Tag Archive for: solar thermal

Building Sustainability Into Commercial DHW

For more than fifty years, Adveco has been a leading innovator providing domestic hot water (DHW) applications for commercial-scale projects across the UK. Today its focus is shifting to encompass a blend of traditional and new, more renewable technologies in the form of solar thermal and especially heat pumps building sustainability into commercial DHW systems.

With a predicted one-third rise in non-domestic floor space by 2050, much of the current focus resides on new builds, but this still leaves more than 1.6 million pre-existing non-domestic buildings in England and Wales, generating almost one-fifth of the UK’s carbon emissions, needing expert, practical support.

Air source heat pumps (ASHP) have become the poster child technology for the government’s net zero strategy and therefore a core tool for building sustainability into commercial DHW systems.  The advantage of ASHPs is that, with performance greater than 100%, they can extract additional energy from outside of the building’s metered systems delivering significant carbon savings. For a commercial DHW system, it is recommended that a working water temperature from the ASHP, such as Adveco’s FPi32 or L70, must be at least 55°C. This is certainly attainable from current generation ASHPs when deployed in a hybrid approach. This uses the ASHP as preheat and combines it with either gas-fired or more preferably an electric top-up to achieve the required hot water temperature. This is where the additional system complexity and cost can creep in. But by correctly balancing a system through a mix of physical spacing in the vessel and system monitoring with dedicated controls, as developed for the Adveco FUSION, the system no longer fights itself, working seamlessly to deliver the highest operational efficiencies

In line with the European Commission’s proposal for a tightening of F-Gas regulations, development work continues at pace to support the introduction of R290, or propane as it is more commonly known. This refrigerant offers a coefficient of performance (COP) that enables working flow temperatures from an ASHP of up to 75°C and potentially much higher. This means future commercial systems can be less complex, without the need for additional electric immersion for high-temperature top-up and flushing for legionella protection. That said, immersions remain perfectly suitable for low-demand backup applications in boiler-fed indirect cylinders, ensuring business-critical DHW demands are met.

What we have seen more recently though is a shift in use, where immersions are used ‘directly’ in high-demand commercial applications as the primary heat source. An electric immersion heater has a high heat intensity compared to gas or indirect and, when coupled with high operating temperatures and hard water will increase the rate of scale formation which, over time, will cause the element to rupture.

In response, protecting a system from limescale is often only addressed by a vigorous cleaning regime. This method has a cost and downtime associated with it that is not acceptable for many commercial buildings.  For this reason, minimisation of scale formation with a water softener or a scale inhibitor may be adopted, but for many sites neither provides a satisfactory response because of space, maintenance, downtime, or cost.  A better option for these sites would be to replace the immersion heaters with a low-scale forming hot water system.

The new Adveco ARDENT electric boiler range provides a proven and cost-effective answer. Electric boilers still utilise immersion heaters located in a small tank heat exchanger within the boiler housing. This electric boiler supplies a sealed ‘primary’ loop to an indirect coil in the cylinder. The electric boiler heats the same water continuously so there is only a finite amount of scale in the system which will not damage the elements. The heat exchanger in the cylinder is a large coil operating at relatively low temperatures. Adveco’s extensive experience with indirect coil use in the UK has shown that scale is not a significant problem in these systems. The electric boiler operates at the same efficiency as an electric immersion heater (100%) so the only overall difference in system efficiency is the minimal pump electrical consumption and a small amount of heat loss in the pipework.

An electric boiler hot water system will take up a little more space than an all-in-one electric cylinder, but it has more versatility and requires less clearance for the cylinder. Similarly priced to an immersion heater, an electric boiler-based system will cost slightly more due to the small amount of additional installation work. But with virtually no maintenance and the cylinder forming significantly less scale, vastly improving reliability, the operational and maintenance savings will offset these additional capital costs. The electric boiler additionally offers a level of redundancy that is not achieved with a single immersion heater.

As the limitation on new gas grid connections for heating systems becomes effective this year, it will become critical for system longevity to recognise the new challenges electric-only presents over more familiar gas-based applications. If a business already uses gas, then it can still upgrade to new gas appliances until 2035, with 100% hydrogen-ready options extending that window well into the 2040s based on current appliance lifespan.

Adveco continues to support the refurbishment of existing buildings, recently extending its ranges of direct-fired condensing water heaters – the AD and the ADplus. Both ranges provide a compact, floor-standing design that is easy to introduce into an existing plant room to provide high-demand semi-instantaneous and instantaneous hot water applications.  Improved combustion efficiency means the burner requires less gas, delivering up to 30% savings in fuel consumption, making it more cost-effective, while reducing emissions.  For smaller on-demand needs, ADplus heats only what is necessary, with no ignition for smaller withdrawals providing considerable additional energy savings. Both AD and ADplus as a result exhibit ultra-low NOX (Class 6 appliance at 27 mg/kWh) and CO emissions (19ppm). With the government already committed to enabling the blending of hydrogen in the gas grid, it is also worth noting that these latest generation direct-fired condensing water heaters will already support the initial 20% hydrogen/natural gas blend.

Together, these technologies offer actual development arcs right now for existing commercial properties that are currently on gas, or new builds seeking to embrace low or no emission choices building sustainability into commercial DHW systems for more environmentally friendly operations that will help organisations achieve net zero by 2050.

Public Sector Funding for Decarbonisation

The government has launched its latest phase of public sector funding for decarbonisation, dedicating up to £635m for building upgrades to improve energy efficiency and install a range of clean technologies through schools, hospitals, and other public buildings.

Forming part of a wider £2.5bn programme, Phase 3 of the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme is providing £1.425 billion of grant funding over the financial years 2022-2023 to 2024-2025. The funding aims to support the government’s goal of reducing emissions from public sector buildings by 75 per cent by 2037, compared to 2017 levels, as set out in the Net Zero and Heat and Buildings strategies.

As the government looks to tackle soaring energy costs, it is intended that the funding will support a wider reduction in energy bills, to the tune of up to £650m a year over the next 15 years. As we have outlined, reducing emissions and energy costs do not necessarily go hand in hand, especially if working with heat pumps to supply hot water.

According to The Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) 734 grants had been awarded to public sector organisations across England to date, with phase one of the scheme supporting up to 30,000 jobs in the clean heating and energy efficiency sectors.

Applications for public sector funding for decarbonisation open from September and the government has issued guidance on how public bodies can apply for the latest wave of funding to be delivered on behalf of the government by Salix Finance, which also provides financing packages to help public sector bodies undertake energy-saving projects.

Salix Finance chief executive, Annie Shepperd, has urged public sector organisations across the country to move quickly to curb their energy use ahead of the significant increases in energy costs that are widely expected this winter.

“There is no time like the present to push forward with the decarbonisation agenda as our country must meet its ambitious targets to reduce our carbon footprint and reduce our consumption of very costly energy,” she said. “This vital work is driving down our carbon footprint and making these buildings better places for people to work in and for the public to use.”

Business and Energy Minister Lord Callanan said, “By helping even more public sector bodies ditch costly fossil fuels, we are taking an important step towards a more sustainable future while driving economic growth across the country and continuing to support tens of thousands of jobs.”  He also claimed that the scheme was already delivering upgrades to “hundreds of public buildings across England, making them cheaper to run and saving taxpayers millions of pounds each year”.

While such claims relating to public sector funding for decarbonisation should be appropriate to new build structures, upgrading existing buildings is a far more complex activity than these statements suggest. The focus on decarbonisation to address climate change is the only clear guaranteed deliverable at this time with the technology being promoted, which is predominantly heat pumps. Further work needs to be done by the government to push other technology opportunities, such as solar systems and especially solar thermal for water heating which has become an increasingly cost-effective and proven approach and hydrogen blend in the grid if cost savings are to be factored into the argument for embracing green initiatives at a commercial grade.


AdvecoAdveco is committed to helping companies become net zero through efficient commercial heating and hot water systems.

Discuss carbon reduction in your next project by calling 01252 551 540 or visit the contact page.

Heat Pumps – The Cost Of Reducing Emissions

With the government strongly advocating the use of heat pumps as a method of delivering net zero targets for commercial properties, we have noticed the trend for broad statements implying that while cutting emissions, heat pumps also reduce the energy costs for a building. It’s just not that simple argues Adveco’s UK sales manager Greg Brushett. So what is the cost of reducing emissions?

We strongly support the advantages of heat pumps as part of an all-electric or hybrid domestic hot water (DHW) system to achieve carbon savings. With DHW equating to as much as 20% of the total energy demand for domestic buildings and anywhere from 10-70% for commercial properties, it is important to clarify how heat pumps are being employed in a building’s system.

With a gas-fired system, you can achieve a safe DHW storage temperature without a significant impact on the overall efficiency but with a heat pump you need to either force the compressor to work very hard, which will reduce the Coefficient of Performance (COP) or, in a lot of cases, use the heat pump to partially heat the hot water and then use an immersion heater  – which has a COP of just 1.0 and therefore higher energy costs – to do the remaining work. If you are willing to accept this extra cost, working flow temperatures of 50- 55°C from the heat pump to an electric or hybrid DHW system are more than achievable year-round in the UK, and emissions will be dramatically reduced.

However, broad statements such as “heat pumps reduce costs” or “gas boilers remain more economic to run than heat pumps” are inherently misleading.

A heat pump can supply a properly insulated building’s heating system completely, and if designed well enough, can achieve a COP of 3.0, or slightly more, giving a similar yearly cost (within 10%) to that of a gas-fired heating system This would also be more attainable with the recent change in gas and electricity prices.

The same is not true of a hot water system. Following initial modelling and analysing reports from live systems a hot water hybrid system that achieves 50°C with an overall COP of 2.76 and uses an immersion heater to top up to 60°C has an overall efficiency of 2.4 based on the weighted average. Using these results, the running costs of the system are seen to be significantly higher than a gas system. However, the argument does demonstrate that incorporating heat pumps into an electric-only DHW system shows considerable savings over a COP of 1.0. Partnering this with other technologies such as solar thermal will only increase the benefits.

Benefits or efficiency?

Making the right choice between heat pump or gas depends on what an organisation is intending – whether seeking active emission reduction now, or, if already on gas, securing cost-saving operation until sustainable technology further matures, and costs fall.

Heat pumps can give incredible carbon emission savings for existing buildings, but as a way to reduce energy costs, replacing a gas-fired boiler/water heater with a heat pump doesn’t always add up. Commercial properties have unique demands, especially for DHW, making better application design and installation all the more important when it comes to specifying the right technology. Be wary of claims being made regarding the application of heat pumps, especially for the provision of DHW when it comes to calculating the cost of reducing emissions.

Future Climate Now

It may seem counter-intuitive to be talking about the need for hot water as the country is potentially about to experience the hottest day on record, but there is absolute sense when we accept that the current weather extreme is a sign of future climate developments and why it is critical UK organisation begin planning responses now.

On Monday, temperatures in Suffolk peaked at 38.1C, just shy of the record 38.7C set in 2019. The UK has seen high temperatures in the past, the famed summer of ’76 actually peak at 35.6C but it lasted throughout July and August of that year. The current heatwave is set to break in a matter of a week, so is this really that big an issue? In short, the answer is yes according to the majority of climate scientists who see these weather extremes as a sign of climate change, which means in the coming years we will experience more extreme climate events and they will occur more often.

According to the Met Office, the conditions causing the current extreme heat are ten time more likely as a result of the average world temperatures rising just over 1C beyond levels seen prior to industrialisation. That means we are now experiencing – according to the UN’s climate science body, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – the hottest period for 125,000 years. This is why the UN set a limit on global temperature increases to 1.5C higher than pre-industrial levels in order to avoid the most dangerous impacts of future climate change.

The cause of this accelerated warming are greenhouse gas emissions resulting from the burning of coal, oil and gas. Pushing trapped carbon dioxide concentrations to the highest levels in more than two million years, heat becomes trapped in the atmosphere leading to the temperature extremes we are seeing today.

Last year’s UN conference on climate, COP26, painted a stark picture for future climate. If global policy on climate change were to be implemented as promised then the expectation was for a temperature rise of 2.4C from pre-industrial levels by the end of the century, meaning current temperatures would be mild in comparison. This is why the ambitious target of reducing emissions to prevent global temperatures exceeding 1.5C was agreed upon. To achieve this, emissions need to have reached a peak by as late as 2025, before being effectively halved by 2030 leading to further scaling back to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

To put that into perspective, according to the IPCC, there needs to be a minimum reduction in emissions of 43% by the end of the decade, yet as the world came out of the pandemic energy emissions grew last year, by more than 4% in the UK and more than 6% globally to the tune of some 36.3 billion tonnes of CO².

What is clear, according to the Climate Change Committee (CCC), is that the UK’s progress towards net zero is woefully inadequate. Government strategies for the public sector, which is expected to lead by example, are still focused on information gathering with the intent to drive the adoption of new low-carbon technologies from 2025, which feels too little too late. Particularly when you start to factor in the capital costs of instigating a wholesale shift in the way buildings are heated and hot water supplied to meet core business needs.

The commercial built sector is especially complex, and the scale of the challenge is daunting both in terms of new build and refurbishing existing building stock not necessarily designed to work with new low carbon technology. There are more than 1.6 million pre-existing non-domestic buildings in England and Wales, generating almost one-fifth of the UK’s carbon emissions, needing expert, practical support. By 2050, there is also a predicted 35% rise in demand for non-domestic floor space.

Initially, the hope is that proven technology, especially heat pumps, can make a major improvement to the sector, helping to decrease emissions. Space heating is problematic for older buildings where the very fabric of the building will influence the efficient operation of the technology, meaning extensive refurbishment is required. For hot water systems (DHW) this is not the case, and heat pumps and all-electric applications hold huge potential for reducing emissions by as much as 70%. Savings can also be achieved through the application of solar thermal, which can work in conjunction with heat pumps, but also critically existing gas-fired systems to deliver emission reductions right now.

July’s extreme weather should be seen as both a warning of future climate change and a rallying cry to the entire commercial sector to look at what you can do better with what you have now and what you want to build in the coming decades. Adveco has the expertise to help you answer those questions and begin delivering better DHW applications now because there is very little doubt that in the near future the government will need to introduce more aggressive policy that will mandate change. Better then to control the timeframe and plan your transition toward net zero in a way that is most meaningful to your business from the perspectives of cost to corporate social responsibility.

Rooftop Solar – now is the time to act

Rooftop Solar – now is the time to act

Rooftop solar has hit the headlines with the publishing of the REPowerEU strategy by the European Commission.  Incorporating three main elements – energy savings, diversification of energy supplies and accelerated roll-out of renewable energy, the Commission is proposing an increase in its target for renewables to produce 45% of the EU’s energy by 2030, up from 40%.

As part of the renewable energy roll-out, the strategy has outlined a major initiative for the installation of rooftop solar panels. Initial details suggested the strategy would push countries to use EU funding and launch support programmes for rooftop solar panels and install solar energy in all suitable public buildings by 2025. EU and national governments were also to take action this year to limit permitting times to within three months for a more rapid rollout of rooftop installations.

As in the UK, solar turnaround had yet to be formally addressed by the EU, even though it is a proven technology.

Countries including Spain, Austria and Lithuania had been petitioning Brussels to tackle the issue with legal tools, such as requiring new buildings to have solar rooftops on flat roofs, public buildings and supermarkets across Europe, rather than relying on current voluntary schemes.

With the publication of the proposed strategy, the EU has opted to go much further in its support of solar, requiring all new buildings be fitted with rooftop solar panels. The ‘solar rooftop initiative’ would bring in a legal obligation to install solar panels on public and commercial buildings, as well as residential properties, constructed within European Union territory.

The mandatory solar panel proposal encompasses both solar PV for the production of electricity and solar thermal for water heating as part of the Union’s desire to quickly phase out dependency on Russian gas, oil and coal imports. This process would require doubling the bloc’s capacity for capturing solar power, as well as deploying twice as many heat pumps. Meanwhile, the Commission has suggested upping its energy efficiency target through cutting consumption by 13 per cent by 2030. The process of mandating solar installation will, it is estimated, cost an extra 210 billion euros, with investment to come from a mixture of the public and private sectors.

The EU’s decision to commit its support to solar makes absolute sense, the technology is well understood, is genuinely renewable and has improved considerably in terms of efficiency making it a more compelling investment with a faster return of investment compared to 10-15 years ago. This is especially the case for solar thermal which rather than generating electricity, transfers energy to water heating systems. For commercial projects, especially refurbishment of existing properties that are on gas, it provides a realistic method for upgrading existing systems. Solar thermal alone will not generate the full hot water demand for a building, but combined with gas-fired or electric top-up heat it can help meet 100% demands, whilst reducing the need for gas. Though complex, solar thermal and heat pumps can also be combined in hybrid DHW systems to further efficiencies and reduce or entirely remove dependence on gas, making the technology a key building block for attaining net zero.

The UK government’s focus on heat pumps and district heat networks is laudable, but both require further development, especially to meet the demands of the commercial sector where much of the legacy building stock would be better served by rooftop solar thermal for sustainable water heating. The complete absence of government strategy, or support for solar technologies in the UK is at best baffling. The hope is that the European Commission’s strategy will influence decision makers in this country to reconsider the advantages of investing in solar as part of our drive towards net zero by 2050.

Learn more about the advantages of deploying solar thermal from Adveco for your building’s hot water.

Adveco Launches The GL Family Of Hot Water Cylinders

Commercial hot water specialist Adveco launches the GL family of low-cost cylinders with a selection of off-the-shelf vessels for commercial hot water (DHW) projects requiring direct electric heating, buffer storage, indirect heating or preheat.

  • A wide range of low-cost commercial storage tanks and calorifiers
  • Direct electric, buffer storage, indirect heating & preheat for hot water applications
  • From 200 litre up to 5000 litre capacity for larger-scale all-electric projects

“Tough enough to deal with water conditions typically encountered across the UK, the new GL family expands options with a versatile choice of vessels with single and double coil variants, as well as no coil and the option for electric immersion to quickly and cost-effectively replace vessels in ageing commercial hot water systems,” said Bill Sinclair, technical director, Adveco.

Adveco GLE

Designed to serve as buffer vessel or electric water heater, the Adveco GLE is available in a range of sizes from 200 to 5000L to support larger all-electric systems. Compatible with a wide choice of direct electric immersion heater options available from Adveco, the GLE supports duty immersions from 3 to 36 kW, as well as secondary supplementary immersions from 3 to 6 kW for additional heating, or as backup to ensure continuity of service from a single unit.

Adveco GLC

Calorifiers with a single fixed indirect heating coil at low level are designed to serve as indirect water heaters or preheat vessels. Available in 200 to 3000 litres capacities, GLC can also accept a 180mm 3-36kW electric immersion.

Adveco GLT

GLT calorifiers are designed to serve as indirect water heaters. The tanks, also available in 200 to 3000 litres capacities incorporate two fixed indirect heating coils, one each at low and high level, designed for use with two separate heat sources.

To prevent corrosion the tanks are constructed from a carbon steel shell with a high-quality inorganic enamel lining. They are suitable for use in systems with maximum working pressure up to 10 bar and temperatures up to 85°C and include as standard a magnesium sacrificial anode (pre-fitted in 300-1000L variants), and a temperature gauge (pre-fitted in tanks up to 1000L).

The vessels are protected by a tough PVC jacket enclosing a rigid high-density polyurethane foam or removeable polyester fibre insulation, pre-fitted for tanks up to 1000L.

The Adveco GL range of storage tanks carries both WRAS and Kiwa’s KUKreg4 certification of product compliance with the water supply (water fittings) regulations for England, Scotland, and NI.

Supporting Ancillaries from Adveco for the GL ranges

  • Electric Immersion Heaters from 3-36 kW (GLE / GLC & GLT 200-500L)
  • E0008/0-95C: Control Thermostat with 0-95°C range
  • E0011: Overheat thermostat
  • MB0001: Destratification pump kit
  • Unvented Kit

Adveco launches the GL family, learn more by visiting the GL product page.

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.

Calorifiers and Hot Water Storage in Corrosive Water Conditions

For many companies, the assured availability of hot water is a business-critical issue, but one that can quickly become costly for those operating in the southwest and northwest of the UK, the Welsh coast and throughout Scotland. With a low pH, low total dissolved solids (TDS) and negligible buffering capacity, these naturally soft water areas prove highly corrosive to glass-lined vessels used as calorifiers and hot water storage.

Glass is, given the right conditions, generally resistant to attack from most chemicals and corrosive materials and easier to clean, making it a popular choice for lining steel vessels used in hot water systems. But corrosion is a complex phenomenon, and in naturally soft water conditions, despite the use of sacrificial anodes, glass-lined vessels can rapidly succumb to critical corrosive damage.

Pressure to Perform

In addition, the taller the structure, the greater the pressure requirements on the system, particularly since a common design choice is to locate the plant room in the basement. In order to meet, even small demands with a consistent, strong flow of hot water systems inevitably are oversized, adopting a larger, often bespoke tank.

This immediately exacerbates the existing threat, as oversizing, or the failure to correctly balance water flow also contributes to system corrosion. Oversizing of the pumps leads to high-velocity hot water circulating through the system and suspended solids in the water are driven against the metal leading to erosional corrosion. This process helps accelerate the soft water corrosion at points where water changes direction, such as when passing into or through tanks.

Glass-lined water vessels used as calorifiers and hot water storage under these conditions can potentially fail due to corrosion in a matter of just months – even with the use of sacrificial anodes. For these reasons, manufacturers will reduce or have even ceased to offer warranties on glass-lined products installed in these soft water regions. As a result, their specification into projects in these regions really can be a false economy.

Change to Resistant

Far more resistant to these water-side assaults are stainless steel vessels. Although there is a higher upfront cost, this would be easily offset by the relative longevity of the appliance. However, projects with smaller, yet higher pressure hot water demands, will still face the issue of oversizing. This further extends capital costs, of products, installation and the need for greater plant room space. As a result, project costs can become prohibitive for stainless steel, resulting in the specifying of the less expensive glass-lined alternatives gambling that they will prove resistant enough in the mid-long term.

Adveco addresses these concerns with its ATSx range of compact stainless steel, high-pressure hot water tanks. Specifically designed to serve as buffer vessels (ATSB) and indirect hot water calorifiers suitable for use with lower capacity, high-pressure commercial applications in soft water areas. The ATSx range provides specifiers and contractors with a wide choice of calorifiers and hot water storage vessels all rated to 10 bar as standard, which are by far the most efficient and cost-effective choice for businesses with smaller system demands.

Another advantage provided by the indirect water heaters in this range (ATSI, ATST, ATSH & ATSR) 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. The twin coil ATSR has been specifically designed for these lower-temperature renewable applications. These calorifiers are also relatively simple to install, since there is no burner, there is no need for a 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 stainless steel calorifier within a hot water system gives you a number of design options, with a large efficient boiler a calorifier can be smaller avoiding unnecessary capital and ongoing operational expenditure. At 200 to 1000 litres the ATSx range provides a compact, tough resolution for lower demands applications in those soft water areas. If your project has pressure requirements greater than six bar, then the ATSx vessels are by far the most efficient and cost-effective choice for your project.

If the boiler is smaller, or demands for hot water are greater, then going too small means the storage could prove inadequate and the system will not achieve its operational requirements. For projects with larger demands or requiring greater customisation Adveco can support the project with the SSB, SSI and SST ranges of bespoke stainless steel calorifiers and hot water storage vessels.

Discover more about the Adveco ATSx range.

Learn more about soft water corrosivity.


Adveco commercial hot water and heating. Speak to Adveco about tackling global warming through efficient, low-carbon commercial hot water and heating systems (For schools, hospitals and care homes too!)

Call us on 01252 551 540 or see our other contact details.

 

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.