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Green Heat Network Fund Set to Open to Applicants in 2022

The Government has released initial details of its Green Heat Network Fund (GHNF) which will open to applicants in England from April 2022 and is anticipated to run until 2025, incentivising new and existing heat networks to move away from high-carbon sources.

With decarbonising heat set as a key part of the Government’s heat and buildings strategy, the new fund is intended to replace the existing Heat Networks Investment Project (HNIP) that has been available since 2018.

The £270 million GHNF will only support low-carbon technologies such as heat pumps, solar and heat recovery in the rollout of the next generation of heat networks. The intent is to help cut carbon emissions from domestic and commercial building heating – which accounts for 21% of the UK total – making it one of the country’s largest carbon emissions sources.

Heat networks, supplying heat to buildings from a central source, are intended to provide large-scale renewable and recovered heat. The GHNF will only support applications if they include low-carbon heat-generating technologies, such as heat pumps and waste heat with the aim of incentivising and kick-starting the demand for heat pumps as part of a wider mix of low-carbon heating options.

Although heat networks currently meet approximately 2% of the overall UK demand for heating, the independent Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has estimated that, with continued support, they could provide 18% by 2050.

The Green Heat Network Fund is expected to fund the delivery of an estimated 10.3Mt of total carbon savings by 2050.

The responses to the GHNF can be read here.


Green Heat Network Fund (GHNF) set to open up in 2022 - Adveco.Adveco provide expertise in and supply low-carbon commercial hot water and heating systems.

Call us on 01252 551 540 or for international offices see our contact page.

What you Need to Know About Net Zero Now

What is “Net Zero”?

With greenhouse gases predicted to reach record highs by 2023 and no sign of slowing, the warnings of the impact of global warming and climate crisis are increasingly becoming apparent to all.  As UN nations converge to address the fundamental issues of climate change, it has become a “front and centre” issue for UK businesses.

In 2008 the UK Government introduced the Climate Change Act legislating for change to reduce the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050 and then in 2019, increased the commitment to a 100% reduction which has come to be known as “Net Zero”.

“Net Zero” means that any emissions are balanced by absorbing an equivalent amount from the atmosphere. The Government’s current aggressive response is to drive positive movement across every sector to meet these goals, with a focus on domestic, commercial, transport, agriculture, and industrial usage across the UK.

The effects of Greenhouse gases

As we draw closer to 2023, the effects of global warming are undeniably present, with prior predictions becoming reality — loss of sea ice, accelerated sea level rise, and extremes of weather with heavier rainfall and flooding, plus longer, more intense heat waves leading to drought and wildfires.

The world was amazed by the effects of COVID-19 lockdowns on the environment as the global pause rapidly led to positive improvements, surprising even scientists at how we can truly meet our 0% emissions goals and begin to save our planet by 2050.

How can we meet these goals?

The possibilities of making these goals achievable are very high, and we can all make the smaller changes necessary to do so. However, change for the commercial sector comes with added complexity but also greater rewards. Heating and hot water have long been recognised as key contributors to emissions from across the built environment. They of course are also rightly regarded as business-critical services.  Decreasing the use of fossil fuels to meet the “Net Zero” goal seems obvious, and “simply” changing to a more sustainable energy system can considerably reduce emissions. But there are other key business considerations to take into consideration, with everything from running costs to the capital investment required to modernise both building fabric and systems high on the agenda. Building regulations also play a major role in decision making, and there remains considerable confusion over what “green” technologies should be adopted and when…

Our name is derived from “Advantage Eco”, so it is fair to assume we firmly believe in the need for decarbonisation and the drive to attain Net Zero across the commercial environment before the 2050 deadline. That said, we are also 50-year adherents of the value of deploying gas in commercial hot water applications. This is because of the necessary high temperatures required for safe operation and the cost-effective operation it offers businesses. Like the rest of the UK’s gas-based service market, we have high hopes for the eventual introduction of green hydrogen-based alternatives to fossil gas, with potentially a much lower impact on existing infrastructure and simpler, more cost-effective like for like appliance replacement.

But we also recognize the limitations of a hydrogen-centric viewpoint, not least in terms of achieving national distribution on the scale currently expected by gas users. So, there must be real-world alternatives in play now if achieving Net Zero is going to become a commercial reality. From the proven capabilities of solar thermal systems supporting either gas or direct electric to low carbon air to waterside heat pumps and direct electric heating, there are clear paths of evolution open to organisations seeking to move onto the path to Net Zero. Our experience as a specialist creator of commercial hot water systems can help you as an organisation redefine the way your buildings consume energy and reduce your generation of harmful emissions without impacting critical offerings that define daily operation and the comfort and safety of staff and customers alike.


Talk to Adveco today about how our team can help design hot water and heating applications that remain cost-effective to build and operate for a better future.

Call our head office on 01252 551 540 or via our other contact channels.

Adveco Named Double Finalist in 2021 HVR Awards

  • Packaged e32 Hot Water Systems named finalist in the HVR 2021 Commercial Heating Product of the Year category
  • FPI32 named finalist in the HVR 2021 Heat Pump Product of the Year category

Hot water and heating specialist Adveco is proud to announce it has been named a finalist in two key categories in the 2021 Heating & Ventilation Review (HVR) Awards. Adveco’s Packaged e32 Hot Water Systems has been named a finalist in the HVR 2021 Commercial Heating Product of the Year category, while the FPi32 range of air source heat pumps (ASHP) was named a finalist in the Heat Pump Product of the Year category.

The HVR Awards celebrate the products, brands, businesses and people that have led the way with their innovation and unrivalled levels of excellence, inducting them into the prestigious HVR Awards ‘Hall of Flame’.

Bill Sinclair, technical director, Adveco, said:

“Both products take full advantage of using R32 refrigerant to take us toward responsible, sustainable systems that deliver business-critical hot water without harming the environment.”

The Adveco FPi32 is a range of compact monobloc design 6, 9 & 12 kW air to water heat pumps providing hot water at 55°C, or higher in hybrid systems. The FPi32 range leverages R32 refrigerant to enhance year-round efficiency (COP as high as 5.23) while reducing the global warming potential (GWP), thereby lowing environmental impact.

The FPi32-9’s compact monobloc form factor also makes it perfect for integration into Adveco’s Packaged e32-Hot Water System.  A complete, highly efficient, low carbon, all-electric packaged water heating system that uses the FPi32-9 to provide preheat for reliable high-temperature water supplied in a convenient GRP housing.

The air to water heat pump provides the system preheat from 10°C to 50°C, supplying 70% of the DHW load. Offsetting 70% of the energy requirement means the Packaged e32-Hot Water System can demonstrate a 47% reduction in energy demands and CO² emissions for the same output of 500,000 litres of hot water each year when compared with a similar direct electric-only system. The reduced energy demand also means operational savings can be added to the capital savings secured during the design, supply, and installation phases.

The system is also ground-breaking in the application of a completely new specification that lowers the heat intensity, without detrimental effect to the demands for hot water, meaning the Packaged e32-Hot Water System is also more resistant to scale, reducing maintenance demands.

“By unifying innovative, low carbon technology with excellence in application design, all provisioned under an offsite construction model, we can bring a wealth of new advantages for consultants, contractors, installers and owner-operators. FPi32 and our pre-sized e32-Hot Water System not only go a long way towards helping businesses meet carbon targets this decade but also help keep running costs low,”

adds Bill.

The 2021 HVR Awards winners will be announced in a virtual presentation on Oct 7th. For more details visit the HVR Awards website.


Adveco commercial heating and hot water systems.Speak to Adveco for all your commercial hot water and air source heat pump requirements. packaged plant rooms. or even our solar thermal solutions.

Call us on 01252 551 540 or see other options on our contact page.

Government Commits to Kick Starting the UK’s Hydrogen Economy by 2030

Government Commits to Kick Starting the UK’s Hydrogen Economy by 2030

As the countdown to COP26 continues, hydrogen is an area where the UK is aiming to lead by example with the publication of the Government’s Hydrogen Strategy. Starting the process now is necessary if the Government’s 5GW production ambition by 2030 is to be attained, helping to meet the Sixth Carbon Budget and Net Zero commitments. Hydrogen is one of a handful of new, low carbon technologies that will be critical for the UK’s transition to net zero. As part of a decarbonised, renewable energy system, low carbon hydrogen could be a versatile replacement for high-carbon fuels used today.

Launching a public consultation on a preferred hydrogen business model, the presentation from business and energy secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, marks a clear shift in interest, with the Government formally embracing the premise of the technology. This it states has the potential to generate thousands of new jobs, billions of pounds in investment and new export opportunities, as well as crucially reducing the UK’s carbon emissions to deliver Net Zero by 2050.

Prioritising and supporting polluting industries to significantly cut their emissions, as part of this hydrogen strategy report the government announced a £105 million funding package through its Net Zero Innovation Portfolio. £55 million of which will be used as funding to support the development and trials of solutions to switch industry from high to low carbon fuels such as natural gas to clean hydrogen. The investment is intended to help industries to develop low carbon alternatives for industrial fuels, including hydrogen, which will be key to meeting climate commitments.

The strategy outlines plans and investments to meet the ambition for 5GW of low carbon hydrogen production capacity by 2030 – the equivalent of replacing natural gas in powering around 3 million UK homes each year as well as powering transport and businesses, particularly heavy industry.  Concerns have been raised though, that the 5GW target is not ambitious enough, proving insufficient for hydrogen development to become a cornerstone of both our energy policy and the transition to Net Zero.

With government analysis suggesting that 20-35% of the UK’s energy consumption by 2050 could be hydrogen-based, this new energy source could be critical to meet Net Zero emissions targets by 2050 and cutting emissions by 78% by 2035 – a view shared by the UK’s independent Climate Change Committee.

By 2030, hydrogen could play an important role in decarbonising polluting, energy-intensive industries by helping them move away from fossil fuels. The envisioned low-carbon hydrogen economy could deliver emissions savings equivalent to the carbon captured by 700 million trees by 2032.

Kwasi Kwarteng, business & energy secretary, said;

“With the potential to provide a third of the UK’s energy in the future, this home-grown clean energy source has the potential to transform the way we power our lives and will be essential to tackling climate change and reaching Net Zero.”

The report also stated that expectations for the UK-wide hydrogen economy may see its worth bloom from £900 million by 2030, potentially rising up to £13 billion by 2050.

To achieve this requires the overcoming of the cost gap between low carbon hydrogen and fossil fuels, which remains a stumbling block for many commercial projects, especially those based around refurbishment. To aid a fall in costs of low-carbon alternatives the government is consulting on the creation of a £240 million Net Zero Hydrogen Fund, which aims to support the commercial deployment of new low carbon hydrogen production plants across the UK.

Other measures included a “twin track” approach to supporting multiple technologies including ‘green’ electrolytic and ‘blue’ carbon capture-enabled hydrogen production. Though some question the approach, with investment in “blue” hydrogen, arguing this will lock the UK into a fuel import strategy, that by design cannot be a Net Zero solution.

Plans are also in place for developing a UK standard for low carbon hydrogen to ensure Net Zero consistency of production and usage.

A core deliverable will also be the review of necessary network and storage infrastructure, which will  assess the safety, technical feasibility, and cost-effectiveness of mixing 20% hydrogen into the existing gas supply. Doing so could deliver a 7% emissions reduction on natural gas.

The UK government also reported that it is working with the Health and Safety Executive and energy regulator Ofgem to support industry to conduct hydrogen heating trials. These trials along with the results of a wider research and development testing programme will inform a UK government decision in 2026 on the role of hydrogen in decarbonising heat. If a positive case is established, by 2035 hydrogen could be playing a significant role in heating businesses to help reduce carbon emissions from the UK’s heating system and tackle climate change.

“16 successful projects have been instrumental in securing the first industrial demonstration of a wide range of innovative technologies, with the future potential to deliver up to 10 million tonnes of cumulative carbon savings over 10 years,”

commented associate director for the Carbon Trust, Paul Huggins.

The scale of the challenge is clear: with almost no low carbon production of hydrogen in the UK or globally today. Meeting the stated 2030 ambitions and delivering decarbonisation and economic benefits from hydrogen requires rapid and significant upscaling this decade in the face of considerable challenges from existing infrastructure and a long-established built environment that was never conceived with Net Zero in mind. This Hydrogen Strategy is one of a series the UK government is publishing ahead of the UN Climate Summit COP26 taking place in Glasgow this November, and we await the Heat and Buildings and Net Zero Strategies in particular which are set to also be published this year. Further detail on the government’s production strategy for hydrogen alongside a hydrogen sector development action plan are set to be published in 2022.

Read the full Hydrogen Strategy document

Building Regulations for Commercial Hot Water.

Building Regulations for Commercial Hot Water

Committed to raising the energy performance of buildings, the government has now concluded the second of a two-stage consultation on the Building Regulations (Conservation of fuel and power) for England & Wales. This consultation proposes changes to Part L to provide a pathway to highly efficient non-domestic buildings which are zero carbon ready, better for the environment and fit for the future.

These new standards are due to be released in 2025 but will drive interim measures over the next four years for non-domestic buildings as outlined in the Building Regulations: Approved Documents L and F.

These measures outline the expected move away from fossil fuels to low carbon technology for heating and domestic hot water (DHW) and set a more rapid timeline. There is no doubt these new measures will ultimately represent a seismic shift in thinking when it comes to commercial hot water and heating applications, but a buffer has been built in to allow for the development of systems that are necessarily more complex than would be seen in domestic settings. This brings considerable opportunities for developers and specifiers willing to consider both existing and new technologies in order to deliver compliant applications in the next five years.

Whilst a fabric first approach is encouraged, low carbon technologies are being emphasised. This means heat pumps for the broad majority of DHW applications where there is a low heat demand. For commercial properties where there is typically a high heat demand, gas is still allowed while the industry works to develop suitable alternatives.

Hot Water Systems Under Part L For Non-Domestic Buildings

For our current purposes, while we will focus our attention on the provision of DHW for new build non-residential projects. Before we cover that, it is worth noting some of the general requirements for the wider heating systems as these must still be adhered to as part of the overall thermal efficiency of a DHW system.

Each new fixed building service, whether in a new or existing building, must meet the legislated values set out for efficiency. Replacement fixed services must be at least as efficient, either using the same or a different fuel as the service being replaced with matching or preferably better seasonal efficiency.

If moving over to a new fuel system, such as oil or LPG to natural gas, it should not produce more CO2 emissions nor more primary energy per kWh of heat than the appliance being replaced. If ageing renewables such as wind or solar are being replaced the electrical output must be at least that of the original installation, except where it can be demonstrated that a smaller system would be more appropriate or effective. And if work extends or provides new fixed building services energy meters will need to be installed.

When specifying a DHW system, sizing should be based on the anticipated demand of the building (based on BS EN 12831-3). The regulations demand systems not be “significantly oversized,” but we would argue any oversizing will have a negative impact on the efficiency and operational costs of a DHW system. So accurate sizing is critical in terms of delivering an optimal thermal efficiency assessment. That assessment will include the heat generator and any integral storage vessel but will exclude all secondary pipework, fans, pumps, diverter valves, solenoids, actuator and supplementary storage vessels from the calculations.

As a guide the minimum thermal efficiencies for natural gas-based DHW systems, based on gross seasonal efficiency of the heat generator are:

91% Direct fired for a new building with >30kW output*
91% Direct fired for a new building with <30kW output*
91% Boiler efficiency for indirect-fired systems in new & existing buildings
100% assumed Electrically heated new & existing buildings

Adveco carries of range of direct-fired condensing glass-lined water heaters such as the AO Smith BFC Cyclone (97% efficient) and Innovo (98% efficient), as well as an expanding range of stainless steel boilers and water heaters, such as the MD/AD which leverage advanced burner control to drive efficiency even higher (106%). This helps guarantee regulations are met and provides a safety net should regulations tighten in the future.

As with the broader regulations relating to space heating, controls form a necessary element of the new Part L regulations for combustion heated DHW systems. These all must incorporate timer control (independent of space heating circuits) and electronic temperature control.

Additionally, regulations call for fully pumped circulation where compatible with the heat generator for primary hot water circuits. Automatic thermostatic control to shut off the burner/primary heat supply when the desired water temperature is reached, and primary flow if the system temperature is too high for all direct-fired circulator systems, direct-fired storage systems and indirect-fired systems. Direct-fired continuous flow systems should include a heat exchanger flow sensor to control outlet temperatures and detect insufficient flow with burner/heat input shut off. A high limit thermostat is also required to shut off the primary flow if the system temperature is too high.

Point-of-use, local and centralised domestic hot water systems should have automatic thermostatic control to interrupt the electrical supply when the setpoint storage temperature is reached or system temperature gets too high. If there is an over-temperature trip manual reset should be possible.

Local and centralised DHW systems should have both a 7-day time control and the facility to boost the temperature by using an immersion heater in the cylinder.

Instantaneous water heaters should include a flow sensor to control the rate of flow through the heat exchanger. If the sensor detects insufficient flow, it should shut off the electrical input. Plus, a high limit thermostat is required to shut off the primary flow if the system temperature is too high.

Alongside gas, solar thermal is likely to be applied in the notional building unless heat pumps meet 100% of the actual building’s demand. Solar has been used in calculations in the past to overcome the poor fabric performance of a building. But, given the broad majority of heat pumps are currently used for preheat on commercial DHW applications, at most offsetting 70% of the energy demanded, solar thermal has a valid role to play and it’s a proven sustainable technology. Our expectations are for commercial DHW systems to continue in a familiar manner for the near to mid-term, with gas appliances used to provide cost-effective supply, especially during grid peak hours. Heat pumps and/or solar thermal will be deployed to provide preheat to that system.  As efficiencies improve and higher water temperature (more than 60°C) are achieved through heat pumps we see gas appliances slowly being phased out unless they can be replaced with green gas (hydrogen) alternatives. This naturally leads to the provisioning of hybrid systems for the coming decade, optimising a mix of current technologies that address the latest regulations, reduce emissions and crucially deliver value for money with lower operational costs.

One final observation on the implication for the specification and installation of commercial DHW relates to completion requirements. Part L tightens the commissioning requirements to reduce the gaps in performance over design and is intended to deliver improved project handover with accurate energy usage predictions. As a result, we can expect to see revisions of commissioning processes across the industry to help streamline delivery and speed up handover, crucial if government roll-out targets for low carbon technologies to achieve Net Zero by 2050 are to be met and superseded by commercial organisations.

Sources

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/building-regulations-approved-documents-l-f-and-overheating-consultation-version

* Product standard BS EN 15502-2-1:2012 for gas-fired boilers and appliances of a nominal heat input not exceeding 1000 kW / BS EN 89 gas-fired storage water heaters for the production of DHW

Will Hydrogen be the move we need towards Net Zero?

Will Hydrogen be the move we need towards Net Zero?

With emissions difficult to fully eliminate from certain parts of the economy, most experts agree that green Hydrogen is essential to meeting the goals of Net Zero by 2050. Urging the Government to publish its Hydrogen Strategy sooner rather than later, it has confirmed support of the crossover in a domestic setting but is yet to announce a defined strategy for the commercial industries. So, will the UK turn to Hydrogen use everywhere?

What are Blue and Green Hydrogen?

Blue Hydrogen:

is when natural gas is split into hydrogen and carbon dioxide (CO2) with the use of either Auto Thermal Reforming (ATR) or Steam Methane Reforming (SMR).  The CO2 is captured and then stored, reducing emissions into the atmosphere reducing environmental impacts on the planet.

Green Hydrogen:

Is hydrogen fuel that is created with the use of renewable energy in place of fossil fuels. It has potential for manufacturing, transportation and much more, with clean power and water the only by-product.

The advantages of switching to Blue and Green Hydrogen

Hydrogen has many advantages as it is abundant and supply is near limitless. It can be used on site of production and/or hydrogen is capable of being transported elsewhere if required. The environmental advantages of hydrogen are it contains almost three times the energy of fossil fuel use, therefore less will be needed to do the equivalent work.

Another advantage is hydrogen, unlike current methods, can be produced from excess renewable energies, and wherever there is water and electricity to generate more electricity or heat, for longer periods of time, in much larger quantities.

The disadvantages of switching to Blue and Green Hydrogen

Highly flammable in concentration and light compared to other fuels, as with other commonly used fuels, such as natural gas and propane, Hydrogen needs to be handled with caution. Hydrogen’s lightness does mean that it will disperse quickly into the atmosphere should there be a leak, reducing the danger of ignition. This is particularly important if hydrogen is to be transported via the existing gas infrastructure. Hydrogen moves differently from natural gas and is more likely to escape from older pipework than natural gas, so there will be concerns over the safety of a network seen to be leaking hydrogen.

In addition, the capturing process will increase the methane and propane burden so hydrogen production may not be as environmentally friendly as many may be lead to believe as

Environmentalists opposing the switch to Hydrogen

Environmentalists have openly been warning the Government to ignore the “hype” of Hydrogen to provide heat within the UK. As the Government pushes for its’ Net Zero goal, proposed plans suggest for new natural gas boilers (domestic) to be phased out in the foreseeable future and replaced with Hydrogen-ready alternatives. But environmentalists are pushing for electrical heat pumps to be endorsed over Hydrogen, which they believe is not environmentally benign.

Hydrogen for commercial use

With around half of the UK’s energy consumption being used for heating and contributing towards a third of greenhouse gas emissions, reducing carbon from the heating and hot water industry supply is a key issue for the UK to meet the plans set out for Net Zero by 2050.

Hydrogen has seen lots of traction over the years as a replacement for fossil-based gasses, converting the existing gas infrastructure to be used with Hydrogen low carbon alternatives in the UK.

One of the biggest difficulties to overcome with the crossover to Hydrogen will be the sheer scale of installation of the new appliances within current buildings. However, there are clear advantages of using existing familiar infrastructure, reducing the need for extensive remedial works that would be seen with an electric-only alternative. Other than the boiler/water heater replacement, pipework, tanks, and heating emitters such as radiators would remain unchanged. This helps avoid major issues caused by the limitations of existing space and accessibility.

Our take…

What is clear, is that hydrogen is not going to be the holy grail of zero-carbon heating for commercial projects. The simple truth is that it would be currently impractical to switch the gas grid to 100% hydrogen for zero-carbon heat, despite the existence of the extensive natural gas grid in the UK.

Producing bulk hydrogen from renewable electricity is also still expensive, and any produced by ‘surplus’ renewable electricity is not expected to meet the scale of demand. The production of low carbon hydrogen at scale will rely on using imported natural gas and deployment of carbon capture and storage (CCS) to offer a cost-effective route to produce lower volumes of hydrogen. Even when using CCS, it is important to realise hydrogen from fossil fuels will not be zero-carbon.

But, in terms of cost-effectively reducing emissions from energy use to a very low level by 2050, producing hydrogen via a low carbon route and storing it at scale makes it a potentially valuable complement to electrification.

With the practical provision of Hydrogen still some years away for the majority of the UK, Adveco, with its’ broad experience in gas and electric water heating, plus low carbon and renewable alternatives is perfectly placed to consult on short-, mid- and long-term options for your commercial projects, whether new build or refurbishment.

A Call for Greater Clarity on Net Zero

A Call for Greater Clarity on Net Zero

Due this Autumn, and expected to set precedence at the 26th UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow this October/November 2021, the government’s net zero strategy continues to attract criticism. Last November, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a wide-ranging plan with ten key deliverables to drive what he described as “Our green industrial revolution.” This was to be supported by a £4bn investment which was both celebrated, but also met with concern that this would simply not be enough of an investment.

Whilst the commercial sector has clamoured for better defined objectives and meaningful inducement to achieve the increasingly aggressive timetable, the Climate Change Committee (CCC) says climate leadership is being undermined by inadequate policies and poor implementation.

Set up under the 2008 Climate Change Act to independently advise the UK government on how to deal with global warming, this latest accusation is damning. The CCC says that, at current progress, only 20% of the UK’s ambitions up to 2035 will be achieved.

Previous carbon budgets set by the government were met through ‘easy wins’ such as shutting down coal-fired power stations. But as was predicted, with cuts in emissions at the scale demanded being far more complex to achieve future carbon budgets are no longer on track.

The CCC has directed its complaints at the lack of engagement being made with the public to make essential changes for protecting the climate. This is similarly mirrored across the commercial sector, here despite major organisations making the effort to engage in sustainability planning, government policy to date has failed to engage, instead focussing rhetoric upon domestic and large-scale industrial planning. This is baffling considering commercial buildings currently generate up to 40% of the nation’s carbon emissions from heating.

Recommendations for Sustainable Heating & Power

The CCC’s recommendations concerning heating and power likewise lean toward domestic use, wanting to see the curtailment of gas boilers by 2035 in new build properties, with a conversion to heat pumps. They make clear this process requires subsidising of installations costs to succeed. Heat pumps are simple to install in a new build but become complex with higher capital investment required when dealing with refurbishing properties with an existing gas system. This is exacerbated by scale and high-temperature demands for DHW in commercial properties. If this process of change is to happen in any meaningful way considerable subsidies need to be put in place to drive the replacement of ageing, “dirty” systems that could conceivably continue to operate for a decade or more under normal servicing processes. As the CCC states, this requires better engagement to induce change.

The CCC also wants to see taxes taken off clean electricity – though the government currently lacks policies on these issues and others, including waste and low-carbon heat networks. It’s a call echoed by Andy Ford, Professor of Building Systems Engineering at London South Bank University (LBSU), who has stated that, “Massive cultural changes do not happen without stimulus.” Reforming energy costs and subsidies is one example of the wholesale changes needed to begin making progress on the mass adoption of cleaner technologies to decarbonise heating.

The objective of achieving near-zero emissions in the UK by 2050, with a 78% cut in emissions by 2035, is to be embraced, but “Almost all things that should have happened have either been delayed or not hit the mark,” said committee chairman Lord Deben.

Whilst the government response that it will “Set out more of the very policies the Climate Change Committee is calling for as we redouble our efforts,” is encouraging, there is a recognised delay in Whitehall relating to decarbonisation initiatives. These include the Environment Bill, the transport decarbonisation plan and a net zero aviation strategy, which are likely to take precedence over the commercial built environment. Critically for the built environment, the government’s delayed heat and buildings strategy, which is expected to detail firmer commitments around the role of different low carbon technologies such as heat pumps, hydrogen boilers and district heat, is yet to be published. All this is leading to concerns over the “gulf between promises and actions” according to the CCC‘s chief executive Chris Stark. Following these comments by the CCC, Parliament’s Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) has warned that the Government must do more to ensure the availability of practical low carbon heating options at a reasonable cost.

Increasing Risks from Climate Change

With the risks of climate change to the UK being even higher than were appreciated just five years ago, the clock is ticking if we are to avoid regular cycles of 40C temperatures highs. Critical then is the delayed Treasury net zero review, which will determine how much cash is invested into the projected zero-carbon economy. Recent statements that focus heavily on domestic resolutions, with little addressing of commercial, outside of schools and hospitals, remains a concern.

While the commercial sector awaits greater clarification, talk to Adveco about how you can bridge the gap from current gas-based systems by leveraging high-efficiency, low-carbon and renewable technologies to reduce operational costs and drive sustainability within your commercial hot water and heating systems.


Adveco.Discover more about Adveco’s range services and air source heat pumps, solar thermal and heat recovery systems for commercial sustainability.  

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R32 commercial Air Source Heat Pumps (ASHP)

R-32 Heat Pumps – A Change For A Better Future

R-32 (Difluoromethane HFC32), as used in the new Adveco FPi32 range of Air Source Heat Pumps (ASHP), is an HFC refrigerant used as the preferred replacement for R410A refrigerant. Not only is the new refrigerant environmentally friendly, it also enables high performance to save energy, as well as making the heat pumps easy to install, control and maintain.

Safer for the Environment

A hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerant, R-32 belongs to the family of fluorinated gases, controlled by the F-gas regulation, and developed to replace refrigerant which can deplete and damage the ozone layer. Whilst all HFCs remain greenhouse gasses, R-32 which offers zero potential for ozone depletion and is non-toxic, has a much lower Global Warming Potential (GWP) than R-410A which has been typically used as the refrigerant of choice in ASHPs. GWP is a means for measuring the impact on the atmosphere of one kilo of released HFC compared to a single kilo of carbon. A kilo of released R410A would do 2,090 times the damage of a kilo of carbon. With a GWP of 675, R-32 is considerably more environmentally friendly. R-32 reduces Adveco FPi ASHP’s GWP by 80%.

Offering a similar boiling temperature to R410A but with better energy efficiency, R-32 based systems have smaller charge requirements, typically requiring far less refrigerant – in the case of the FPi, refrigerant required is reduced by almost a kilo compared to R410A models – which means smaller exchangers and components so units can be more compact. For the Adveco R32 range, the 12kW variant now takes up no more space than the 6 or 9kW models, replacing the dual fan for a single fan and substantially reducing the size from the previous FPi-13 model that it replaces. This also helps reduce the noise generated by a unit, with FPi32s operating at 52-53 dB(A) compared to prior models that would have operated at 56-59 dB(A). With improved efficiency also comes lower operational cost.

Safe for Installers

One other environmental gain comes from the relative ease of recycling compared to R410A, as R32 is a single component refrigerant it is easier to handle and recover. All fluorinated refrigerants, including R32, will decompose, creating toxic by-products (hydrogen fluoride and carbon dioxide) when burnt. Classified in international standard ISO 817:2014, R-32 is classified as A2L, where class A signifies that the toxicity of a refrigerant has not been identified at concentrations less than or equal to 400 ppm. Class 2L indicates the refrigerant is lower or mildly flammable. This lower flammability for R32 means that should an accidental release of R32 refrigerant occur, ignition is difficult, even if attempts are intentional. The velocity of released gas is deemed too high at the point of release to allow for ignition, and when velocity is low enough concentration will be too low to ignite. All F-Gas qualified engineers should have few issues handling R-32, but the safe management of any installation should always be a must. It is mandatory to comply with safety requirements from local building safety codes with regard to the installation and operation of heat pump equipment containing A2L mildly flammable refrigerants. As a monobloc unit, the Adveco FPi32 comes pre-charged with R32 refrigerant from the factory making it safe and easy to install and Adveco’s trained engineers are on hand for all warranty-based servicing.

Thermal decomposition of R-32 would require a leak into an enclosed space, with a close to floor level open flame. The production of hydrogen fluoride under test conditions that replicate such an unlikely scenario is no more than seen with non-flammable refrigerants such R410A. Hydrogen fluoride has an extremely pungent odour which is easily detected by smell at concentrations lower than levels expected to cause irritation or be harmful. This gives an occupant in the room plenty of time to make a safe exit. If the concentration is high enough, any refrigerant gas classified in ISO 817, including R32 could initiate some form of adverse health effect. R-32 would require the highest concentration level to cause any adverse health effect. When compared to other Class A Lower Chronic Toxicity refrigerants R-32 has the highest (therefore the safest) Acute Toxicity Exposure Limit (ATEL) of 220,000 ppm.

Retrofitting R410A units with R-32?

The one advantage for heat pumps using R410A was its’ non-flammable nature. This means that R-32 cannot be used to retrofit pre-existing heat pumps, such as the Adveco FPi-9 & 13. As older units are not designated for use with A2L class mildly flammable refrigerant, there is a potential for damage to the Air Source Heat Pumps, property or injury to a user.

Better ASHP Systems

The advantages of R-32 in terms of energy efficiency, safety and especially the much lower Global Warming Potential makes ASHP systems based around R-32 refrigerant highly attractive. Its use provides an immediate way of reducing a building’s energy consumption and operational costs. Perfect for commercial hybrid hot water (DHW) systems that combine either a gas or electric water heater and controls, with FPi32 ASHPs help reduce emissions to meet new carbon targets without compromising reliability or performance.

Discover more about the Adveco FPi32 Range

Bridging the gap to Net Zero.

Bridging the Gap to NetZero – Part 2

Hybrid Heating – the validity of gas in future hot water applications

In part one we looked at why you might adopt a hybrid approach to commercial hot water and heating as a route to achieving Net Zero in commercial properties. In this second part, we consider the continued validity of employing existing gas technology… 

There continues to be a call for a wide ban on the deployment of gas boilers in new properties, with a date of 2025 often mooted. Such a ban, though focussed currently only on domestic properties, would no doubt have repercussions for the commercial sector if/and when it comes to pass.  But it is worth noting that ‘hydrogen-ready’ appliances would be exempt from any broad ban, so gas has a role to play in that mix of technologies driving us forward to Net Zero.

According to Mission Innovation (MI), an independent clean-tech research programme, half of the global emissions reductions required to achieve climate targets by 2050 depends on technology that still currently remain at a demonstration or prototype phase. Whilst development continues into the provision of new fuels such as green hydrogen – and we could be looking at at least a decade before this is universally available –  there remain clear cases, especially in terms of reducing running costs,  for retaining existing gas technology for commercial applications. We also recognise that the retention of existing infrastructure is critical for the cost-effective deployment of long term next-generation green technology, especially considering the large scale challenge of retrofitting existing properties.

Since 2015 the wholesale price of electricity has climbed 20%, yet gas prices over the same period are down on average 15%.  The difference between the wholesale market price of electricity and its cost of production using natural gas provides us with the spark spread.

Commercial Air Source Heat Pumps (ASHP).At the time of writing, the spark spread is calculated to be 5.7.  For a heat pump to break even against a 90% efficient gas boiler, the heat pump must demonstrate a COP of 5.15. The Adveco FPI32-6 can exceed this COP, but only at warmer ambient temperatures. Far more realistic is to use seasonal COP, which at 5.15 is beyond the capability of most current generation units. When assessing the efficiency of commercial air source heat pump (ASHP) technology, we calculate the ratio between the electricity invested in order to run the ASHP and its output, this is the COP. The COP can be influenced by a number of factors including the energy needs and energy efficiency of a property, quality of hot water and heating system installation, and once operational, the energy manager’s competency in maximising the system output. We would expect high performing commercial heat pumps to show a COP that range from 2.9 to a very high 4.7 due to variance in seasonal external temperature and heating flow temperature. The average ASHP system will typically exhibit a maximum COP much lower than the necessary 5.15. It is also worth considering that the latest generation of commercial gas boilers will exhibit even greater efficiencies, for example, RP MD Boilers.Adveco’s MD boiler range can achieve a NET combustion efficiency of 106%. This means gas has a key role to play in ensuring a hybrid approach remains cost-effective.

As we progress forward, hydrogen-ready commercial gas appliances (boilers and water heaters) will leverage high efficiency, economic fuel blends with the additional advantage of considerably diminishing the carbon impact of commercial properties.

We see hydrogen playing a valuable role in meeting the needs for heating the UK’s commercial buildings but it will never be a 100% solution. This is why gas appliances in combination with heat pumps remain the best, and most cost-effective to deploy and operate method for commercial organisations to decarbonise operations and drive a low carbon economy.

Whether or not ongoing Government consultation decides to recognise the importance of ‘hybrids’ with financial support, the simple truth is that for the broad majority of commercial organisations looking to refurbish, capital investment and operational costs for heating and cooling systems are a critical decision factor. Hybrid systems offer the best option now and in the longer term as new green gas options come into play

The Hybrid Balancing Act

To truly reap the rewards of a hybrid heating system its energy management system needs to be implemented as part of the smart grid, with flexible electricity tariffs. When electricity volumes increase, prices fall. In a smart grid, when the corresponding price signal reaches the hybrid heating system it will be able to optimise the use of renewable electricity in terms of cost and availability.

In view of the extremely high volatility of renewable energy sources (RES) electricity, there will inevitably be peaks in supply above demand for electricity. In particular, this naturally occurs at high levels of wind and solar radiation. At present, an excess supply of RES electricity is either decommissioned at production peaks or sold. In extreme cases, as has been seen in the Netherlands, this could lead to negative electricity prices. To counteract this uneconomic development, it is necessary to introduce flexible electricity prices and pass them on to customers in order to stimulate production-dependent consumption. If there are high quantities of renewable energy in the grid, a heat pump will supply the building with heating and hot water. In cold phases, the heat pump covers only a part of the necessary heat output in the case of a hybrid system with the condensing gas boiler taking over to cover the remaining heat requirement and, if necessary, provides a higher system temperature.

This load management, the smart balancing of heat pump and condensing boiler operation, not only addresses the lifetime cost of operating a system it can help with the support of grid capacity (with fiscal remuneration if selling electricity generated), stabilisation of reserve capacities and potentially reduce the need for grid expansion.

The ability to provide greater efficiencies through smart metering and the use of flexible electricity tariffs to reduce operational costs for a lower total cost of ownership across the lifespan of the system is advantageous. The opportunity to impact load management across the grid however is a real game-changer for businesses being held up as a major guilty party when it comes to the continued generation of greenhouse gasses. Hybrid systems, therefore, offer a fast, cost-effective and realistic means to address ageing and environmentally unfriendly heating systems.


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Bridging the gap to Net Zero.

Bridging The Gap To Net Zero – Part 1

Hybrid Heating – A Practical Response For The Commercial Built Environment

Adveco looks at the changing face of commercial hot water & heating, and the increasing importance being placed on the development of hybrid applications to address the real-world challenges of achieving carbon reduction levels set by the government through to 2050.

Around 40% of UK greenhouse gas emissions are accounted for by heating, cooling, ventilation, the provision of hot water and lighting the built environment, and, according to 2019 figures issued by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), business remains the third-largest emitter at 17%. In order to achieve climate-neutral building stock by 2050 commercial organisations need support from the industry to provide immediate and practical measures.

Through the expansion of wind power and photovoltaic systems, the generation of electricity from renewables and the importance of electricity in the heating market is increasing, but natural gas still dominates. As attention shifts to a mix of district heating, heat pumps, wind and solar energy, studies show that over the next two decades renewable electricity will be crucial to the energy supply in the heating market.

That said, there remain strong differences with regard to the expected share of renewable energy supply. Independent research clearly argues for a multi-dimensional approach with an energy mix consisting of renewable energy and gaseous fuels with a high share of renewable energies. Studies that are more “almost all-electric” argue in favour of almost complete dominance of the heat pump, while the technology-open scenarios also predict large proportions of heat pumps, but also assume the use of gaseous fuels.

Just as electricity is becoming greener, via an ever-increasing share of renewable energy, so too over time will the gaseous fuels such as ‘green’ hydrogen gas and synthetics.

Why Take The Hybrid Route?

So, let’s consider the advantages of the hybrid approach. This, at the most basic for heating systems, consist of two heat generators, of which at least one is operated with renewable energies and one with fossil fuel. Often, a hybrid heat pump system consists of a heat pump (air source) designed for a system part load (baseload) and a gas condensing boiler for peak load, for example during the cold, dark winter months. In a fully hybrid heat pump system, both heat generators can cover the entire heating load, where the energy sources can be freely selected according to definable criteria including efficiency, emissions and price.

Commercial Air Source Heat Pumps (ASHP).

Compared to a conventional combustion heating system though, there will be issues of logistics and space requirements, but as hybrid systems are particularly relevant to buildings in which there is already a gas connection this is generally less of a concern. That said, a hybrid system will require two heat generators and two energy connections, one of which is an environmental heat source. This leads to higher complexity of the plant, requiring more effort and expertise from the system designer, supplier and installer. This all leads to higher CAPEX cost. It is typically estimated that the purchase and installation of a hybrid heating system compared to a pure condensing heating system is going to drive initial costs up by approximately 50 to 60%. So, what are the advantages that outweigh these initial costs?

For older commercial properties where a new heating system is required, but wider renovation is either not feasible or required, a hybrid system can control and avoid issues of project congestion when refurbishing, as the heat pump is used to supplement the pre-existing fossil-based heating system.  This helps to save costs as existing boilers can continue to be operated on the currently installed heat distribution, heat transfer and flue systems while the heat pump can benefit from an advantageous coefficient of performance (COP) in the right conditions and setpoints.

A hybrid heat pump/gas boiler system is able to reduce the maximum power consumption of a system by smartly balancing the heat generators for greater efficiencies and lower operational costs whilst guaranteeing high system temperatures to ensure the comfort of those still living or working in the building during refurbishment work. If the hybrid system is also equipped with a buffer tank and domestic hot water (DHW) tank the heat pump can achieve a high proportion of cover for space heating and DHW heating increasing the profitability of the system.

A hybrid heating system cannot only be controlled cost-effectively but it can also be optimised for CO emissions by selecting the optimal (ecological) heat generator whenever possible via an energy management system that incorporates smart metering.

Hybrid systems for commercial properties will typically be planned according to individual project requirements. In cold phases, the heat pump in the hybrid system can only take over part of the heating load due to the design. If necessary, the condensing boiler, especially on cold, dark days with high demand, but a limited supply of renewable energy, completely covers the heating load.

This versatility enables the energy manager to react to price fluctuations, especially in the power grid and possibly also in the gas grid.

Should the building envelope subsequently be renovated, the required heating load decreases and the existing gas boiler can take on less of the annual heating work or eventually could be put out of operation.

In part 2 we consider the continuity of using gas for future hot water applications