Fossil Fuels – Their Future In UK Commercial Buildings

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

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

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

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

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

Off-Grid, But Still Being Watched

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

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

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

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

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

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.

 

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.

 

Adveco FPi32 Range Named Finalist in 2021 National ACR & Heat Pump Awards

Commercial hot water and heating specialist Adveco is delighted to announce it has been named as a finalist in the 2021 National ACR & Heat Pump Awards for its range of FPi32 Air Source Heat Pumps (ASHP).

The Adveco FPi32 is a range of compact monobloc design 6, 9 & 12 kW air to water heat pumps providing hot water at 55°C, or higher in hybrid systems. The FPi32 range leverages R32 refrigerant to enhance year-round efficiency (COP as high as 5.23) while reducing the global warming potential (GWP), thereby lowing environmental impact. The judging panel’s selection process assessed the FPi32 range on a number of key attributes including technical innovation; energy efficiency; environmental impact; plus installation and operational benefits for customers.

R32 commercial Air Source Heat Pump (ASHP).With Advanced Vector Control technology delivering accurate response to variable demands, integrated, intuitive controls, non-return valves, pressure gauges, and frost protection as standard, FPi32s are easy to install and maintain with low running costs. The FPi32 also features low noise impact with quiet 52dB operation.

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

Bill Sinclair, technical director, Adveco, said, “The use of R32 refrigerant may be a relatively small step in terms of technical development, but its use has major implications in terms of taking us toward responsible, sustainable systems that deliver business-critical hot water without harming the environment. Not only does this go a long way towards helping businesses meet carbon targets this decade, but it also helps keep running costs low.”

The winners will be announced at the National ACR & Heat Pump Awards on October 20th and we wish all the other finalists the very best of luck.

Discover more about the FPI32 Range of ASHPs

2021 – Adapting to new technologies and approaches

The UK’s construction industry is familiar with adapting to new technologies and approaches to provide the latest and most efficient responses for creating better buildings.  2020, however, was unprecedented, but what does this mean for 2021? Looking forward, key trends within the industry include Covid-19 care, greener response sand efficient use of property space.

Coronavirus has attacked every corner of the UK, impacting the majority of businesses and therefore the wider economy. Despite vaccines, Covid-19 is now something we all must learn to live with, it has accelerated change and requires a re-evaluation of how buildings are conceived and used. As a specialist in the provision of commercial heating and especially hot water, Adveco is well versed in the design of systems to support the maintenance of hygiene within their buildings, critical for the ongoing prevention of the spread of Covid-19. There has never been a greater need for access to wash stations. Scientists have proven washing hand in warm, soapy waters for more than 20 seconds can reduce the spread of Coronavirus more efficiently than hand sanitisers. Additionally, hot water (at a minimum of 60°C) needs to be readily available for cleansing of materials and surfaces to prevent the spread further. With these requirements comes a need for more efficient systems capable of meeting these increased demands to be incorporated into commercial buildings. With the demands of maintaining a safe two-metre distance, space has become even more valuable. The hospitality sector is already struggling with the challenge of balancing revenue losses from reduced covers and are looking at how to create alfresco spaces to adapt to this new normal. Packaged plant rooms offer companies a means to use minimal space whilst still maximising efficient systems, freeing up valuable internal spaces or making use of dead spaces which are not customer friendly. This is also a fast, relatively low impact method for refurbishing hot water systems.

Despite all the chaos of Covid-19, it also brought into razor-sharp focus the effects of pollution. This was all too obvious when the world stopped for a moment and the effects of pollution decreased and allowed the environment to thrive. It proved to be a rallying cry for decarbonisation in 2020 and will continue to create headlines throughout 2021 and beyond. It remains a core focus for the construction and HVAC industry that will continue to strongly push for more wide-reaching frameworks to deliver eco-friendly technology and buildings to meet the challenging goal of achieving Net Zero by 2050.

Through exclusive technical partnerships and our in-house design function, Adveco can quickly adapt to these changing needs and help innovate products and systems to directly address the evolving challenges of decarbonising commercial buildings. We recognise that there is no single technology that delivers the entire answer, but there is no doubt Air Source Heat Pumps (ASHP) will play an important part, as will new green gas technologies towards the end of the decade.  This makes hybrid system approaches all the more valid for supporting the near-term transition of commercial organisations to a more sustainable track that reduces their building emissions and operational costs.

UK Needs to Cut Emissions by 78% by 2035 to Meet Net-zero

Under the original Climate Change Act, the UK pledged to cut net emissions by 80% by 2050. Now, it will need to deliver a 78% reduction by 2035 if it is to meet its long-term net-zero commitment. That is according to the Climate Change Committee (CCC), which has published its Sixth Carbon Budget for the period between 2033 and 2037.

The CCC described the budget as the toughest yet with chief executive Chris Stark saying that the UK will need to decarbonise at a faster pace in the next 30 years if the net-zero target is to be met. Stark explained that the Committee has deliberately opted to ‘front-load’ decarbonisation – more will need to happen in the 2020s and the earlier half of the Sixth Carbon Budget period than in the latter half and the 2040s. Heat, and the broader decarbonisation of buildings, is one of the major priorities identified by the CCC which has based its calculations on a scenario in which 40% of the emissions reductions needed will be delivered using pure-technology solutions.

The new recommendations will see heat supply drastically transformed from its current reliance on natural gas if the country is to decarbonise all aspects of the UK’s infrastructure and economy. The budget has set a mandate for fossil fuel boiler installations to end across the UK entirely from 2033, with fossil fuels phased-out from heating in public buildings by 2025 and in commercial buildings by the following year. It added that these stricter targets to phase out higher-carbon technologies in public buildings would also support a government aim of realising a 50% reduction in emissions by 2032. The 2033 date has been set to take account of the typical 15-year turnover of boiler stock, while also allowing for the scaling-up of supply chains to deploy heat pumps at a mass scale.

The recommendations aim for 37 per cent of public and commercial heat demand to be met by lower-carbon sources as of 2030.  According to the CCC, heat pumps should cater for 65% of the predicted need, 32% of heat should be provided by district heating systems, whether low or high-temperature supply, with a further 3% from biomass by the end of the current decade. By 2050, CCC estimates that 52% of heat demand should be met by heat pumps, 42% from district heat, with hydrogen boilers covering the remaining 5% of national demand.

One caveat, however, was that since the dates operate alongside the deployment of low-carbon heat networks and planned regional rollouts of hydrogen conversion of the gas grid, the phase-out outlined may not apply in any areas designated for these alternatives. This makes a nod to a net-zero that derives balance between pure hydrogen systems and electrification, both delivering decarbonisation of heating. It also highlights the danger of supporting one technology and ignoring another when the pace of development is so much steeper and will continue to be so as we move towards 2050. To this end, the CCC is using what it describes as a ‘balanced pathway’ scenario upon which to base its calculations and that its delivery will require ‘systems change’ and a ‘whole economy approach’ to decisively meet the UK’s legal target of fully eliminating and offsetting carbon emissions by 2050.  Under this ‘decisive’ decarbonisation plan, the CCC has warned that a sizable majority of change must be made within 15 years.


Adveco.Talk to Adveco about how we can help you create more sustainable heating and hot water applications for your buildings.

Space To Develop Hot Water & Heating

How relocating heating and hot water systems in commercial buildings can drive real value from underutilised space…

The most valuable asset any business or organisation has is space, space to grow, develop and drive advantage. Within the built environment the drive for more space is a balancing act between granting applicable and preferably comfortable space for those using the building and meeting the infrastructural and systemic needs of operating the building.

There typically has to be some kind of give in the drive for creating or freeing up useable space if that activity impacts on the necessary systems, in particular heating, cooling, lighting and water.

Hotels are a great example of this drive to reclaim usable space. The hospitality industry is one of the most competitive there is. Hotels are continually fighting with the competition to offer the most affordable rates, the best amenities, and the most outstanding guest services — all while also making a profit. The easiest way to charge more for a room is by adding space to it, or by adding more rooms in total. Either way that is going to help improve the bottom line. The same goes for restaurants, where maximising floor space means more tables. Whilst hoteliers and restaurateurs will look to every square centimetre of their properties for opportunities to maximise revenue, other organisations will have very different drivers. Consider schools, where larger class sizes have increasingly driven a demand for teaching space. How many schools have had to surrender playing fields to locate portacabin style classrooms which are obviously not ideal?

This brings us to the kinds of underutilised or wasted ‘dead’ space in and around buildings. Internal space is potentially incredibly valuable, so leveraging external space to free it up can be truly advantageous. The question is what can be given up to makes such gains? The simple answer might be your HVAC plant.

Plant rooms, or boiler houses as they were known, vary from purpose-built to jury-rigged spaces used to accommodate heating and hot water systems. Basements are typically repurposed in older commercial buildings, whilst it is not unusual to find them tucked in amongst other rooms creating a mixed-use setting. Wouldn’t it be advantageous to separate such building services and relocate them away from those using the building whilst improving the efficiency of the system for a host of benefits including lower operational costs and reduced emissions?

Simply upgrading to a new gas condensing boiler or electric water heater can deliver notable efficiency improvements over models from just 10 years ago, and today’s modern appliances pack that into much more compact, space-saving formats. So, you could gain greater capability from a smaller footprint in your plant room, and potentially reclaim a few square meters. But what if you could reclaim the entire plant room?

Refurbishing plant to a new location may sound drastic, but that needn’t be the case. Increasingly the construction industry has embraced the idea of offsite construction, creating modular units or systems that are pre-installed and ready for relatively quick and simple connection once delivered to a site. The process streamlines a construction programme along with offering numerous savings as site work is dramatically sped up. Now, this process can be as easily applied to refurbishment projects as it is to new build. All you need is an underutilised space. For many commercial buildings that means flat roofs, yards or car parks, spaces that are inexpensive to adapt, require low to no maintenance and have either been ignored or are underused.

With the proliferation of car ownership, it might at first seem unlikely that the car park is being underused. But the drive to encourage walking, cycling and car-sharing has had an impact, and developers who have previously pushed for more open parking space than ever before are now being challenged to repurpose some of that space. In terms of Identifying functional opportunities to better leverage this space, the siting of plant fits the bill. Turing over just one or two car spaces can have a dramatic impact on the capability of heating system, providing enough square meterage to easily accommodate a mid-sized packaged plant room offering, for example, a boiler cascade and heat exchanger assembly. Or the space could be used to locate Air Source Heat Pumps (ASHP) that drive system sustainability whilst lowering CO2 emissions.

Relocation to flat rooftops is especially valuable. This is truly ‘dead space’ for most buildings, but it provides a broad opportunity to relocate heating and hot water plant safely and more securely. A simple crane lift is all it takes to locate a prefabricated plant room, and these can be of considerable size and complexity should the roof space be large enough to accommodate. Additionally, the space lends itself to locating hybrid systems that integrate renewable and sustainable technologies. We have already mentioned the use of ASHPs, and a rooftop placement not only typically supplies unimpeded airflow, the noise, though relatively low, now becomes almost unnoticeable to those on the ground.

Flat roofs are also perfect for the installation of solar thermal systems, where a framework is constructed to align the collectors for optimal energy collection. That energy is then transferred to the building’s water system. One of the biggest threats to the efficiency of a solar thermal system is the heat loss between the collector and hot water storage, which results from potentially long pipe runs from the roof to the plant room. By locating the plant room on the roof, pipe run is minimised as are thermal losses, so you get more energy for your investment.

These are just a few examples of where Adveco’s application design, system prefabrication and expertise in hybrid and renewable technology can help maximise underutilised space. Modern, high-efficiency systems deliver new versatility for addressing changing demands of the building whilst still reducing operational expenditure on energy and helping drive actual sustainability within an organisation.

If your business or organisation is looking to

Talk to us today or read more about our renewables and packaged plant room systems.

Making ASHP Work For Commercial Applications – Part 2

The Hybrid Approach

In part one, we considered the challenges and limitations of an Air Source Heat Pump (ASHP) only system, with particular focus on the problems commercial organisations faced when retrofitting existing properties with new heating and hot water applications. In this concluding part, we look at the advantages of adopting a hybrid system approach based on ASHP technology…

A hybrid approach where an ASHP is deployed in a packaged combination with a gas boiler and control system presents an attractive alternative, retaining the element of gas boiler technology that customers are comfortable with. Plus, it also offers better compatibility with existing heating distribution systems and thermal demands of higher heat loss buildings meaning less adaptation is required. There are also technical advantages, such as the ability to optimise heat pump efficiency and switching to the gas boiler at times of network peak.

The facility of two heat sources to meet the demands for space heating and/or hot water is especially relevant for the commercial sector where bespoke system design is often required to meet the particular needs of a project, such as applications with a high heat loss. In this case, the gas boiler can be operated to meet peak demands on the coldest days, allowing the heat pump to be reduced in size compared to the capacity of a pure electric heat pump system.

Installing a heat pump alongside an existing gas boiler, together with a control system also makes sense in retrofit installations, especially, in applications where a relatively new boiler has been installed, which should be highly efficient, and which can be retained for peak heating loads. The key challenge technically is to ensure that the control system for the ASHP and existing boiler operate together efficiently.

In such cases, given that the ASHP does not replace an existing heating system, the driver for installing the system is largely to reduce running costs and make quick gains towards improving environmental performance.

Hybrid systems based around an ASHP are likely to require some system refurbishment in many retrofit installations in order to ensure that a substantial proportion of the annual demand is met by the heat pump (though this is likely to be lower than a pure electric system). Even so, when including the cost of a gas boiler replacement, the cost of refurbishing heating systems for the installation of a hybrid system should be lower than in the case of a single heat pump system. This is due to the reduced heat pump capacity requirement since the boiler can provide higher flow temperatures to meet peak heat demands. When comparing the cost of a heating system refurbishment opting to install a hybrid system versus a ‘pure’ ASHP system a reduction in comparative costs of as much as 50% could be achieved (Source: Frontier Economics).

Once installed, levels of carbon savings are generally slightly higher when allowing for hybrid solutions – suggesting that up until 2030 hybrid solutions could be consistent with meeting carbon targets. Although the average cost-effectiveness of carbon abatement is somewhat lower than in the scenarios which exclude hybrids. These savings are estimated based on comparison with a standalone ASHP, assuming that a hybrid system will use a smaller heat pump with a capacity reduced by as much as one third. For a hybrid ASHP system, expectations will be for the heat pump to meet as much as 75% of the annual heat load, the remainder being met by a gas boiler. This delivers similar operating costs and comparable CO and CO₂ savings at current grid carbon intensity (the reduced heat pump coverage of the overall thermal demand can be compensated by the ability to run the heat pump at closer to optimum efficiency).

Whilst the long-term use of hybrid systems may be perceived as not fully consistent with meeting carbon targets and they can equally be limited by space requirements and noise issues that also affect standalone ASHP installation, there remains a strong argument for their use across the commercial sector.

In the long term, hybrid systems should fall behind pure electric systems in terms of carbon benefits as the grid decarbonises and may become less cost-effective if volumes of gas supplied for the heating drop. But looking out to 2050, innovations in the provision of hydrogen and green gas, using extant infrastructure which currently supports 85% of UK heating, means hybrid systems may prove to be a defining low carbon option. One that provides the means to support the very particular, practical needs of the commercial market with versatile, cost-effective systems, all without sacrificing the drive to lower emissions as part of the process of achieving net-zero.


Adveco.Read about Adveco’s compact commercial FPi ASHP range and prefabricated packaged systems for a hybrid approach.

For further information contact Adveco.

Making ASHP Work For Commercial Applications – Part 1

Understanding the Challenge of Air Source Heat Pumps (ASHP)

Commercial organisations face a somewhat unfair challenge as they are held by the Government to be leaders in the move to control and reduce carbon to achieve net-zero by 2050, yet are limited by the technology options that the Government is showing active support for. The current drive, without a doubt is to push Air Source Heat Pumps (ASHP) to the exclusion of other technologies. Neither high-efficiency gas boilers with ultra-low emissions nor proven sustainable systems such as solar thermal have received much love in the latest round of grants supporting the commercial sector. In particular, the decision not to provide support for those opting for hybrid solutions that bridge the technology gap in the most cost-effective manner shows a focus on the finish line, but a failure to grasp the actual challenges the commercial sector faces right now. So, what are the options with ASHPs, and what is a realistic path to take today?

Unfortunately, we cannot control the weather, but despite that, ASHP technology does still present an opportunity to significantly improve the efficiency of buildings across the commercial sector. Because an Air Source Heat Pump is reliant on the ambient air, the Coefficient of Performance, or COP, is going to be affected by both the source and supply temperatures. The heat provided is at a much lower temperature, so a heating system will be required to operate at low temperature for optimum efficiency and may have to be kept on for a longer period to be fully effective. Such a system could well require a significant upgrade to a building’s electrical supply and heating infrastructure. However, to maximise the ASHP efficiency, the lowest possible flow temperature needs to be achieved, and that requires a building to be highly efficient in terms of heat loss. When working with new builds, the ability to drive high efficiency in the thermal performance of the fabric of a structure means a well-designed commercial heat pump system is more than capable of providing all the heating needs for a business and, in the long term, represent good value for money in savings from reduced energy bills, as well as helping commercial premises bring down that all-important carbon footprint.

But in isolation, this demand for low heating temperatures and low water usage will be impractical for many businesses, especially when retrofitting a property, which can highlight the limitations of ‘pure’ ASHP systems. This becomes particularly obvious when ASHP is to be deployed for the provision of hot water, especially if there is a large daily demand. Domestically we would expect a minimum storage temperature of 50oC, but this rises to 60oC minimum for commercial environments. This has a considerable impact on the ASHP’s running efficiency and therefore the running costs. Additionally, by generating hot water at 50oC and not 70oC, the storage volume will have to be considerably larger than that associated with a typical gas boiler. To achieve necessary water temperatures requires greater considerations of space planning and type of hot water cylinder the system will require.

With early to market performance of heat pumps falling below expectations, and a higher capital cost relative to the conventional gas boiler alternative the uptake of ASHP in commercial business on the gas grid had, until the drive to achieve net-zero, been limited. Now commercial operations are actively seeking to use commercial ASHP, but are still running up against these same issues, which is why, with the current capabilities of ASHP technology, a hybrid approach for commercial applications remains attractive. Both in terms of installation and operation, whilst still gaining the all-important running cost savings and reduced carbon emissions.

In part 2 we explore how a hybrid approach can deliver significant value from commercial ASHP technology

Read about Adveco’s compact commercial FPi ASHP range