Rethinking green heat

Take a fresh look at modulating condensing boilers. Their role in improving the energy efficiency of the nation and supporting renewable technologies is key to the Government’s drive towards clean energy.

There’s never a dull moment in the heating sector – or so it seems. Not a day passes without energy making the headlines, nearly always controversially, with articles on fracking, floating wind turbines or fuel prices. And it’s no wonder, given the huge question mark over the future of energy supply and the fact that heat accounts for almost half the energy consumed in the UK.

The issues surrounding energy are twofold: financial and environmental. The Government’s recently published Heat Strategy states that the UK will spend over £33 billion on heat this year alone, with heating and producing hot water responsible for some forty per cent of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions.

The Heat Strategy outlines the Government’s framework to support the immediate and long term challenges and opportunities for the UK as it moves towards total decarbonisation by 2050. The focus this decade is on energy efficiency – in particular refurbishment – in buildings and industry while the Government prepares the market for the uptake of renewable technologies. During the 2020s and 2030s, the Government proposes supporting low carbon technologies and reducing their costs to consumers and industry in order to make the take-up more widespread and reach the target of carbon-free heat for buildings by 2050.

The immediate need to refurbish our buildings is one that many of us in the heating industry have repeated time and again. The UK has some of the oldest buildings in Europe, a fact corroborated by reports from both the Carbon Trust and the Building Research Establishment, which show that sixty per cent of the buildings that will be standing in the UK in 2050 are already built and forty per cent will pre-date 1985 (the year that Building Regulations relating to fuel and power were first introduced under Part L). The likelihood is that many of these old buildings have old heating systems in place that waste energy and produce higher than necessary fuel bills. So if the UK is to come anywhere near to meeting our greenhouse gas emissions reduction target of eighty per cent by 2050, refurbishment of our existing buildings is not just desirable, it’s essential.
‘Green’ retrofits will not only massively reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but will also bring huge and immediate energy savings, all this relatively simply and at low capital expenditure. This is particularly important given the current economic climate; as profitability is the driving force for businesses, the affordability of a heating system is crucial to its uptake.

Saving energy, cutting harmful greenhouse gas emissions

Replacing an old boiler with a new, high efficiency condensing boiler is still the most effective – and sometimes the only – means of making significant energy and carbon savings. While old atmospheric boilers can waste half of the energy they input up the chimney, modulating condensing boilers are highly efficient and reliable. Improved controls mean that high efficiency boilers operate at their maximum energy efficiency levels, cutting running costs still further and saving energy. Better design makes them easier to service and consequently both more efficient in their lifetime and longer lasting. The environmental benefits are equally impressive. Although carbon is the most cited greenhouse gas, where heat is concerned we should consider another far more deadly group of gases, NOx, which has a hugely detrimental impact on the environment causing global warming. If both NOx and carbon were considered together, condensing boiler technology would be the favoured option as it reduces the levels of harmful carbon and NOx emissions by at least ninety per cent.

Where size does matter – the perfect solution for new build and retrofit

The most modern condensing boiler has undergone a huge evolution, making it far more versatile than ever before. Lighter, smaller and more compact, they are quicker and easier to install with minimal disruption to the building’s occupants. This makes them perfect for refurbishment projects and also for new build, where the dimensions of plant rooms are often much reduced.

Our new Remeha 310/610 Eco Pro, for example, has such a small footprint that it can fit easily through any standard doorway into the existing space. Supplied on wheels, it is easy to manoeuver around corners and into the plant room. It has also been specially designed to be easily disassembled for installation projects where access is awkward. The Remeha 310/610 Eco Pro can also be installed side-to-side, making it ideal for modular configuration, again where space is at a premium.

Renewable Energy Ready

Condensing boiler technology is evolving and innovating alongside renewable energy products. Most renewable energy technologies are still dependent on condensing boilers for periods of peak demand. The Remeha Gas 310/610 Eco Pro is suitable for use with renewable energy technologies that combine the use of high grade and low grade heating circuits.

The secondary return feature on the Remeha Gas 310/610 Eco Pro is designed to maximise efficiency on these bivalent systems. Bivalent systems combine the best of renewable and conventional heating technologies to maximise the efficiency of the system as a whole over the course of the year.
At Remeha Commercial we continue to push the efficiency levels of heating. Our modulating condensing boilers – now in their eighth generation – already offer the highest efficiencies available. By understanding the requirements of an individual project and using a combination of heating products in the most efficient way to maximise their full potential, we believe we can raise efficiency levels still higher, by an extra ten per cent, to deliver a new Remeha Commercial ‘blue’ level of efficiency to our customers.

As the nation moves towards a greener future, one thing is for sure: whether a complete solution in itself or an essential component of a bivalent system, the condensing boiler remains key to delivering affordable, energy efficient heating.

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