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Packaged Terminal Heat Pumps (PTHP) - Expert Commentary

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.

What We Breathe And What We Feel: Designing Today’s Homes For Optimal IEQ
What We Breathe And What We Feel: Designing Today’s Homes For Optimal IEQ

Most people spend about 90 percent of their time indoors. For home owners, indoor environmental quality (IEQ) is the most meaningful differentiator between ‘high-performance’ and ‘code-built’ homes. Indoor environmental quality  IEQ describes how well the indoor environment promotes occupant comfort and health. The components of IEQ include thermal comfort, indoor air quality (IAQ), sound and lighting. Requirements for optimal IEQ vary per occupant and household, due to individual health needs and levels of sensitivity to sound, light, color and temperature. Let’s discuss how to control the indoor environment for IEQ with particular attention to how heat pumps can help improve thermal comfort and IAQ. Start with the Building Envelope A healthy and comfortable home with optimal IEQ can be considered a single system A healthy and comfortable home with optimal IEQ can be considered a single system, which consists of interdependent parts and sub systems. Mechanical system designers give careful consideration to how components perform, in relation to each other and other variables. Code requirements for tighter building envelopes, improved windows, increased insulation values and more efficient appliances have reduced energy use intensity (EUI), since the 1970s, but also provide the foundation for better performing homes. Optimal IEQ requires control over how air, thermal energy (heat) and moisture enter, exit and flow through the building. Limit Thermal Bridging A thermal bridge is an area that has higher thermal conductivity than the surrounding materials, creating a path of least resistance for heat transfer. Thermal bridges reduce energy efficiency and create health and comfort challenges. When the components of a building assembly are made colder than the air in those spaces, there is the potential for condensation. This can reduce the durability of the building and create potential health hazards, such as mold. When designing high performance homes for maximum efficiency, health and comfort, choose techniques and products, like continuous exterior insulation and windows with low U-values, so as to eliminate limit thermal bridging. Heat Pumps and Thermal Comfort Comfort is a subjective experience, affected by variables, including the occupant’s age, level of physical activity and where they were raised. ASHRAE Standard 55 and the Predictive Mean Vote (PMV) concept use five factors to help builders design comfortable environments that are specific to occupants: Operative temperature Air speed Relative humidity Metabolic rate Occupant clothing High performance heat pump with variable speed compressor A high performance heat pump with a variable speed compressor can meet the challenge of subjective comfort, while improving the home’s energy efficiency. Heat pumps use the natural movement of thermal energy from hotter objects to colder objects, in order to heat or cool the home’s zones. In heating mode, the outdoor unit expands refrigerant gas to make it colder than the ambient air, enabling the unit to extract thermal energy from the outdoor air and transfer it via refrigerant lines to the indoor unit, conditioning the zone. Using this method, a heat pump can provide more energy for heating than it consumes in electricity. Even at low ambient temperatures, modern, all-electric heat pumps can be up to three times more efficient than conventional electrical-resistance systems. Heat pump systems with individually-controlled indoor units Heat pump systems with individually-controlled indoor units for each zone create opportunities to customize comfort, for specific occupants and activities (e.g., cooking, exercise, sleep). Using multiple independent units and compact duct runs offers more flexibility to design, according to occupant preferences. If the cost of changing ductwork in an existing house is prohibitive, ductless indoor units may be the solution. Performance can be improved by applying a heat pump system with a compact duct design Compact Duct Design for Heat Pumps Performance can be further improved by applying a heat pump system with a compact duct design, instead of a large, conventional duct design. During heating season, thermal energy is lost as conventional systems push conditioned air through long duct runs in unconditioned spaces. This heat loss through ducts can result in comfort issues and poor energy performance. In compact designs, duct runs are shorter and more centralized, with ducts running to interior walls and blowing toward exterior walls. With shorter duct runs and less opportunity for energy loss, contractors can install smaller indoor units with smaller and quieter fans that use less energy. Ductless indoor units for heat pump systems, such as recessed ceiling cassettes or wall mounts, don’t require ducts. Ducted air handlers and horizontal-ducted units are compact, making it easier to fit all the HVAC equipment and ductwork within the envelope. Indoor Air Quality Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) is particular to occupants, but less subjective than comfort Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) is particular to occupants, but less subjective than comfort. The primary objective of IAQ design is keeping pollutants from endangering occupant health. Contaminants of concern include particulate matter 2.5 (PM 2.5), acrolein, formaldehyde and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). PM 2.5, for example, can contribute to asthma, sinus congestion, coughing, skin rashes, brain plaque and cognitive issues, including headaches and sleep disturbances. Source control is the foundation of IAQ. In designing healthy homes, builders should avoid materials that off-gas formaldehyde and VOCs to limit the infiltration of pollutants. All-electric heat pumps align with the trend of limiting or eliminating the hazards of on-site fossil fuel combustion in healthy homes. After addressing source control, builders can apply methods and products for filtration, elimination and dilution. Whole-home Filtration The Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) uses a scale of 1-20 to describe how effectively a filter can capture particles of a given size. A High Efficiency Particulate Air Filter (HEPA) with a MERV range of 17 to 20 and can remove 99.97% of airborne particles as small as 0.3 micrometers. When determining the level of filtration required, the impact of the static pressure drops associated with increases in the efficacy and depth of pleated filters considered. The duct design and Manual D calculations must account for pressure drops which cause air to move more slowly. Homes with multiple zones may have a mix of indoor unit styles, including ductless and ducted units. If a home owner requires higher filtration levels, HVAC contractors can install a complementary system purpose-built for whole-home filtration. High performance ventilation systems, ERVs and HRVs Healthy and comfortable homes use high performance ventilation systems to introduce fresh outdoor air. An energy recovery ventilator (ERV) or heat recovery ventilator (HRV) provides conditioned ventilation air to dilute pollutants and remove stale air, without significantly increasing heating or cooling loads. Humidity-balanced, conditioned fresh air may be directed to the air handler or ducted directly to zones served by ductless units. With modern construction methods, mechanical systems, knowledge of human physiology and help from immutable physical laws, HVAC contractors can help produce homes purpose-built for occupant comfort and health.

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