Tag Archive for: zero carbon

Extra Gains For Net Zero Restaurants

Commercial hot water specialist Adveco is working in partnership with a global restaurant brand to support the rollout of net zero restaurants demonstrating low emission innovations throughout its chain of UK drive-through and high street franchises.

Through its programme of live metering, Adveco demonstrated that servicing domestic hot water (DHW) water demands of between 1200-1500 litres per day could equate to as much as 20% of total energy usage within the organisation’s target net zero restaurants. A recent refurbishment of a restaurant in the King’s Cross area of London provided an opportunity to address the emissions generated by this provision of hot water for the restaurant. In addition, working within existing building limits means applications need to maximise often limited plant room space. This was especially true of this central London location which also faced problems with limescale due to the hardness of the water supply.

Working to an all-electric specification, Adveco designed an application that would harness a 9kW FPi32 air source heat pump (ASHP) for preheat and supplying additional top-up heat with an ARDENT P 12kW electric boiler. These would supply thermal energy to a mains water-fed compact SST500 stainless steel twin-coil indirect cylinder.

By combining ASHP and an electric boiler Adveco can address many of the complexities associated with integrating ASHPs into existing buildings. This combination enables systems to be sized down, by as much as half in terms of ASHP requirements delivering immediate capital savings as electric boilers are far less expensive compared to an equivalent heat pump. You also immediately reduce the physical size of the system, embodied carbon and demand from the electric supply. Additionally, the system retains redundancy should there ever be a failure.

Balancing a hybrid electric system is key to ensuring efficient operation. Adveco supplied the controls to assure the water heating remains consistent, optimising the ASHP preheat and top-up from the boiler to reduce energy demands and the building’s emissions.

The other advantage of incorporating the ARDENT electric boiler was that it heats water using immersion heaters located in a small tank within the boiler housing rather than directly installed into the hot water tank. This creates a sealed ‘primary’ loop to the indirect coil in the SST500 cylinder. The electric boiler heats the same water continuously so there is only a small, 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 a relatively low (80°C) temperature eliminating the common problems of destructive limescale build-up seen in direct immersion electric heating.

The electric boiler operates at the same efficiency as an electric immersion heater (100%) and so the only overall difference in system efficiency is the minimal pump electrical consumption and a negligible amount of heat loss in the pipework

Although the system takes up a little more space than an all-in-one electric cylinder, it has more versatility. It requires less clearance for the cylinder, so it was compact enough to fit into the extremely limited space allowed for plant in the restaurant. With the cylinder forming significantly less scale, the restaurant has gained from vastly improved reliability while reducing maintenance demands, for both operational and maintenance savings on top of crucial emission reductions.

Visit the Adveco restaurant resource for more guidance on delivering low carbon and renewables to help achieve net zero restaurants by 2050, or read our free handbook. 

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.

Adveco ARDENT Electric Boilers For Commercial Hot Water

  • A range of compact wall-mounted and floor-standing electric boilers from 12 – 100 kW
  • Provides high-temperature top-up for heat pumps systems
  • Counters limescale production in hard water areas as part of an indirect DHW system

Commercial hot water specialist Adveco, announces the range of commercial ARDENT electric boilers. Encompassing wall-hung and floor-standing variants with heat outputs from 12 to 100 kW, ARDENT provides an easy-to-integrate, high capacity, reliable, and compact response for electric hot water and central heating demands in commercial buildings.

“Designed to serve an indirect water heater or heating system, multiple electric heating elements immersed into ARDENT’s integrated water storage tank provide a rapid and reliable source of thermal energy for those seeking to avoid a reliance on gas energy supplies,” said Bill Sinclair, technical director, Adveco. “ARDENT can be combined with heat pump systems to provide a high-temperature energy source during the coldest months, or, as part of an indirect hot water system, can help eliminate damaging scale build-up commonly seen on direct electrical immersion heaters.”

The front-mounted controller with an LCD display provides intuitive control. With stepped power control and integrated overheat protection, ARDENT reduces start-up current and provides optimum heating output. ARDENT economically adjusts the heating load when approaching the set point temperature and range rating to tailor the boiler power to suit the application and reduce wear on the heating elements.

The compact wall-hung ARDENT is available in two ranges, ADRENT Standard and ARDENT Plus, offering outputs from 12 to 36 kW with multiple heating elements that provide built-in redundancy.

The ARDENT Standard 24 kW and 36 kW models feature one to three heating elements with thermostat input and output control to an external pump.

The ARDENT Plus 9 kW, 12kW and 24 kW models feature six to nine heating elements a front-mounted controller with LCD display, and as well as an integrated expansion vessel, relief valve, and circulation pump. Additional controls for a 3-port valve and fault output are also included.

For larger-scale applications, ARDENT electric boilers are also available as a floor-standing appliances with 60 kW, 80 kW and 100 kW heat outputs. Stepped element control is included, as well as an automatic air relief valve, safety valve, and temperature and pressure sensors. The integral controller boasts an LCD display and fault output.

-ends-

Additional Information

  • Wall-mounted ARDENT S & P has a protective IP40-rated outer shell. ARDENT floor standing models are rated IP20.

Adveco FUSION & AD Selected as Finalists in 2022 HVR Awards

  • Adveco AD Water Heater range is named a finalist in the  Commercial Heating Product of the Year category
  • Adveco FUSION named a finalist in the Heat Pump Product of the Year category

Hot water specialist Adveco is proud to announce it has been named a finalist in the 2022 HVR Awards. Adveco’s FUSION hybrid hot water system has been named a finalist in the Heat Pump Product of the Year category. Adveco’s AD Water Heater range has been selected for the HVR 2021 Commercial Heating Product of the Year category.

The Heating & Ventilation Review (HVR) Awards champion innovation, excellence and achievement across the heating and ventilation industry.

Greg Brushett, sales manager UK, Adveco, said, “We are extremely pleased to be once again named finalist in the 2022 HVR Awards, illustrating our continuous innovation of products designed to support the provision of commercial hot water.  Both of these products are perfect examples of Adveco leading the charge for low emission and more cost-effective responses to the delivery of business-critical hot water demands. Whether working on a new building or refurbishing legacy building stock,  for any organisation struggling to understand how it can better support the call to meet net zero by 2050 Adveco leads the way with practical answers today.”

Adveco’s FUSION FPH-S hybrid hot water system provides a range of low carbon, all-electric ASHP-based packaged hybrid hot water applications. The complexity and typical requirements of bespoke hybrid systems for commercial applications can make the integration of heat pumps in DHW systems more expensive and complex to install compared to traditional gas-fired alternatives. FUSION removes this complexity with its pre-sized options which harness Adveco’s FPi32 Air Source Heat Pumps with a compact, high-pressure ATSH calorifier with electric immersion. With dedicated controls and metering, FUSION provides a complete, low-carbon hot water system for a wide range of commercial end uses.

The Adveco FPi32 provides the system with a compact monobloc-designed air-to-water heat pump providing preheated hot water at a working temperature of 50°C. The FPi32 range leverages R32 refrigerant to enhance year-round efficiency (COP as high as 5.23) while reducing the global warming potential (GWP), thereby lowing environmental impact. For a project that has to drive sustainability within the building but also meet pressure requirements greater than six bar, then the FUSION is by far the most efficient and cost-effective choice.

The Adveco AD offers a range of compact commercial semi-instantaneous gas condensing water heaters composed of four models, from 70 to 280 kW. Conceived for high-demand semi-instantaneous hot water applications, Adveco AD’s patented space-saving design makes it equally applicable to both new projects or renovation work where a lack of space would traditionally stall or quickly drive up costs of a project. The perfect all-rounder, especially in soft and softened commercial hot water applications, exceptional operational responsiveness and highly effective performance means AD can also be deployed in order to supply peak demands and redundancy for commercial buildings with an existing gas connection and large-scale ASHP to water systems.

The HVR Awards will be announced on September 29th 2022.


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.

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.

The Path to Decarbonising UK Cities

At the time of publication of the 1.5°C Plan, the UK’s ambition was to achieve an 80% reduction in emissions by 2050. Since then, both national and local climate ambition has increased in terms of decarbonising UK cities to lead reduction.

At a national level, the UK has committed to reach a 68% reduction in emissions by 2030 (relative to 1990 levels) and to reach net zero emissions by 2050. For London, the quoted aim is to commit to moving that net zero target from 2050 to 2030.

Successfully decarbonising UK cities before 2050 could follow several potential pathways, with London defining likely routes to achieving net zero early.

Two scenarios, high electrification, and high hydrogen are closest to current UK-wide targets, with a target 68% reduction in emissions by 2030 relative to 1990 levels. High electrification favours electrification of heat and transport, whilst high hydrogen assumes that hydrogen is available at scale in the long term. With a commitment to a more ambitious retrofit programme, these scenarios represent the maximum level of residual emissions considered to be still compatible with a 2030 Net Zero target.

High electrification and high hydrogen slightly exceed national targets, with high electrification modelled to decarbonise faster (27% residual emissions in 2030) due to the reliance of high hydrogen converting the gas grid which happens after 2030 (30% residual emissions in 2030). The high hydrogen scenario is the most optimistic about the role that hydrogen will play in that it assumes there will be a conversion of the existing gas grid to hydrogen in the post-2030 period. Conversion in that scenario begins in the early-to-mid-2030s, with completion by 2045, and total demand reaching 26 TWh/year in 2050 (compared to the current demand of close to 60 TWh/year natural gas). Both scenarios only reach 10% emissions in the early 2040s.

Accelerating the process of decarbonising UK cities successfully requires local authorities, the private sector and public bodies to all engage in a proactive role in driving the transition to net zero. These scenarios are therefore further refined under ‘no constraints’ or ‘accelerated green’ delivery.

With no constraint over the short timeframe from costs or local influence to implement challenging policies, such as early scrappage of boilers and vehicles, a significantly accelerated decarbonisation pathway is opened to meet the minimum achievable residual emissions by 2030. Due to the pace of decarbonisation required, technology options will necessarily be limited to those that are currently available or will certainly be available by the late 2020s, with a high reliance on widespread electrification. Modelling shows that 14% residual emissions (relative to 1990 levels) are achieved by 2030, falling to 10% shortly after, in 2033 when there are no constraints. This is considered the maximum level of emissions reduction possible by 2030 (minimum residual emissions) and relies on the deployment of very ambitious levels of behaviour change toward electrification of heat and transport, supported by significant supportive policy at the national and regional levels.

The accelerated green scenario represents an intermediate option which aims to reach the lowest possible residual emissions by 2030 without boiler and vehicle scrappage. The city would decarbonise as rapidly as possible while leaving long-term technology options open. This would mean allowing some heating systems to remain connected to a blended (hydrogen and biomethane) gas grid and a moderate share of pure hydrogen in selected applications.

Without requiring widescale scrappage, the accelerated green approach reaches 22% residual emissions by 2030 and achieves 10% residual emissions in the late 2030s, four years later than the unconstrained approach.

In all scenarios, most remaining emissions in 2030 come from Buildings (40-50%, depending on the scenario) and Transport (38-40%).  Under the published 1.5°C Plan all four scenarios decarbonised less rapidly, such that around 40% of emissions would still remain in 2030.

All scenarios assume varying degrees of hydrogen use. The current technological immaturity of hydrogen production and the need to deploy the Hydrogen that is available to strategically important sectors represents a significant risk factor in the high hydrogen scenario, both in terms of the uncertainty of availability, emissions intensity, and future costs. In all scenarios hydrogen therefore only plays a small but strategic role in meeting the net zero by 2030 target.

Without constraints, early action on decarbonising UK cities ultimately offers the lowest cost pathway by 2060 with the added benefit of lower ongoing fuel costs than in other scenarios. But without the full support of all key players, expectations are likely to fall in favour of the lowest cost and least disruptive scenario presented.

Without carbon costs, high hydrogen is the lowest cost scenario, largely due to lower technology costs associated with gas boilers (H2 or biomethane) compared to heat pumps. Despite the lower CAPEX costs in the high hydrogen scenario, the perceived higher fuel costs expected to heat a building using a hydrogen boiler over a heat pump, mean that the cumulative costs for high hydrogen will eventually increase above the other scenarios. But familiar boiler/water heater technology, less installation disruption and the potential for future capping of costs on green hydrogen continue to drive the positive outlook for the technology as a means of achieving early success in decarbonising UK cities.

 

Source: Element Energy Report, 2022 – Analysis of a Net Zero 2030 Target for Greater London

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.

UK Progress Towards Net Zero

There has been a great deal of talk about the decarbonisation of this country but what has been the UK progress towards net zero so far?

A new progress report by the independent Climate Change Committee (CCC) has been damning. Despite the UK having a solid Net Zero strategy in place, the CCC has identified “major failings” in government delivery programmes designed to achieve climate change in the UK by 2050. The CCC notes that once again emissions are on the rise, up 4% in 2021 compared with 2020, which it directly associates with the economy beginning the process of post-COVID-19 recovery.

From a lack of tangible progress in policy ambition and slow progress on wider enables, the UK is in danger of failure in building on the apparent success of COP26 last November. While the UK presidency of the UN COP26 climate summit strengthened long-term global ambition and introduced new mechanisms to support delivery it has not yet prioritised making those new mechanisms work in practice. Greater emphasis and focus now must be placed on the delivery of the agreed emission path, with the caveat that not all policies will deliver as planned.

In response, the CCC progress report lists more than 300 recommendations that must be addressed between now and 2024 if the UK is to be successful in delivering net zero by 2050.

Following the Heat & Building Strategy for England, the CCC has called for more detail on the modelled pathway for low-carbon heat, and planned breakdown of funding announced in the Scotland Heat in Buildings Strategy; a coherent, long-term strategy for heat and energy efficiency in Northern Ireland; and further work to build on the plans set out in Net Zero Wales Carbon Budget 2. This should include policies to support low-carbon heating across all of the building stock.

In addressing the UK progress towards net zero the CCC identifies the need for a final policy plan for the market-based approach to low-carbon heat. This must include a clear explanation of how the obligation on manufacturers or energy suppliers will work, whether enabling legislation is required, and a timeline for implementation. It should also include details on how the Government will track whether the policy is driving the required market growth, and identify trigger points for further intervention (e.g. funding, regulation) if progress falls behind.

Missing The BUS

The current Boiler Upgrade Scheme, which can be used by small businesses as well as homes, requires an awareness campaign to drive demand, alongside an increase in available funding as required so that those who want a heat pump through the scheme can get one. This mirror’s findings from the Ground Source Heat Pump Association (GSHPA) that show the £450 million scheme is yet to deliver increased demand for heat pumps. According to Ofgem, during the period 23 May to 30 June 2022, only 169 vouchers were redeemed for <45kWth heat pumps (air source and ground source) and biomass heating. Off the back of this scheme, there remains a clear need to grow and upskill the workforce will support the Government’s pathways for low-carbon heat and energy efficiency and fill the skills gap identified in the Heat and Buildings Strategy.

Regulation & Enforcement

What is clear is that achieving change requires policy backed by mandated regulations. These include published targets for the roll-out from now until 2037 of heat pumps that do not use F-gases as a refrigerant, plus plans to phase out boiler replacements in off-grid non-residential buildings from 2024, and consult on introducing an earlier phase-out date for gas boilers in non-residential buildings.

Consultation is also required on a full technical specification for the Future Buildings Standard in 2023 to ensure the new standards are implemented by 2025. The intent is to see the delivery of new buildings which are resilient to climate change impacts, with ultra-high energy efficiency standards and low-carbon heating. This should be supported by improvements to the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) and Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP) framework to ensure they drive the deployment of the necessary energy efficiency and low-carbon heat. Proposals are also put forward for minimum EPC in owner-occupied commercial buildings. Minimum EPC standards must also be enforced, including consideration of additional measures to monitor compliance of qualified installers, approved inspectors and EPC assessors, and providing local areas with sufficient resources to undertake assessments.

Public Sector Charged With Taking The Lead

To meet ambitious Government targets and show leadership in public sector buildings decarbonisation, public sector organisations, including those not captured by the Greening Government Commitments, must have the information and support they need to: monitor their energy use, set targets and reduce emissions from their estate over the next five years.

All public sector buildings should halve emissions by 2032.

This requires the development and implantation of plans for a zero carbon remit. To do this will require an increase in multi-year funding commitments for decarbonisation in public buildings up until 2025 to match the Government’s ambition for public sector decarbonisation and commit to continuing similar levels of funding beyond 2025. Proportionate mechanisms should be put in place to review overall progress and recurring challenges. To achieve this the government needs to publish the completed carbon and water management plan and the sustainability management plan that is under development. The plan should include clear pathways for reaching Greening the Government Commitment targets for halving emissions from public buildings.

The assessment of whole-life carbon and material use in private and public construction projects should be mandatory by 2025, to enable minimum standards to be set. The whole life carbon assessment should be sought at the planning stage to enable efforts to reduce embodied carbon and materials.

Strategy & Assessment For Small To Medium Commercial Organisations

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMES) require improved engagement, particularly high-emission, low-engagement businesses. The recommendation is for a package of measures including a one-stop shop for SMEs to get decarbonisation advice with a carbon footprinting tool, develop a strengthened low-carbon advisor/auditor role for SMEs and develop an effective financing strategy to support SME decarbonisation.

This should be driven by a performance-based rating scheme with a published timeline for offices and other building types, outlining how timelines correspond to the expected emissions reduction trajectory of commercial buildings in the 2020s.

The Government needs to rapidly communicate findings on SME energy efficiency from the new research mentioned in the Heat and Buildings Strategy, and outline plans to ensure SMEs are able to invest in retrofit and energy efficiency measures. This research should support the publishing of clear plans to move towards in-use performance metrics for buildings, with clear timescales and responsibilities. The CCC concludes this should lead to the consideration for moving towards Green Buildings Passports.

Green Needs Green

Recognising that the transition needs to scale up over this decade and that stable funding provides certainty to businesses, and public bodies, what is clear from the progress report is that there remains a lack of comprehensive vision to leverage private financing for the retrofit of UK businesses, with consideration to include green stamp duty, green mortgages, energy as a service, and property-linked finance. In order for successful UK progress towards net zero the Boiler Upgrade Scheme, Local Authority Delivery Scheme, Energy Company Obligation and public sector decarbonisation must continue to be fully funded as required beyond the spending review period.

A Strategy For Education Estates: Sustainability And Climate Change:

As the government pushes for rapid adoption of net zero, the brunt of early development will inevitably fall to the government-funded public sector, in the latest policy paper, the government has outlined a strategy for education estates to address climate change and sustainability.

The government has set a vision for the United Kingdom to be the world-leading education sector in sustainability and climate change by 2030. To achieve this will require education to play a positive role in responding to climate change and inspiring action by supporting the delivery of the government’s 25 Year Environment Plan and Net Zero Strategy.

The strategy applies to the Department for Education (DfE), its agencies and public bodies, as well as early years schools (and independent schools where applicable), further education, higher education and children’s social care. The strategy commits to encouraging children to be close to nature both in and out of school, whilst legislating to meet net zero by 2050 placing a restriction, through legally binding carbon budgets, on the total amount of greenhouse gases the UK can emit over a 5-year period. In the latest, Carbon Budget 6, the UK legislated to reduce emissions by 78% by 2035 compared to 1990 levels.

Strategy For Education Estates: Aims

The government’s vision for the education sector is based on delivering four strategic aims:

  • Excellence in education and skills: through learning and practical experience prepare skill base for delivering a more sustainable future
  • Net zero: by reducing direct and indirect emissions from education buildings and providing opportunities for students to engage practically in the transition to net zero
  • Resilience: adapting education buildings and systems to be resiliently prepared for the effects of climate change
  • A better future environment: enhancing biodiversity, improving air quality and increasing access to nature in and around education settings

Whilst the government has set out a broad holistic approach to addressing sustainability and climate change across the education sector, a considerable portion, through net zero and the need for resilience, directly addresses the buildings within the education estate.

Strategy For Education Estates: Where To Begin?

To reduce energy usage and achieve legal targets for carbon emissions the education sector needs to get a better understanding of the scale of the problem. Schools and universities represent 36% of total UK public sector building emissions with costs being both significant and on the rise. Financial benchmarking shows schools alone were spending around £630m per annum on energy in 2019, with costs rising subsequently.

Adapting existing buildings and designing new ones to respond to climate change and reduce emissions presents a significant challenge. By standardising reporting for decarbonisation and climate resilience the government aims to develop evidence-based actions to support a reduction in energy demand and help adapt buildings to climate risks through innovation in construction that also deliver capital and operational savings. With increased legislation on net zero, consistent reporting will become a necessity. The government’s Net Zero Strategy commits to legislate reporting of emissions if insufficient progress is made voluntarily. It has committed to working with BEIS in the development of guidance on monitoring and reporting for the education sector

This reporting is set to include published risk assessments of overheating of the education estate, to be reviewed on an annual basis from 2023, and on-site emissions from the education estate, baselined by 2024, and progress against national targets published from 2025 onwards. The reports should directly address the requirements of net zero, climate adaptation and decarbonisation activity within education buildings.

This activity is also seen as a way to enhance and contextualise valuable learning opportunities. Through participation, pupils should gain insight into the implementation of climate adaptation measures, learn how buildings can be designed for net zero, and better understand the impacts of energy and water use.

The government’s focus for education estates through until 2025 will involve evidence gathering and reporting on the various new technologies, innovation in sustainable building design, retrofit, and building management to supply further guidance alongside that already to help public sector organisations achieve net zero. Once a best value for money approach is decided upon the process of investment will accelerate.

Strategy For Education Estates: Existing Buildings

The building energy efficiency survey indicates that approximately 60% of energy use in education settings is associated with high carbon intensity fuels such as natural gas, coal and oil. Reducing demand for heating and hot water use, and/or delivering via more sustainable means is a critical need.

For existing buildings, the strategy begins with further trials of smart meters and energy management systems that can help reduce usage and operational costs. Improved collation and use of data on energy usage, water and heat will help to drive individual settings for education buildings. Current delivery of Energy Management Systems in schools which will provide real-time information about energy usage, enabling evidence-based decisions and wider advisory of setting to improve energy efficiency. This is designed to enable Climate Action Plans to be put into place to inform government on the implementation of decarbonisation strategies.

One approach is to address sustainable heating and hot water by providing off-site manufactured, low-carbon, heating systems on the existing school and college estate. These ‘Energy Pods’, similar to Adveco developed packaged plant rooms, are viewed as a potentially strategic approach to safely deliver sustainability for the education estate.

This year the government has also committed to testing the feasibility of replacing school boilers with ground or air source heat pump applications that can be upscaled to accelerate decarbonisation between 2025 and 2035 as part of a wider effort to replace fossil fuel heating systems with low carbon heating.

To support the future retrofit of the education estate and act as catalyst to the construction sector for implementing new technology the government intends to generate building technology pilots. These projects will provide evidence for mitigating the causes of climate change, investigating the resilience of existing buildings and how their environmental conditions can be improved.

Working with BEIS this year, education will be helped with accessing the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, with better-aligned application processes and funding windows. By 2023, all bids for capital funding for further education and higher education will need to consider environmental impact, carbon reduction and adaptation measures, and align with the government’s targets and objectives.

Strategy For Education Estates: New Builds

All new school buildings delivered by DfE which are not already contracted will be net zero in operation.

They will be designed for a 2°C rise in average global temperatures and future-proofed for higher indoor temperatures should there be a 4°C rise. The delivery framework for centrally delivered low-carbon, climate-resilient projects was published late last year and local authorities will need to consider environmental sustainability, carbon reduction and energy efficiency when planning with basic need grant-funding rates in place to deliver these new school capital projects. From now on bids into the Further Education Capital Transformation Programme will also be assessed to determine if the new works will be net zero in operation.

The implementation of ultra-low carbon education buildings will be accelerated. By 2025 at least four schools and one college will have been built via the Gen Zero Platform that was demonstrated at COP26. Over time, all centrally delivered new-build projects are to be built using ultra-low carbon methods.

To help understand how elements of this strategy can be quickly and cost-effectively implemented visit Adveco’s education resources for schools, academies, colleges and universities or contact us to discuss options for a site assessments to give you the accurate data you need to make a more educated decision on evolving hot water systems to be more sustainable.