Posts

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 CO2 emissions.

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.

If your business or organisation is looking to

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

Non-domestic RHI gains 12–month extension

Originally set to finish at the end of March 2021, and in response to delays caused to building projects by COVID-19, the Government’s non-domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) has received a 12-month extension. In response to concerns raised by stakeholders that a significant number of existing projects would fail to meet the scheme closure application deadline of 31st March 2021, affected projects are now able to submit an extension application.

Those existing projects unable to commission and accredit to the scheme before the previous deadline now can extend these processes until 31 March 2022.

With increasing pressure to decarbonise in line with the Government’s ambitious net zero targets, the preservation of reliable and continued funding for the commercial sector is critical if organisations are to be further encouraged in the adoption of future-proof sustainable developments. With no clear, immediate replacement for the RHI, concerns had been raised regarding the lack of incentivisation for the commercial sector, as new schemes focussed on domestic installations. Given around 40% of UK greenhouse gas emissions are accounted for by heating, cooling, ventilation, the provision of hot water and lighting the built environment, and some 17% is generated by commercial building stock, it is clear that more help is required to drive the uptake of renewables and more sustainable systems if the UK is to achieve climate-neutral buildings by 2050.

Designed to provide financial incentives to increase the uptake of renewable heat by businesses, the public sector and non-profit organisations, the non-domestic RHI is currently applicable to air source heat pumps, such as the Adveco FPi range and L70, and solar thermal for commercial uses including large and small businesses, plus schools and hospitals. Administrated by Ofgem on behalf of the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), tier one of the RHI incentivises non-domestic energy producers for either the life of the installation or 20 years as a maximum. If conditions are met, with equipment, including a generation meter, being installed by a microgeneration certification scheme (MCS) accredited installer, eligible businesses in England, Scotland and Wales will now continue to be paid for installations completed and commissioned before 2022.

Once successfully accredited, systems will receive quarterly payments per kilowatt-hour (kWth) of energy use, however, if metered as a multiple system, which includes either ASHP or solar thermal and a gas boiler, then payment is made purely for the heat generated by the heat pump or solar thermal aspect of the application.

The current 2020/21 (non-domestic) tariff are:

  • For new air source heat pumps – 2.79(p/kWh)*
  • For new solar thermal collectors less than 200kWth in size (tier 1) – 10.98(p/kWh)*

For specifiers and developers installing renewable heating systems on commercial buildings or small-to-medium-scale district heating projects, the extension also provides crucial financial support ahead of the Green Heat Network Scheme (GHNS) coming into force in April 2022.

*For more information on non-domestic RHI and the full conditions of eligibility, refer to the energy regulator Ofgem.

SSI 1500 Stainless Steel Indirect

Is a Calorifier Right for My Project?

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 temperature, 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.

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 low level to serve as an indirect calorifier in DHW installations. For more complex and renewable-based systems, the Stainless Steel Twin-Coil (SST) range offers 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.

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 their 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 become 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 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.

Discover more about Adveco water heating and how we can help size your DHW application.

 

Solar collector panels.

Solar Thermal – Proven Route to Sustainability

A.O. Smith Solar Thermal SGS system

The A.O. Smith Solar Thermal SGS system

Solar thermal represents a vital component for addressing sustainability within commercial organisations. Obviously, solar thermal systems are most productive in the summer months, when there is most sunlight, so this does result in the additional need for non-renewable energy sources during the winter months. Despite this, sustainability is more than achievable, and Adveco will design applications and package the appropriate technology. The A.O. Smith SGS solar water heater with IT storage vessel is a perfect example of a sustainable application. The intelligent solar control of the system ensures maximum efficiency. Even with little solar input, the required hot water temperature is guaranteed by the gas burner operating as a back-up system.

SGS System in situ on North Cumbria Police Headquarters’ award-winning ‘green roof’.

SGS System in situ on North Cumbria Police Headquarters’ award-winning ‘green roof’.

An example of this application in practice is the North Cumbria Police Headquarters’ award-winning ‘green roof’. The building incorporates an A.O. Smith SGS 60-ITE 750 solar system. The solar heat input collected by the 2×5 solar collectors (on-roof-frame construction) is transferred to the available hot water supplies via the ITE 750 which is controlled together with the collectors by the SGS 60. With the use of a single system controller the SGS 60 only fires its high efficiency condensing gas burner when hot water demand outstrips the available stored and solar heat input.

When Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council’s Ponsonby Building was refurbished into a stylish working environment for more than 450 staff, 12 solar collectors were installed on the outside wall feeding an A.O. Smith ITS 1000 to meet the hot water demand. The ITS, an indirect tank, is fitted with two coils. In solar configuration, the upper coil is connected to the primary circuit (boiler) whilst the lower coil is connected to the solar circuit. The top coil after-heats the water if the solar contribution is insufficient. The lower coil transfers the solar contribution which is collected by the solar collectors.

If a solar thermal application is designed to leverage the Government’s non-domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), this adds a new revenue stream that helps to increase return on investment and reduce the payback period.

Designed to provide financial incentives to increase the uptake of renewable heat by businesses, the public sector and non-profit organisations, the Government has spent £550m to date on non-domestic RHI to reduce carbon emissions. RHI is currently applicable to solar thermal for commercial uses including large and small businesses, plus schools and hospitals. Administrated by Ofgem on behalf of the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), tier one of the RHI incentivises non-domestic energy producers for either the life of the installation or 20 years as a maximum. If conditions are met, with equipment, including a generation meter, being installed by a microgeneration certification scheme (MCS) accredited installer, eligible businesses in England, Scotland and Wales will continue to be paid for installations completed and commissioned before 2021. After 31 March 2021 new installations may not receive any form of subsidy.

Successful systems will them receive quarterly payments per kilowatt hour (kWth) of energy use, however, if your system is metered as a multiple system, which includes both solar thermal and a gas boiler, then payment is made purely for the heat generated by the solar thermal aspect of the application.

Changes to, or a replacement for, the scheme after March next year are currently to be finalised, but whilst the expectation is that solar thermal will play a role in the long-term decarbonisation of heating in the UK, the technology is not deemed a stand-alone solution for phasing out fossil fuels within buildings. As such, the current Government’s stance under the incoming Green Heat Grant is that the technology will not be supported under the new policy mechanism.

The current 2020 tier 1 (non-domestic) tariff for new solar thermal collectors less than 200kWth in size is 10.98(p/kWh)*.

No single technology currently provides the ‘magic bullet’ of sustainability, but for organisations with long-term vision and a willingness to invest in sustainability, solar thermal when correctly sized, commissioned and protected from overheat, is a proven and practical technology for securing on-premise DHW. When delivered in conjunction with other technologies, including high-efficiency gas and electric heaters, micro-CHP and ASHP, you can future-proof a hot water system whilst making substantial savings in operational costs and dramatically reducing emissions all year round.

*For more information on non-domestic RHI and the full conditions of eligibility, refer to the energy regulator Ofgem.

Read more about Solar Thermal from Adveco