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December newsletter for commercial hot water systems

Read The Adveco December 2023 Newsletter

Seasons greetings from the Adveco December 2023 newsletter.  

As we round out the year we celebrate a year of innovation in water heating for commercial properties throughout the UK. We also are pleased to introduce new members to the sales team and take a look at the importance of whole-life carbon and what this means for hot water systems.  We also cover all the latest updates on products and seasonal office times. 

If you would prefer the newsletter sent direct to your inbox every month why not sign up. 

Click here to read the Adveco December 2023 Newsletter

Embodied carbon molecules

Embodied Carbon

The Importance of Embodied Carbon

The building industry is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, accounting for nearly 40% of global energy-related emissions. While operational emissions, from energy used to heat, cool, and power buildings have been the focus of attention, embodied carbon emissions, from the production, transportation, and disposal of building materials, are increasingly recognized as a significant concern.

Embodied carbon is the total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with the entire lifecycle of a building’s materials, from extraction to manufacturing, transportation, and disposal. These emissions are “embodied” within the building itself and are released over time, even if the building is operated efficiently.

A significant, yet often overlooked source of emissions, and unlike operational emissions which can be reduced through energy efficiency measures, embodied carbon emissions are more difficult to address. Once a building is constructed, its embodied carbon emissions are locked in and cannot be easily changed.

As buildings become more energy efficient, embodied carbon emissions will become an even more significant share of the total carbon footprint of buildings. In fact, some estimates suggest that embodied carbon could account for up to 80% of the total carbon footprint of new buildings by 2050.

Measuring Whole Life Carbon Of The Built Environment

In response, a new assessment standard for carbon measurement in the built environment from The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) is set to be the framework for significantly reducing the industry’s carbon output.

The Whole Life Carbon Assessment for the Built Environment (WLCA) standard has been updated from its first edition, released in 2017 and is now suitable for global use and can cover all built assets and infrastructure projects throughout the built environment lifecycle.

Using the WLCA standard, assessors can estimate the amount of carbon emitted throughout the life cycle of a constructed asset, from the early stages of development through to the end of life. It gives visibility to embodied carbon, operational carbon, and user carbon – something that is vital to carbon calculations and a unique feature of the RICS standard.

By giving visibility to the carbon cost of different design choices, the standard aims to help manage carbon budgets, reduce lifetime emissions, and deliver a net-zero future for the built environment.

Through this process, property managers gain an understanding of the carbon costs and benefits of design choices in construction. It provides information on calculating and reporting carbon emissions over the lifecycle of a built asset, including production, construction, operation, end of life and beyond asset life.

Embodied Carbon & Water Heating 

With its focus firmly on sustainable alternatives for supplying domestic hot water demands to commercial properties, Adveco recognises the need to deliver system design which is supported by embodied carbon data. We are already aware of the requested levels of data required by consultants and specifiers in the UK and are well into the process of collating manufacturing data on our product lines to ensure embodied carbon figures are readily available.

Adveco is in constant discussion with its manufacturing partners globally as well as assessing its own internal policies and operations to develop strategies that can support the reduction of embodied carbon emissions in the building industry.

These discussions range from specifying low-carbon materials in the manufacturing processes, improvements in efficiency, reducing the size and weight of components or even eliminating them entirely if deemed unnecessary. This is especially true of the latest generation of packaged systems such as FUSION and FUSION integrated with solar thermal, where systems are increasingly more compact and supplied ready to install with pre-made pipework kits for less waste. The systems also leverage high-quality build materials, such as stainless steel, and components to ensure an extended working lifespan, reducing the need for replacement and the impact over time of embodied carbon. Where possible we encourage the application of recycled materials, especially metal and alloys, and continue to source as much as possible from the UK and European manufacturing to shorten transportation distances. Offsite construction and a focus on packaged whole systems also enables us to reduce the number of deliveries to a project site, in optimal conditions a whole system will be delivered in a single instance.

Embodied carbon is a critical issue that must be addressed if the building industry is to meet its climate goals. By adopting a holistic approach that considers the entire lifecycle of building materials, the industry can significantly reduce its carbon footprint and contribute to a more sustainable future.

Produced in partnership with the UK’s Department for Transport and Net Zero Waste Scotland, RICS will take the new WLCA standard to the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) in Duba next week.

tree with green leaves in sun cracked mud. climate change

COP28 – Climate Change Challenges

The 28th session of the Conference of Parties (COP28) is the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference. Inaugurated in 1995, COP is an annual opportunity for signatories to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to debate solutions to climate change.

The key outcome of the COP process has been the 2015 Paris Agreement, signed by 195 parties, which saw the agreement to cut global greenhouse gas emissions to ensure global surface temperatures remain below 2 degrees Celsius (ideally 1.5 degrees Celsius) in order to prevent dangerous climate change. 

COP26, which was held in Glasgow, built on the Paris Accord, with renewed commitments by signatory governments to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. 190 countries agreed to the phasing out of coal for energy production which is widely regarded as one of the fastest and relatively easy ways to cut carbon emissions. Timeframes for emissions reduction targets were also established, though crucially not legally binding.  

It was hoped that COP27, held in Sharm-el-Sheikh, Egypt, would build on this success and push targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions even further as UN reports suggest current commitments of signatories to the Paris Agreement don’t go far enough to successfully limit global warming to under 1.5 degrees celsius (vs. 1990s levels).

COP27 was feted for the creation of the Loss and Damage Fund, primarily aimed at helping developing countries cover the cost of damage caused by natural disasters related to global warming, such as wildfires, rising sea levels, heatwaves, drought, and crop failure. Questions over how quickly the fund will be able to get up and running, and how effectively it is able to function remain, clouding initial jubilation.

COP27 was also characterised by a lack of commitment to completely phase out fossil fuels. The final commitment stated a need to “accelerate efforts towards the phase-down of unabated coal power and phase-out of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies.” This has been a major point of contention for the green lobby. As a result, Cop27 was greeted with an equal mix of celebration and frustration, so much now rests on Cop 28 being seen as a success, but it poses significant challenges.  

The 2023 conference, COP28 takes place between November 30th and December 12th in Dubai. It marks a significant milestone with the completion of the first full assessment of the Paris Agreement begun at COP26. This “Global Stocktake” is intended to “assess the collective progress towards achieving the purpose of the Paris Agreement and its long-term goals.” It will explore how signatory countries are faring against the emissions-cutting commitments at an overall global level, identifying trends that should inform countries’ national climate commitments (NCC), which must be updated every five years. At COP27 governments were urged to revisit national climate plans to meet 2030 targets, and there is an expectation for them to demonstrate more ambitious climate strategies compared to those of 2022.  This could well be contentious for some, including the UK, which has been accused of slowing rather than accelerating targets.

Financing action against climate change will without doubt be high on the agenda. In 2009, at COP15, developed countries committed to a collective goal of mobilising 100 billion USD per year by 2020 for climate action and mitigation efforts in developing countries. However, a subsequent lack of commitment to funding pledges has created an atmosphere of mistrust amongst some COP signatories. With no agreement reached at COP27 on how large the funding stream would be for the Loss and Damage Fund, who will be responsible for paying what, and who will be eligible to receive funding, there are urgent expectations for greater clarity of purpose to come out of COP28 to support developing countries.

The UAE’s priorities for its COP of course will include a focus on how to implement the policies that were agreed in Paris and Glasgow. It is already clear that COP28 will take place in the context of challenging geopolitical relations.

The production of oil, natural gas, and coal, which is responsible for as much as 79% of total emissions worldwide will be a point of issue, especially as only the phasing out of coal was a subject of a commitment at COP27. Businesses in the region are at an earlier stage in their sustainability journey and much of the current focus is on how to achieve a ‘just transition’ – making sure that global decarbonisation efforts are equitable, fair, and inclusive. Expectations will also be muddied by the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine and rising tensions in the Middle East, both areas being major suppliers of oil and gas. Though expectation is for one of greater impetus in the drive toward non-fossil and renewable alternatives to ensure fuel security in developed nations.  

Alok Sharma, the UK Conservative MP and former minister who led the Cop26 talks in Glasgow in 2021, says the task is clear, “Cop28 must deliver strengthened emissions reduction targets, and a commitment to peak global emissions by 2025,” he said. “There must be a plan to turbocharge the clean energy revolution, and a commitment to phase out fossil fuels. And a meaningful agreement on how to scale up finance, both public and private, to support developing nations to decarbonise their economies – moving from the billions to the trillions.”

Read more about how you can embrace net zero in your buildings.

london commercial skyline shard, sunset

NIC Advisory Too Focussed On Domestic Carbon

The National Infrastructure Commission (NIC), the government’s independent advisory body, has published its second National Infrastructure Assessment.  The NIC advisory is a five-year review that sets out plans to transform the country’s energy, transport and other key networks over the next 30 years.

The immediate interpretation if the new NIC advisory is one of prioritisation of heat pumps and district networks in order to switch buildings away from gas heating, with many reporting recommendations for ruling out the use of hydrogen.

Less obvious from the headlines is that the Commission’s “comprehensive and fully costed programme of government support” once again mainly targets households to make the carbon emissions saving switch from gas to electric, observing that 7 million domestic buildings in England will need to make this transition by 2035 to meet the Sixth Carbon Budget.

Of the £6.4bn predicted to be required by the NIC advisory for this process, half would be destined for domestic properties and half used to improve energy efficiency and install heat pumps across the public sector estate and social housing.

The NIC’s stance on hydrogen relates specifically to domestic applications, ruling out its application for domestic heating estimating that a system with hydrogen heating would be around “1.2 times more expensive than a system without”. Heat pumps, it says, use around three times less energy than hydrogen boilers to produce heat.

The focus for hydrogen should be one of power generation and industrial decarbonisation states the NIC advisory report. 

Comments from the industry that, “Heat pumps already cost less to run than a gas boiler” are sweeping statements that when taken out of a domestic space heating context are blatantly untrue. This is especially the case when it comes to water heating where gas remains three to four times cheaper depending on tariffs and current grid costs of electricity and gas. In the commercial environment heat pumps absolutely have a role to play in decarbonising hot water production, but the technology still is best applied as a preheat resource, otherwise capital and operational costs begin to soar. Adveco remains an exponent of hybrid approaches that draw the best from a mix of technologies which include heat pumps, electric heating, solar thermal and ultimately green gasses, including hydrogen, to cut carbon emissions while still meeting the large-scale demands of the commercial sector for daily hot water.

The NIC correctly recognises that the heat pump market needs significant support to reach economies of scale and reduce costs if net zero targets are to be met, but the oft-cited “rapid replacement of the gas grid” by those lobbying for electrification of homes, fails to consider the wider impacts of the built environment. In particular, the commercial sector remains a major source of carbon emissions from its built estates. NIC’s commitment to industrial decarbonisation through hydrogen is to be supported but needs to more tacitly incorporate commercial buildings with high energy demands, such as for safe, business-critical hot water production. The danger is that the commercial sector continues to be a grey area of government oversight and more critically, lack of financial support.

Addressing homeowners’ concerns is a predominantly political play, especially with the expectations of an election in the near term but continues to be detrimental to the wider need to address energy use and climate change impact of the wider built environment of the UK.

Under the 2015 Paris climate agreement, 197 countries – including the UK – agreed to try to limit global temperature rises to 1.5C by 2100. To achieve this, scientists say that net zero CO₂ emissions must be reached by 2050. These are legally binding agreements with targets that critics have accused Rishi Sunak of watering down after he relaxed a plan to phase out the installation of gas boilers by 2035, instead aiming for only an 80% phase-out to save households money. NIC chairman Sir John Armitt said, “We’ve got a 2035 target [on boilers] which is only 12 years away, I find it hard to accept that we are likely to meet that when we are installing 50-60,000 heat pumps at the absolute most per annum at the moment when the government has set itself a target of 600,000 heat pumps per year by 2028.”

The International Energy Agency (IEA), the global energy watchdog, said in its latest report that the growth in clean energy and technologies was “impressive” and predicted renewables would provide half of the world’s electricity by 2030.

But it also added the caveat that the phase down of fossil fuels is not happening quickly enough and that the world’s reliance on fossil fuels means that we are still on track to be facing a global average temperature rise of 2.4C by 2100.

If the NIC chairman is concerned about hitting domestic targets for heat pumps that have been the focus of government policy and support, then the commercial sector represents a ticking time bomb, where a lack of grants and clear advice will only further exacerbate the problems of achieving future carbon budgets which are critical for meeting net zero aims.

In response to the publication of this latest NIC advisory plan, officials at the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero said it was incentivising investment in the heat pump market, providing up to £30 million to support UK manufacturing in a bid to make the switch a more “attractive choice”.  Some £6.6bn is being put into clean heat and energy efficiency, with a further £6 billion of new funding from 2025, the department added. A spokesperson also said in response to the IEA report that the independent Climate Change Committee recognised oil and gas would continue to be part of the UK’s energy mix on the path to net zero. This gives us hope that there remain opportunities to support the right energy and technology mixes for commercial demands but the sector needs this to be laid out in black and white. 

COP28 – the UN’s climate summit – takes place this November in Dubai, where it is hoped world leaders will make further commitments to tackling climate change. We wait to see if greater clarity and new commitments to action are forthcoming.  

Adveco Wins Two 2023 HVR Awards

    • Live Metering is highly commended in the 2023 HVAC Initiative of The Year Award category
    • Adveco FUSION highly commended as HVR’s 2023 Commercial Heating Product of the Year

    Adveco is named double winner in the 2023  HVR Awards.  The company received two highly commended awards against stiff opposition in the HVAC Initiative of The Year and Commercial Heating Product of the Year categories, demonstrating Adveco’s dedication to driving innovation in the sustainability of water heating applications for commercial buildings.

    The 2023 HVR Awards (Heating & Ventilation Review) celebrated 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’.

    Challenged with supporting gas replacement programmes Adveco developed a process to live meter hot water demands of existing systems to enable accurate replacements to be designed. This approach enables Adveco to provide the most feasible system design that demonstrates predicted carbon reductions, optimises capital investment, and allows for accurate calculation of future operational costs. The process of Live Metering has proven to be an extremely cost-effective method for generating proof of concept for the greenlighting of decarbonisation work as part of immediate net zero strategies, earning it a win in the HVAC Initiative of The Year category.

    Adveco FUSION packaged water heating system has been completely redesigned from the ground up to provide four new models with pre-sized variants which deliver low-carbon all-electric systems for commercial projects.

    FUSION makes use of familiar technology that is relatively quick to install, and easy to maintain, and enables it to be combined and operated in the most efficient way possible. As an all-electric system, FUSION has been conceived as a more sustainable approach to securing hot water whilst addressing familiar issues of water quality, cost of acquisition, cost of operation and system longevity.

    Supplying a range of lower-carbon options for commercial projects requiring domestic hot water for sink and basin-led demands the system has a broad application across commercial markets and public sector organisations seeking to invest in new or replacement systems that can help deliver on sustainability targets today. This product innovation earned Adveco, in the Commercial Heating Product of the Year category, its second win of the night.

    “The vision for, and execution to market of both our Live Metering service and the completely new generation of FUSION electric water heating systems highlight what we as a company do best. Listening to our customers and developing the tools and systems to best meet their fast-changing needs for sustainable hot water,” said David O’Sullivan, managing director, Adveco. “Being awarded two trophies in the HVR awards demonstrates the advantages of Adveco’s independent approach to innovation, delivering fast-to-market, low-carbon, cost-effective responses as we all work to achieve net-zero. It’s a great accolade for the entire team to be recognised for their dedication and effort in meeting new sustainability challenges.”

Adveco Recognised For Net Zero Impact Award

  • Adveco Live Metering is named Net Zero Impact finalist in the Heating & Ventilation News Awards 2023

Hot water specialist Adveco has been named a finalist in the Net Zero Impact category of the Heating & Ventilation News (HVN) Awards 2023 for its Live Metering tools and design.  The Net Zero Impact award recognises initiatives in carbon reduction, energy efficiency or embodied carbon which set groups or individuals on a path towards net zero.

Live Metering was conceived by Adveco in response to the London Fire Brigade’s (LFB) strategic project of station refurbishment to deliver net zero across its built estate.

A completely new method for assessing data on hot water flow in existing systems, the Live Metering process of non-invasive monitoring and theoretical system modelling which reflects true usage is enabling the Brigade to develop a strategy for confidently transitioning its existing gas-fired systems to lower carbon electric systems.

“Our close work with our public sector partners, especially the LFB, to deliver a truly practical response to the many issues facing those wishing to decarbonise legacy water heating infrastructure has again impressed industry judging, selecting us as one of this year’s finalists for the Net Zero Impact award. Year-on-year selection as a finalist in the 2023 HVN Awards is a real endorsement of our continuous programme of technical development and innovation. From both a product and services perspective, this has characterised Adveco’s drive to continue being the hot water specialist for commercial and public sector building projects in this new more sustainable age,” said Bill Sinclair, Technical Director, Adveco.

The winners will be announced on the 23rd of November 2023.

UK Net Zero – A Moment Of Pragmatism Or Shame?

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has formally announced a shift in many of the timelines previously set for achieving net zero by 2050. Many claim this is a weakening of some of the government’s key green commitments and a major policy shift. It is now committed to reaching UK net zero carbon emissions by 2050 but in a “more proportionate way”.

The aim of UK net zero is to take out of the atmosphere as many greenhouse gas emissions – such as carbon dioxide – as it puts in. Mr Sunak intent is for the UK to continue as a world leader on net zero, but he is arguing that Britain has over-delivered on confronting climate change and that other countries need to do more to pull their weight. This realism does not, however, mean losing ambition or abandoning commitments.

Changes to core policy or commitments on UK net zero include:

  • Pushing the ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2030 to 2035.
  • Target plans to phase out the installation of gas boilers by 2035 see targets weakened to 80% phase-out by that year.
  • No new energy efficiency regulations on homes for homeowners and landlords who fail to upgrade their properties to a certain level of energy efficiency will no longer be fined as planned.
  • The 2026 ban on off-grid oil boilers will be delayed to 2035, with only an 80% phase-out target at that date.
  • No new taxes to discourage flying, no government policies to change people’s diets and no measures to encourage carpooling.
  • Cease of plans for ‘seven bin’ domestic recycling strategy.

In a statement, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said, “For too many years politicians in governments of all stripes have not been honest about costs and trade-offs. Instead, they have taken the easy way out, saying we can have it all. We are committed to Net Zero by 2050 and the agreements we have made internationally – but doing so in a better, more proportionate way. Our politics must again put the long-term interests of our country before the short-term political needs of the moment.”  

Lord Zac Goldsmith, Conservative peer and former minister responded that this was, “The moment the UK turned its back on the world and on future generations. A moment of shame.”

Many commentators have already drawn the conclusion that Sunak’s statement is a pointed barb at former Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s policies which were formalised at COP 26. Conservative MP Craig Mackinlay, who chairs the net zero scrutiny group, said he was “Pleased to see some pragmatism,” from Mr Sunak, and that moving back dates for net zero targets “will take pie in the sky ‘greenwash’ measures out of clearly unachievable deadlines”.

The government’s commitment to UK net zero has consistently come under fire, and we have commented on the general lack of support or advice given to the commercial and public sectors, along with too great an emphasis on specific and often limited technology in terms of commercial application. This became most obvious in terms of the drive for heat pumps which was focussed on domestic rather than commercial deliverables, despite the high proportion of commercial buildings with high daily energy demands. This has driven our call to accept the hybrid approach to commercial water heating, to not only deliver carbon reduction but make efforts to control spiralling costs reported by many who have followed government recommendations on a singular technology approach.

The recently reported changes to EPC ratings on commercial properties will not be affected, mandating change across commercial rental space. But we wait to see if any of the other policy amendments will actively affect the commercial sector. This does not seem the case, and the expectations placed on organisations in the commercial space remain the same. Net zero strategies should continue and at Adveco we continue to support a wide range of technology-based approaches for addressing the reduction of emissions from water heating and better managing associated costs whether on gas or transitioning fully to electric.

For the past year, the lack of clarity on hydrogen has been a particular sticking point, especially given the phase-out dates for new gas-fired boiler installation. Any weakening in the stance on domestic gas-fired appliances can only help the potential transition to blended hydrogen, but we continue to advocate the application of hydrogen as part of the mix of options for commercial hot water in the mid- to long-term. This is timely as the government has just opened its latest consultation phase looking at the value of blending hydrogen into the existing UK gas grid as a means to reduce overall emissions from the network has been launched by the government.

While there may be some potential benefits for reducing emissions from natural gas boilers, this was not considered the “primary strategic role” for hydrogen blending into the grid, that would be its application for industrial and commercial sites, the latter if there were high demands for hot water.

Blending hydrogen into our gas supply – through existing gas infrastructure – would open the doors to an expansion of its use as a fuel, one which could help cut emissions and stabilise bills for businesses as part of the drive toward UK net zero. Hydrogen currently makes up around 0.1% of the gas used in people’s homes and businesses – but proposals could see the volume of hydrogen in the network increase gradually over time, up to a maximum of 20%.

The consultation marks the next step in the government’s plans to reach 10GW of hydrogen production capacity by 2030, cutting carbon emissions and strengthening energy security, while helping to stabilise operational costs. Feedback is being sought until 27 October, after which we hope to see a decision taken on the issue of whether to begin blending hydrogen into the UK’s gas distribution networks.

mould, virus and dust particles IAQ

IAQ in Commercial Buildings

Given that most of us typically spend up to 90% of our time inside buildings, indoor air quality (IAQ) is a serious consideration, especially as it relates to the health and comfort of the people who occupy it. Poor IAQ can have several negative health effects, including respiratory problems, headaches, fatigue, and allergies. It can also lead to decreased productivity and increased absenteeism.

Despite hybrid working becoming firmly entrenched across the country, IAQ remains an especially important issue within commercial buildings, given the significant time people still spend within them, whether working or visiting. IAQ can be affected by a variety of factors, including the building’s ventilation system, the materials used in its construction, and the activities that take place inside it.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) guidance on air quality has advised member states to consider air pollution to be as big a threat to human health and well-being as climate change and adjusted almost all of its previous maximum target levels for airborne pollutants downwards. It linked long-term exposure to even relatively low concentrations of ambient and indoor air pollution to lung cancer, heart disease, and strokes – putting the health impact of pollution on a par with poor diet and smoking.

There are several things that can contribute to poor IAQ in commercial buildings. Some of the most common causes include:

Many building materials, such as carpets, furniture, and paints, can release harmful pollutants into the air. These pollutants can include volatile organic compounds (VOCs), formaldehyde, and asbestos.

Pollutants from activities that take place inside a building can also contribute to poor IAQ. For example, cooking, smoking, and using cleaning products can all release pollutants into the air.

And if a building’s ventilation system is not working properly, it can’t remove pollutants from the air. This can lead to a buildup of pollutants and poor IAQ.

When the Covid-19 pandemic struck, highlighting the role played by poor-quality indoor environments in the spread of viruses and other airborne contaminants, new standards were deemed necessary, elevating publicly available specifications in development by the British Standards Institute and BESA to a full British Standard BS40102-1.

The new standard gives recommendations for measuring, monitoring, and reporting indoor environmental quality (IEQ) in all types of non-domestic buildings. It includes an evaluation and rating system for air quality, lighting, thermal comfort, and acoustics.

Given that building retrofit work carried out to improve energy efficiency had, in many cases, led to poorer quality ventilation this new evaluation will give building managers a benchmark score to help them identify areas of below-par performance. This enables planned improvements which include IEQ measures in any retrofit and renovation work to improve the health and well-being of occupants.

To meet the new standard organisations will need to tackle conditions that have a direct impact on human health including humidity, and excessive levels of CO2, CO, NO2, volatile organic compounds (VOC), airborne particulates and mould.

Adveco has for many years operated a system of checks to ensure the comfort and safety of buildings, including initial system commissioning to ensure correct and safe installation of appliances, in particular its gas-fired water heating and flues. This is especially important in controlling and safely removing any CO2 and NOx emissions from proximity to building users. Regular annual service is a critical facet of such safety checks, yet can be a process that slips once products are no longer under their initial warranty period. This is both a false economy and of potential danger to building users. While new builds will embrace all-electric systems which effectively negate NOx and on-premise CO2  generation, pre-existing commercial sites need to be increasingly vigilant, especially when ageing gas-fired systems remain in use. Mould, a type of fungus which produces airborne spores, is also a contributor to poor IAQ so regular service also helps to identify or prevent cases of damaging corrosion (in soft water areas) and limescale build-up (in harder water areas) which can lead to leaks that then encourage growth of mould in plantroom areas.

Setting IEQ performance benchmarks will make it easier for facilities managers to target problem areas, but British Standards will require further tightening if they are to keep abreast of the WHO’s more stringent guidelines. 

If you operate buildings with ageing gas-fired hot water systems and have concerns about IAQ or wish to reduce carbon emissions as part of a sustainability strategy, speak to Adveco about Live Metering, system assessment and replacement options. Whether looking for high-efficiency, ultra-low emission gas appliances such as AD / ADplus water heaters and MD boilers, or a transition to electric boilers, heat pumps or solar thermal we can help with system assessment, replacement design, supply and ongoing service for more efficient, comfortable and safe working environments.   

Live Metering Is An Energy Awards Project Of The Year Finalist

  • Adveco Live Metering is named Energy Project of the Year finalist in the 2023 Energy Awards
Adveco’s work supporting public sector clients to achieve decarbonisation of existing buildings has been recognised with a finalist place in the category of Energy Project of the Year – Public Sector in the 2023 Energy Awards. The Energy Awards celebrate the outstanding innovation and achievements in the energy industry. From stand-out suppliers to technical and digital innovators, exemplar building projects to the very best collaborations, the awards highlight the most pioneering and innovative companies, suppliers and teams within the sector. The Live Metering service from Adveco is a simple-to-install, non-invasive onsite process that generates consistent six-minute data 24 hours per day from existing hot water systems to accurately understand actual usage, including critical peak demands and their profile shape.  Adveco’s specialist engineers visited London Fire Brigade sites to fit the meters and assess the site. The data was then processed, and a report was generated with design recommendations for a replacement system that met the exact needs of the building. The process of Live Metering has proven to be an extremely cost-effective method for generating proof of concept for the greenlighting of decarbonisation work as part of immediate net zero strategies. “Our close work with our public sector partners to deliver a truly practical response to the many issues facing those wishing to decarbonise legacy water heating infrastructure has once again impressed independent judging. This is a great accolade for all the hard work put in by the applications and sales team to create something quite unique from a standing start, and then be able to productise our offering, enabling other public sector and commercial customers to take advantage of the considerable cost savings this process can deliver, “said Bill Sinclar, Technical Director, Adveco. The Energy Awards winners will be announced on 4 October 2023.
Electricity pylon, hydrogen molecules, sunlight

Future Buildings

Are the Future Building Standards set to supply the necessary impetus for the commercial sector to deliver climate action in the UK before the 2050 net zero deadline? 

The government’s efforts to deliver climate action have been described as “worryingly slow,” and its showcase green heat pump scheme “significantly off track” by the “markedly” less confident UK Climate Change Committee (CCC). Its latest conclusions, the UK would struggle to reach its targets for cutting carbon emissions whilst losing its leadership position on climate issues.

For those operating in the commercial and public sectors, the complexity of the challenge has been long apparent, as has been the government’s skewed focus on domestic carbon reduction, despite the tremendous amount of existing commercial properties which contribute considerably to the UK’s total carbon emissions. National Grid modelling incorporates heat pump installations as a part of all future low-carbon scenarios, but within eight years its models also look to the introduction of hydrogen. Still, to be formally decided upon by the government, all we can say for certain is that hydrogen may be part of the future, and most likely for commercial properties with large demands for heating and/or hot water. What we do know is electrification of heat is part of our future and it is available now. Whilst there are macro challenges for an all-electric network, from production and transmission of enough electricity to meet increasing demands, to speed and cost of delivering new grid connections, our concerns as an industry must focus on the buildings before us.

As a hot water specialist, we recognise that low-carbon heat sources need do one thing – preheat the water, reducing energy consumption of the water heater to lower carbon emissions and better manage operational costs.

In recent years though it has become clear that carbon savings and cost savings for water heating are no longer aligned. As an example, if we take a building with an average occupancy rate of 23.5 with the provision of basins, and shower/wet rooms, typically seen in student accommodations, care homes or boutique hotels, the yearly running costs resulting from a change from gas to direct electric would increase from £1019 to £3019 (based on electricity on average currently costing as much as 3.8 times that of gas). As a result, clients will push back when faced with increased running costs. Even with an ASHP operating at optimum efficiency (for 35% recorded reduction in energy) costs would still more than double to £2862. Are modelled 70%+ reductions in carbon therefore enough of a reason to convince most organisations to actively invest in change? For some certainly, but many will struggle with this new reality. This means the deciding factor for investment in low-carbon systems needs to come from building regulations.

Although carbon intensity has been changing for years, Part L took five years to introduce new carbon figures in 2108, subsequently adopted by the Greater London Authority, and other larger UK cities. But delays have meant Volume 2 did not take effect until last year, and although carbon intensity figures were revised, there still is no separate document for new build and refurbishment. There is, as a result, great hope for the next iteration of Part L, which currently is under consultation for publishing in 2025 and is expected to be active the following year. 

The Future Buildings Standard (FBS) sets out proposals for providing a “pathway to highly efficient non-domestic buildings which are…fit for the future.”

What has become very clear from the consultation phase have been the concerns over reliance on the decarbonisation of the electricity grid and as a result increased pressure on the grid. This could well mean that we see a softening of stance from the government toward hybrid systems that allow for a more holistic and necessary approach to sustainable water heating.

With EU-legislated EcoDesign also being updated (and the UK could again recognise its directives) new gas connections are unlikely to be approved for most building types, essentially making it impossible to use on a project from 2029. Under the new FSB regulations commercial properties with large domestic hot water (DHW) demands, and those buildings that cannot easily be supplied by electricity could remain exempt. With the caveat that large amounts of renewables should also be installed.

In terms of DHW, that could be simply achieved through the addition of solar thermal systems and/or heat pumps. Interestingly this approach neatly aligns with potential future hydrogen connections, bringing new build and large-scale retrofit onto the same technology paths which could be decisive in helping reduce capital costs in the mid-to-long term. While some voice little belief in the likelihood of a hydrogen future, should the government opt to include it as part of a broader clean energy mix hybrid systems will inherently be required. This also would help alleviate serious concerns that not enough connections would be available if entire building and transport system were to depend on electric-only power.

We have alluded to the current higher operational costs of all-electric systems, but it would be a considerable surprise if, over the next five years, the government failed to address this. By matching the cost of electricity to that of gas, and levelling the field in terms of running costs, capital costs and emissions reductions become the decisive factors.

The government remains convinced that as heat pumps become more mass market prices will, later this decade, markedly fall. But we would not advise holding off on sustainability projects on this basis. Despite the complexity of current commercial hot water systems, prices are unlikely to greatly shift downwards over time, plus there is the added incentive that investment today delivers an immediate impact on a building’s carbon emissions.

To achieve net zero in buildings, we face a choice, electrify all equipment on the basis that the electricity grid will become zero carbon, or change natural gas to a carbon-free gas such as hydrogen. While the final energy solution remains undecided, planning requirements are and will continue to force change in the near term. These regulations will not completely exclude gas, but they do advantage electric-based heating and hot water, such that many buildings are already built without gas supplies, even though this reduces options in the mid-to-long term. Whichever route is chosen will require low carbon preheating and organisations need to understand this now if they are to successfully implement decarbonisation strategies.

Simply relying on the grid becoming ‘green’ is not enough.