a range of DHW installations exhibiting smaller demands but requiring more than six bar pressure. For more complex and renewable-based systems, the Stainless Steel Twin-Coil (SST) or ATSR ranges offer a pair of independent internal heat exchange coils to serve DHW systems. Each high-output coil can be used with a separate heat source, enabling effective integration of renewable technologies or multiple heat sources, or alternatively can be combined to increase the heat transfer capacity from a single high-output source.

Also, by separating the supplies you reduce the risks of external contamination, a build-up of scale in hard water areas or the corrosive effects of soft water.

Calorifiers are also simple to install. Since there is no burner, there is no need for the gas supply to be directly connected to the appliance and the is no requirement for a flue.

So is a calorifier the right choice?

As with any hot water application, understanding the relationship between storage and recovery, and correct sizing is extremely important for efficient and cost-effective operation. Integrating a calorifier within a hot water system gives you a number of design options, as a larger calorifier means the boiler can be smaller, or the reverse if the existing system has a large efficient boiler. Understanding the hot water demand is critical. If demand is not so great, then using a larger calorifier can lead to unnecessary capital and ongoing operational expenditure. Go too small and the storage could prove inadequate and the system will not achieve its operational requirements.

Attaining the correct balance of demand and efficient, cost-effective supply is what ultimately defines a successful system, whether it be for a hotel, hospital, school, office or leisure facility. Each will have its own parameters to be met, and Adveco specialises in providing the widest range of calorifiers, boilers and renewables to meet the bespoke needs of any project.

The patterns of hot water usage and recognition of periods of peak demands often make sizing a complicated process, with many systems overcompensating and, by being oversized becoming more costly and less efficient. At its simplest, a commercial system should hold an hour of hot water output in storage, but the function of the building, its population and activities will adjust requirements, for example, where hospitals will typically exhibit a 24/7 demand for hot water, schools and offices may be limited to just 7½ hours per day. In some refurbishment scenarios, we will also see a physical limitation of space available for DHW storage, in which case a system will put more demand on the boiler or renewable to increase the output for preheating, reducing the required size of the calorifier.

If there is an availability of space, or a prefabricated packaged plant room approach can be used to relocate plant to previously unused space – such as a rooftop or car park – there is an opportunity to incorporate multiple calorifiers and thereby divide the total storage demand. This approach not only provides system resilience, but for commercial sites that exhibit predictable seasonal demands such as leisure centres, campsites and hotels, it allows for elements of the system to be shut down during off-peak periods. The other real advantage of adopting a packaged plant room approach to a DHW system is that the boiler or ASHP providing the preheat can be located in close association with the calorifier. The physical proximity helps negate problems of heat loss between the boiler, pipework and calorifier which can be detrimental if more widely separated in a system.

Is a calorifier the right choice for your project? If it is, the technical details of our products can be found here buffers and calorifiers and find out how we can help size your DHW application.

Heat Pumps For Hot Water In Commercial Buildings

Heat pumps for hot water is synonymous with the drive to introduce greater sustainability into buildings in the push to achieve net zero by 2050. When it comes to the provision of  hot water (DHW) within commercial building projects there remains a consensus that, despite the rhetoric, currently there is no single ‘silver bullet’ technology able to deliver all the answers.

Until decisions are finally made in 2026 on a hydrogen-based future, the government’s stance is set on electrification, the creation of heat networks and the installation of heat pumps for hot water. For organisations looking for a quick sustainability win then heat pumps provide a clear opportunity, so long as the property is a new build. For new commercial builds, consultants are already specifying a greater electrical load to account for the additional power demands to support a mixture of heat pumps and direct electric afterheat necessary to meet the higher water temperatures and volume demands exhibited in commercial projects. New DHW systems will predominantly follow this model, taking advantage of heat pump performance efficiencies to create a hybrid approach to deliver pre-heating for as much as 75% of the water in a direct electric system. And with no gas to the building, no local generation of NOₓ and no flue to install this clearly has its advantages.

With 50 years of specialist experience in creating bespoke commercial DHW systems, Adveco is well-positioned to support such projects with a wide range of air source heat pumps for hot water, as well as indirect tanks and electric immersions.

Compatible with existing DHW distribution systems with higher thermal requirements, the FPi32 ASHP range is ideal for integration into a hybrid hot water system. Transferring heat from the air to a building, the FPi32 can provide a working flow of hot water at 55°C throughout the year, even when ambient air temperatures drop as low as -25°C.  When combined with either a gas or electric water heater and controls, the FPi32 helps reduce emissions and increases efficiency without compromising reliability or performance.

Packaged Systems With Heat Pumps For Hot Water 

The three models, available in 6, 9 and 12kW variants provide a low carbon source of hot water in a more compact, quieter, more efficient and easier to install unit. The FPi32 also sits at the heart of two pre-sized offerings, FUSION and the e-32 Packaged Hot Water System. For organisations with small to medium basin and sink led hot water demands, FUSION offers 16 pre-specified variants. With a choice of 6 or 10 kW preheat and 9 or 12 kW electric top-up, FUSION offers capacities ranging from 200 to 500 litres all rated at 10 BAR for high-pressure applications. Combining the FPi32 with a high-pressure ATSH calorifier with electric immersion, controls, and metering, FUSION systems are able to meet a range of continuous capacity hot water demands from 257-377 litres/hour for a wide range of commercial buildings.

Where space is at a premium, the e-32 Packaged Hot Water System comes into its own. This prefabricated all-electric water heating system uses an FPi32-9, a 200L GLC indirect preheat tank and a 200L GLE direct electric water heater all housed in a compact GRP housing. This ‘plant room in a box’ can be conveniently positioned externally on flat roofs or in unused or ‘dead’ spaces. This makes the system ideal for a wide range of commercial properties with regular hot water demands such as restaurants and boutique hotels, offices, schools, and light industry. The system is also exceptionally useful if refurbishing existing building stock.

Larger DHW demands

For projects with greater DHW demands, Adveco’s L70 high-capacity air-to-water monobloc heat pump is rated 70kW for typical UK operation at 5°C but climbing to a maximum 90 kW from a single compact unit. With a seasonal coefficient of performance (SCOP) as high as 4.08 the L70 is perfect for large scale commercial applications and can operate as part of a cascade installation for projects demanding greater capacity.

Able to draw and transfer thermal energy from the air, under the right circumstances, such as new builds with a high degree of insulation, using heat pumps for hot water represents an efficient way to significantly reduce the carbon emissions of a building. As the cost of grid electricity closes on that of gas, ongoing savings garnered from operating a hybrid ASHP based system, plus the reduction in CO₂ emissions makes the technology a truly attractive prospect for the latest commercial building projects.  New innovations in heat pump technology and refrigerants this coming year will further enhance the advantages of the technology cementing it position as a truly viable alternative for the provision of commercial-grade hot water.

For more visit Adveco’s renewables page