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Part L – New Building Regulations For Commercial Hot Water

Introducing changes to Part L of the Building Regulations (Conservation of fuel and power) for England represents a commitment to raising the energy performance of buildings to provide a pathway to highly efficient non-domestic buildings which are zero carbon ready, better for the environment and fit for the future. Although due to be formally released in 2025, the first of a number of interim measures come into force this month.

Whilst the new regulations will have a profound impact on new-build projects, refurbishment works are likely to be initially affected by the introduction on June 15th of new restrictions on the specifying of poor-efficiency direct-gas fired water heaters. Under Part L, new regulations for hot water systems essentially end like-for-like replacement for non-condensing water heaters by imposing new minimum efficiencies (91% for natural gas and 92% for LPG).

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 new building with >30kW output*

91% –                                 Direct fired for new building with <30kW output*

91% –                                 Boiler efficiency for indirect-fired systems in new & existing buildings

100% assumed                Electrically heated new & existing buildings

* 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

Adveco carries of range of stainless steel direct-fired condensing water heaters, the AD and new ADplus ranges, and MD boiler range, which all leverage advanced burner control to drive efficiency as high as 106%. Plus glass-lined condensing water heaters such as the AO Smith BFC Cyclone (97% efficient) and Innovo (98% efficient) provide a range of choices that already exceed the latest regulations under Part L 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 a time control (independent of space heating circuits) and an 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 the 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.

These measures are designed to enforce a 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 cushion 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 ultimately 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.

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.

 

Regulation changes take effect on 15 June 2022 for use in England. It does not apply to work subject to a building notice, full plans application or initial notice submitted before that date, provided the work for each building is started before 15 June 2023. Regulation changes do not currently apply to Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland. 

 

 

 

 

MD wall hung boiler & ATSH indirect water heater

DHW For Smaller Businesses

Refurbishing and modernising heating and domestic hot water DHW for smaller businesses should not be a chore, but commercial boilers can be large and complex to install, especially if available space is limited for new plant. Adveco has responded to this, extending its award-winning MD boiler range with a series of highly compact wall hung variants designed with the smaller plant room in mind.

Smaller business types, from office buildings to light commercial industry, retail and cafés will typically exhibit defined periods of continuous heating and hot water demand across the working day, often encompassing peak periods of demand when energy costs can also be higher. For this reason, to ensure demand is met and energy costs offset, commercial applications will typically look to incorporate thermal storage through indirect heating, using the boiler as the primary energy supply. This is advantageous in terms of maintaining consistent levels of heating or hot water throughout the day, as well as being able to rapidly respond to fresh demands for extra heating. The size of such a system can however prove prohibitive for smaller businesses. While the MD range offers a variety of models to address central heating needs,  Adveco’s MD 15B, 24B and 34B feature connections specified for use with an indirect water heater that can also be used to provide DHW for smaller businesses.

The MD boiler’s single, high-quality patented titanium-stabilised stainless steel heat exchanger, provides exceptional construction strength and corrosion resistance. The brand-exclusive three-pass design features large bore, circular tube cross-sections that reduce the collection of debris for improved operational efficiency and extended operational life. This is further improved by separating the water flowing through the boiler from the business’ DHW supply which is achieved by pairing with an indirect hot water calorifier, such as the extremely compact 160 and 200 litre ATSH Stainless Steel High-Capacity Cylinders. The calorifier vessel includes a single internal high-capacity fixed heating coil at low-level for use with the high-powered MD heat source and adds the option of a secondary electric immersion for built-in system redundancy.

One of the greatest advantages of using this type of indirect tank with an MD Wall Hung Boiler is the consistency of DHW for smaller businesses without requiring the boiler to be in constant use. You, therefore, save on energy, further reducing emissions and are better able to control operational costs. The boiler efficiently heats the water in the tank, which is kept at a consistent temperature for a near-instantaneous supply of hot water as and when needed, steadily distributed throughout the day. Rapid thermal recovery means the system is able to support even the most demanding peak periods which are easily addressed by the built-in controls accessed from the MD’s LCD control screen.

Should business demands increase consistently, the MD is designed with cascade control to enable up to eight units to work together seamlessly, and the ATSH range of calorifiers offers larger vessel sizes for extra DHW load.

Whether providing space heating or DHW for smaller businesses seeking an efficient, cost-effective replacement for ageing gas-fired boilers to support your application, the Adveco range of MD wall hung boilers offer a wide choice of appliances to meet your particular business needs without the need to oversize a system which will be more costly to both install and operate over its lifetime.

Fossil Fuels – Their Future In UK Commercial Buildings

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

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

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

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

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

Off-Grid, But Still Being Watched

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

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

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

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

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

Is A Calorifier The Right Choice For My Project?

Today we take a look at commercial-grade indirect-fired water heaters, and ask is a calorifier the right choice for your hot water or heating system?

A calorifier is a commercial-grade indirect-fired water heater that provides hot water in a heating and hot water system.

It is designed for projects requiring large volume storage of water at high temperatures, but rather than using a burner, the water is heated by heat exchanger coils containing liquid from another heat source, such as a boiler.

In a typical application, the hot water directly heated by a gas or electric boiler passes through the calorifier and is used, via heat exchange, to heat up the cold water in a separate system of pipework. This does mean that a calorifier cannot react as quickly to demand as a direct-fired water heater, however, with the calorifier working as a buffer and storing the hot water, it reduces the operational demand placed on the boiler. With the boiler no longer required to work as hard to meet the domestic hot water needs (DHW) of a building, energy is saved, costs are reduced and emissions fall.

With the increased efficiency of modern condensing gas boilers, having a dedicated hot water boiler to heat the calorifier is no longer a requirement as they can easily supply heat to both the calorifier and the heating system. The compact Adveco MD range of gas condensing boilers, for example,  are both high capacity and can be arranged in cascade to scale to provide both heating and, with an indirect calorifier, the DHW needs of a wide variety of commercial projects. It must be noted that when space heating is not required, such as during the summer months, the boiler will still be required to provide heat for the hot water system.

FUSION Hybrid Hot Water System File: ATSH cutaway. Another advantage of the indirect approach to heating is that due to the transferral of heat through the walls of the heat exchanger element the two fluids do not mix. This allows for more options in terms of the external heat supply and introduces a range of renewable technologies that use other fluids for heat transfer including solar thermal collectors and Air Source Heat Pumps. At Adveco, these options are supported by a variety of calorifiers. The Stainless Steel Indirect (SSI) range, for example, is supplied with a single high-output internal heat exchange coil at a low level to serve as an indirect calorifier in DHW installations. The ATSx range provides water heaters designed to be used with indirect heat sources as calorifiers across a range of DHW installations exhibiting smaller demands but requiring more than six bar pressure. For more complex and renewable-based systems, the Stainless Steel Twin-Coil (SST) or ATSR ranges offer a pair of independent internal heat exchange coils to serve DHW systems. Each high-output coil can be used with a separate heat source, enabling effective integration of renewable technologies or multiple heat sources, or alternatively can be combined to increase the heat transfer capacity from a single high-output source.

Also, by separating the supplies you reduce the risks of external contamination, a build-up of scale in hard water areas or the corrosive effects of soft water.

Calorifiers are also simple to install. Since there is no burner, there is no need for the gas supply to be directly connected to the appliance and the is no requirement for a flue.

So is a calorifier the right choice?

As with any hot water application, understanding the relationship between storage and recovery, and correct sizing is extremely important for efficient and cost-effective operation. Integrating a calorifier within a hot water system gives you a number of design options, as a larger calorifier means the boiler can be smaller, or the reverse if the existing system has a large efficient boiler. Understanding the hot water demand is critical. If demand is not so great, then using a larger calorifier can lead to unnecessary capital and ongoing operational expenditure. Go too small and the storage could prove inadequate and the system will not achieve its operational requirements.

Attaining the correct balance of demand and efficient, cost-effective supply is what ultimately defines a successful system, whether it be for a hotel, hospital, school, office or leisure facility. Each will have its own parameters to be met, and Adveco specialises in providing the widest range of calorifiers, boilers and renewables to meet the bespoke needs of any project.

The patterns of hot water usage and recognition of periods of peak demands often make sizing a complicated process, with many systems overcompensating and, by being oversized becoming more costly and less efficient. At its simplest, a commercial system should hold an hour of hot water output in storage, but the function of the building, its population and activities will adjust requirements, for example, where hospitals will typically exhibit a 24/7 demand for hot water, schools and offices may be limited to just 7½ hours per day. In some refurbishment scenarios, we will also see a physical limitation of space available for DHW storage, in which case a system will put more demand on the boiler or renewable to increase the output for preheating, reducing the required size of the calorifier.

If there is an availability of space, or a prefabricated packaged plant room approach can be used to relocate plant to previously unused space – such as a rooftop or car park – there is an opportunity to incorporate multiple calorifiers and thereby divide the total storage demand. This approach not only provides system resilience, but for commercial sites that exhibit predictable seasonal demands such as leisure centres, campsites and hotels, it allows for elements of the system to be shut down during off-peak periods. The other real advantage of adopting a packaged plant room approach to a DHW system is that the boiler or ASHP providing the preheat can be located in close association with the calorifier. The physical proximity helps negate problems of heat loss between the boiler, pipework and calorifier which can be detrimental if more widely separated in a system.

Is a calorifier the right choice for your project? If it is, the technical details of our products can be found here buffers and calorifiers and find out how we can help size your DHW application.

NOx On Effect

A major contributing factor to poor air quality, nitrogen oxides are a group of gases that are mainly formed during the combustion of fossil fuels. The dominant portion of these gases is nitric oxide (NO) which in turn can react with other gases in the atmosphere to form nitrogen dioxide (NO) the most toxicologically significant of the nitrogen oxides.  These reactions take place very quickly and are reversible, so the two gases are referred to together as NOx. Short-term exposure to concentrations of NO can cause lung irritation and respiratory infections, but medical studies have also linked the gas to cancer, asthma, strokes, and heart disease. In addition, NOx can cause changes to the environment, so consideration should be given to its control as part of your organisation’s sustainability activities.

Typically, a by-product of the combustion of hydrocarbon fuels, it is especially problematic in city centres due to idling traffic. In large parts of the UK, the atmospheric levels of NO are considerably higher than European legal limits and the Royal College of Physicians believe it directly leads to as many as 40,000 deaths each year with an estimated cost to the country of £20 billion in healthcare and lost working days.

Critically as greater political and legal weight is brought to bear on addressing climate change it is worth remembering that nitrogen oxides also act as precursors for the formation of ozone, which is not only damaging to health but has adverse effects on the environment through oxidative damage to vegetation. Introduction of N to the environment both directly as a gas and in precipitation can also change soil chemistry and affect biodiversity.

This has led to widespread recognition that more needs to be done to address the issue of NOx, from transport to energy production, distribution, and consumption in buildings.

Traditional energy generation by coal, gas and oil-fired power stations comes with several issues, including being NOx heavy. It, therefore, became popular to look at the alternatives: renewables which help with both carbon and NOx emissions. As such, low carbon electricity’s share of generation has risen delivering a major shift away from generation in large power stations. Since 1990, wider industrial emissions of nitrogen oxides to air have reduced by 74%, although estimates of projected emissions to 2030 suggest further action is required if we are to meet government emission reduction targets. These industrial reductions mean that most of a city’s current air pollution and NOₓ now arise from road traffic and buildings.

The most recent published annual air quality assessment providing data from 2010 until 2019, shows the UK was in compliance with commitments to current emission ceilings for nitrogen oxides. However, the UK continues to be non-compliant with the limit value placed on the annual mean NO concentration at several locations in urban areas. At these locations, it has been estimated that up to 80% of the NO concentration originates as NOx emissions from road transport. But buildings still stand as a key potential contributor to the other 20%.

Managing NOx Emissions From Commercial Properties

In 2018, the European Union’s Energy-related Products Directive (ErP) was used to begin phasing out the installation of less efficient equipment across Europe, including the UK. This would be achieved by establishing minimum performance standards for new equipment, with greater focus placed on heating and water heating performance in buildings. The new ErP directive enforcing maximum NOx emissions from boilers and water heaters which were set at 56mg/kWh for gas/liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and 120mg/kWh for oil-fired products. At the time the EU predicted the new directive would produce a 20% reduction in energy consumption and emissions when replacing older equipment with ErP-compliant products

The drive towards net zero and the reduction of carbon in buildings is helping to further drive down NOx and where new builds are opting for heat pump and direct electric hot water and heating applications gas to the premises is excised. So no gas, no flues, no NOx. Refurbishing existing properties is more complicated, with low-temperature Air Source Heat Pump (ASHP) based systems typically unable to efficiently address demands. Under these scenarios, a combination of solar thermal and gas top-up for water heating is preferable and leaves sites futureproofed for next-generation green gas technologies. Realistically hydrogen grid connectivity is unlikely for the majority of the UK until the mid-2030s at the earliest, so attention needs to be applied to how gas-based systems can be optimised now to reduce emissions to levels even lower than those established under the ErP directive.

To improve combustion efficiency, condensing gas water heaters and boilers operate so that the water vapor in the exhaust – which contains about 464 kJ/kg of latent energy – condenses on the heat exchanger and not in the flue or outside the building. Designed so that the highest efficiency is at the low end of the firing range, condensing boilers typically operate at 94-95% combustion efficiency. Correctly sized and professionally commissioned, a cascade system for larger demands with high-efficiency pre-mix burners provides a high 1:20 modulation ratio. This large modulation range, along with built-in cascade control ensures that efficiencies are maximised no matter the heating load of the building. With the input of the appliance easily altered to closely match the load, the system is better able to derive as much heat out of the exhaust gases as possible.

With a high-efficiency pre-mix Fecralloy burner, such as employed in the Adveco MD & AD product ranges, ideal combustion efficiency can now be achieved of up to 107% (net)/98% (gross) reducing energy costs and producing ultra-low emissions. The low CO (19ppm) and NOx (27mg/kWh) emissions, from a hot water system built around a high efficiency condensing water heater or boiler (Class 6 appliance) easily satisfy the requirements of the current Energy-related Products (ErP) directive.

In the drive to achieve net zero, and control dangerous emissions, there remains a clear need to address legacy ‘dirty’ buildings. Currently ignored in terms of mandated policy or government support, commercial building refurbishment represents a core challenge for the UK’s climate future. Organisations looking to make steps towards a more environmentally friendly built environment may initially reject any fossil fuel-based option, but the reality is modern systems are advantageous both economically and environmentally and they bridge towards more enveloping carbon neutral and renewable options. If your building’s hot water or heating system predates 2018 then there are advantages to be gained from switching to the latest generation of gas-fired water heaters and boilers, if your system is closer to 15 or 20 years old then you really should be giving serious thought to upgrading appliances. The addition of solar thermal preheat is then going to take your system to the next level in terms of cost and carbon reduction into the 2030s and beyond.

Bespoke Hot Water and Heating, Celebrating 50 Years Of Excellence

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

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

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

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

50 Years of Bespoke Hot Water Innovation

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

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

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

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

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

RP MD Boilers.

MD Floor Standing Boiler

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

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

A More Sustainable Future

RP Solar thermal.

Adveco solar thermal with drainback technology

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

FPi32 commercial Air Source Heat Pumps (ASHP).

FPi32 Air Source Heat Pump

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

Packaged Plant Rooms.

Low carbon hot water systems in an Adveco Packaged Plant Room

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

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

Looking Forward

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

Adveco 2020 Product Overview Now Available

The 2020 Adveco Product Range brochure serves as a quick reference document covering a wide range of products and services provided by Adveco and A.O. Smith. The current range incorporates commercial hot water and heating equipment including: condensing gas water heaters; storage tanks, oil & electric water heaters; solar thermal; boiler cascade systems; stainless steel cylinders, thermal storage tanks, carbon steel buffers, combined heat & power (CHP); Air Source Heat Pumps (ASHP). These technologies are the building blocks for Adveco’s bespoke packaged plant rooms and system offerings. All supported by our applications and field engineers who provide expert commission services, warranty maintenance and training.

If you are seeking support in the design, supply, commissioning or servicing of business-critical hot water, heating and power then this brochure is a useful tool to have to hand.

You can download the brochure now.

Adveco Extends MD Family

  • Range extension includes 10 new compact light commercial wall-mounted gas condensing boiler variants for central heating and DHW projects
  • Highly efficient, cost-effective to run and rated for ultra-low emissions
  • Compact and smart for no-nonsense installation and maintenance

Hot water and heating specialist Adveco, adds 10 new high-efficiency wall-mounted models to its popular MD condensing gas boiler range for light commercial applications.

The MD wall-mounted boilers offer the same high-quality patented heat exchanger construction, with continuous non-welded run of titanium stabilised stainless steel, providing exceptional construction strength and corrosion resistance. The wall-mounted variants of the MD also incorporate the brand-exclusive three-pass design, featuring large bore, circular tube cross-sections that reduce the collection of debris to ensure greater longevity.

All the MD boilers feature efficient pre-mix burner technology to help control operational costs and significantly reduce NOₓ and CO emissions.

Unlike many wall-mounted boilers, the compact MD offers integrated run/fault signal for connection to a BMS system. With 0-10 V input on the MD, a BMS system incorporating interior/exterior sensors can deliver automated heating control with these boilers.

Bill Sinclair, technical director, Adveco says, “Following the unprecedented success of the floor-standing MD boiler, which received accolades including being highly commended in the 2019 H&V News Awards, we can now broaden the options for commercial customers with a wide choice of wall-mounted appliances. Bespoke hot water and heating system design and supply is at the very heart of everything we do, extending the MD range ensures we can continue to deliver the perfect results for your project or application.”

The new range includes boilers with rated heat outputs of 15, 24 and 34 kW. The MD15, MD24 and MD34 have two variants to accommodate either central heating only or DHW via an indirect water heater. A third variant of the MD24 and MD34 includes an integrated Plate Heat Exchanger for instantaneous DHW.

With a 60kW heat output, the MD60 is designed to meet the demands of commercial central heating. Available in two variants, it can be selected with (MD60C), or without (MD60A), an integrated system pump.

Built-in cascade controller and easy to use LCD display provides full temperature control and maintenance self-check for all primary components and functions. The entire MD wall-mounted range is further supported by a seven-year parts and labour warranty when boilers are commissioned by Adveco to ensure long-lasting reliability and efficiency for customer peace of mind.

Additional Features

MD15, MD24, MD34

  • Ultra-low NOₓ emissions at 24-31 mg/kWh
  • Uses low cost 60/100 mm diameter PP concentric flue system
  • Natural gas or LPG

MD60

  • Ultra-low NOₓ emissions at 27.9 mg/kWh
  • Uses low cost 80/125 mm diameter PP concentric flue systems
  • Natural gas or LPG

Balancing Sustainability and Commercial Heating Demands

Adveco’s Adveco expert Bill Sinclair, Technical DirectorTechnical Director, Bill Sinclair,  considers the latest developments in commercial condensing MD boiler technology…

Faced with balancing the business-critical need for space heating against stricter legislation and the demand for greater clarity of what they are doing to reduce emissions, how can UK commercial organisations better address the heating demands of their large buildings?

With the majority of national infrastructure currently ‘on gas’ and delivering half of UK’s non-transport primary energy needs, gas-fired boilers remain the best option for the provision of heating. The increasingly stringent government legislation that industrial and commercial establishments face in terms of reduction of carbon emissions and hazardous air pollutants is driving the specification of systems that are based on high efficiency condensing boilers, or a hybrid approach that combines these boilers with heat pumps to provide low carbon, effective heating. In such a scenario, the continuous low-grade heat from the heat pump works alongside the fast responsiveness of the gas boiler which is used to top up heating and avoid the requirement for higher carbon-emitting generators at electricity peak demand times.

Requiring less fuel, due to recovery of latent heat from vaporisation, high efficiency condensing boilers can lower running costs and provide higher temperatures than a heat pump. Offering reliable operation, simple controls and compact design we are seeing increasing interest in adopting hybrid technology as a practical response to the consistent need for commercial heating and the wider requirement to be compliant with latest legislation.

Reducing the cost of business-critical heating

As an independent provider of heating systems, identifying technology concepts that will address sustainability is only the start. We also recognise the need to meet customer requirements for cost of ownership, which can be met through several features, from space savings, ongoing supply reliability to simplified control and maintenance that provide peace of mind when investing in a business-critical heating system. From restaurants and hotels, to leisure facilities, schools and university accommodation the needs are increasingly universal for large application, very efficient and low emission heating.

Whether limited by existing structures in a refurbishment, or reducing cost in a new build, saving space is an important consideration. But when a system demands more than 300 kW output there has been little option other than to build a costly frame and implement a design incorporating the necessary wall-hung boilers in cascade until the system’s needs are met. By which point you effectively have a floor standing system that negates the space advantages of a wall-hung boiler. For this reason, some will consider a floor standing alternative, they are after all relatively low cost and can supply high loads. The problem is that such appliances offer a single fan, gas valve and heat exchanger which means there is no system redundancy. That makes for false economy when it comes to delivering a space-saving, consistent 24/7/365 heating system.

We would advocate a modular cascade concept that takes full advantage of the compact size afforded by condensing natural gas or LPG boiler technology, with low water content heat engines, built-in redundancy and no need for an expensive framework to convert wall-hung boilers to floor standing.

Adveco’s MD, for instance, can be used to create a cascade of up to eight 280 kW units, each combining four 70kW heat engines pre-stacked in a single, elegant casing. This approach can provide more than 2200kW while occupying minimal plant room floor space and assuring clearance for maintenance. The need for, and cost of a frame is immediately negated, and issues of limited headroom are quickly resolved. A high maximum run pressure, up to 11 bar, makes it highly suitable for large, high-pressure applications.

We can also demonstrate a turn down as low as 14 kW and 94% redundancy in case of failure. Of course, while built-in redundancy is advantageous, the supply reliability should not hinge on redundancy systems but features that are designed to prolong the life of the appliance.

Typically, new condensing boilers will be fitted with a heat exchanger made from non-ferrous metal, usually stainless steel, to counter corrosion. Adveco’s MD incorporates unique and extremely high-quality AISI 316Ti heat exchangers constructed from a continuous, non-welded run of titanium-stabilised stainless steel. This approach reduces weak points and offers improved strength and corrosion resistance at high temperatures for long periods of time, reducing the chance of failure while ensuring high capacity heat transfer.

The patented design features a large bore, three-pass arrangement with circular, not flattened, cross-section tubes to reduce the collection of debris. To maximise condensation means operating at a sufficiently low temperature, and this requires condensing boilers to be tolerant of the condensate. The inclusion of a refillable limestone bed is truly advantageous, neutralising acid condensate which can dramatically affect the lifespan of an appliance.

Each heat exchanger also incorporates a control board that allows communication and load balancing across adjacent exchangers, meaning that the system not only provides built-in redundancy, but also offers improved reliability and longevity as all internal components receive uniform wear. This integrated system control not only provides an intelligent maintenance self-check of all primary appliance components and functions, but also incorporates MODBUS communication and alarm output to assist with BMS integration.

As a result, condensing boilers can meet the demand for reliability and efficiency for lower cost of ownership. We go as far as to offer an industry-leading 10-year warranty on the MD’s heat exchangers and burners, with a seven-year parts and labour warranty for long-term peace of mind.

Meeting Commercial Sustainability Goals

We can easily demonstrate the functionality and the cost savings of adopting a modular cascade concept with high efficiency condensing gas boilers, but what of the air quality and sustainability of the technology?

To improve combustion efficiency, condensing boilers operate so that the water vapor in the exhaust – which contains about 464 kJ/kg of latent energy – condenses on the heat exchanger and not in the flue or outside the building. Designed so that the highest efficiency is at the low end of the firing range, condensing boilers typically operate at 94-95% combustion efficiency. In the case of the MD, a high-efficiency pre-mix burner achieves ideal combustion efficiency of up to 107% (net)/98% (gross) reducing energy costs and producing low emissions. With low CO and NOX emissions, a heating system built around a high efficiency condensing boiler (Class 6 appliance) satisfies the requirements of the Energy-related Products (ErP) directive.

Correctly sized and professionally commissioned, a cascade system with high-efficiency pre-mix burner provides a high 1:20 modulation ratio. This large modulation range, along with built-in cascade control ensures that efficiencies are maximised no matter the heating load of the building. With the input of the boiler easily altered to closely match the heating load, the system is better able to derive as much heat out of the exhaust gases as possible. This efficient reuse of heat results in low flue gas temperatures allowing for the use of standard 80-160mm diameter plastic flue pipe (PP). PP is efficient, environmentally friendly and significantly cheaper than stainless steel, offering a cost-effective and space-saving alternative in terms of pipe run.

Whilst arguments continue to rage regarding the validity of gas for a low carbon future, the reality is that for the foreseeable future our national infrastructure will continue to remain heavily reliant on the provision and improved use of gas – from hybrid systems to the introduction of green gas with its lower carbon footprint. For commercial projects that face the most stringent legislation and oversight, high-efficiency condensing boilers remain a realistic and effective means of meeting the demands for improved sustainability, while offering considerable economic advantages in terms of operational costs for built assets.

Hybrid packaged plant rooms.

Adveco Showcases New Hybrid Packaged Plant Rooms at CIBSE Build2Perform

  • Accelerate project timescales with offsite constructed heating, hot water and low carbon energy systems.
  • Introducing packaged hybrid systems that help meet new carbon targets.
  • Understand whether continued investment in gas infrastructure is still viable.

Hot water and heating specialist Adveco, will be exhibiting its first hybrid packaged plant room systems for heating and hot water at CIBSE Build2Perform November 26th & 27th at Olympia, London. These bespoke designed systems, built into a weatherproof enclosure, not only maximise available space on a commercial project but also deliver system resilience, help reduce a building’s energy consumption and reduce operational costs.

Adveco’s plant rooms leverage technology from a range of partners including A.O. Smith, Cosmogas and cogeneration specialist TOTEM. Appliances are combined with Adveco’s own in-house designed control systems and industry recognised heat recovery technology, such as the HR001, a standalone Heat Recovery Unit providing a convenient, packaged unit to recover refrigerant system waste heat.

For the first time, Adveco will be showcasing a hybrid application that combines the new Adveco FPi Air Source Heat Pump with an A.O. Smith Innovo condensing room-sealed gas water heater and controls, enabling commercial sites to achieve lower cost heating or cooling.

An all-electric packaged plant room will also be on display alongside the popular MD high efficiency condensing gas boiler.

MD high efficiency condensing gas boiler - floor standing or wall mounted.Compact and lightweight, with low CO and NOₓ emission levels, MD is perfect for use in conjunction with an air source heat pump as part of a hybrid system, providing both sustainability and the operational responsiveness required by larger-scale commercial systems. With multiple load-balanced heat exchangers in a single chassis, MD offers peace of mind with built-in redundancy, all backed by a seven-year warranty on all parts and labour when commissioned by Adveco and a 10-year warranty on both the heat exchangers and the pre-mix burner.

Adveco’s Application Engineer Simon Bennet.On Wednesday afternoon, Adveco’s Application Engineer Simon Bennet will be helping designers facing the decision of whether to adopt all-electric for new buildings or outlay for a gas supply ready for conversion to hydrogen. A decision that could affect future carbon emissions and running costs for the lifetime of the building. Simon will outline the practical considerations to help decide whether the cost and the need to reduce carbon make continued investment in gas infrastructure viable for commercial new build projects.