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Packaged Terminal Heat Pumps (PTHP) - Expert Commentary

The Low-Carbon Heating Toolbox: Making The Case Beyond Heat Pumps
The Low-Carbon Heating Toolbox: Making The Case Beyond Heat Pumps

At the moment, it seems as though a day rarely goes by without low-carbon heating hitting the headlines. Whether it is reports of ‘revamping’ the Clean Heat Grant, to include a ‘boiler scrappage’ scheme, which may offer home owners up to £7000 to make the switch to a low-carbon alternative, to speculation that the Prime Minister is under pressure to push back the 2035 ban on gas boilers, the debate on how and when the low-carbon heating revolution will happen is ongoing. BEIS Hydrogen Strategy We have also seen the recently published, Hydrogen Strategy from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) that cements its plans to develop technologies that allow hydrogen-powered heating in people’s homes. In addition to this, the Future Homes Task Force, including some of the United Kingdom’s largest property developers, regulators, suppliers and environmental groups, have agreed to the sector-wide Future Homes Delivery Plan, to build homes that are ‘zero-carbon ready’ and sustainable by 2025. Alternative energy, key to hitting net zero targets by 2050 What is also clear is that tackling the decarbonization of heat is not a one-technology solution According to the Climate Change Committee, in a report published in December 2020, the UK’s homes are responsible for around 15 percent of emissions. As a result, the need to install alternatives to traditional fossil fuel heating systems will be crucial, to hitting our net zero targets, by 2050. This will be the key challenge that the delayed Heat and Buildings Strategy, now due in the autumn season, will need to address. Therefore, what is also clear is that tackling the decarbonization of heat is not a one-technology solution. Target to install air source heat pumps in UK homes So far, much of the focus has been on heat pumps, as the UK Government has set an ambitious target of installing 600,000 air source heat pumps (ASHPs) in UK homes each year, by 2028. However, there are a number of challenges to achieve this goal, as house builders will need convincing to install heat pumps in new builds, and home owners and landlords will need convincing to retrofit older properties. Cost, a key issue in air source heat pumps installation Cost will also be a key issue, even with a government grant and ASHPs can be complex to install. They can also emit noise that breaches legal limits, if placed too close to a neighboring property. In addition, they won’t be suitable for all properties, as the needs of a 4-bedroom new build home are very different to a 1970s apartment, a Victorian-era terrace, a social housing property or an off-grid home. Computer-controlled infrared heating (CCIR) One of the alternatives is computer-controlled infrared heating, which addresses many of the issues faced by ASHPs Taking all of these challenges into account, BEIS has said that it is ‘uncertain’ what the ‘optimal solution’ is, when it comes to low-carbon heating. Certainly, there is not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution for heating the UK’s homes, which is why it is vital that house builders, landlords, contractors, installers and developers explore the full range of low-carbon heating technologies that are available today. There are alternatives that can provide benefits that are much more likely to appeal to a wider range of end-user audiences. One of the alternatives is computer-controlled infrared heating (CCIR), which addresses many of the issues faced by ASHPs. High-performance heating Firstly, infrared is an intrinsically more effective source of heat than conventional convection heating, because it heats the material within a room, rather than the air, which can escape from doors and windows. CCIR systems also outperform many other low-carbon technologies, because the software within each panel constantly monitors each individual room and learns about the energy storage characteristics within it, adjusting its routine to maintain the ambient temperature within the room, maximizing its performance and using fewer units of energy, in comparison to a traditional heating system. KERS water heating system This keeps energy bills low, and meets increasing sustainability standards. Figures show that, out of 29 million homes in the United Kingdom, 19 million have an EPC lower than C. Together with Ambion Heating’s KERS water heating system, inefficient properties can be brought up to a minimum EPC C. CCIR also costs less to install than many other low-carbon heating alternatives CCIR also costs less to install than many other low-carbon heating alternatives. In a typical three-bedroom house, for example, the estimated cost of installing a CCIR system is around £6,000, compared to nearly £10,500 for an ASHP. They are also easy to install, whether they’re being retrofitted into an existing building or installed within a new build, because they can simply be wired into the mains, by a qualified electrician. Enhanced comfort and reduced emissions The heat CCIR provides feels more natural and comfortable, once the fabric of the room is saturated with energy, and it emits a comfortable, radiant heat. It also reduces humidity, as well as improves the air quality within a building, reducing the amount of circulating dust. In fact, in an independent performance review, CCIR provided the same levels of comfort within a room, using 60% less energy than a standard electric convection system, and on a par with ASHPs. Heating solutions for a low-carbon future While there is a real urgency, when it comes to decarbonizing heat, it’s vital to consider which technologies offer the most benefits to the end user. By understanding and investigating all of the alternatives to gas central heating, such as CCIR, the benefits will not only be felt in the short term, they are a sustainable solution for the longer term.

BEIS Hydrogen Strategy, Reaction From Baxi Heating
BEIS Hydrogen Strategy, Reaction From Baxi Heating

The energy transition is upon us and we are shifting today’s energy use to low and zero carbon sources. The way in which we heat and provide hot water to our homes and businesses will change, and we are developing technologies that will support this transition. A bold and pragmatic policy framework will encourage investment and drive change. BEIS Hydrogen Strategy We, therefore, welcome the publication of the Hydrogen Strategy from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS). This important document details the role and vision for clean hydrogen deployment at scale, in the United Kingdom, building upon the ambitions in last year’s 10 Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution. As an energy carrier, hydrogen has many uses that will help to decarbonize heating, transport and industry. We, therefore, welcome the government’s assurance to the public that hydrogen can be made as safe as natural gas. UK Government’s Contract for Difference The availability of low-cost hydrogen at scale is a key enabler of the deployment of hydrogen for heat Alongside the BEIS Strategy, the UK Government is publishing its proposed business model for supporting hydrogen production, in the form of a Contract for Difference. This approach has been utilized successfully for offshore wind and will enable the sector to invest in early-stage projects, and reduce the cost of hydrogen. The availability of low-cost hydrogen at scale is a key enabler of the deployment of hydrogen for heat. We believe, there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution, and a whole range of heating technologies will need to be deployed for a range of properties. Baxi Heating, as part of BDR Thermea Group, is at the forefront of developing clean heating solutions, including our ground-breaking development of hydrogen boilers. Hydrogen-ready boilers from 2025 Our work with the Hy4Heat project and associated demonstration sites in the UK show technical feasibility of this solution. We believe the government should act upon advice from the Climate Change Committee and other sources advocating a mandate that all boiler sales from 2025 should be hydrogen-ready, in order to help pre-populate a swathe of the housing stock, ready for a future conversion. Technology, energy efficiency and business models are all bit parts in the wider picture. Skilled installers and contractors will be utterly essential to success, so we are glad to see the announcement of a hydrogen sector development action plan in early 2022, setting out how the government will support companies to secure supply chain opportunities, skills and jobs in hydrogen. UK Heat and Buildings Strategy Following the Hydrogen Strategy, we look forward to several important publications in the lead up to the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26), including consultations on the role for hydrogen-ready appliances, off gas grid heating measures and the UK Heat and Buildings Strategy.

Renewable Heating Is The Future For Commercial Buildings
Renewable Heating Is The Future For Commercial Buildings

In 2019, the UK became the first major economy in the world to pass laws to end its contribution to global warming by 2050 - a landmark moment on the road to net zero. To meet that target, owners and managers of commercial buildings are increasingly facing more standards, regulations, and legislation to promote carbon reduction. This may pose challenges when it comes to investing in building service technologies, but the net-zero goal also provides an opportunity to embrace new approaches to the design and operation of commercial buildings. Heat commercial buildings When we look at reducing the carbon impact of a building, heating is an important factor to consider. Heating and hot water are significant contributors to a building’s carbon emissions. In fact, they create nearly a third (32%) of the total carbon emissions in the UK. Luckily, the technology to heat commercial buildings in a more energy-efficient, renewable way is already out there - in the form of heat pumps. There is legislation focused on the provision of heat to commercial buildings that need to be considered So, what benefits can heat pumps offer, and how can building managers be sure that they are the right solution for a commercial space? There are already regulations in place to help reach net-zero – from the Climate Change Act in 2008 to the Green Growth Strategy in 2017. More specifically, there is legislation focused on the provision of heat to commercial buildings that need to be considered. Energy efficiency standards Part L of the Building Regulations states that non-domestic buildings should be moving to low-carbon heat sources, the minimum energy efficiency standards means it’s illegal to let any property with an EPC rating of less than band ‘E’, and the Non-Domestic RHI has been extended until 2022, in order to help overcome barriers to investing in renewable heating. There is also growing interest in embodied carbon in commercial buildings, and considering the amount of carbon produced by a building across its whole lifecycle, it’s important to understand the full environmental cost of the extraction, processing, manufacture, delivery, and assembly of every single product or material used. Conventional electric heating The government has already set a target of 600,000 heat pump installations per year by 2030 Needing to consider all of these factors may seem like a lot, but it serves to show that focusing on renewable heating now is the best way to future-proof commercial buildings for years to come. Heat pumps are central to reaching this decarbonized future, with the Carbon Trust finding that heat pumps have the potential to deliver CO2 savings of up to 70% compared to conventional electric heating, and up to 65% compared to an A-rated gas boiler. The government has already set a target of 600,000 heat pump installations per year by 2030, and the Committee on Climate Change estimates that 19 million heat pumps will need to be installed by 2050 to achieve the net-zero goal. Offering renewable heating To reach this goal, uptake needs to maintain momentum. As well as offering renewable heating, heat pumps allow for a reduction in running costs and increased efficiencies, and are increasingly becoming the first choice for building managers planning renovations - because they are designed for both retro-fit and new build, are easy to design and install, and are scalable to work with other systems. In the years since heat pumps first became available, the choice of heat pumps has expanded This means they’re a suitable solution for almost any space, and are even able to work alongside existing heating systems in a hybrid situation if required. A heat pump is an ideal solution for commercial buildings, it’s just a case of finding the right one for the job. In the years since heat pumps first became available, the choice of heat pumps has expanded, and building owners are now able to select exactly the right equipment for a building’s requirements. Combining residential homes For example, heat pumps can now work at higher temperatures, meaning they are a great option for spaces like hotels, hospitals, and leisure centers where there is a high demand for hot water at peak times – removing the need to use a gas boiler. This is also a compelling case for heat pumps in mixed-use buildings – which is a burgeoning space in the UK-built environment. Buildings which combine residential homes and commercial businesses have a wide variety of heating and cooling requirements within the same structure. Traditionally, this is where gas boilers, combined heat and power systems, or electric water heating would have come in. Heat pump installations Modern heat pumps can also be applied in buildings alongside other technologies Now, high-temperature heat pumps – like the 40kW Ecodan QAHV – can deliver hot water up to 90°C, helping businesses increase the efficiency of hot water production while slashing their carbon footprint. Other heat pumps can offer options for a modular approach, so that multiple devices can operate in one system. This means that the multiple-unit system can cascade available units on and off, to meet the required load of a building. It also means heat pump installations are scalable, and can work for a small doctor's surgery through to entire district heating projects. Modern heat pumps can also be applied in buildings alongside other technologies, and boost the renewable element of a project – reducing the requirement for heat energy. Commercial heat pumps Finally, to satisfy these needs without compromising on sustainability and the green imperative would have been challenging, before the advent of commercial heat pumps. Reaching net-zero and moving to renewable technology is now a priority for everyone. For building services professionals, there is a real opportunity to lead the way, and encourage clients to take a new approach to heating and hot water in commercial buildings. The heating equipment we install will be in a building for at least a decade, so installing a heating system based on fossil fuels might risk leaving the building as a ‘stranded asset’ in the future. Making the move to renewable heating will help ensure buildings are meeting efficient and environmental standards for years to come.

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