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The Path to Low Carbon Hot Water

When it comes to tracing a path to low carbon hot water, the design of applications for commercial hot water systems has remained remarkably consistent and if a building is more than ten years old it is going to be built around either a condensing gas water heater or an indirect water heater and boiler. Gas-based hot water systems were specified because this was the most cost-effective and cleanest way of producing high-temperature hot water.

In the past decade though we have seen a seismic shift in thinking driven by the wide acceptance of the harmful effects of global warming and a need to address its root causes. This solidified with the introduction of the Climate Change Act in 2008, and the subsequent drive to make the UK net zero by 2050. With the resultant closure of coal-fired power stations and increasing dependence on wind and solar, the carbon intensity of grid electricity has reduced in line with gas, which has, in turn, remained relatively static since the 1990s.

With the Government’s aggressive new Net Zero Strategy, despite similar carbon intensities for heating from either gas or electric, the latest regulations as outlined in the Heat & Buildings Strategy will deem gas systems alone to be too carbon polluting in commercial-scale buildings. So what path to low carbon hot water can you take? To decarbonise domestic hot water (DHW) applications there are currently two core technology options, air source heat pumps (ASHP) or solar thermal. Although both can provide low or zero-carbon heat, neither can fully replace an existing water heating system. Since commercial DHW systems must operate in excess of 60°C to prevent the threat of legionella, ASHP efficiency, designed to work with lower temperatures, rapidly falls away limiting supply. Solar thermal on the other hand is limited by the sun’s availability across the year, and it is worth remembering will not provide space heating either. However, both can be used as a source of preheat to reduce energy use. Both will work equally well with after heat provided by either gas or direct electricity.

Choosing the right path to low carbon hot water for your building

For buildings already on gas and that rely on large amounts of DHW – a large proportion of current commercial UK properties – solar preheat is the preferable option. Depending on the site and energy consumption habits, solar thermal will typically provide around 30% of the hot water demand.

For new build properties, the expectation is for specification to default to a mixture of heat pumps and direct electric afterheat. For new commercial builds, consultants are specifying for greater electrical load to account for the additional power demands. This though is a costly addition for legacy properties wanting to introduce electrification for higher demands of hot water and heating.

The electrification of buildings is the most common vision, and one the Government is driving with its aggressive target to achieve 600,000 new heat pump installations every year by 2028. Many of these will be for domestic properties, but a considerable proportion will be expected to be introduced via commercial projects. New DHW systems will predominantly follow this model, taking advantage of heat pump performance efficiencies to create a hybrid approach to deliver pre-heating for as much as 75% of the water in a direct electric system. And with no gas to the building, no local generation of NOₓ and no flue to install this clearly has its advantages. This is certainly why the government is championing this technology as the preferred path to low carbon hot water and heating.

However, this approach does not factor in running costs.  While the grid may have reduced its carbon, its cost per kWh has risen consistently over the past two decades. Gas prices on the other hand have remained essentially static until the latter quarter of 2021.  Of course, a proportion of the grid electricity is still generated by gas-fired power stations, so electricity charges also spike in response to any upward fluctuation in gas price. Despite the ASHP performance efficiencies, this has meant the running costs still increase approximately three times due to the difference in current gas/electric prices. For smaller hot water demands in new builds, where the need for a gas supply has been avoided, that additional cost may be acceptable. And we certainly see larger organisations faced with ESOS audits and SECR reporting be willing to absorb the increased running costs to introduce sustainability into their properties as a part of their corporate net zero policy.

Commercial sites with existing gas should really look at continuing to use it. Ten years ago, it was very difficult to argue for introducing solar thermal because the numbers really did not stack up against the price of gas. The capital costs of installation and maintenance versus the operational savings meant many early projects failed to recoup their investment, even with the support of RHI.

Today we are in a very different situation, and if electrical costs can be offset, then the numbers really start to look favourable for adopting solar thermal. A ten-year return on investment becomes very achievable and the property gains undisputed carbon and cost savings. Additionally, the current generation of condensing gas water heaters incorporate features such as flow regulation to automatically optimise the supplied output from the heat exchangers ensuring maximum efficiency. Models with multiple integrated heat exchangers offer load balancing for optimal long-life operation and inbuilt redundancy guaranteeing continuity of service. Those offering titanium-stabilised stainless-steel construction are also highly resilient; meaning warranties on the heat exchanger and burner components can be as much as a decade and operational lifespan should easily be 15+ years. That places replacement well into the early to mid-2030s and that is important because it means gas infrastructure remains in place for adaption to the next generation of hydrogen-based gas supply. The Government expects this will be a core component for meeting net zero at a national level, especially for buildings with higher energy demands. With hydrogen policy to be confirmed in 2026, retaining gas in existing commercial buildings keeps options open and future-proofs a building for other emerging heating technologies.

While we must all recognise the importance of excluding fossil fuels from future commercial systems and advocate all-electric systems for new builds, it is important to understand the implicit costs and difficulties of retrofit and replacement of systems throughout the thousands of legacy commercial buildings that define the UK’s urban landscape. The hybrid approach is unavoidable for commercial projects seeking a path to low carbon hot water and is the most sensible, practical, and cost-effective option. Whether all-electric or using gas after heat, commercial organisations can actively drive sustainability and retain control of operational expenditure for decades to come.

New Building Regulations to come into force in June 2022

Under new building regulations, CO2 emissions from new commercial buildings, including offices and shops, must be reduced by 27% under new rules announced by the government to help the country move towards net zero.

In a government statement, which identified that heating and powering buildings accounts for 40% of the UK’s total energy use, the installation of low carbon technology, such as solar panels and heat pumps, was identified as a core opportunity to help cut emissions – “lowering the cost of energy bills and helping deliver the UK’s climate change ambitions.”

All new residential buildings, including care homes, student accommodation and children’s homes, must also be designed to reduce overheating, making sure they are fit for the future and protect the most vulnerable people.

These new Building Regulations, which set the standards in England for the design, construction and alteration of buildings, follow a public consultation and will come into effect from June 2022.

The intent is that the new building regulations will raise standards and will “pave the way for the Future Homes and Buildings Standard in 2025,” which will address making sure new builds are net zero ready, avoiding the need for retrofit.

There will be a six month period before the new regulations come into force on 15 June 2022. Transitional arrangements are in place which means that if a building notice, initial notice, or full plans for building work are submitted to a local authority before 15 June 2022, then provided the building work commences by 15 June 2023, work on that individual building is permitted to continue under the previous standards.

Useful links to the New Building Regulations  

Conservation of Fuel & Power Volume 2: Buildings other than dwellings

Overheating

Hybrid Hot Water Systems for Lower Carbon

The drive to bring greater sustainability into commercial and public sector buildings has never been more urgent, yet the consistent need for heat, in particular, to meet hot water demands cannot be avoided. Reducing carbon from what is typically classed as a business-critical service, especially in the wake of COVID and the drive to enhance hygiene, is certainly achievable with hybrid hot water systems. However, technical challenges remain, and inherent cost implications need to be overcome when reducing a building’s energy demands. This is especially true of small to medium scale operations, typified by offices, GP surgeries, cafes and restaurants and smaller schools.

Achieving 60°C in a calorifier is a basic requirement for a commercial domestic hot water (DHW) system. But achieving this through a direct electric-only immersion system is costly, even when compared to current surging gas prices. For this reason, air source heat pumps (ASHPs) would appear to be a perfect alternative, supplying low carbon heat to the building, and it is clear why the Government has championed the technology as a key ingredient in forging a path to net zero.

Heat Pumps and Commercial Hot Water

However, with ASHPs offering greater efficiencies in low-temperature systems, the high-temperature demands of commercial applications prove especially challenging. High working flow temperature from the ASHP would need to be at least 65°C, but to achieve this requires greater compression of the refrigerant, requiring more electrical input which results in a lower Coefficient of Performance (COP), in other words, efficiency is lost. As well as struggling to achieve these temperatures year-round in the UK, the very low drop in COP effectively counteracts the value gained from deploying ASHP.

A working flow of 50°C is however attainable all year round from an ASHP. If employed as a source for a preheat, the heat pump can be used to offset the direct electric costs of top-up after heat. Therefore, commercial new builds and refurbishment where gas is no longer being specified, are defaulting to this hybrid option.

Nonetheless, there remain a series of challenges. Aside from the additional system complexity, when connected to a traditional indirect water heater the lower flow temperatures generated by an ASHP lead to around a 50% drop in energy transfer compared to traditional gas-fired boilers. The size of the coil in the indirect calorifier can additionally limit heat transfer and affect system capacity. But for all-electric hybrid systems by far the most common problem comes from how the calorifier’s coil and the immersion interact.

An efficient electric hybrid hot water approach depends on harmoniously balancing these different system elements to ensure that they do not work against each other. If the coil and immersion are too closely situated, they become impossible to accurately control resulting in a steep drop in system efficiency. To avoid these issues, a hybrid hot water system would, up until now, be best served by employing a plate heat exchanger (PHE) with low-temperature hot water (LTHW) and domestic hot water (DHW) buffers alongside the ASHP. That of course further exacerbates the system complexity, space requirements and capital costs. For smaller to mid-scale hot water applications those capital costs can be hard to justify, forcing them, if possible, to be written off against sustainability gains.

Hybrid Hot Water Systems Designed for Commercial Buildings

In response, Adveco has been working in close cooperation with its customers to address the core challenges of delivering hybrid all-electric hot water heating into light commercial-scale building projects using ASHP technology. Evolving from bespoke system builds to award-winning packaged plant room applications, it became apparent that there is a growing demand for lower carbon pre-sized systems that are easy to specify, straightforward to install, resilient and cost-effective. This work has led to the creation of Adveco’s FUSION FPH-S range of all-electric, packaged hybrid hot water systems.

FUSION harnesses the highly respected FPi32 ASHP, a high-pressure ATSx calorifier with electric immersion, controls, and metering. Working together, this provides a reliable, high-temperature, sustainable and cost-effective system for meeting typical continuous hot water demands (from 257 up to 377 litres/hour) found in new commercial builds as well as refurbishment projects where gas and associated flueing is either not possible or no longer desired.

The system specification is available in 16 variants with 6 or 10 kW ASHP preheat and 9 or 12 kW electric immersion top-up.  Capacities ranging from 200 to 500 litres all rated at 10 BAR for high-pressure applications. This makes FUSION highly adaptable for a wide range of applications typically seen in public sector buildings. The FPi32 ASHP is specified to supply the preheated hot water throughout the year, even when ambient air temperatures drop as low as -25°C. The stainless steel construction of the ATSH also makes it an excellent all-rounder, resistant to soft water corrosion and, with Adveco’s own low heat intensity electric immersion specification (6W/cm2) the calorifier is more resistant to scale build-up in hard water areas.

FUSION ensures the ASHP preheat and immersion within the ATSH work seamlessly to deliver the highest operational efficiencies. Physical design spaces apart the low-situated high-efficiency preheat coil from the electric top-up immersion. Then dedicated controls and integrated metering monitor temperature and water flow throughout the system. This enables FUSION to make the greatest gains possible from the heat pump even though ambient temperature and system demands will fluctuate. These gains are then used to offset as much of the direct electrical top-up as possible, providing 53% carbon emissions savings (compared to equivalent direct electric only systems) and helping control the operational costs of providing business-critical hot water.

And without the need for a PHE or additional buffer tank, the capital costs of a hybrid hot water system become more manageable while making major gains in terms of space-saving. Something often identified by customers as a core requirement for smaller properties that may lack dedicated plant room space.

For commercial buildings with small to medium basin and sink led hot water demands and a desire to embrace a more sustainable business model, the FUSION hybrid hot water provides a single, easy to accommodate, highly effective response. One that provides optimum efficiencies, dramatically reduces carbon emissions and assures building regulations designed to lower carbon emissions from commercial projects are being met.

Learn more about ADVECO’s FUSION Hybrid Hot Water System

FUSION Commercial Hybrid Hot Water Systems from Adveco

  • FUSION is a complete range of low carbon hybrid heat pump and electric hot water systems
  • Resilient stainless steel water heating suitable for all UK regions
  • Compact design for new build and refurbishment projects seeking greater sustainability

Commercial hot water specialist Adveco, introduces the FUSION FPH-S range of low carbon, all-electric, packaged hybrid hot water systems. FUSION harnesses Adveco’s FPi32 Air Source Heat Pumps (ASHP), a high-pressure ATSH calorifier with electric immersion, controls, and metering to provide a reliable, high-temperature, sustainable and cost-effective system for new commercial build and refurbishment projects.

FUSION is available in 16 pre-specified variants with 6 or 10 kW preheat and 9 or 12 kW electric top-up, with capacities ranging from 200 to 500 litres all rated at 10 BAR for high-pressure applications. Able to meet a range of continuous capacity hot water demands from 257-377 litres/hour makes FUSION highly adaptable for a wide range of commercial buildings.

The FPi32 ASHP is specified to supply a working flow of 50°C for system preheat throughout the year, even when ambient air temperatures drop as low as -25°C. Electric immersion top-up then raises system temperatures in the calorifier to the necessary 60°C to meet commercial requirements for safe hot water demands. The stainless steel construction of the ATSH also makes it an excellent all-rounder, resistant to soft water corrosion and, with FUSION’s unique low electric immersion heat intensity (6W/cm²), is more resistant to scale build-up in hard water areas.

The physical design, dedicated controls and integrated metering ensure the ASHP preheat, and immersion work seamlessly to deliver the highest operational efficiencies. This enables FUSION to make the greatest gains possible from the heat pump, even when ambient temperature and system demands fluctuate. These gains offset much of the direct electrical energy usually required, delivering 53% carbon emissions saving and helping control the operational costs of providing business-critical hot water.

“For organisations with small to medium basin and sink led hot water demands and a desire to embrace a more sustainable business model, the FUSION FPH-S range provides a single, easy to accommodate, highly effective response,” says Bill Sinclair, technical director, Adveco. “By choosing one of these packaged hybrid water systems you gain optimum efficiencies, lower your carbon emissions and can be assured building regulations are being met for your commercial project.”

Fusion FPH-S Features

  • 16 pre-sized variants to meet a wide range of applications
  • 200, 300, 400 and 500-litre capacities
  • 6 or 10kW ASHP preheat
  • 9 or 12kW direct electric immersion heating
  • 257-377 litres/hour continuous capacity
  • 10 BAR high-quality AISI 316Ti and 316L stainless steel vessel (PED (97/23/EC), EN 12897)
  • Dedicated control system for simple operation and maintenance checks
  • Lower global warming potential with R32 ASHP
  • Compact space-saving form factor

Calorifiers and Hot Water Storage in Corrosive Water Conditions

For many companies, the assured availability of hot water is a business-critical issue, but one that can quickly become costly for those operating in the southwest and northwest of the UK, the Welsh coast and throughout Scotland. With a low pH, low total dissolved solids (TDS) and negligible buffering capacity, these naturally soft water areas prove highly corrosive to glass-lined vessels used as calorifiers and hot water storage.

Glass is, given the right conditions, generally resistant to attack from most chemicals and corrosive materials and easier to clean, making it a popular choice for lining steel vessels used in hot water systems. But corrosion is a complex phenomenon, and in naturally soft water conditions, despite the use of sacrificial anodes, glass-lined vessels can rapidly succumb to critical corrosive damage.

Pressure to Perform

In addition, the taller the structure, the greater the pressure requirements on the system, particularly since a common design choice is to locate the plant room in the basement. In order to meet, even small demands with a consistent, strong flow of hot water systems inevitably are oversized, adopting a larger, often bespoke tank.

This immediately exacerbates the existing threat, as oversizing, or the failure to correctly balance water flow also contributes to system corrosion. Oversizing of the pumps leads to high-velocity hot water circulating through the system and suspended solids in the water are driven against the metal leading to erosional corrosion. This process helps accelerate the soft water corrosion at points where water changes direction, such as when passing into or through tanks.

Glass-lined water vessels used as calorifiers and hot water storage under these conditions can potentially fail due to corrosion in a matter of just months – even with the use of sacrificial anodes. For these reasons, manufacturers will reduce or have even ceased to offer warranties on glass-lined products installed in these soft water regions. As a result, their specification into projects in these regions really can be a false economy.

Change to Resistant

Far more resistant to these water-side assaults are stainless steel vessels. Although there is a higher upfront cost, this would be easily offset by the relative longevity of the appliance. However, projects with smaller, yet higher pressure hot water demands, will still face the issue of oversizing. This further extends capital costs, of products, installation and the need for greater plant room space. As a result, project costs can become prohibitive for stainless steel, resulting in the specifying of the less expensive glass-lined alternatives gambling that they will prove resistant enough in the mid-long term.

Adveco addresses these concerns with its ATSx range of compact stainless steel, high-pressure hot water tanks. Specifically designed to serve as buffer vessels (ATSB) and indirect hot water calorifiers suitable for use with lower capacity, high-pressure commercial applications in soft water areas. The ATSx range provides specifiers and contractors with a wide choice of calorifiers and hot water storage vessels all rated to 10 bar as standard, which are by far the most efficient and cost-effective choice for businesses with smaller system demands.

Another advantage provided by the indirect water heaters in this range (ATSI, ATST, ATSH & ATSR) is that due to the transferral of heat through the walls of the heat exchanger element the two fluids do not mix. This allows for more options in terms of the external heat supply and introduces a range of renewable technologies that use other fluids for heat transfer including solar thermal collectors and Air Source Heat Pumps. The twin coil ATSR has been specifically designed for these lower-temperature renewable applications. These calorifiers are also relatively simple to install, since there is no burner, there is no need for a gas supply to be directly connected to the appliance and the is no requirement for a flue.

As with any hot water application, understanding the relationship between storage and recovery, and correct sizing is extremely important for efficient and cost-effective operation. Integrating a stainless steel calorifier within a hot water system gives you a number of design options, with a large efficient boiler a calorifier can be smaller avoiding unnecessary capital and ongoing operational expenditure. At 200 to 1000 litres the ATSx range provides a compact, tough resolution for lower demands applications in those soft water areas. If your project has pressure requirements greater than six bar, then the ATSx vessels are by far the most efficient and cost-effective choice for your project.

If the boiler is smaller, or demands for hot water are greater, then going too small means the storage could prove inadequate and the system will not achieve its operational requirements. For projects with larger demands or requiring greater customisation Adveco can support the project with the SSB, SSI and SST ranges of bespoke stainless steel calorifiers and hot water storage vessels.

Discover more about the Adveco ATSx range.

Learn more about soft water corrosivity.


Adveco commercial hot water and heating. Speak to Adveco about tackling global warming through efficient, low-carbon commercial hot water and heating systems (For schools, hospitals and care homes too!)

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

 

Heat & Buildings Strategy – Commercial Properties

After much delay, the Government this week has published its long-awaited  Heat & Buildings Strategy guide to take the UK towards net zero by 2050. The bulk of the reporting following its release has focused on grants for domestic heat pumps and observation of considerable funding for public sector building projects. But what about the commercial sector? Today we take a deeper dive into the documentation and highlight what this means for those operating commercial buildings.

The Government’s commercial Heat & Buildings element of the  report clearly states the scale of impact commercial and industrial building stock has on the environment, with around 1.5 million commercial and industrial buildings accounting for “around one-third of UK emissions from the total building stock.” The report states that reducing carbon emissions from these buildings will therefore be key to:

  • Meeting the 2017 Clean Growth Strategy ambition to enable businesses to reduce energy use by at least 20% by 2030, which would save businesses £6 billion per year on energy bills
  • Achieving our Nationally Determined Contribution of a 68% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions (compared to 1990 levels) by 2030
  • Meeting the Government’s carbon budgets
  • Delivering Net Zero by 2050

The demands are clear then, but how is this to be achieved?

Regulating For Intensive Energy Use

The impetus for commercial organisations, as set out by the strategy, is the substantial savings on energy bills, and the creation of safer and healthier working environments. The provision of safer and healthier workplaces should already be enshrined in corporate policy, and reducing operational costs is clearly logical, but it is safe to say that current generation low carbon technology and direct electric, certainly when it comes to domestic hot water (DHW) provision is more expensive than gas-based systems. So, the onus is really going to be one of corporate social responsibility in the near term.

The strategy report does recognise the complexity of the sector, pointing out the huge variety across the commercial and industrial building stock in terms of business size, building size (by floor area), use, and tenure

The policy package laid out therefore aims to avoid a “one-size-fits-all approach.” These policies, unlike previous grant packages, will instead be based upon regulatory frameworks “tailored to the size of the building and the businesses operating in that building, function and energy use of commercial and industrial buildings.”

Large Commercial buildings

The report identifies commercial and industrial buildings (above 1,000m²) as the most intensive users of energy commercially, accounting for 64% of the energy consumed by non-domestic buildings in England and Wales, despite only accounting for around 7% of the stock. The government is proposing to introduce a mandatory regulatory requirement for these buildings to obtain a performance-based energy rating based on measured energy data. This will ensure building users are aware of their energy use and where they are on their trajectory to becoming a Net Zero compatible building.

The process to decarbonise heat sources needs to happen through the 2020s. As such, this performance-based framework will work alongside proposals to prohibit new fossil fuel installations in large commercial and industrial buildings which are not connected to the gas grid.

If your business operates in a building over 1,000m2, the Government’s proposed performance-based energy rating will recognise measured reductions in actual energy use and carbon emissions. Accurate metering of usage and data assessment is going to become a necessity if all the factors influencing building performance are to be understood. The strategy believes this approach will help “optimise existing services and systems, drive behavioural changes, and see installations of improved equipment or investment in the building’s fabric efficiency or low-carbon heat.” The proposal would require building owners and tenants to obtain and publicly disclose a rating on an annual basis.

The strategy paper proposes a phased roll-out, starting with commercial offices in England and Wales. The government’s proposal is to use the performance-based approach to set sector-by-sector energy reduction targets which will be in line with the reductions required to meet Government carbon budgets.

These mandated regulations are said to “recognise and reward” actual improvements in energy and carbon performance for the first time.  How businesses will be rewarded, beyond suggested energy savings remains to be seen. Mandated annual publication of investment in energy reduction will almost certainly be used by third-party organisations with climate change manifestos to hold businesses to account in a very public forum.

Evolving The Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme

The strategy document also highlighted the UK-wide Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS), which currently requires large businesses to measure their total energy consumption every four years. This process requires an audit covering energy use from buildings, transport and industrial processes. ESOS recommends practicable and cost-effective energy efficiency measures for saving energy in an organisation’s buildings.

A consultation on ESOS has just closed, with the intent of increasing the number of participants that take action to reduce energy use. Considerations for lowering the threshold for ESOS audit to smaller businesses are being considered, but that is likely to be a post-2023 decision for the 2027 iteration of ESOS. That would address loopholes in the system, with larger organisations arranging building stock under separate small businesses, such as care homes, enabling them to currently avoid ESOS audit.

Those auditing and being audited for ESOS (public sector organisations be exempt) have pointed out the current lack of Net Zero commitment in the current version of ESOS, with 5-10% using the ISO50001 instead. So greater consistency is required moving forward. The concern is that large businesses are not doing all they can at the moment, and are not taking the recommended changes ESOS provides forward, even though they clearly show savings for the business.

ESOS splits peoples’ views, it either being an obligation or an opportunity. The government’s heating and buildings strategy is to use ESOS to increase the carbon and cost savings by extending the number and scope of recommendations taken up by participants. These new, stronger standards, which many hope will deliver greater consistency of audit and streamline carbon reporting would be introduced by 2022 for reporting in 2023. To be successful ESOS needs to demonstrate that the energy efficiency recommendations to businesses do translate to the cost savings the Government is suggesting in the Heat & Buildings strategy. Otherwise, the system threatens to become a burden to commercial organisations.

Smaller Commercial Businesses & Buildings

With smaller commercial and industrial organisations using far less energy per building (17% of all the energy used by commercial and industrial buildings in England and Wales), the onus falls to building owners and businesses to understand and optimise their energy performance, but currently without same need for government regulation. While SMEs can significantly benefit from improving the energy performance of their buildings by decarbonisation, the strategy on heat and buildings recognises that they may struggle to invest due to high capital costs.

BEIS is considering policy approaches to this segment of the non-domestic building stock, including whether to adopt minimum energy efficiency standards similar to the private-rented sector approach. Consultation on owner-occupied buildings is set to conclude by the end of this year.  Long-dated regulatory targets based on the EPC, which requires building owners to invest in the quality of their building’s fabric and services, will be introduced for the 2020s.

Landlords of privately-rented commercial and industrial buildings need to improve their buildings to EPC band B by 2030. The caveat to this policy is that it applies “where cost-effective” and this has significant implementation issues that need to be addressed if the policy is going to be a success. The Government still needs to confirm the enforcement processes but believes this approach will potentially save businesses around £1 billion per year in energy costs by 2030. An equivalent long-dated regulatory target is being considered for owner-occupied commercial and industrial buildings. Consultation on both aspects is to take place in early 2022.

The Government Heat & Buildings strategy document states that “If you are a small or medium-sized business, we plan to provide support to help your buildings become more energy-efficient and adopt low-carbon heat.” The nature of this support remains unclear, previously the government has made funds available through grants and development schemes. At this time there has been no announcement of any such replacement programmes in the near term for commercial operations.

For advice, application design and supply of low carbon options for commercial hot water please speak to Adveco.  

Heat and Buildings Strategy Unveiled

The Government’s commitment to decarbonising the UK’s electricity system was confirmed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng last night with the announcement of the Heat and Buildings Strategy, a “plan to move to clean energy and a carbon-neutral economy.”

The key points announced intend to drive down the cost of low carbon heating technologies like heat pumps, and invest in working with industry to ensure that in future they are no more expensive to buy and run than fossil fuel boilers. Of the £3.9 billion of new funding to decarbonise heat and buildings, £450 million would be funnelled into a domestic Boiler Upgrade Scheme launching in April to help fund the installation of heat pumps for domestic heating.

£1.4 Billion For Public Sector Heating

The remaining funds will be invested over the coming three years through the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund, the Home Upgrade Grant scheme, and the Heat Networks Transformation Programme and for reducing carbon emissions from public buildings through the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme which will be allocated £1.425 billion.

The plan accepts that there will need to be a mix of new, low-carbon heating responses for different property types in different parts of the country – such as electric heat pumps, heat networks and potentially hydrogen. With funding intended to ensure all new heating systems installed in UK homes from 2035 to be low carbon. As previously observed, though, the replacement of a gas boiler with a ‘Hydrogen ready’ appliance would not be in breach of this ‘no new gas boilers’ after 2035 stance. Additionally, gas generation continues to play a critical role in keeping the UK electricity system secure and stable, the development of clean energy technologies intends that it be used less frequently in the future.

The statement from Prime Minister Boris Johnson concludes, “The Heat and Buildings Strategy sets out how we are taking ‘no-regrets’ action now, particularly on heat pumps, whilst supporting ongoing trials and other research and innovation on our future heating systems, including on hydrogen. We will make a decision on the potential role for hydrogen in heating buildings by 2026, by learning from our Hydrogen Village pilot. Heat pump technology will play a key role in all scenarios, so for those who want to install them now, we are supporting them to do so.”

A Luke Warm Reaction?

This much-delayed Heat and Buildings Strategy announcement should be a rallying call to kick-start Britain’s new heat pump industry, and the Government’s continued policy to address carbon emissions is to be applauded. However, the scale of investment appears to fall far short of the numbers typically cited to start to really move the needle when it comes to reducing national carbon emission levels. It also ignores the potential complexity and additional costs surrounding the installation of heat pumps into existing buildings. There also remains considerable question marks over how funding will apply to the commercial sector and for other low carbon systems such as solar thermal. Low cost, low carbon heating for homes is a strong political message, but this sector still only accounts for 15% of the UK’s harmful emissions (Source: BEIS 2019 UK greenhouse gas emissions). Business still accounts for 17% of emissions, with transport and energy supply generating 48%.

The launch of the Heat Network Efficiency Scheme (HNES) demonstrator programme aims to increase the provision of heating services provided to businesses, but as the Government states, “There will be no single policy or technology that cuts carbon emissions to virtually zero, but a diverse mix of technology, such as heat pumps and potentially heating appliances fuelled by hydrogen, alongside green projects like heat networks, that will combine to decarbonise heat in buildings over the next three decades.”

Greater clarity from the Government regarding its position on support for improving hot water and heating systems within non-public sector commercial buildings, therefore, remains elusive. For small to medium enterprises in particular this remains a considerable barrier to introducing low carbon alternatives prior to 2030.

Adveco can help navigate the move to lower-carbon technology for commercial hot water and heating. Talk to us today. 

Bespoke Hot Water and Heating, Celebrating 50 Years Of Excellence

For the past 50 years, Adveco Ltd has been the recognizable face of A.O. Smith in the UK. As with so many businesses, it started with a simple idea from founder Daniel O’Sullivan to improve efficiency and save costs, two core ideals that remain at the heart of everything the business still does today. In 1971, the focus was to support the launderette industry by introducing a simple hot water application that utilized a glass-lined boiler and galvanized hot water storage tank. This unique approach helped to define the early days of the business and created a new market and new demands. The company was later recognised by BSRIA as the instigator of direct gas-fired water heaters in the UK. Today, the company is one of the trusted specialist providers of low-carbon, bespoke hot water and heating to the building services industry.

The first ever UK installed A.O. Smith glass line boiler

Adveco operates across the commercial built environment, working with consultants, specifiers, and designers, providing informed support and partnership to design and deliver systems optimised to be highly efficient and cost-effective. Contractors gain a single, versatile, specialist sales resource that ensures delivery of the most cost-effective system. Facility managers are supported through product remote monitoring, technical support, warranty, and maintenance service to ensure system longevity and help realise a low total cost of ownership.

As a result, our systems can be found across the country, from prestige city sites to university and school accommodations, hospitals and care homes, supermarkets, sports stadia, hotels, restaurants and leisure facilities of all sizes. It is pretty much guaranteed you will have used bespoke hot water and heating from a system Adveco has designed, supplied, and maintains without ever realising it.

50 Years of Bespoke Hot Water Innovation

Daniel O’Sullivan and the sales team inspect the latest models from A.O.Smith

Founded as Advance Services (Sales) Ltd, that initial year defined much of the history of the business with a close partnership formed with the American based water heater manufacturer A.O. Smith. The company would quickly become A.O. Smith’s sole UK distributor, even though it had elsewhere opted for a multi-distributor approach. Here it had become clear that the success in the UK had stemmed from working with a focused single market entity, and the partnership was further ratified in 1998 when Advanced Services Sales Ltd became A.O. Smith’s sole official partner and under its new agreement started trading as A.O. Smith Water Products, and then latterly as A.O. Smith Water Heaters (Adveco AWP) Ltd.

Although Daniel retired in 2000, his son David O’Sullivan continued to grow the family business, maintaining its fierce independence and commitment to innovation. More than just offering distributions services, A.O. Smith Water Heaters had grown a wider reputation for its own in-house engineering capabilities, providing a wealth of knowledge for commercial hot water application design and post-installation service.

In 2015, Adveco Ltd. was established to further develop this capability, as well as providing complementary products to enhance the company’s offering. Operating as an independent sister company to A.O. Smith Water Heaters, Adveco has expanded in recent years, establishing European sales offices and continues its commitment to the design, supply, commissioning and full after-sales support and maintenance servicing, of more than 1,000 commercial boiler, hot water, and solar thermal systems every year.

More recently A.O. Smith has returned to its original multi-distributor model, although its own brand product ranges remain with Adveco / A.O. Smith Water Heaters in the UK. This process has given impetus to the modernization of the business. Though continuing to provide a full range of commercial gas and electric water heaters, boilers, and solar thermal systems from the A.O. Smith portfolio, Adveco is evolving to become a single point of contact for a wider range of commercial bespoke hot water and heating systems that address a market being redefined by the drive to sustainability and the target of Net Zero by 2050.

RP MD Boilers.

MD Floor Standing Boiler

We continue to see increasing demand for near-instantaneous and instantaneous water heating across a variety of projects and are constantly exploring ways to meet this often technical challenge for commercial applications. Within those hot water applications, the highly efficient A.O. Smith BFC Cyclone and Innovo are always a popular choice for commercial projects requiring hot water. The MD range of floor standing condensing gas boilers, which were highly commended in the HVR Awards on launch, have also proved to be very popular for commercial heating, boasting a seven-year parts and maintenance warranty which we are able to offer due to the strong, corrosion-resistant titanium steel construction and smart balancing of the pre-stacked heat exchangers.

Despite the hyperbole, gas remains, at least for the time being, a core element for commercial systems. Familiar, well understood and extremely cost-effective, it remains an important part of the product portfolio for delivery of domestic hot water (DHW) applications and heating.  Adveco’s DHW offering has extended with a range of new stainless steel condensing water heaters to address soft water areas in the UK, alongside a range of stainless-steel cylinders, packaged plate heat exchangers and electric immersion kits which enables greater use of clean electricity for primary and backup heating of water across a range of bespoke tanks. Although we would characterize ourselves as hot water specialists, we can still address the specialist needs of commercial-scale heating with our ranges of floor-standing and wall-hung gas boilers (MD), carbon steel heating buffers (MSS) and thermal storage (MST).

A More Sustainable Future

RP Solar thermal.

Adveco solar thermal with drainback technology

Perhaps most exciting, has been the work to develop systems that are capable of better integrating low carbon and renewable technologies. In 2009, Adveco committed to development in this space with the introduction of its first Solar Thermal systems, working in partnership to develop critical drainback technologies that addressed the massively costly issue of stagnating solar fluid in panels and pipework. There is no doubt in our minds that as the demands for lower carbon applications grow, a combination of Solar Thermal and traditional gas will see a resurgence. But there is a degree of complexity that needs to be recognised and that is where specialist knowledge pays dividends when investing in both new and refurbished properties. Solar Thermal also has a role to play in more advanced hybrid systems that will be more dependent on electricity, the use of heat pumps and heat recovery technologies.

FPi32 commercial Air Source Heat Pumps (ASHP).

FPi32 Air Source Heat Pump

In recent years, Adveco has struck several exclusive manufacturing partnerships to develop air source heat pump (ASHP) technology and products expressly for the generation of preheat for DHW systems. This is necessary to address both building regulations in the UK and our varied Northern European climate.  The fruits of those partnerships have been the launch of the FPi range of Air Source Heat Pumps (ASHP) in 2019, quickly followed by the introduction of the L70 heat pump for larger-scale projects. This year the FPi Range was completely revised with the introduction of a new system based on the more environmentally friendly R32 refrigerant which delivers considerable advances over its predecessors. This development programme continues at pace as we hone designs that help meet the high-temperature demands of commercial DHW. Our development work also includes the creation of the HVR Awards recognised HR001 boxed heat recovery system which was designed and manufactured in-house to support businesses making regular daily use of commercial-grade chiller and freezer units. Commercial systems offer a range of opportunities for heat recovery, essentially gaining ‘free heat’ that can be used to offset energy demands and help reduce carbon emissions from daily operations. Adding heat recovery into your sustainability mix is frankly a no brainer and we continue to explore opportunities for its application within commercial systems.

Packaged Plant Rooms.

Low carbon hot water systems in an Adveco Packaged Plant Room

Bringing all these varied elements together is Adveco’s packaged plant room offering, a bespoke hot water and heating system build that leverages all the advantages of offsite construction. Pre-fabrication is a tried and tested way of bringing mechanical and electrical systems to a live construction site, countering the challenges of complexity, limited space, limited time, and the need to work around other contractors. The concerns over post-Brexit/Covid rising costs, construction projects struggling to attain raw materials as well as a shortfall of experience on-site cannot be discounted. Offsite construction is therefore a great way to address these potential fears.  It just makes things on site much easier and crucially helps to accelerates those all-important project timelines which in turn can help offset other unforeseen project costs.

Packaged plant rooms can almost be treated as a microcosm of our work, a large proportion of which we create as bespoke applications and that includes our smart control systems. So, for Adveco, almost all our projects begin with application design. Without doubt, the rapid changes to legislation relating to efficiency and emissions as we move towards Net Zero by 2050 is having far-reaching implications for our industry. The challenge, certainly for commercial buildings, is to design, supply and then monitor a system for its full lifecycle to ensure the various elements of a system work together, not against each other. The problem is that we are increasingly seeing more cases of the wrong technology being used for the right application: from oversizing for the building, or failure to account for summer heating loads, to under-sizing solar buffer vessels and poorly executed combinations of renewables. Poor sizing has always been a key failure, driving up CAPEX and unnecessarily raising OPEX, but these more varied system design errors must be seen as a result of the rush to be environmentally friendly compounded by the confusion over what that really means in terms of practical technology choices. As an HVAC business, you simply cannot stand still, customers won’t allow for that, so being versatile in the ability to deliver bespoke, engineered systems, is becoming even more of an advantage for us as we look at the changing needs of customers, both in the short and long term. Our application design team provide professional support throughout all stages of a project, from selecting the pertinent product to meet a specific demand to complete system design.  All projects are meticulously sized by our in-house team of qualified industry professionals. This ensures that all applications receive a bespoke, cost-effective design that avoids the typical pitfalls described.

Looking Forward

All eyes are now on the 26th UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) and an expectation of greater clarity from the Government over how the commercial sector will be supported on the road to Net Zero. At Adveco, our approach is to be prepared for all options, whether the future of commercial heating and hot water in the UK will be designated all-electric, hydrogen/green gas, or a mix of the two. This continues to drive our exploration of new technologies and reiterates the advantages of being independent. It enables us to create these critical technical partnerships that allow us to be quick on the uptake of new, or more relevant technologies, whilst continuing to leverage our own deep technical experience. In the near term, we will be further developing our portfolio of heat pumps for commercial applications, as well as designing new hybrid systems that take best advantage of this and other technology. We also see the huge, and cost-effective potential for the large scale roll-out of hydrogen to the commercial sector. All this will require a greater demand for complete system design of which we have deep experience providing bespoke hot water and heating. Ultimately, we come back to the earliest tenet of the company, an unbeatable focus on commercial hot water systems. We already have a strong offering, whether gas and solar, or all-electric with heat pumps, and see this consultancy work, especially for D&B contractors, driving our future growth out beyond 2050.

Adveco ATSx Stainless Steel Hot Water Tanks for Soft Water Areas

  • A complete range of indirect hot water calorifiers and buffer vessels.
  • Corrosion-resistant stainless steel construction for soft water areas.
  • Designed for high pressure, lower demand projects.

Commercial hot water and heating specialist Adveco, announces the ATSx range of stainless steel hot water tanks. The new product range encompasses five classes of vessel up to 1,000 litre capacity at 10 bar as standard to serve as buffer vessels and indirect hot water calorifiers. The range is designed to provide a more economic choice for high pressure, lower capacity commercial applications in soft water areas.

With single coil, twin coil and plate heat exchanger options for maximising transfer of energy, the ATSx stainless steel hot water tanks offer consultants, specifiers and contractors a broader set of options for the storage and delivery of domestic hot water (DHW) in soft water areas for their projects.

ATSI – Single coil indirect water heater.

ATST – Twin coil indirect water heater.

ATSH – Single double-helical high-capacity coil indirect water heater.

ATSR – Twin coil indirect water heater for lower-temperature renewable applications.

ATSB – Storage/buffer tank without coil.

Speaking of the launch of the ATSx range, Adveco’s Technical Director Bill Sinclair said:

“If your project has smaller hot water demands, but with pressure requirements greater than six bar, such as in taller buildings with a basement plant room, then the ATSx vessels are by far the most efficient and cost-effective choice for your project,”

Constructed from corrosion-resistant AISI 316Ti and 316L stainless steel, all ATSx tanks are designed, manufactured, and tested to the requirements of the Pressure Equipment Directive (97/23/EC), EN 12897.

The ATSx range is also supported by a choice of options and ancillaries from Adveco including control and overheat thermostats, destratification pump kits and unvented kits.

For projects with larger demands or requiring greater customisation in soft water areas, Adveco offers its SSB, SSI and SST ranges of bespoke stainless steel calorifiers and buffer vessels.

Discover more about Adveco’s ATSx range


Adveco commercial hot water and heating. For more information about Adveco’s ATSx stainless steel hot water tanks, call us on 01252 551 540 to discuss requirements, sizing etc.

 

Tackling Global Warming – Why COP26 Matters

Boris Johnson took to the stage last week to announce we must “grow up” as a species at the UN General Assembly. The UK Prime Minister spoke on how we must look towards greener living for the Glasgow Conference of the Parties (COP) 26 summit. This congregation, it is hoped, will build upon the Paris accord that, in 2015, for the first time saw a singular agreement for tackling global warming and cutting greenhouse-gas emissions.

Why is COP26 So Important?

COP26 will see representation from 200 countries to present plans to cut emissions by 2030 to keep global warming “well below” the Paris established 2°C above pre-industrial levels. The ultimate goal for tackling global warming is to aim for 1.5°C with Net Zero emissions by 2050 to avoid greater climate catastrophe by the end of the century.

Johnson observed that this is our “turning point” to do better and “that means we need to pledge collectively to achieve carbon neutrality – net zero – by the middle of the century.” He expressed clearly the urgency in the actions needed to be taken to, not only, save ourselves but the many species which live on this Earth.

Those countries attending are expected to formally announce their plans for reducing emissions and tackling global warming in the coming weeks prior to the commencement of the summit, with more announcements expected during the two weeks of planned talks.

The US has announced a major investment in green initiatives with an $11.4bn per annum contribution in climate finance and China this week has announced plans to cease construction of overseas coal plants. Though generally welcomed, the latter move currently fails to address the use of domestic coal-fired plants, one of the easiest ways for green gains to be quickly achieved at a national level.

The Real Challenge of “Going Green”

With coal removed, the challenge of tackling global warming really sets in. The UK’s carbon budgets are well known to now be off track, and the Green Alliance has stated current plans will deliver less than a quarter of the cuts needed to meet the UK’s aggressive 2030 climate goal – intended to cut 78% of emissions from a 1990 baseline by 2035. The target also fails to account for emissions created abroad in the process of manufacturing goods bought in the UK. This issue of embedded carbon in the supply chain is a complex and difficult challenge that will no doubt be brought to bear on commercial organisations already facing ESOS audits and SECR reporting, and is why open, large scale support for COP26 from the likes of China is so critical.

Here in the UK, the government’s promise to put effective policies in place has been slow to materialise. Disagreement over the future of gas boilers and wider green funding has held up key announcements that should be delineating much-needed guidance for a commercial sector facing immense change and considerable capital and operational outlay if Net Zero is to be realised.

An End to Coal Power?

There is, however, a cautious sense of progress, with great attention being turned to the meeting in Rome late in October of the G20 nations.  Together these are responsible for 80% of current global emissions. If these nations can agree to cease the use of coal, COP26 has the potential to be one of the most decisive events since Paris if it can lead to a speeding up of the global phasing out of coal power. Then the real work starts. Additional agreements on the reduction of deforestation, a more rapid switch to electric vehicles (EVs) and wider protection from the impact of climatic extremes are all expected to be key objectives.

Johnson declared how these opportunities to become greener are not out of reach as “We have the technology: we have the choice before us.”

Striking a Balance When Heating Commercial Buildings

From the commercial perspective, Adveco is one of the leading proponents of how technology can be best applied when tackling global warming by supporting a more sustainable approach, particularly for the delivery of business-critical hot water. We recognise the importance of excluding fossil fuels from future commercial systems and advocate all-electric systems for new builds. We also understand the implicit costs and difficulties of retrofit and replacement of systems throughout the thousands of legacy commercial buildings that define the UK’s urban landscape. For this reason, we also strongly support the continued use of gas, but within a hybrid approach to provide cost-effective, lower carbon applications that remain future-ready for next-generation Net Zero technologies, and in particular Hydrogen mixes for commercial hot water & heating.


Adveco commercial hot water and heating. Speak to Adveco about tackling global warming through efficient, low-carbon commercial hot water and heating systems (For schools, hospitals and care homes too!)

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