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Specifying Air Source Heat Pumps for UK commercial projects

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Discover more about Adveco’s growing range of Air Source Heat Pumps

adapting to new technologies and approaches

2021 – Adapting to new technologies and approaches

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

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

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

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

The Adveco 2021 Product Guide Now Available

Hot water and heating specialist Adveco, has published its latest Product Guide for 2021 (PDF). This handy booklet provides a complete overview of Adveco’s current portfolio of commercial hot water and heating products. With the Government’s pledge to deliver net-zero by 2050, the commercial sector faces an increasing challenge to address the carbon emissions from buildings. The recent sixth Carbon Budget put the scale of the challenge into perspective, calling for a 78% reduction in carbon emissions by 2035 if we as a nation are to meet this long-term net-zero commitment.

Whether planning a new build or refurbishing existing buildings, Adveco provides a broad choice of appliances, controls and ancillaries for the design and manufacture of bespoke applications. Supporting the drive to a more sustainable future, Adveco offers an ever-expanding range of renewables; from its long-term provision of solar thermal systems to award-winning boxed Heat Recovery Units, and the latest commercial-grade air source heat pumps.

Wherever a project is located, Adveco can support with the optimal technology; from glass-lined water heaters for hard water areas to corrosion-resistant stainless-steel alternatives for soft water conditions, and renewables that address the limitations of regional climates.

With access to the latest hot water and heating technology, we can ensure your application is provisioned with highly efficient, low-emission appliances, that offer the highest quality, robust construction to ensure longevity and best value investment.

The Adveco 2021 Product Guide provides an easy reference for a range of boilers, buffers and thermal stores for heating projects. It also incorporates the A.O. Smith range of condensing gas and electric water heaters, all supported by Adveco calorifiers, plate heat exchangers and immersions for hot water systems. Also discover the advantages of Adveco offsite construction, providing complete prefabricated plant rooms for heating and hot water systems.

All Adveco’s products are supported by 50 years of industry expertise as the independent provider of application and system design, bespoke manufacture and aftersales service and support. All supplied at a quality only a specialist manufacturer can deliver.

Download the brochure today

Government Outlines Ten Step Plan In Drive Towards Net Zero

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced a £4bn package to: “Create, support and protect hundreds of thousands of green jobs, whilst making strides towards net zero by 2050.”
“Our green industrial revolution will be powered by the wind turbines, propelled by the electric vehicles and advanced by the latest technologies, so we can look ahead to a more prosperous, greener future.”
The plan is wide-ranging, with a clear focus on creating jobs and addressing climate change at the same time, but many have challenged the allocation of funds needed to deliver on the challenge.

The Prime Minister’s plan outlines ten key deliverables:
1. Produce enough offshore wind to power every home in the UK, quadrupling how much it produces to 40 gigawatts by 2030
2. Create five gigawatts of ‘low carbon’ hydrogen production capacity by 2030 – for industry, transport, power and homes – with the first town heated by hydrogen by 2030
3. Making homes, schools and hospitals greener, warmer and more energy efficient, including an aggressive target to install 600,000 heat pumps every year by 2028.
4. Accelerate the transition to electric vehicles by phasing out sales of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by the end of the decade
5. Advancing the provisioning of nuclear power as a clean energy source, with new plant likely to be located at Sizewell and a new generation of small nuclear reactors
6. Invest in zero-emission public transport for the future
7. Support projects researching zero-emission fuels for planes and ships
8. Develop carbon capture technology with a target of removing 10 million tonnes of carbon dioxide by 2030
9. Plant 30,000 hectares of trees a year
10. Create a global centre of green innovation and finance based in the City of London

Business Secretary Alok Sharma has stated that the announced £4bn investment is part of a wider £12bn package of public investment, but to put that sum into perspective, Germany has already committed to a €7bn investment in hydrogen alone to deliver a filling station network and create a hydrogen-powered train.

Concerted efforts to further decarbonise the grid through offshore wind, nuclear power and a further a subsidy of up to £500m to develop hydrogen production, partly by excess energy from offshore wind, will continue to impact on the way new and replacement commercial heating and hot water systems will be designed. But there remains little indication of how these investments in the green economy will directly support commercial organisations coming under pressure to address ageing, inefficient systems. The Government failed to gauge the scale of demand from domestic sites with the Green Homes Grant, and this plan has extended that support for a further year to attempt to address the over-subscription already seen, and the same can be said for businesses that are facing a short timeframe to secure non-domestic RHI support, without a clear replacement being announced. The initial propositions for replacement commercial Green Grants, being excised.

The drive to see the installation of 600,000 heat pumps a year by 2028 is again a domestic focus, although hospitals and schools have been quoted in the same breath, and no doubt additional public sector funding is going to be extended to drive this adoption. But it is worth remembering that the demands and complexity of a commercial system based around a heat pump is decidedly more complex than a domestic installation. Even now, the domestic market is struggling to identify where the large number of competent, approved installers for these hundreds of thousands of heat pumps is coming from, and that scenario will be more deeply felt in the commercial space. The lack of provisioning for large scale retraining of installers is concerning, and again a failure to show support for commercial organisations that are increasingly being mandated to demonstrate clear and real investment in sustainable and low carbon technology seems to be a critical oversight. Especially given the percentage of emissions building stock contributes each year.

Labour MP Alun Whitehead, shadow minister for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, has stated that a mixed approach encompassing different technology types such as electric and gas solutions was the way to ensure heat decarbonisation. “We believe in speedy progress on heat decarbonisation, but we need to see a horses for courses approach. This would include heat pumps – or hybrid heat pumps where appropriate – particularly in new build and off-grid properties; district heating islands in more urban areas; and a substantial expansion of green gas (bio-methane and hydrogen) in the system.“

The Labour Party expects gas heat, specifically from boilers modified for greener fuels, to be an essential part of the decarbonisation of UK buildings. Labour’s Green Economic Recovery strategy hints at the importance of hydrogen, and in sourcing greener hydrogen produced via electrolysis, for transforming how buildings get their heat. It also highlights the need to retrain workers and create new roles around greener energy and infrastructure, as well as supporting businesses to become more sustainable.

There remains a year until the COP26 UN summit, to be hosted in Glasgow, anticipated by many to be the most critical since the Paris Agreement in 2015. That gives twelve months to further define objectives and provide a clear path with meaningful inducement for the commercial sector if the increasingly aggressive timetable is to be met. The previous carbon budgets set by the government have been achieved, but the ‘easy wins’ are now behind us; future carbon budgets are no longer on track to be achieved and it will only get more difficult. This ten-point plan, should be seen as encouraging, establishing a more defined set of targets for the nation, but greater clarity is required and much still needs to be done in terms of ensuring their practical delivery.

Talk to Adveco today about how you can leverage renewables including air source heat pumps, solar thermal and heat recovery to drive sustainability within your commercial hot water and heating systems.

Funding Retrofit For Public Buildings.

Funding Retrofit For Public Buildings

The Government’s Public Sector Decarbonisation Fund is a £1b fund being made available now for the upgrade of public buildings and social housing to make them more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly. Projects with a focus on decarbonisation of heating and hot water will undoubtedly be a priority when granting funds as, according to 2019 figures issued by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), heating, cooling, ventilating, and providing hot water and lighting for the built environment still generates 17% of greenhouse gas in the UK.

Part of a wider £3b plan to upgrade the UK’s buildings, the plan has been generally welcomed, as it is hoped to support up to 120,000 jobs across the construction sector, as well as boosting local investment through local job creation.

Designed to aid public sector organisations in England, including central government departments, agencies, local authorities, and especially schools and NHS Trusts. The plan’s intention is to improve buildings’ operational performance, reduce CO2 emissions, raise comfort levels for staff, plus reduce in building-related complaints and maintenance backlogs. This is to be achieved through the specification and installation of energy-efficient and low carbon heating measures.

However, the fund is only being made available for a single year, and since its announcement in July, has raised queries over whether government departments and local authorities have the time or resource to spend this effectively. Facility and energy managers responsible for public sector real estate should already be exploring their options for project design and delivery, not least because of the wider concerns over project timescales in the wake of Covid-19. It is, therefore, crucial to be scoping out retrofit projects as soon as possible.

At Adveco, we have almost 50 years’ experience supporting the refurbishment of public sector heating and hot water systems. While studies show that over the next two decades renewable energy sources (RES) – a mix of district heating, heat pumps, wind and solar energy – will be crucial to the energy supply in the heating market, we would lean towards more technology-open scenarios that not only predict large proportions of heat pumps but also assume the use of gaseous fuels. Just as electricity is becoming greener so too can the gaseous fuels which will contain larger shares of renewable ‘green’ hydrogen gas and other synthetic fuels by 2050. This supports the adoption of a hybrid approach that combines new and existing technologies, which we not only see as more practical but is both cost-effective and less influenced by the volatility of a RES electricity-only approach. The hybrid approach is especially valid when it comes to refurbishing old and inefficient systems, as well as extending viable systems where fresh demands outpace the original scope of the application.

From the latest high-efficiency, ultra-low emission condensing gas and water heaters to electric appliances, sustainable solar thermal and air source heat pumps, Adveco is deliberately positioned can support the introduction and integration of the latest technology. Typically, the latest generation of appliance not only is more efficient, but it can also offer a far more compact footprint, so makes refurbishment simpler, and without needing extensive building work to accommodate plant require less capital expenditure. If systems require scaling up to meet increased demands for heating and domestic hot water (DHW) then refurbishment can quickly become more complex, and if a hybrid system is employed, greater space may be required for the dual systems, as well as additional controls and pipework. Should the availability of space be an issue Adveco can design and build off-site prefabricated plant rooms that make full advantage of unused space, such as flat roofs, to expand capabilities.

If a hybrid heating system is chosen, it offers great advantages for cost-effective control, for example, 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. And, by selecting the optimal (ecological) heat generator whenever possible (via an energy management system) it can also be optimised for CO2 emissions. Should the building envelope be renovated, the required heating load decreases and the existing gas boiler can take on less of the annual heating work, and it could eventually be put out of operation.

An extra £50m will fund social housing through a demonstrator project for the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund (SHDF). This UK-wide demonstrator scheme will see grants supplied to upgrade the energy efficiency of over 2,000 of the worst-performing social homes. Again, Adveco has a long heritage designing and delivering multi-occupancy applications for heating and DHW.

To secure climate-neutral building stock by 2050, public sector facility managers desperately need help to achieve practical and cost-effective sustainability. At Adveco we can help with a full-service application design team who can provide an assessment of your properties’ demands and correctly size an application. We can help recommend the optimum appliances to deliver highly efficient systems that provide the best value in terms of capital and operational expenditure, whilst meeting the need to reduce emissions. Our commissioning service also ensures installation is carried out correctly and the system is safe to operate, which then unlocks long-term manufacturer quality warranty service.

If you haven’t started to scope out your project, or need aid, please contact us today about your project.

Making Air Source Heat Pumps (ASHP) Work For Commercial Applications - Part 1

Making ASHP Work For Commercial Applications – Part 1

Understanding the Challenge of ASHP

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

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

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

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

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

Read about Adveco’s compact commercial FPi ASHP range

UK Government Makes New £350m Commitment to Decarbonisation.

UK Government Makes New £350m Commitment to Decarbonisation

  • Support targets construction, transport and heavy industry sectors
  • Includes dedicated funding for green hydrogen.

The Government has announced a £350 million package targeting carbon emissions from the construction, transport and heavy industry sectors in an effort to reach net-zero by 2050.

“Climate change is among the greatest challenges of our age. To tackle it we need to unleash innovation in businesses across the country,”

said Alok Sharma, business and energy secretary.

“This funding will reduce emissions, create green-collar jobs and fuel a strong, clean economic recovery – all essential to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.”

The projects set to receive funding will work on developing new technologies that could help companies switch to more energy-efficient means of production, use data more effectively to tackle the impacts of climate change and help support the creation of new green jobs by driving innovation and growth in UK industries.

The investment comes after the Committee on Climate Changes 2020 Progress Report argued that for industry, electricity and hydrogen production and CCS should all be considered as pathways for decarbonisation, and a funding mechanism established for the chosen technologies before the end of 2020.

This latest investment doubles down on a commitment made last July of £170 million for deploying CCS and hydrogen networks within industrial clusters.

Of this latest round of funding, £139 million is to be dedicated to the cutting of emissions by supporting the transition from natural gas to clean hydrogen power and scaling up carbon capture and storage (CCS). The latter to place 90% of emissions currently being released into the air by heavy industry into permanent underground storage.

£26 million is to be directed at developing new, advanced building techniques – such as offsite construction – to reduce both construction costs and carbon emissions, with a further £10 million to support projects focused on productivity and building quality.

The announcement provides a much-needed indication of intent for the commercial sector which has, until now, complained of a lack of direction and support from the Government following its well-publicised aim to achieve net-zero by 2050. It is understandable that the government would target heavy industry and transport first as these are by far the guiltiest parties when it comes to carbon emissions, but increasingly, the finger has also pointed at the built environment. So the inclusion of dedicated support for construction is welcome.  However, the focus on ‘R&D’ projects and so by default, new builds, means many commercial organisations caught out by difficult or limiting refurbishment are still left waiting for clear advice and more crucially, for funding.

The real glimmer of hope in the announcement lies in the clear assertion that hydrogen production forms part of the Government’s plans for national carbon reduction. Familiarity and the most comprehensive pre-existing national infrastructure makes a transition from natural gas to a hydrogen mix an obvious choice for driving forward to net-zero. Critically, for many commercial organisations struggling to equate the costs of transitioning to more sustainable energy sources hydrogen offers a simple, and more cost-effective answer, so long as its provision is made more available in the mid-term. In the short-term, this should back a decision to move to hybrid systems that are able to blend legacy natural gas with direct-electric and renewable energy. What the government needs to do now is recognise the value of hybrid systems as a stepping stone to wholly hydrogen and renewable-based systems, thereby providing a safety net for commercial facility and energy managers who may fear expensive commitments to what could be the wrong energy technology in the long term.

NHS sustainability

Caring for our Future

With the launch this January of the House of Common’s Climate Assembly UK which is tasked with bringing groups together to discuss achieving Net Zero targets, it was clear that much of the initial onus would fall on public sector organisations to become vocal in their support of the Government’s aims.

There is a tremendous challenge existing to drive the level of change needed to achieve Net Zero. The easy work has been done, such as shutting down coal-fired power stations, which has meant the Government’s Carbon Budget targets have so far been achieved. But the consensus has been that the next carbon budget will miss its target and subsequent others could fall further behind. And that was before Net Zero by 2050 was introduced. To successfully drive uptake of low carbon systems, which will on the most part be unfamiliar and deemed an unwanted, and for some an unwarranted cost, requires vocal support and better communications with, and education of, both the domestic and commercial sectors.

The Climate Assembly UK will have 110 representatives, randomly selected by ‘civic lottery’, giving voice to the UK public. They will hear balanced evidence on the choices the UK faces, discuss them, and make recommendations about what the UK should do to become Net Zero by 2050. Swaying these representatives who, by the very nature of the selection process, are unlikely to have more than a cursory understanding of the broad range of current fossil and low carbon technologies and practicalities of integrating them, means it must fall to key public bodies to take the first conclusive steps on the path to Net Zero.
In light of this, the NHS has made a wide-ranging statement on not only cutting carbon emissions to Net Zero but in particular reduce air pollution, of which Nitrogen Oxides (NOX) is, without doubt, one of the most concerning.

A by-product of the combustion of hydrocarbon fuels, NOX are a major contributing factor to poor air quality, the most toxicologically significant being a combination of nitric oxide (NO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO₂). It can cause lung irritation and respiratory infections as well as being linked to cancer, asthma, strokes, and heart disease. The Royal College of Physicians believe it directly leads to as many as 40,000 deaths each year. This has led to widespread recognition that more needs to be done to address NOX emissions and the care sector needs to be seen to be addressing emissions that are a by-product of its activities.

Sir Simon Stevens, head of the NHS, said: “With almost 700 people dying potentially avoidable deaths due to air pollution every week, we are facing a health emergency as well as a climate emergency.

“Patients and the public rightly want the NHS to deliver for them today, and to help safeguard the future health of our children and grandchildren.”
Whilst the press have focussed on the recommendations made to NHS staff to, such as encouraging less driving to work less and bringing in reusable cups and bottles, the real opportunities lie in two other proposals which a panel will now consider and respond to later this year.

The first would see a reduction, or cessation entirely, of up to 30 million outpatient appointments, which would have huge implications on reducing vehicle emissions, but could be a very difficult sell to the public.

The second, easier option, is to reduce emissions from buildings. The BBC reports Unison general secretary Dave Prentis, saying the implications for the NHS building stock were ‘huge’. “Everyone must now work together to understand how environment-harming heating and lighting systems can be replaced without redirecting funds from patient care.”

He is correct, as the levels of change Net Zero demands of any property could conceivably require heavy capital expenditure. Especially so with the NHS estate, where the demand would more likely require major refurbishment of existing, often ageing, properties that will not be fit for purpose in terms of low carbon solutions alone.

At Adveco, we have considerable experience working with and supplying hospitals throughout the UK with hot water and heating systems, offering a mix of gas, electric and low carbon technologies. Now, looking forward, we are rethinking how those systems can be used in a meaningful way to take us towards Net Zero. That means leveraging the advantages of low carbon technologies such as heat pumps and solar thermal, alongside the current generation of high-efficiency micro-CHP, gas and electric boilers and water heaters. This hybrid approach provides the versatility to use and enhance existing systems in building stock, gaining improvements without wholesale rebuilding which comes with a considerable price tag. The approach also acts as a ‘boarding ramp’ towards a whole new class of technologies including hydrogen and other ‘green’ gas alternatives.

Critically, the systems and applications that we are able to design, supply, commission and service are available today and can be shown to be cost-effective. We can accurately map operational costs and payback periods so that planners can budget for change with a high level of confidence. With long-term savings assured when correctly managed and maintained, there is no reason why improved heating and hot water systems should need to see funds being redirected from patient care. In fact, the savings over the next 30 years could easily be invested back into the NHS to the advantage of patients and staff.

Learn more about our work for the care sector

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.

Green Heat Roadmap highlights the challenges of achieving Net Zero by 2050

A new report launched by Minister for Climate Change Lord Duncan on 15 October 2019, calls for an urgent Green Heat Roadmap by 2020 to scale low carbon heating technologies.

The 80% 2050 carbon emission reduction target relative to 1990 already required over 20,000 households to switch to low-carbon heating every week between 2025 and 2050. The zero-carbon target requires even more rapid decarbonisation yet the most successful policy constellations to date have only succeeded in encouraging 2,000 dwellings to switch to low-carbon heating every week.

Despite the focus on households, large-scale rollout also requires the development of supply chains so at-scale demonstrations go hand-in-hand with protection. This activity will also impact on the role the commercial sector will have to play, particularly with community-led and local approaches taking precedent, increasing the visibility of successful approaches.

Commenting on the report, EUA chief executive Mike Foster said; “EUA believes that the only sensible, cost effective and deliverable solution to decarbonising the hard to tackle heat sector is by using green gases such as hydrogen. The technology is being tested that can deliver the carbon reductions needed, while keeping people warm.

“It is the optimum solution. The energy trilemma, a phrase that rightly suggests the difficulty in balancing the competing demands of affordability, reliability, and sustainability, should be set against the UK’s particular needs, and utilising the existing gas network, but with low carbon gas, does this.”

Read the report here.