ECO-FRIENDLY HEATING SOLUTIONS FOR COMMERCIAL PREMISES
Whether it is an office heating retrofit or a new build commercial or industrial development where energy efficiency and sustainability is a priority, it is important to look carefully at what is the best heating system for the application. Here we look at the options for eco-friendly heating systems, their benefits and where each can be used most effectively.
The UK has a legally binding target to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 78% by 2035 compared to 1990 levels with the ultimate aim of reaching net zero by 2050. However, it is essential that the heating and power of our buildings is decarbonised as this represents one of the largest sources of carbon emissions. Making the switch to greener heating for commercial and industrial premises is an important step. At Uponor we are committed to helping customers implement more environmentally friendly heating systems and have a range of products that align with this goal.
Energy efficient heating systems
It has never been more important to consider the energy performance of commercial heating systems. The almost unprecedented rises in the cost of energy seen in recent years has put financial pressure on many businesses. In addition, many commercial, industrial and public sector organisations are under pressure to demonstrate how they are reducing their environmental impact, with sustainable heating, cooling and power being key areas for improvement.
Beyond this, new commercial developments, as well as those undergoing retrofit and refurbishment, must meet increasingly stringent standards for energy efficiency. In June 2022, a new version of Approved Document L of the Building Regulations in England came into effect with tightened standards for operational carbon emissions. Under the updated regulations, CO2 emissions from non-residential buildings must be reduced by 27% compared with the previous standard. Part of this is a new requirement that all new heating systems, including the replacement of existing systems, must be designed with a maximum flow temperature of 55°C to significantly reduce energy usage. This requires a significant change in the way commercial space heating is approached.
The role of radiant heating systems
In contrast to conventional radiator-based systems, radiant heating solutions provide heat, and cooling where required, directly from the surfaces of the building, including the floors, walls and ceiling. Due to the far larger surface areas involved a lower flow temperature is possible, making this type of solution a much more sustainable heating option, as well as allowing easier compliance with the updated Building Regulations. The lower temperatures also mean that radiant commercial heating solutions can be used with renewable technologies and low carbon heat sources, such as solar-thermal and heat pumps, as well as conventional boilers.
One of the most common types of radiant heating is underfloor heating (UFH). There are a range of UFH options available, including both dry and wet (screed based) installation systems for commercial heating projects.
For example, Uponor Mintec is a screed-based system that is ideal for retrofit as well as new build. The benefits of Mintec include:
Industry-leading total floor height build-up of just 15mm.
- Quick and simple installation.
- Most floor finishes can simply be laid directly on top.
- Heats up 60% quicker than standard UFH systems.
We also have solid screed products especially suited to new builds, and the innovative Siccus FX, a dry installation system that consists of a grooved insulation panel with a pre-applied aluminium foil heat emitting top surface for improved performance.
Ceiling and wall radiant heating
The same principle applies for ceiling and wall radiant heating and cooling systems. Pipework is installed into the ceiling or wall, which then heats or cools the surface to control the room temperature. Like UFH, there are both wet plaster systems, such as Uponor Mintec Fix 9.9, and dry panel products such as Uponor Renovis, which consists of simple to install prefabricated gypsum panels.
There has been a great deal of focus on air source and ground source heat pumps as a sustainable heating solution for residential properties. However, they also have a role in the decarbonisation of smaller-scale commercial premises. While often overlooked, the choice of flow and return pipework that connects the heat pump unit to the heating system of the building can have a significant effect on the performance of the system as a whole.
At Uponor, we have a range of pre-insulated pipe solutions including the Ecoflex Thermo Twin HP, which is designed specifically for heat pumps. Its features and benefits include:
- Flow and return pipework, as well as conduits for electrical or sensor connections, within a single insulated pipe.
- Colour coded cores for flow and return for easy installation.
- Smaller trenches required.
- High-density polyethylene (PE-HD) jacket tested to ISO 9969:2016 standards for a static strength of 60 tonnes.
- 30 year service life.
Heat networks also known as district heating, uses a centralised energy source to provide heating and hot water to nearby buildings through a network of insulated pipes and heat interface units. Heat networks are an ideal green heating solution for larger commercial and industrial premises due to the ability to scale the installation to meet the level of heating and hot water demand. Heat networks offer improved sustainability for several key reasons:
- The scale of heat generation means greater energy efficiency
- Allows easier use of renewable energy technologies such as wind and geothermal.
- Can utilise sources of waste heat, such as from industrial processes and power generation.
- Simpler maintenance and servicing.
With district heating systems, it is critical that heat losses are minimised in transmission from the heat source to the point of use. The Uponor Ecoflex range is ideal for this application and has been engineered to help maintain energy efficiency. Uponor Ecoflex VIP pre-insulated pipe meets the BS EN 15632 standards for district heating and has been engineered to achieve up to a 60% reduction in heat loss and lambda values as low as 0,004 W/Mk.
Eco-friendly heating systems for commercial and industrial premises has never been more important with changes in regulations, pressure to demonstrate corporate sustainability and high energy costs. At Uponor we have a range of sustainable heating systems and energy efficient pipework solutions to help businesses achieve their goals.
To find out more about how we can help email firstname.lastname@example.org.