Improvements in technology and ever increasing demands for energy systems to operate with as low a carbon footprint as is practically possible means we are all trying to incorporate efficient and leaner energy systems in to our modern buildings. In recent years we have seen more heat pumps, solar thermal systems and PV arrays contributing to lowering our carbon footprint around the World, but it is not always that easy to get these varying technologies to work together in complete harmony. Understanding the specific complexities and abilities of each technology is the key to ensuring the most efficient use of these emerging products.
It is fairly common place in current designs to put gas boilers and products such as Air Source Heat pumps together, but without careful consideration to their operation and working expectations you are likely to find that one technology may end up taking the lead and depriving the other of a chance to contribute effectively rendering it an expensive “box in the corner”.
With 17 years of system design experience specifically around these very issues has given Helec the skills and knowledge to not only ensure our designs work efficiently but also allows us to help new clients with their existing system integration problems.
Many existing plant room hydraulic systems we see today can have simple modifications made to enable improvements in running performance long before the need for assessing any new large equipment.
Obvious observations can be;
Fixed speed single headed pumps – Look to change to variable speed “A” rated pumps with thermostatic sensors on the return pipework so the pump can reduce its speed and flow when the demand is reduced and use less energy. This is especially useful with CHP units as the lower return temperature will enable the unit to run for longer periods and produce site side electricity before the modulating turn down commences.
Hydraulic by-passes – Useful for maintenance periods when a short circuit is needed, but when left open the by-pass will encourage a high return temp back onto the circuit, which with no temp controlled pumps will delover hot unwanted pipework 24/7 which is not welcome in the summer months !!
Building Management System control – Often is the case that the BMS operating parameters have a high operating set point flow temperature from which the ‘lead boiler’ or main heating appliance is always “on” being asked to deliver a temperature that is too high. This also tends to keep other equipment off (ie a CHP) which should be supporting the buildinsg thermal load working as the “lead boiler”
Thermal stores – A correctly sized thermal store is an ideal vessel that can ‘store the thermal energy’ produced from a CHP/lead boiler when the apparent load is low and not calling for immediate thermal heat. The advantage of this is that when the hydraulic circuit calls for heat it is immediately available without any boilers needing to fire up until the temperature sensor in the store detects the pre-set temp to enable back up heating to engage.
Our remote advice is “free to discuss” and we only look to charge a sensible daily rate to attend site, carry out a survey and report our findings with recommendations through a report.
So, if you have a system that you think may not be performing as expected why not call Helec to discuss potential options.