Condensing water heater exceeds expectations

Demand for Lochinvar’s range of EcoSword condensing, low NOx gas-fired water heaters has outstripped the company’s predictions and demonstrated growing demand for this kind of solution in small commercial/large residential applications.

The Banbury-based boiler, water heater and heat pump company, offers nine models in the range with storage capacities ranging from 163 to 388 litres and with rapid hot water recovery rates from 210 to 540 litres per hour based on a temperature rise of 50°C.

Since the launch of the EcoSword in 2017, orders have significantly exceeded expectations and proved that this technology represents a cost-effective option for end users looking to use condensing technology in smaller hot water demand applications.

The ‘cold zone’ heat exchanger design of the EcoSword ensures that the unit operates in condensing mode for as long as possible and, along with its fully modulating pre-mix burner, this allows it to achieve seasonal efficiencies of up to 98.2% (Building Regulations) and water heater efficiency of up to 94% (ErP)

All models are on the Energy Technology list and therefore qualify for the ECA (Enhanced Capital Allowance) scheme. NOx emissions are lower than 37mg/kWh, all models are WRAS certified and ‘A’ rated under the ErP Energy Labelling legislation.

The units are compact enough for installation in the most restricted spaces and there is no clearance required at the rear of the unit with only minimal clearances of 50mm at the side and 100mm in front. Also, all of the components can be accessed from the front of the unit to make maintenance easier.

EcoSword’s storage vessels are built from enameled steel and include a Correx system, which protects the vessel from the effects of electrolytic action, but requires less maintenance than traditional magnesium anodes.  The storage vessel is supported by a three-year warranty; is fully insulated and jacketed; and has low standing losses.

At the time of its launch, EcoSword was seen as an important new string to Lochinvar’s bow as the company was more readily identified with large commercial projects. The company made the decision to diversify in this way because condensing hot water technology had not always been financially viable for some smaller projects so it brought higher efficiency, low NOx solutions to a wider cross-section of the market.

One excellent example is the DoubleTree by Hilton hotel, which forms an integral part of the multi-sport Stadium MK in Milton Keynes – home of the MK Dons Football Club and the Marshall Arena.

The stadium was opened by the Queen in 2007 and has seating for more than 30,000 spectators. The DoubleTree hotel opened two years later and, as well as including rooms with spectacular views of events in the stadium, it hosts conferences and other functions.

Two EcoSword storage water heaters were installed by the contractor Professional Energy Solutions to provide a dedicated hot water system for the DoubleTree’s new in-house laundry facility.

Previously, the 304-bedroom hotel had been outsourcing its laundry services, but expected to achieve considerable cost savings and reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by keeping the service on-site and using high efficiency technology, like the EcoSword. As a result, the investment in the new laundry was due to pay back in less than 18 months.

“The combination of high efficiency with low NOx emissions and ease of installation and maintenance is certainly proving hugely popular,” said Lochinvar’s sales director Liam Elmore. “We thought there would be strong demand, but the last two years has been much better than we could have expected.

“It is important to be able to offer the best in energy saving technology to the widest possible market and, in the past, many of the smaller projects that we have now supplied with the EcoSword range would have assumed that a fully condensing solution would be too expensive for them.

“Being able to demonstrate reasonable payback periods and ongoing, long-term running costs will persuade more specifiers to opt for condensing technology, which will also help the country meet its long-term carbon reduction goals,” added Mr Elmore. “The fact that end users can also meet their air quality commitments by using these low NOx products is another significant environmental benefit.”

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