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Bespoke Hot Water and Heating, Celebrating 50 Years Of Excellence

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

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

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

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

50 Years of Bespoke Hot Water Innovation

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

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

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

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

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

RP MD Boilers.

MD Floor Standing Boiler

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

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

A More Sustainable Future

RP Solar thermal.

Adveco solar thermal with drainback technology

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

FPi32 commercial Air Source Heat Pumps (ASHP).

FPi32 Air Source Heat Pump

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

Packaged Plant Rooms.

Low carbon hot water systems in an Adveco Packaged Plant Room

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

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

Looking Forward

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

Tackling Global Warming – Why COP26 Matters

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

Why is COP26 So Important?

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

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

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

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

The Real Challenge of “Going Green”

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

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

An End to Coal Power?

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

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

Striking a Balance When Heating Commercial Buildings

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


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

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

Green Heat Network Fund Set to Open to Applicants in 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

The responses to the GHNF can be read here.


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

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

What you Need to Know About Net Zero Now

What is “Net Zero”?

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

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

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

The effects of Greenhouse gases

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

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

How can we meet these goals?

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

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

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


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

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

Building Regulations for Commercial Hot Water

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

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

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

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

Hot Water Systems Under Part L For Non-Domestic Buildings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sources

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

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

Will Hydrogen be the move we need towards Net Zero?

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

What are Blue and Green Hydrogen?

Blue Hydrogen:

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

Green Hydrogen:

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

The advantages of switching to Blue and Green Hydrogen

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

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

The disadvantages of switching to Blue and Green Hydrogen

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

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

Environmentalists opposing the switch to Hydrogen

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

Hydrogen for commercial use

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

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

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

Our take…

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

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

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

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

Bridging the Gap to NetZero – Part 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Hybrid Balancing Act

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

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

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

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


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Bridging The Gap To Net Zero – Part 1

Hybrid Heating – A Practical Response For The Commercial Built Environment

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

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

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

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

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

Why Take The Hybrid Route?

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

Commercial Air Source Heat Pumps (ASHP).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s A Fair COP – Specifying ASHP in the UK

As a specialist in the design and provision of domestic hot water (DHW) and heating for commercial projects, Adveco is especially conscious of the need to correctly size and rate appliances for what are typically bespoke system designs. When specifying Air Source Heat Pumps (ASHP) for UK commercial projects, correctly establishing efficiency and calculating reductions in CO2 emissions is perhaps the most important element, given their specification for sustainability is increasingly a major facet of the investment in a building’s Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems.

Adveco has now extended its range of commercial ASHPs with the introduction of the Adveco L70. This high-capacity air-to-water monobloc heat pump is designed for the UK climate providing hybrid domestic hot water (DHW) and heating. In conjunction with Adveco’s bespoke application design, the L70 offers a comprehensive response for sustainable heating and hot water, providing high-efficiency, low-emission, low cost to operate systems for the life of a commercial building.

Rated 70kW for typical UK operation at 5°C but climbing to a maximum 90 kW from a single compact unit, and with a Seasonal Coefficient of Performance (SCOP) as high as 4.08 the L70 is perfect for large scale commercial applications and can operate as part of a cascade installation for projects demanding greater capacity.

With ASHPs offering greater efficiencies in low-temperature systems, the high-temperature demands of commercial DHW applications can be a challenge. Achieving working flow temperatures up to 60°C, the L70 supplies preheat for hybrid applications composed of combinations of plate heat exchangers, buffer vessel, with calorifiers, gas-fired boilers or direct-electric water heating providing essential additional heat to meet commercial requirements.

When analysing the value of an ASHP in terms of reducing CO2 emissions Adveco employs the carbon intensity figures from the new SAP10, with like-for-like calculations for 1 kWh of output, benchmarked against a modern, high-efficiency gas-fired system. When describing the efficiency of an ASHP, working flow water temperatures of 35°C are typically cited, but it needs to be recognised that this is insufficient for commercial applications. Even if a commercial building has achieved Passivhaus standards 35°C is not going to be hot enough to safely provide DHW. For this reason, Adveco recommends calculating emissions at a working water temperature from the ASHP of 55°C, this is then hot enough to provide realistic levels of preheat for a commercial hybrid DHW system.

Additionally, attention needs to be given to the Ecodesign established European temperature zones when calculating real-world figures. For most of the UK, the relevant defined temperature zone is ‘average’, where the lowest annual reference temperature for the ASHP’s SCOP is taken to be -10°C. For some Southern and Western UK regions, the ‘warmer’ Ecodesign temperature zone can be applied for calculation, where the lowest the reference temperature will only fall to 2°C. So give consideration to a project’s location when assessing potential reductions in CO2 emissions from the inclusion of ASHP in an application.

Designed to operate between 20°C and +35°C, Adveco’s L70, at -10°C can still easily generate working water temperatures of up to 55°C and will reduce CO2 emissions by almost 63%. Under the warmer climate zone’s conditions emissions can be reduced by almost 70% using a SCOP of 3.47.

Able to draw and transfer thermal energy from the air, under the right circumstances ASHPs represent an efficient way to significantly reduce the carbon emissions of a building. This does come at a higher price point compared to traditional gas-fired systems, so this can be an impediment to their adoption if sustainability gains alone are not enough.


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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.