If we are to make a real and lasting impact on global warming, we need to think far more radically about how we design and specify our heating equipment. However, that does not necessarily mean focusing on the most sophisticated technology available.
Consultants are understandably keen to maximise the energy efficiency of the building services systems they design, but new doesn’t always equate to best. I believe that adopting a “back to basics” approach to heating design and specification is a far more effective way to guarantee optimum efficiency than latching onto the latest popular, but probably also complicated and expensive trend.
Of course, new developments have their place. All I am asking is that they should not be embraced unquestioningly. Indeed, I believe that finding the right balance between what we might call “renewable” and “conventional” equipment is the biggest single issue facing the heating industry at present.
I have no doubt that mankind will burn every last scrap of fossil fuel that we can get our hands on. Given this, it follows that we have an overwhelming duty to burn the fuel we have as cleanly and efficiently as possible.
But we don’t have to wait for fuel cells, bio digesters, CO2 heat pumps or any of the other intricate pieces of cutting-edge technology on the horizon. We have the answer right here and right now. For example, we can clean up emissions by 80 to 90 per cent by specifying high efficiency condensing boilers.
All the technical improvements in the heating equipment sector aim to meet the same two objectives:
- Increase efficiency.
- Reduce polluting emissions.
And the condensing boiler is one of the best responses to this double goal of energy saving and environmental protection.
With the condensing technique, polluting emissions, which contribute to the formation of greenhouse gases and acid rain, are three times lower than required by current European standards, in compliance with the Kyoto protocol. Moreover, condensing provides up to 40 per cent energy savings (gas or fuel oil), thus helping to preserve the planet’s precious resources.
Boilers can be heavier polluters than cars. An old-generation boiler (over 20 years old) can produce almost as much carbon dioxide as three cars moving slowly. That is why it might make sense – especially in a refurbishment project – to substitute conventional boilers with condensing versions.
However beware; I have two caveats.
First, although a combination of increasingly stringent legislation and their attractive business benefits has led to a growth in the specification of condensing boilers in commercial heating applications, many fail to provide the energy savings or emissions reductions they should.
Merely replacing a conventional boiler with a condensing model is not enough, on its own, to optimise your energy and cost savings. Each component of the system must work together and the system as a whole must be properly controlled. That is why it makes sense to talk to an established manufacturer that can offer all the elements to produce a coherent system.
Secondly, condensing technology is not always the only solution to a commercial heating installation. It pays to investigate the alternatives, including, for example, the biomass boiler option before committing to a design.
The trouble with most of the debate surrounding climate change is that those taking part have particular technological or commercial axe to grind.
Broag-Remeha is different because it offers a wide range of commercial boilers and ancillary equipment which places it in the best position as an “honest broker”. The company has no vested interest in any particular type of technology because it supplies most of them, including the latest heat pumps, biomass and other renewable technologies as well as more “conventional” equipment.
The equipment offered by Remeha includes (but is not limited to):
- Quinta – wall-hung gas condensing boilers (output range – 5.6 to 115kW): Their lightweight, compact design makes these boilers ideal for modular arrangements and allows them to be installed free-standing on a frame, on a pipe work cascade system or supplied on a prefabricated skid.
- Gas 110 Eco – floor-standing gas condensing boilers (output range – 13.3 to 113.8kW): A range of pre-assembled, gas-fired, high efficiency condensing boilers. The boilers are technically similar to the wall-hung range, but encapsulated in a modular floor-standing form. Broag’s new ‘Smart Connection Technology’ modular pipe work kit has been designed to reduce installation time and simplify the planning of the primary circuit layout for up to six boilers.
- Gas 210 Eco Pro – floor-standing gas condensing boilers (output range – 16 to 200kW): A pre-assembled, free-standing, gas-fired high efficiency condensing boiler. The small footprint and ability to be installed back to back makes it suited for modular configurations.
- Gas 310 Eco and Gas 610 Eco – floor-standing gas condensing boilers (output range – 51 to 1,062kW): Pre-assembled, free-standing, gas-fired, high efficiency condensing boilers. The boilers come complete with wheels, allowing them to be manoeuvred easily into position. The 610 Eco is essentially two Gas 310 Eco boilers supplied with a common flue manifold complete with flue dampers (dampers are optional on the Gas 310 Eco).
- Gas 360 – 460 Atmospheric – floor-standing gas atmospheric boilers (output range – 54 to 380kW): Gas-fired, high efficiency atmospheric boilers with cast iron heat exchangers and high / low operation.
- P Series P320, P420 and P520 – floor-standing pressure jet gas/oil/bio diesel boilers (output range – 70 to1,450kW): Three-pass cast iron sectional boilers, designed for use with pressure jet burners on gas, oil or bio diesel to give optimum combustion with modern burner flame patterns, allowing for optimum combustion and giving low NOx emissions.
- Biomass boilers and fuel transport systems (output range – 12.5 to 2,000kW): The Broag-Gilles range of biomass boilers and fuel transport systems use woodchips or wood pellets as a solution to the need for heating powered by sustainable energy sources.