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Heat and Buildings Strategy Unveiled

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

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

£1.4 Billion For Public Sector Heating

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

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

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

A Luke Warm Reaction?

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

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

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

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

Bespoke Hot Water and Heating, Celebrating 50 Years Of Excellence

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

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

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

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

50 Years of Bespoke Hot Water Innovation

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

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

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

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

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

RP MD Boilers.

MD Floor Standing Boiler

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

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

A More Sustainable Future

RP Solar thermal.

Adveco solar thermal with drainback technology

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

FPi32 commercial Air Source Heat Pumps (ASHP).

FPi32 Air Source Heat Pump

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

Packaged Plant Rooms.

Low carbon hot water systems in an Adveco Packaged Plant Room

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

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

Looking Forward

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

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.

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 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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

The Price of Ignoring Commissioning

The commissioning of a heating or hot water system is the vital, final job to be completed before handing the system over to a building’s owner, manager or tenant. Whilst it may signal the conclusion of a building project, it will typically mark the commencement date for the manufacturer’s warranty and service plans for an appliance, and a new ongoing partnership between the manufacturer and customer.

Commissioning not only considers the gas appliance, whether water heater or boiler, it will also look at the broader system, including the gas supply, pipework, pumps, ventilation and the flueing. This has a twofold purpose, to ensure that the installation has been approached correctly in order for the appliance and designed application to work correctly and efficiently, and more importantly that the installation meets regulations and is safe to be signed off for operation.

Adveco’s commissioning engineers not only bring specialist knowledge of its products, they are all independently trained and retested every five years to ensure they are enrolled on the Gas Safe Register. This is a legal requirement under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations in order to be able to carry out gas work and every installer and commissioning engineer must have this. If you like, the commissioning process can be seen as a peer check of any new system.

We do come across examples of installation where gas pressure into the system is low, for example, in which case the system is going to be inefficient and you are going to lose the advantage of cost savings that efficient operation had originally been modelled to achieve. But errors can creep in that are far more serious, such as a flue venting too low or into a location that is unsafe for those using the building. An example of such practice would be venting a low-level flue into a school playground, or close to an opening window or an enclosed area. This can happen on occasion, typically due to confusion or changes in plans or lack of awareness of regulations, in which case the commissioning engineer will have to halt the process and the system will not receive final sign off for use. That can have serious implications, as it could halt the final handover of a project which can be costly to the developer. It also means the heating and hot water system, which will often see their as business-critical service, is going to be unavailable to the owner/tenant until problems with the installation are rectified, at which point it can only then be recommissioned. So, it becomes extremely problematic. The simple fact is that the regulations are there for the safety of a building’s occupants and our engineers will, as a matter of course, to adhere to them, so using a knowledgeable and accredited installer is always going to pay dividends in terms of achieving successful commissioning on that first visit.

If the commissioning process is avoided or carried out by a third party not associated with the manufacturer it will always be detrimental in the long term to the tenant. Uncommissioned systems or those not commissioned by Adveco’s engineers will breach the manufacturer’s warranty on parts and service for appliances we have supplied, so that can quickly become costly when additional engineering visits are required. It is also worth observing that you cannot retroactively commission a system that has been installed and in operation in order to ‘resurrect’ a manufacturer warranty. Consider that Adveco’s latest range of stainless-steel boilers and water heaters come with comprehensive service and parts replacement warranties that can extend with commissioning for up to ten years. So long term that is a fair-sized additional, unplanned cost to have to find, for the sake of saving on the relatively small upfront fee that commissioning costs.

Opting to commission through Adveco is truly advantageous. You gain access to expert, specialist engineers who will provide a thorough inspection, ensuring correct operation and that all-important safety check and approval. Once a system is commissioned by Adveco, the warranty period for the appliance only then commences, otherwise, it will begin from the date of delivery. Depending on the scale of the project, a standard warranty can be severely impacted if there are lengthy delays to the project’s completion.


The price of ignoring commissioning for commercial hot water and heating systems - Adveco.

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Alternatively call us on 01252 551 540 Option 6, or alternatively, send your request to spares@adveco.co

 

Making ASHP Work For Commercial Applications – Part 2

The Hybrid Approach

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

For further information contact Adveco.