Keeping it simple

Tight refurbishment schedule? Restricted space issues? With today’s quality, energy-efficient heating equipment the solution doesn’t have to be costly, disruptive or complicated, argues James Porter, Sales Director at Remeha Commercial. It’s time to keep it simple.

Two months into 2016, how many of our resolutions have already gone by the wayside? According to research by the University of Scranton, Pennsylvania, a mere eight per cent of us successfully achieve a New Year’s resolution. One of the reasons attributed to failure is having a list that is either too long or too complicated. The key to making achievable resolutions, it should come as no surprise, is to keep it simple. Applying the same principle to energy efficiency brings similarly successful results. Take heating refurbishments, for example. Upgrading inefficient boilers to high efficiency condensing boilers is a relatively simple but highly effective solution to improving the thermal efficiency of a building, capable of delivering energy savings in the region of thirty per cent.

Even so, issues can arise to complicate the installation process. A tight refurbishment schedule is one example. With businesses and organisations increasingly driven to achieve greater efficiency and increased productivity, any downtime can be seen as an insurmountable inconvenience for some. For other organisations, such as hospitals, schools and nursing homes, avoiding any disruption to heating and hot water service will be an essential consideration due to the nature of the service they provide. Space issues are another common obstacle due to restricted or irregularly-shaped plant rooms. Fortunately, manufacturers have responded with easy-to-install, high-quality solutions, specially designed to adapt or be tailored to meet each project’s individual requirements.

Prefabricated systems

Perhaps the most simple but effective approach to quick and easy installation is to install multiple boilers on cascade or rig systems. Time savings and reduced on-site labour costs are high on the list of the many benefits that these prefabricated systems deliver to specifiers, contractors and end users. Delivery is simplified with the boilers arriving on site in a factory-finished unit, ready to be wheeled into place for easy connection to the existing system. Quality control is improved as all the components arrive from one supplier, which also greatly reduces the possibility of late arrival of parts. Consequently, installation time can be calculated more accurately, which in turn enables more installations to be completed in a small window of time.

 Compact, flexible and efficient

Restricted space can be a problematic issue for specifiers and contractors. Here again, cascade and rig systems provide a simple solution due to their small footprint which allows the desired heat output to be met in a fraction of the space occupied by the previous boilers. Cascade systems can also be customised to offer a variety of installation options for more flexibility in floor planning design.  “A cost-effective, efficient solution to some complex heritage challenges” is how Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust described the Remeha cascade system at one of its oldest buildings, the Sail & Colour Loft. Adam Rawlinson, Chartered Engineer at PCS Consulting Services recommended installing two Remeha Quinta Pro 115 kW boilers in cascade as part of the conversion of this Grade I-listed scheduled ancient monument into new higher-education learning facilities for use by the University of Kent. “The Remeha Quinta Pro boilers are extremely compact, so this gave us more flexibility and options in terms of plant room design,” explained Mr Rawlinson. “In addition, as the cascade is prefabricated and preconfigured off site, the contractors on the project, Amdell Mechanical, were able to install it quickly and easily, which helped reduce labour costs and keep any disruption on site to a minimum.”

Minimum disruption for maximum reliability and savings

Cascade and rig systems not only provide a solution to fast installation but also offer greater reliability, maximising energy and carbon savings. The spinal injuries charity Aspire chose to install seven replacement Quinta Pro boilers in cascade operation at its Leisure Centre in Stanmore to heat its 25-metre swimming pool and provide hot water for showers and underfloor heating. Reliability was of the essence as the water temperature in the pool must be maintained at a constant 31⁰C at all times for the safety and benefit of its users. The cascade system installed by contractors PHD Mechanical Ltd achieved this while also successfully overcoming the space issue in the restricted plant room. For Brian Carlin, Chief Executive Officer of Aspire Leisure Centre, the cascade system meant minimum disruption to the leisure centre and maximum reliability from the outset. “The entire move from old to new boilers was completed in one day, enabling us to keep the centre open for our users,” said Mr Carlin. “Even more impressive is the energy we have saved since installing the Remeha boilers, which equates to £7,000 in the first six months alone.”

Going bespoke

Where refurbishment schedules are particularly tight, it is worth considering installing condensing boilers on a bespoke-designed rig system for possibly the ultimate solution to simple, speedy installation and high performance heating.

A case in point is Gateshead Council Construction Services. With a large number of its primary schools requiring heating upgrades during the summer holidays, the busy team elected to use Remeha Commercial’s bespoke rig system service in order to be able to carry out all the necessary refurbishments. “The high efficiencies of the Quinta Pro boilers allowed us to achieve the improved reliability and effectiveness of heating we were aiming for in our schools while the flexibility of the rig system has meant that we have been able to carry out more refurbishments than would otherwise have been possible within the holiday period,” said Peter Udall, Service Director for Design and Technical Services. “This is a rapid, high-quality solution that we would hope to use again in the future.”

It’s a fact that has been repeated throughout time, from Leonardo da Vinci’s “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” to the US Navy’s more direct KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) acronym. But the principle remains the same: simple solutions can achieve great results. We all agree that heating offers huge scope for efficiency measures. With cascade and rig systems we have the technology to enable faster, easier, affordable refurbishment. At Remeha Commercial, we look forward to continuing to support UK organisations with high performance heating solutions such as these that will improve the efficiency of their buildings, bring us closer to our environmental targets and deliver welcome energy savings. Let’s make high efficiency heating the New Year’s resolution that does stick.

This article originally appeared in the February issue of BSEE Magazine.

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