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Space To Develop Hot Water & Heating

Space To Develop Hot Water & Heating

How relocating heating and hot water systems in commercial buildings can drive real value from underutilised space…

The most valuable asset any business or organisation has is space, space to grow, develop and drive advantage. Within the built environment the drive for more space is a balancing act between granting applicable and preferably comfortable space for those using the building and meeting the infrastructural and systemic needs of operating the building.

There typically has to be some kind of give in the drive for creating or freeing up useable space if that activity impacts on the necessary systems, in particular heating, cooling, lighting and water.

Hotels are a great example of this drive to reclaim usable space. The hospitality industry is one of the most competitive there is. Hotels are continually fighting with the competition to offer the most affordable rates, the best amenities, and the most outstanding guest services — all while also making a profit. The easiest way to charge more for a room is by adding space to it, or by adding more rooms in total. Either way that is going to help improve the bottom line. The same goes for restaurants, where maximising floor space means more tables. Whilst hoteliers and restaurateurs will look to every square centimetre of their properties for opportunities to maximise revenue, other organisations will have very different drivers. Consider schools, where larger class sizes have increasingly driven a demand for teaching space. How many schools have had to surrender playing fields to locate portacabin style classrooms which are obviously not ideal?

This brings us to the kinds of underutilised or wasted ‘dead’ space in and around buildings. Internal space is potentially incredibly valuable, so leveraging external space to free it up can be truly advantageous. The question is what can be given up to makes such gains? The simple answer might be your HVAC plant.

Plant rooms, or boiler houses as they were known, vary from purpose-built to jury-rigged spaces used to accommodate heating and hot water systems. Basements are typically repurposed in older commercial buildings, whilst it is not unusual to find them tucked in amongst other rooms creating a mixed-use setting. Wouldn’t it be advantageous to separate such building services and relocate them away from those using the building whilst improving the efficiency of the system for a host of benefits including lower operational costs and reduced emissions?

Simply upgrading to a new gas condensing boiler or electric water heater can deliver notable efficiency improvements over models from just 10 years ago, and today’s modern appliances pack that into much more compact, space-saving formats. So, you could gain greater capability from a smaller footprint in your plant room, and potentially reclaim a few square meters. But what if you could reclaim the entire plant room?

Refurbishing plant to a new location may sound drastic, but that needn’t be the case. Increasingly the construction industry has embraced the idea of offsite construction, creating modular units or systems that are pre-installed and ready for relatively quick and simple connection once delivered to a site. The process streamlines a construction programme along with offering numerous savings as site work is dramatically sped up. Now, this process can be as easily applied to refurbishment projects as it is to new build. All you need is an underutilised space. For many commercial buildings that means flat roofs, yards or car parks, spaces that are inexpensive to adapt, require low to no maintenance and have either been ignored or are underused.

With the proliferation of car ownership, it might at first seem unlikely that the car park is being underused. But the drive to encourage walking, cycling and car-sharing has had an impact, and developers who have previously pushed for more open parking space than ever before are now being challenged to repurpose some of that space. In terms of Identifying functional opportunities to better leverage this space, the siting of plant fits the bill. Turing over just one or two car spaces can have a dramatic impact on the capability of heating system, providing enough square meterage to easily accommodate a mid-sized packaged plant room offering, for example, a boiler cascade and heat exchanger assembly. Or the space could be used to locate air source heat pumps (ASHP) that drive system sustainability whilst lowering CO2emissions.

Relocation to flat rooftops is especially valuable. This is truly ‘dead space’ for most buildings, but it provides a broad opportunity to relocate heating and hot water plant safely and more securely. A simple crane lift is all it takes to locate a prefabricated plant room, and these can be of considerable size and complexity should the roof space be large enough to accommodate. Additionally, the space lends itself to locating hybrid systems that integrate renewable and sustainable technologies. We have already mentioned the use of ASHPs, and a rooftop placement not only typically supplies unimpeded airflow, the noise, though relatively low, now becomes almost unnoticeable to those on the ground.

Flat roofs are also perfect for the installation of solar thermal systems, where a framework is constructed to align the collectors for optimal energy collection. That energy is then transferred to the building’s water system. One of the biggest threats to the efficiency of a solar thermal system is the heat loss between the collector and hot water storage, which results from potentially long pipe runs from the roof to the plant room. By locating the plant room on the roof, pipe run is minimised as are thermal losses, so you get more energy for your investment.

These are just a few examples of where Adveco’s application design, system prefabrication and expertise in hybrid and renewable technology can help maximise underutilised space. Modern, high-efficiency systems deliver new versatility for addressing changing demands of the building whilst still reducing operational expenditure on energy and helping drive actual sustainability within an organisation.

Talk to us today or read more about our renewables and packaged plant room systems.

Bromsgrove Leisure Centre.

Sustainable Energy For The Leisure Industry – Part 2

In part 1 we discussed the importance of understanding how hot water, heating and power demands can be cost-effectively brought into balance, and why hybrid systems are key to achieving long-term sustainability…

As well as being able to be cost-effectively controlled, a hybrid system can also be optimised for CO₂ emissions by selecting the optimal (ecological) heat generator whenever possible via an energy management system incorporating smart metering. Should the building envelope subsequently be renovated, the required heating load will decrease further, and the existing gas boiler can take on less of the annual heating work and eventually could even be retired.

Depending on a building’s demand, we can also make a strong case for combined heat and power (CHP) where the CHP generates onsite electricity from a gas-powered engine, efficiently recovering heat from the process. Such an approach will still offer some carbon savings, definitely cost savings and, if that CHP is a low nitrogen oxides (NOₓ) micro appliance (m-CHP) when compared to the boiler, then we also have NOₓ saving. At worst, such a system is going to be carbon neutral but crucially low NOₓ which is increasingly a requirement for consultants and specifiers to pass building planning.

m-CHP also benefits from inclusion in the new SEG legislation so excess generated electricity can be sold to offset the CAPEX. The addition of m-CHP does require a certain level of oversight, so it is important to factor in the costs of regularly monitoring, managing and maintaining the system to ensure long term guaranteed efficiencies and relatively rapid ROI. As a result, compact micro-CHP systems have proven to be an extremely popular option across the leisure industry.

Adveco recently supplied Travelodge’s flagship 395-room London City hotel with a system that features an Adveco TOTEM T25 m-CHP unit. With continual background electrical power use and large domestic hot water (DHW) demand, Travelodge committed to a system based on micro-combined heat and power (m-CHP) which, when compared to conventional hot water solutions, attains substantial improvements in energy efficiency and reduced emissions.

Beautifully designed and fitted boiler room with mCHP, calorifiers etc.

The m-CHP pre-heats the system water via an MSS buffer vessel, which feeds six stainless steel calorifiers supported by a 572 kW A.O. Smith Upsilon boiler cascade. These plant components, all supplied by Adveco were installed into a rooftop plant room and commissioned by Adveco’s in-house team of engineers. m-CHP proved the most practical and cost-effective method for Travelodge to satisfy Part L of the Building Regulations, aiding its demand for sustainable and energy-efficient building design. And, with Totem’s NOₓ emissions at less than 10 mg/kWh, Travelodge is able to significantly reduce the building’s emissions of NOₓ, a potentially deadly polluting gas that is increasingly driving decision making for consultants dealing with projects located in highly urbanised areas.

Recently highlighted for its sustainability in industry awards, Adveco’s m-CHP application was also used by Bromsgrove Sport and Leisure Centre. Operated by Everyone Active, this was part of a large new build project designed to meet strict building and environmental standards. The new £10.3m facility providing a range of services to the local community including two swimming pools, sports hall and climbing wall, a 100-station gym, a fully-featured spa, and a café. With the pools and associated year-round heat demand, the leisure centre required a high-performance heating system.

To achieve the high level of energy efficiency to serve the building’s heating system required a 25kWe, 57kWTh TOTEM T25 -CHP appliance, as well as a bespoke 3000-litre buffer vessel, controls and ancillaries. Adveco additionally supplied two A.O. Smith BFC120 condensing water heaters to serve the domestic hot water supply to the leisure centre.

Since commissioning in early 2018, the TOTEM T25 at Bromsgrove Leisure Centre achieves 7,000 operational hours a year for an annual saving of as much as £10,000.  By producing both electricity and heat from the same supply of input fuel, the associated net reduction in carbon emissions has been more than 65,000 kg per year.

For leisure projects, high-efficiency condensing boilers and gas-powered m-CHP continue to offer considerable economic advantages in terms of operational costs for built assets. They also remain a realistic and effective means of meeting the demands for improved sustainability, which can be greatly enhanced by combining these technologies with other renewables. Whilst a gas/hybrid approach may be perceived as more conservative, it offers a route to a more sustainable future without removing potentially necessary and therefore valuable energy infrastructure which would be needed to support the introduction of green gas with its lower carbon footprint. Critically, a hybrid approach helps to plan for the future without being prohibitively costly.

Read more about the project at Bromsgrove Leisure Centre

Watch our video on the advantages of micro CHP for commercial buildings 

Packaged plant room being installed (Prefabricated plant room).

Adopting a streamlined approach for commercial building projects

As we fast approach the deadline for Brexit, the industry supporting the built environment, from construction to maintenance is braced for change. One key concern will be a widening skills gap, with the potential loss of skilled workers. Some have cited as many as one in five roles within construction alone will likely remain unfilled in the near to mid-term. In an industry that is already facing an engineering skills shortfall and interest in STEM subjects at schools struggling to gain the necessary traction to deliver enough apprentices and graduates to fulfil the industry’s future needs, practical responses are needed now to overcome threatened shortages of expert staff.

The other key post Brexit concern is undoubtedly the belief that costs will rise, at least initially, under new import tariff structures. Given that almost a quarter of parts and fixings used across built environment projects are currently sourced from the EU, there is bound to be an impact on a project’s bottom line.

So, the question is how can you mitigate costs on a project when faced with a loss of skilled onsite labour? One answer, and one that the Government supports, is the further development of offsite manufacture to streamline and modernise processes.

Offsite construction, or 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. Under the post-Brexit scenario, offsite represents a practical way to address rising costs as well as a shortfall of experience on site.

Adveco has for many years specialised in the creation of bespoke systems and applications for the commercial built environment. It will size, design, and manufacture to order Packaged Plant Room enclosures suitable for placement beside or on top of buildings with a flat roof space. The plant room contains a variety of environmental systems for generating, managing and recovering energy for heating and domestic hot water (DHW) systems. With the increasing expectations on the built environment to be sustainable and show active efforts to reduce emissions during both construction and throughout the operational life of the building, offsite construction of low carbon power systems can be a particularly attractive response.

Manufacturing hot water, heating and low carbon systems away from the job in our purpose-built facility ensures improved production with optimal conditions provided for quality control and a reduction in wastage that can be found on a typical construction site.

Packaged plant room being lifted into position (Prefabricated plant room).Offsite construction, of course, makes things once on site much easier. When delivered to the project location, the plant room module can be easily sited, requiring just external pipework and final electrical connections to be completed. Those with the expertise to manage the final install are able to do so quickly and move onto other tasks more rapidly. Optimising the time of skilled workers accelerates project timelines which in turn can help offset other increasing costs that a project may now face.

Learn more about the advantages and the wide range of options available for creating a bespoke packaged plant room for your project in this helpful booklet.

The Advantages of Packaged Plate Heat Exchangers

The Adveco PPN and PPS ranges are packaged plate heat exchanger systems designed to provide an instantaneous (PPN) or semi-storage (PPS) supply of domestic hot water to a commercial building.

Plate heat exchangers can be employed as a system break between old and new heating systems; used as a separation between systems due to pressure limitations or as an integration with renewables. Consisting of an alternating ‘sandwich’ of thin hollow metal sheets with passageways for different sources of liquid – for example, one with heating water and the other with DHW. The plates keep the fluids separated, and as it spreads across the planes of the adjacent plate heat is exchanged. PPN and PPS appliances support heat transfer capacities from 100 to 600 kW.

Constructed from gasketed stainless steel, Adveco Packaged Plate Heat Exchangers are supplied pre-assembled with pumps, pipework, controls, and valves on a metal skid base. This approach reduces design requirements and on-site assembly time for the M&E installer, supporting simple separation or pressure break systems, as well as systems with different temperature requirements between ‘side one’ and ‘side two’. The proven design guarantees a fast response to changes in the DHWS demand, plus accurate and close temperature control with easy to use purpose-built integrated controls.

Adveco Packaged Plate Heat Exchangers are compact, despite the extremely large surface area for heat exchange, so are easy to locate and access within the plant room for maintenance. Smooth surfaces with high turbulence created by the complex pattern of passageways within the plates help to also create a self-cleaning action for less fouling and scaling.

PPN Packaged Plate Heat Exchanger from Adveco - rear viewWater content is also low (so there is less water to treat periodically) and fast moving under pressure. With no static water bacterial growth within the plate system is virtually eliminated. The gasketed design means the system is also easy to disassemble to clean and maintain.

Critically, the gasketed design ensures there is no cross-contamination between the two fluids, so it is a perfect response when integrating new and old systems. By easily adding extra plates, a system can be expanded to meet the specific requirements of a project or application.

The Adveco PPN and PPS ranges are WRAS approved products that are suitable for use with DHW systems up to 99°C and 6-10 bar.

Discover more about Adveco’s Packaged Plate Heat Exchangers.

TOTEM m-CHP site installation

Just Take The Stairs… Meeting the Challenge of Refurbishing an Existing Plant Room

Contracted by a London based customer to supply an improved replacement for a previous CHP system that had failed, Adveco was recently presented with the challenge of locating a new TOTEM micro-CHP system into the existing plant room which offered only step access, raised concrete room dividers and narrow routes of access due to the existing HVAC installation.

Fortunately, the compact form factor of the TOTEM T10, despite weighing in at 720 kilos, meant navigating tight spaces should be relatively easy. If needs be the entire unit can be stripped down into separate parts and then reassembled once moved to a new location, usually within a single working day. In this case, it became clear that a set of temporary timber ramps and supported bridges would suffice. With these built on location by Adveco’s engineering team, it was a simple and amazingly fast operation to bring the TOTEM onto site for installation and commissioning by the team.

Adveco’s specialist team of engineers navigated the issues of the site for a flawless install, and the customer can now take full advantage of cogenerated electricity and recovered heat from the unit to make considerable operational savings and guarantee accurately modelled return on investment.

TOTEM m-CHP installed location, refurbishing an existing plant room.With Adveco providing remote monitoring, service and maintenance call out for the TOTEM, the new m-CHP will continue to provide energy and heat for years to come. With assured quality of performance from Adveco, the TOTEM T10 delivers a refurbishment investment that comes with peace of mind for the customer, alongside all the advantages of a resilient, onsite source of power and heating whenever there is demand.

Watch the video of the delivery and locating of the m-CHP for installation by Adveco.

Bootham School Adveco mCHP exterior

Adveco TOTEM mCHP, a Lesson in Reduced Energy Cost and Lower Emissions

  • Bootham School selects Adveco TOTEM m-CHP based system for heating and domestic hot water
  • System design modelling accurately predicts operational costs and payback period
  • Savings of approximately £37,000 per annum

Bootham School in York, a charitably run independent boarding school, has selected a TOTEM micro-cogeneration (m-CHP) based system from commercial heating and hot water specialist, Adveco Ltd., for sustainable and cost-effective provision of power and heating throughout the school estate. The system provides £37,000 in annual operational cost savings and reduces the school’s CO₂ generation helping adhere to its Quaker values.

Working in partnership with Brentwood Consulting Engineers and contractor John Wright Electrical and Mechanical, Adveco recommended the installation of two TOTEM T25 m-CHP units and an Adveco MSS5000 for a pre-fed boiler system. Electrical generation by the m-CHP would decrease the energy import of the school, as well as lowering carbon dioxide emissions. Heat generated would be delivered to the hot water circuit which operates constantly through the entire school.

Adveco also provided Bootham school with a Full Maintenance Contract, covering all moving parts and controls, that guarantees long-lasting CHP unit efficiency. “Whilst there are high servicing costs, we factored all of that into the total lifecycle costs. This means after 10 years rather than replacing the whole unit we can simply extend the contract with Adveco, saving the capital cost of installing new units,” says Craig Pierotti, Estates Manager, Bootham School.

Bootham School Adveco Totem T25 mCHP

Running data was analysed against the pre-contract predictions which shows that the units are performing better in terms of cost savings per run hour. By extrapolating the figures to give a full year’s running (6,677 hours) the payback periods for the project will be achieved and Bootham School should save an estimated £36,996. Importantly, the CHP system also enables the school to adhere to its Quaker values with CO₂ savings of more than 115,500 (kg.CO₂). The NOx emissions are also greatly reduced with emissions from the TOTEM units less than 40 mg/kWh of electricity output.

“The installation was completed on time, to cost, and successfully due to the team effort.  Everyone was on board and got on with it, otherwise, I don’t think we would be in the situation where we are, producing the results we are today,” says Craig “Adveco are constantly monitoring the CHP’s for us and contact us only when they want to come and service the units. It is literally fit and forget. It’s absolutely fantastic!”

Read more about the Bootham School TOTEM m-CHP project

Adveco 2019 product brochure banner

Adveco 2019 Product Overview now available

For almost 50 years, Adveco Ltd. and sister-company Adveco (AWP) Ltd. (trading as AO Smith Water Heaters) have been the trusted specialist providers of bespoke hot water, heating and power systems to the building services industry.

Adveco brochure - product overview 2019.

Adveco 2019 Product Brochure

Adveco continues to innovate today, working in exclusive partnership with Europe’s most reputable manufacturers to design, supply and support more than a thousand commercial boiler, hot water, solar thermal and cogeneration systems every year. The 2019 Adveco Product Overview Brochure serves as a quick reference document covering a wide range of Adveco and A.O.Smith 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); packaged plant rooms and bespoke system offerings.

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.

Hard copy versions of the brochure will be available from December, please get in touch if you wish to request a copy. Or download the digital version now.