Tag Archive for: ASHP

Extra Gains For Net Zero Restaurants

Commercial hot water specialist Adveco is working in partnership with a global restaurant brand to support the rollout of net zero restaurants demonstrating low emission innovations throughout its chain of UK drive-through and high street franchises.

Through its programme of live metering, Adveco demonstrated that servicing domestic hot water (DHW) water demands of between 1200-1500 litres per day could equate to as much as 20% of total energy usage within the organisation’s target net zero restaurants. A recent refurbishment of a restaurant in the King’s Cross area of London provided an opportunity to address the emissions generated by this provision of hot water for the restaurant. In addition, working within existing building limits means applications need to maximise often limited plant room space. This was especially true of this central London location which also faced problems with limescale due to the hardness of the water supply.

Working to an all-electric specification, Adveco designed an application that would harness a 9kW FPi32 air source heat pump (ASHP) for preheat and supplying additional top-up heat with an ARDENT P 12kW electric boiler. These would supply thermal energy to a mains water-fed compact SST500 stainless steel twin-coil indirect cylinder.

By combining ASHP and an electric boiler Adveco can address many of the complexities associated with integrating ASHPs into existing buildings. This combination enables systems to be sized down, by as much as half in terms of ASHP requirements delivering immediate capital savings as electric boilers are far less expensive compared to an equivalent heat pump. You also immediately reduce the physical size of the system, embodied carbon and demand from the electric supply. Additionally, the system retains redundancy should there ever be a failure.

Balancing a hybrid electric system is key to ensuring efficient operation. Adveco supplied the controls to assure the water heating remains consistent, optimising the ASHP preheat and top-up from the boiler to reduce energy demands and the building’s emissions.

The other advantage of incorporating the ARDENT electric boiler was that it heats water using immersion heaters located in a small tank within the boiler housing rather than directly installed into the hot water tank. This creates a sealed ‘primary’ loop to the indirect coil in the SST500 cylinder. The electric boiler heats the same water continuously so there is only a small, finite amount of scale in the system which will not damage the elements. The heat exchanger in the cylinder is a large coil operating at a relatively low (80°C) temperature eliminating the common problems of destructive limescale build-up seen in direct immersion electric heating.

The electric boiler operates at the same efficiency as an electric immersion heater (100%) and so the only overall difference in system efficiency is the minimal pump electrical consumption and a negligible amount of heat loss in the pipework

Although the system takes up a little more space than an all-in-one electric cylinder, it has more versatility. It requires less clearance for the cylinder, so it was compact enough to fit into the extremely limited space allowed for plant in the restaurant. With the cylinder forming significantly less scale, the restaurant has gained from vastly improved reliability while reducing maintenance demands, for both operational and maintenance savings on top of crucial emission reductions.

Visit the Adveco restaurant resource for more guidance on delivering low carbon and renewables to help achieve net zero restaurants by 2050, or read our free handbook. 

Building Sustainability Into Commercial DHW

For more than fifty years, Adveco has been a leading innovator providing domestic hot water (DHW) applications for commercial-scale projects across the UK. Today its focus is shifting to encompass a blend of traditional and new, more renewable technologies in the form of solar thermal and especially heat pumps building sustainability into commercial DHW systems.

With a predicted one-third rise in non-domestic floor space by 2050, much of the current focus resides on new builds, but this still leaves more than 1.6 million pre-existing non-domestic buildings in England and Wales, generating almost one-fifth of the UK’s carbon emissions, needing expert, practical support.

Air source heat pumps (ASHP) have become the poster child technology for the government’s net zero strategy and therefore a core tool for building sustainability into commercial DHW systems.  The advantage of ASHPs is that, with performance greater than 100%, they can extract additional energy from outside of the building’s metered systems delivering significant carbon savings. For a commercial DHW system, it is recommended that a working water temperature from the ASHP, such as Adveco’s FPi32 or L70, must be at least 55°C. This is certainly attainable from current generation ASHPs when deployed in a hybrid approach. This uses the ASHP as preheat and combines it with either gas-fired or more preferably an electric top-up to achieve the required hot water temperature. This is where the additional system complexity and cost can creep in. But by correctly balancing a system through a mix of physical spacing in the vessel and system monitoring with dedicated controls, as developed for the Adveco FUSION, the system no longer fights itself, working seamlessly to deliver the highest operational efficiencies

In line with the European Commission’s proposal for a tightening of F-Gas regulations, development work continues at pace to support the introduction of R290, or propane as it is more commonly known. This refrigerant offers a coefficient of performance (COP) that enables working flow temperatures from an ASHP of up to 75°C and potentially much higher. This means future commercial systems can be less complex, without the need for additional electric immersion for high-temperature top-up and flushing for legionella protection. That said, immersions remain perfectly suitable for low-demand backup applications in boiler-fed indirect cylinders, ensuring business-critical DHW demands are met.

What we have seen more recently though is a shift in use, where immersions are used ‘directly’ in high-demand commercial applications as the primary heat source. An electric immersion heater has a high heat intensity compared to gas or indirect and, when coupled with high operating temperatures and hard water will increase the rate of scale formation which, over time, will cause the element to rupture.

In response, protecting a system from limescale is often only addressed by a vigorous cleaning regime. This method has a cost and downtime associated with it that is not acceptable for many commercial buildings.  For this reason, minimisation of scale formation with a water softener or a scale inhibitor may be adopted, but for many sites neither provides a satisfactory response because of space, maintenance, downtime, or cost.  A better option for these sites would be to replace the immersion heaters with a low-scale forming hot water system.

The new Adveco ARDENT electric boiler range provides a proven and cost-effective answer. Electric boilers still utilise immersion heaters located in a small tank heat exchanger within the boiler housing. This electric boiler supplies a sealed ‘primary’ loop to an indirect coil in the cylinder. The electric boiler heats the same water continuously so there is only a finite amount of scale in the system which will not damage the elements. The heat exchanger in the cylinder is a large coil operating at relatively low temperatures. Adveco’s extensive experience with indirect coil use in the UK has shown that scale is not a significant problem in these systems. The electric boiler operates at the same efficiency as an electric immersion heater (100%) so the only overall difference in system efficiency is the minimal pump electrical consumption and a small amount of heat loss in the pipework.

An electric boiler hot water system will take up a little more space than an all-in-one electric cylinder, but it has more versatility and requires less clearance for the cylinder. Similarly priced to an immersion heater, an electric boiler-based system will cost slightly more due to the small amount of additional installation work. But with virtually no maintenance and the cylinder forming significantly less scale, vastly improving reliability, the operational and maintenance savings will offset these additional capital costs. The electric boiler additionally offers a level of redundancy that is not achieved with a single immersion heater.

As the limitation on new gas grid connections for heating systems becomes effective this year, it will become critical for system longevity to recognise the new challenges electric-only presents over more familiar gas-based applications. If a business already uses gas, then it can still upgrade to new gas appliances until 2035, with 100% hydrogen-ready options extending that window well into the 2040s based on current appliance lifespan.

Adveco continues to support the refurbishment of existing buildings, recently extending its ranges of direct-fired condensing water heaters – the AD and the ADplus. Both ranges provide a compact, floor-standing design that is easy to introduce into an existing plant room to provide high-demand semi-instantaneous and instantaneous hot water applications.  Improved combustion efficiency means the burner requires less gas, delivering up to 30% savings in fuel consumption, making it more cost-effective, while reducing emissions.  For smaller on-demand needs, ADplus heats only what is necessary, with no ignition for smaller withdrawals providing considerable additional energy savings. Both AD and ADplus as a result exhibit ultra-low NOX (Class 6 appliance at 27 mg/kWh) and CO emissions (19ppm). With the government already committed to enabling the blending of hydrogen in the gas grid, it is also worth noting that these latest generation direct-fired condensing water heaters will already support the initial 20% hydrogen/natural gas blend.

Together, these technologies offer actual development arcs right now for existing commercial properties that are currently on gas, or new builds seeking to embrace low or no emission choices building sustainability into commercial DHW systems for more environmentally friendly operations that will help organisations achieve net zero by 2050.

Adveco FUSION & AD Selected as Finalists in 2022 HVR Awards

  • Adveco AD Water Heater range is named a finalist in the  Commercial Heating Product of the Year category
  • Adveco FUSION named a finalist in the Heat Pump Product of the Year category

Hot water specialist Adveco is proud to announce it has been named a finalist in the 2022 HVR Awards. Adveco’s FUSION hybrid hot water system has been named a finalist in the Heat Pump Product of the Year category. Adveco’s AD Water Heater range has been selected for the HVR 2021 Commercial Heating Product of the Year category.

The Heating & Ventilation Review (HVR) Awards champion innovation, excellence and achievement across the heating and ventilation industry.

Greg Brushett, sales manager UK, Adveco, said, “We are extremely pleased to be once again named finalist in the 2022 HVR Awards, illustrating our continuous innovation of products designed to support the provision of commercial hot water.  Both of these products are perfect examples of Adveco leading the charge for low emission and more cost-effective responses to the delivery of business-critical hot water demands. Whether working on a new building or refurbishing legacy building stock,  for any organisation struggling to understand how it can better support the call to meet net zero by 2050 Adveco leads the way with practical answers today.”

Adveco’s FUSION FPH-S hybrid hot water system provides a range of low carbon, all-electric ASHP-based packaged hybrid hot water applications. The complexity and typical requirements of bespoke hybrid systems for commercial applications can make the integration of heat pumps in DHW systems more expensive and complex to install compared to traditional gas-fired alternatives. FUSION removes this complexity with its pre-sized options which harness Adveco’s FPi32 Air Source Heat Pumps with a compact, high-pressure ATSH calorifier with electric immersion. With dedicated controls and metering, FUSION provides a complete, low-carbon hot water system for a wide range of commercial end uses.

The Adveco FPi32 provides the system with a compact monobloc-designed air-to-water heat pump providing preheated hot water at a working temperature of 50°C. 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. For a project that has to drive sustainability within the building but also meet pressure requirements greater than six bar, then the FUSION is by far the most efficient and cost-effective choice.

The Adveco AD offers a range of compact commercial semi-instantaneous gas condensing water heaters composed of four models, from 70 to 280 kW. Conceived for high-demand semi-instantaneous hot water applications, Adveco AD’s patented space-saving design makes it equally applicable to both new projects or renovation work where a lack of space would traditionally stall or quickly drive up costs of a project. The perfect all-rounder, especially in soft and softened commercial hot water applications, exceptional operational responsiveness and highly effective performance means AD can also be deployed in order to supply peak demands and redundancy for commercial buildings with an existing gas connection and large-scale ASHP to water systems.

The HVR Awards will be announced on September 29th 2022.


AdvecoAdveco is committed to helping companies become net zero through efficient commercial heating and hot water systems.

Discuss carbon reduction in your next project by calling 01252 551 540 or visit the contact page.

Public Sector Funding for Decarbonisation

The government has launched its latest phase of public sector funding for decarbonisation, dedicating up to £635m for building upgrades to improve energy efficiency and install a range of clean technologies through schools, hospitals, and other public buildings.

Forming part of a wider £2.5bn programme, Phase 3 of the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme is providing £1.425 billion of grant funding over the financial years 2022-2023 to 2024-2025. The funding aims to support the government’s goal of reducing emissions from public sector buildings by 75 per cent by 2037, compared to 2017 levels, as set out in the Net Zero and Heat and Buildings strategies.

As the government looks to tackle soaring energy costs, it is intended that the funding will support a wider reduction in energy bills, to the tune of up to £650m a year over the next 15 years. As we have outlined, reducing emissions and energy costs do not necessarily go hand in hand, especially if working with heat pumps to supply hot water.

According to The Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) 734 grants had been awarded to public sector organisations across England to date, with phase one of the scheme supporting up to 30,000 jobs in the clean heating and energy efficiency sectors.

Applications for public sector funding for decarbonisation open from September and the government has issued guidance on how public bodies can apply for the latest wave of funding to be delivered on behalf of the government by Salix Finance, which also provides financing packages to help public sector bodies undertake energy-saving projects.

Salix Finance chief executive, Annie Shepperd, has urged public sector organisations across the country to move quickly to curb their energy use ahead of the significant increases in energy costs that are widely expected this winter.

“There is no time like the present to push forward with the decarbonisation agenda as our country must meet its ambitious targets to reduce our carbon footprint and reduce our consumption of very costly energy,” she said. “This vital work is driving down our carbon footprint and making these buildings better places for people to work in and for the public to use.”

Business and Energy Minister Lord Callanan said, “By helping even more public sector bodies ditch costly fossil fuels, we are taking an important step towards a more sustainable future while driving economic growth across the country and continuing to support tens of thousands of jobs.”  He also claimed that the scheme was already delivering upgrades to “hundreds of public buildings across England, making them cheaper to run and saving taxpayers millions of pounds each year”.

While such claims relating to public sector funding for decarbonisation should be appropriate to new build structures, upgrading existing buildings is a far more complex activity than these statements suggest. The focus on decarbonisation to address climate change is the only clear guaranteed deliverable at this time with the technology being promoted, which is predominantly heat pumps. Further work needs to be done by the government to push other technology opportunities, such as solar systems and especially solar thermal for water heating which has become an increasingly cost-effective and proven approach and hydrogen blend in the grid if cost savings are to be factored into the argument for embracing green initiatives at a commercial grade.


AdvecoAdveco is committed to helping companies become net zero through efficient commercial heating and hot water systems.

Discuss carbon reduction in your next project by calling 01252 551 540 or visit the contact page.

Heat Pumps – The Cost Of Reducing Emissions

With the government strongly advocating the use of heat pumps as a method of delivering net zero targets for commercial properties, we have noticed the trend for broad statements implying that while cutting emissions, heat pumps also reduce the energy costs for a building. It’s just not that simple argues Adveco’s UK sales manager Greg Brushett. So what is the cost of reducing emissions?

We strongly support the advantages of heat pumps as part of an all-electric or hybrid domestic hot water (DHW) system to achieve carbon savings. With DHW equating to as much as 20% of the total energy demand for domestic buildings and anywhere from 10-70% for commercial properties, it is important to clarify how heat pumps are being employed in a building’s system.

With a gas-fired system, you can achieve a safe DHW storage temperature without a significant impact on the overall efficiency but with a heat pump you need to either force the compressor to work very hard, which will reduce the Coefficient of Performance (COP) or, in a lot of cases, use the heat pump to partially heat the hot water and then use an immersion heater  – which has a COP of just 1.0 and therefore higher energy costs – to do the remaining work. If you are willing to accept this extra cost, working flow temperatures of 50- 55°C from the heat pump to an electric or hybrid DHW system are more than achievable year-round in the UK, and emissions will be dramatically reduced.

However, broad statements such as “heat pumps reduce costs” or “gas boilers remain more economic to run than heat pumps” are inherently misleading.

A heat pump can supply a properly insulated building’s heating system completely, and if designed well enough, can achieve a COP of 3.0, or slightly more, giving a similar yearly cost (within 10%) to that of a gas-fired heating system This would also be more attainable with the recent change in gas and electricity prices.

The same is not true of a hot water system. Following initial modelling and analysing reports from live systems a hot water hybrid system that achieves 50°C with an overall COP of 2.76 and uses an immersion heater to top up to 60°C has an overall efficiency of 2.4 based on the weighted average. Using these results, the running costs of the system are seen to be significantly higher than a gas system. However, the argument does demonstrate that incorporating heat pumps into an electric-only DHW system shows considerable savings over a COP of 1.0. Partnering this with other technologies such as solar thermal will only increase the benefits.

Benefits or efficiency?

Making the right choice between heat pump or gas depends on what an organisation is intending – whether seeking active emission reduction now, or, if already on gas, securing cost-saving operation until sustainable technology further matures, and costs fall.

Heat pumps can give incredible carbon emission savings for existing buildings, but as a way to reduce energy costs, replacing a gas-fired boiler/water heater with a heat pump doesn’t always add up. Commercial properties have unique demands, especially for DHW, making better application design and installation all the more important when it comes to specifying the right technology. Be wary of claims being made regarding the application of heat pumps, especially for the provision of DHW when it comes to calculating the cost of reducing emissions.

Adveco FUSION Named 2022 Heat Pump Awards Finalist

Commercial hot water specialist Adveco has been named as a finalist in the 2022 National ACR & Heat Pump Awards for its FUSION FPH-S range of low carbon, all-electric, packaged hybrid hot water systems

“To be named as a finalist for the second year running is already quite the achievement for the company,” said David O’Sullivan, managing director, Adveco. “The heat pump market is seeing impressive technical leaps as the UK government calls for organisations to attain net zero by 2050. The commercial hot water market presents additional complexities when it comes to servicing application demands with heat pumps. The FUSION system was conceived, designed and built by Adveco to specifically address these challenges, delivering a hybrid water system that optimises efficiency to meet hot water demand, higher temperatures and lowers carbon emissions in line with the latest building regulations.”

FUSION harnesses Adveco’s FPi32 Air Source Heat Pumps (ASHP), a high-pressure A TSH 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.

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.

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 National ACR & Heat Pump Awards, hosted by ACR Journal and Heat Pumps Today, will be held in Leeds on June 9 2022.

 

Adveco Launches The GL Family Of Hot Water Cylinders

Commercial hot water specialist Adveco launches the GL family of low-cost cylinders with a selection of off-the-shelf vessels for commercial hot water (DHW) projects requiring direct electric heating, buffer storage, indirect heating or preheat.

  • A wide range of low-cost commercial storage tanks and calorifiers
  • Direct electric, buffer storage, indirect heating & preheat for hot water applications
  • From 200 litre up to 5000 litre capacity for larger-scale all-electric projects

“Tough enough to deal with water conditions typically encountered across the UK, the new GL family expands options with a versatile choice of vessels with single and double coil variants, as well as no coil and the option for electric immersion to quickly and cost-effectively replace vessels in ageing commercial hot water systems,” said Bill Sinclair, technical director, Adveco.

Adveco GLE

Designed to serve as buffer vessel or electric water heater, the Adveco GLE is available in a range of sizes from 200 to 5000L to support larger all-electric systems. Compatible with a wide choice of direct electric immersion heater options available from Adveco, the GLE supports duty immersions from 3 to 36 kW, as well as secondary supplementary immersions from 3 to 6 kW for additional heating, or as backup to ensure continuity of service from a single unit.

Adveco GLC

Calorifiers with a single fixed indirect heating coil at low level are designed to serve as indirect water heaters or preheat vessels. Available in 200 to 3000 litres capacities, GLC can also accept a 180mm 3-36kW electric immersion.

Adveco GLT

GLT calorifiers are designed to serve as indirect water heaters. The tanks, also available in 200 to 3000 litres capacities incorporate two fixed indirect heating coils, one each at low and high level, designed for use with two separate heat sources.

To prevent corrosion the tanks are constructed from a carbon steel shell with a high-quality inorganic enamel lining. They are suitable for use in systems with maximum working pressure up to 10 bar and temperatures up to 85°C and include as standard a magnesium sacrificial anode (pre-fitted in 300-1000L variants), and a temperature gauge (pre-fitted in tanks up to 1000L).

The vessels are protected by a tough PVC jacket enclosing a rigid high-density polyurethane foam or removeable polyester fibre insulation, pre-fitted for tanks up to 1000L.

The Adveco GL range of storage tanks carries both WRAS and Kiwa’s KUKreg4 certification of product compliance with the water supply (water fittings) regulations for England, Scotland, and NI.

Supporting Ancillaries from Adveco for the GL ranges

  • Electric Immersion Heaters from 3-36 kW (GLE / GLC & GLT 200-500L)
  • E0008/0-95C: Control Thermostat with 0-95°C range
  • E0011: Overheat thermostat
  • MB0001: Destratification pump kit
  • Unvented Kit

Adveco launches the GL family, learn more by visiting the GL product page.

Prefabricated Hot Water Systems For Schools

Prefabricated Hot Water Systems For Schools Prefabricated hot water systems for schools can drive real value from previously underutilised space as well as address the need to introduce new, more sustainable practices…

With larger class sizes demanding more extensive facilities, the most valuable assets any school can have are its internal spaces to grow, develop and drive advantage. Within the school building, this leads to a balancing act between granting usable, comfortable space for staff and pupils while meeting the demands of a building’s critical operating systems that include hot water and heating.

School plant rooms will vary from purpose-built to jury-rigged spaces used to accommodate heating and hot water systems. Basements are typically repurposed in older buildings, whilst it is not unusual to find them tucked in amongst other rooms creating a mixed-use setting. Education estates need to understand how advantageous it can be 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 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 can gain greater capability from a smaller footprint in the 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 need not be the case if we apply offsite construction. This enables the creation of modular units or systems that are sized and pre-installed and ready for relatively quick and simple connection once delivered to a site. Depending on the chosen location, such prefabricated plant rooms can be of considerable size and complexity.

Prefabricated Hot Water Systems For Schools

With production work located offsite in a controlled, purpose-made factory environment, the system build gains enhanced quality control with manufacturer assured standards. Importantly for education projects where works windows can be extremely limiting the plant room element of a project can progress at the same time as other groundworks or site installations. This work will also not be affected by any forced downtime on-site, such as from Covid outbreaks, which can quickly become a major issue for a time-sensitive school building project. Without distractions from other typical construction site activities, the plant room work can be rapidly progressed ready for delivery and final fit. Faced with narrow construction windows allowed within the school holidays, a completely new plant room can be craned into position on day of delivery. Without the need for extended plumbing and electrical installation, final connections are simplified and can be completed in a matter of days. This is not only more cost-effective, but it also helps simplify and accelerate final system commissioning.

As well as extending options for refurbishment, this approach also provides greater flexibility when designing new builds. Adveco recently designed and built a complete, prefabricated plant room for a Berkshire school. In this case, hot water and heating demands had increased due to a growing number of pupils, which in turn was limiting the incorporation of large scale plant room space within a new building. The GRP enclosure, which was sited on the new building’s flat roof, incorporated a complete integrated system built around a cascade of condensing boilers with an intelligent control system for optimised performance and continuity of service.

Flat rooftops, commonly used in school building design, are truly ‘dead space’ for most buildings, but they provide a broad opportunity to relocate heating and hot water plant safely and more securely. They are also excellent for positioning hybrid systems that integrate renewable and sustainable technologies.  By locating a packaged air source heat pump (ASHP) based system onto a rooftop, the application gains unimpeded airflow while operating noise becomes almost unnoticeable, preventing any distraction in the classroom.

Flat roofs are also perfect for the installation of solar thermal systems, where a frame is constructed to align the collectors for optimal heat collection and transference to the building’s water system. Location at height is recommended from a system security perspective because vandalism, usually because of hurled missiles, can prove highly expensive to resolve. But perhaps one of the biggest operational threats is to the efficiency of a solar thermal system, which comes in the form of heat loss from long pipe runs between collector and hot water storage. By locating the plant room on the roof, long pipe runs and resultant thermal losses are minimised helping to protect the investment.

With the proliferation of car ownership, it might at first seem unlikely that the staff 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 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 or hot water system, providing enough square meterage to easily accommodate a mid-sized packaged plant room offering, or the space could be used to locate air source heat pumps (ASHP) that drive system sustainability whilst lowering CO₂ emissions.

Offsite construction is the perfect example of where application design, system prefabrication and expertise in hybrid and renewable technology can help maximise underutilised space on an education project. Prefabricated hot water systems for schools are one of the easiest ways to combine the latest in commercial ASHP technology with high-efficiency direct electric water heaters, or solar thermal with gas-fired appliances to provide reliable high-temperature water in a convenient, packaged system that delivers truly sustainable applications that demand less fuel, reducing emissions and lowering ongoing operational costs. That is a core demand for any education estate manager faced with driving sustainability in buildings within the limits of often tight budgets.

Discover more about packaged plant rooms and sustainable systems for education buildings from Adveco.

Hydrogen heating systems Adveco

Scenarios For Greener Buildings in the UK

Building Back Greener is the government’s campaign to improve the energy performance of buildings, reduce costs, minimise the impacts of transition on the energy system, and make switching to low carbon systems easier in order to reduce emissions and achieve net zero by 2050. Underpinning this process are three illustrative scenarios for greener buildings that reflect different technology mixes that would allow the decarbonisation of heating in buildings. The three scenarios are high hydrogen, high electrification and a dual-energy system scenario.

Today, the importance of driving these scenarios forward has been given greater urgency by the long-awaited report  from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). To stay under the critical 1.5C threshold, according to the IPCC, means that carbon emissions from everything that we do, buy, use or eat must peak by 2025, and tumble rapidly after that, reaching net-zero by the middle of this century.

To put it in context, the amount of CO2 that the world has emitted in the last decade is the same amount that’s left to us to stay under this key temperature threshold. “I think the report tells us that we’ve reached the now-or-never point of limiting warming to 1.5C,” said IPCC lead author Heleen De Coninck. This is why quickly achieving goals towards net zero by 2050 is so important if we are to curb the worst implications of global warming – heat waves, drought & flooding.

The immediate focus from the government is to achieve Carbon Budget 6 targets, to ensure the UK is on target to achieve net zero, although many already doubt these budgets will be met as simple measures such as closing down coal-fired power stations are replaced by a far more complex mix of options that deliver more incremental steps to reducing carbon emissions. To achieve the level of emissions reductions across the built environment in line with the government’s delivery pathway to 2037, will take an estimated additional public and private investment of approximately £200 billion which will need to be focused upon one or more of the outlined scenarios.

Three Scenarios for Greener Buildings

The high electrification scenario assumes that there is no significant use of hydrogen for heating in buildings. This may be because hydrogen is not proven to be feasible, cost-effective, or preferable as a solution for low carbon heating, or because its deployment has been significantly delayed.

Under such conditions, the choice would be to continue the rapid growth of the heat pump market which the government has already seen as the best low carbon heating option for new buildings or those off the gas grid.  This would mean increasing new installations (domestic and commercial) beyond the currently envisaged minimum of 600,000 per year in 2028 to up to 1.9 million per year from 2035. Currently, the UK sees approximately 35,000 heat pump installations per year, and commercial demands are already outstripping available stocks in the market as a result of raw material and component shortages caused by Covid.

To ensure the extended level of heat pump deployment, further policy would be required to phase out installation of new fossil fuel heating faster while continuing to follow natural replacement cycles. The proposed increased deployment of heat pumps will need to be accompanied by investment in the infrastructure needed to meet increased electricity demand, including the generation of low carbon electricity and additional grid capacity.

If hydrogen proves both feasible and preferable as a method for heating most UK buildings, and decisions taken in 2026 support a path to converting most of the national gas grid to hydrogen then the high hydrogen scenario would take effect. Pilot projects to provide heating for an entire town by the end of the decade would, once successfully implemented, see an accelerated rollout on a national scale. The conversion would likely start by building out from existing hydrogen production and use in industrial clusters, and roll-out would involve switchover on an area-by-area basis in different locations.

Due to the infrastructure and supply chain requirements of a hydrogen conversion the government estimates new heating system installations should be low carbon or hydrogen-ready, meaning ready for a planned future conversion, from 2035, with approximately 30% of existing low carbon buildings to be supplied by hydrogen at that time.

This does mean approximately 53% of buildings with low carbon systems would be reliant on heat pumps and 15% heat networks. This is why the third, and most realistic of the scenarios for greener buildings is one based around a dual-energy system, where both hydrogen and electrification prove feasible and preferable for heating buildings with a widespread demand for hybrid systems that utilise a mix of energy sources.

For example, if all, or most of, the gas grid is converted to low carbon hydrogen, but the costs and benefits of switching to hydrogen versus installing a heat pump are viewed differently by organisations we might see a high switchover to both hydrogen and heat pumps on the gas grid. Based on differing geographical or built environment factors, there may be a partial, but still extensive, conversion of the gas grid to hydrogen. Under this latter scenario, more careful consideration would be required of which parts of the grid would be converted and where responsibility for decisions about the costs and benefits of converting different areas should lie.

While the government claims it remains early days in terms of determining the policy framework that might support this mixed transition, global conditions, both political and environmental, are driving fresh demands on the government to accelerate commitments.  Any scenario in which hydrogen is an available option from the grid will require public policy decisions to enable cost-effective and coordinated investment in infrastructure and supply chains. If the case for converting the network to hydrogen differs strongly from area to area, more preparation may need to take place at a regional or local level.

What does this mean for the commercial sector?

Whichever scenario becomes the one of choice, you can expect greater consultation over new regulatory powers that can be brought to bear on the commercial sector to bring it into alignment with the government’s goals for delivering these scenarios for greener buildings.

Initially expect to see the phasing out of heating appliances that are only capable of burning fossil fuels. This would be consistent with the ambition to phase out the installation of new and replacement natural gas boilers by 2035, and the phasing out of the installation of high-carbon fossil fuel boilers in commercial properties not connected to the gas grid by 2024.

The government’s Energy White Paper has already set a minimum energy efficiency standard of EPC Band B by 2030 for privately rented commercial buildings in England and Wales. And you can expect further consultation on regulating the non-domestic owner-occupied building stock and consideration on whether this should align with the private rented sector minimum energy efficiency standards. There is also an expectation for a response to the 2021 consultation on introducing a performance-based policy framework in large commercial and industrial buildings, with the aim to introduce a pilot scheme sometime in 2022.

Further consultation is expected on the Small Business Energy Efficiency Scheme (SBEES). This scheme aims to remove barriers for SMEs in accessing energy efficiency measures, drive forward better buildings performance and aid SMEs in meeting regulatory standards.

Finally, you can also expect to see a strengthening of the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS), which is a mandatory energy assessment scheme for large businesses’ energy use and opportunities to improve energy efficiency.

What is very clear at this stage is that commercial organisations face a complex technical and regulatory challenge in the coming decades if they are to successfully navigate to a future with decarbonised buildings across their estates.   Consulting with expert providers at the earliest planning stages can pay dividends in the longer term, balancing the use of cost-effective and familiar technology now with new developments in the mid-to-long term. From a business perspective, the advantages of decarbonisation can be valuable in terms of operational savings and corporate social responsibility gains, but higher capital and operational expenditure also need to be considered if realistic steps are to be made. With more than 50 years of experience delivering bespoke commercial hot water and heating applications and deep knowledge of renewable systems,  including both heat pumps and solar thermal, Adveco is perfectly positioned to advise and assist organisations seeking to begin the decarbonisation process now.

Solar thermal heating for public sector from Adveco

Public Sector Decarbonisation Of Hot Water & Heating

Public sector decarbonisation is a core facet of the government’s Heat & Building Strategy, which has been published to outline how the UK can achieve net zero by 2050. By decarbonising public sector buildings, the government aims to demonstrate leadership and to encourage action in other sectors to make a direct contribution to net zero.

With around 40% of UK greenhouse gas emissions being accounted for by heating, cooling, and lighting the built environment, the government has said it is ‘essential that the public sector demonstrate leadership and drive down emissions by using credible and consistent approaches to decarbonise the public sector estate.’ The aim is to reduce direct emissions from public sector buildings by 75% against a 2017 baseline by the end of carbon budget 6.

Addressing decarbonisation within both new construction or refurbishment of existing properties has now become a key deliverable throughout the public sector which will need to be shown to be leading the way in decarbonising UK buildings in the 2020s.

What is the government doing to support the public sector?  

The government’s £1 billion Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme was initially announced in 2020 to provide funding until this year. Conceived to support the public sector in finding answers to heat decarbonisation additional funding was allocated to make public buildings greener and the second phase of the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme was launched last April with an additional £75 million of funding into this year. The government has subsequently committed to investing a further £1425 million for the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme between now and 2025. This funding is intended to provide public sector organisations with grants to fund energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation measures and supports the decarbonisation of the public sector in line with the government set net zero targets.

The funding will aim to deliver energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation improvements to organisations such as schools, hospitals and public sector offices, and present an opportunity to build wider support and acceptance for transformation of how the UK heats buildings. The government has stated it is committed to the continuation and extension of the scheme to “ensure that public sector bodies have access to finance to continue decarbonising their estates.”

What does the government expect of the public sector?

The government’s aim is to introduce greater transparency into how the public sector is making practical changes to achieve decarbonisation. At a basic level, the expectation is for “all public sector organisations to be thinking about how they will achieve Net Zero and should be taking steps to start this process now.” As publicly-funded organisations, they should expect to be held accountable to the public by reporting their progress. Through the Greening Government Commitments (GGCs) a framework for reporting against targets to reduce public sector greenhouse gas emissions has already been set in place, and now all public sector organisations will be expected to show leadership by taking steps to reduce direct greenhouse gas emissions. This should include monitoring their energy use and setting targets and plans to reduce emissions over the next five years. Different targets will be appropriate for different organisations, but all public sector organisations are expected to publicly report progress against their plans and targets.

The Heat & Building Strategy specifically calls on public sector organisations to plan to reduce direct emissions from their heating systems by making buildings more efficient. This should be achieved through:

  • improving building insulation
  • switching to low-carbon heating sources when it is time for heating systems to be replaced
  • implementing smart technology
  • installing low-carbon heating in new buildings, which means retrofitting will not be needed

If reporting of public sector emissions on a consistent and coherent basis is not done on a voluntary basis, and, if insufficient progress is made on reducing emissions in the public sector, the government will consider legislation requiring all public sector organisations work toward and report against a legally binding target to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

How can Adveco help?

The Heat & Building Strategy accepts that public sector organisations will require new specialist skills and expertise to decarbonise, both through making infrastructure improvements and by better managing operational energy use. As the public sector provides all public services, including education, healthcare, emergency services and social care to name a few, these organisations encompass a large and varied requirement for hot water and heating.

Including everything from showers, washbasins and kitchens, to varied space heating demands,   applications will vary dramatically across each bespoke case, making decisions on decarbonisation all the more complex and difficult without specialist support.

Currently, the government favours air source heat pump (ASHP) based applications for the public sector as the simplest and most cost-effective answer to being greener. But many have queried the expense and relevancy of the technology outside of new build properties. The Government has said it will work with the industry to help meet the goal of reducing ASHP cost, bringing them in line with current fossil fuel options by 2030, ‘with big cost reductions of between a quarter and a half by 2025 expected as the market expands, and technology develops.’

This and the practical benefits of switching to high-efficiency heat pumps to reduce energy consumption, which includes less CO₂ production and lower long-term operational costs, make the technology an important part of the process for achieving carbon-neutral goals on schedule. The high-temperature demands of commercial hot water systems do however curtail the current generation of heat pumps as a singular response, with existing, poorly insulated buildings further reducing efficiencies. For this reason, public sector organisations faced with delivering decarbonisation goals within the proposed next five year period will need to consider more complex hybrid systems, or if on gas, look to solar thermalas a practical way to reduce energy use and decarbonise their buildings.

There are a number of available responses and new lower-carbon technologies are under consideration by the government for further support but knowing what is best for your organisation is not always straightforward. Faced with varied building stock, technology options and fluctuating user demands for hot water and heating consulting with Adveco’s expert sales and engineering staff can help you truly understand those needs and the options best suited to your bespoke situation.

Discover more about Adveco’s renewable systems for decarbonising your building hot water and heating.