By Greg Brushett, UK Sales Manager, Adveco
2022 has been demanding as the UK moved on from the pandemic, which delayed many building projects, into a period characterised by the challenging issue of sourcing raw materials and supplies. Adveco has responded by refocussing on what we do best, being a specialist provider of application design, product supply and servicing of larger-scale domestic hot water (DHW) systems for commercial properties.
Going back to our roots has enabled us to re-evaluate our product lines and seek new supplier partnerships around the globe. This has let us extend our existing ranges of water heaters, pumps and hot water cylinders while adding new lines including electric boilers, all while retaining good stock availability for customers. This is despite the demand for renewables, particularly air source heat pumps (ASHP) and solar panels, continuing to climb.
Adveco planned for tougher market conditions, and we know some in the sector have seen drops in sales of as much as 45% on certain lines. However, by putting new procedures in place, recruiting additional specialists, adapting the way staff work with more remote and flexible working and refining product lines, we are well on track to exceed the forecast sales targets for the year. Redeveloping our national accounts has been a particular success story, with the adoption of our pre-sized hybrid ASHP FUSION system being a particular success story.
As part of this process of business refinement, Adveco recently opened a new sales hub in Milton Keynes, extending the internal sales team and providing a more centralised point of business for the regional sales teams. By relocating sales, our Farnborough HQ has become the focus for technical and logistics with an increase in facilities for both teams. We are currently updating our in-house training facilities to support a new range of sustainable water heating CPD courses under the guidance of a newly created training role.
With a predicted one-third rise in non-domestic floor space by 2050, much of the current focus resides on new builds, but this still leaves more than 1.6 million pre-existing non-domestic buildings in England and Wales, generating almost one-fifth of the UK’s carbon emissions, needing expert, practical support.
ASHPs have become the poster child technology for the government’s net zero strategy. When deployed in a hybrid approach, ASHP such as Adveco’s FPi32 or L70, are used to preheat commercial DHW. This is combined with either gas-fired or more preferably an electric top-up to achieve the required 60°C temperature for safe commercial operation. The additional system complexity is where cost can creep in. But by correctly balancing a system through a mix of physical spacing in the vessel and system monitoring with dedicated controls, as developed for the Adveco FUSION, the system no longer fights itself, working seamlessly to deliver the highest operational efficiencies.
Topping up system heat with an electric boiler, such as Adveco’s ARDENT, which is similarly priced to an immersion heater, is also advantageous. The system cylinder is significantly less likely to develop damaging limescale in hard water areas. An additional level of redundancy is also gained that is not achieved with a single immersion heater.
Looking forward, we continue to develop our existing product lines and innovate new applications to garner the best possible efficiency for lower emissions and operational costs. We recognise that some projects will have the budget to go ‘full BREAMM’ carbon-free, but many more commercial organisations will have to deal with existing, ageing building stock and rely on older gas connections.
Our approach will therefore be one of offering gas, hybrid and completely carbon-free products. We see this more balanced approach as the most practical for many customers, and it is one that the wider industry is coming to realise as organisations grapple with the realities of attaining net zero systems. For many, this means retaining gas-fired water heating and introducing in the short term a 30-40% mix of renewables.
To support this, we will continue to expand our lines of gas-fired condensing water heaters, such as the AD and ADplus, improving efficiencies and making the best of smart, connected services to enhance operations and reduce maintenance costs. While we can already demonstrate 20% hydrogen blend-ready gas water heaters, we have high expectations for hydrogen as a cost-effective and more familiar means for businesses to attain net zero through the later 2030s and 2040s. Our programme of development will address increasing blends in the near term before moving our attention to units capable of operating on a 100% hydrogen feed. With the work required to upgrade the national gas grid, this is a long-term project, but one commercial organisations are more likely to see as advantageous.
Smart metering is also a crucial development, and we will be extending our services to enable businesses to gain real-world insight into current system operations. This is necessary for correctly assessing and sizing for integration of renewables so that capital costs are controlled.
In the short-term, our focus on renewables will continue with further developments in lowering the global warming potential (GWP) of our heat pump ranges whilst increasing the working flow temperatures to meet the demands of commercial DHW projects, reducing wider system complexity and cutting costs as well as carbon emissions. We also will continue to support the development of solar thermal systems with drainback capabilities to make more effective use of often limited roof space while reducing the operational costs of preferred all-electric systems being introduced as part of carbon reduction strategies.
Adveco also champions the advantages of offsite construction, providing ready-to-install bespoke hot water applications in a plant room ‘pod.’ This approach can dramatically reduce project build times whilst making better use of overlooked or wasted space around or upon a building. Our work on creating bespoke and pre-sized variants that incorporate ASHP into all-electric applications continues at pace, with further developments undergoing field testing.
Being named Building & Facilities News’ Company of the Year demonstrates the advantages of Adveco’s proudly independent approach to innovation. With more than 50 years of heritage in the design, supply, and servicing of robust, efficient, and cost-effective business-critical hot water systems we are pleased to have our company recognised for our work in responding to the ever more urgent need for low carbon, cost-effective applications that help achieve net-zero operations. It’s a real accolade for our entire team who work tirelessly in close partnership with our customers to create and deliver these better, more sustainable, and future-proof resolutions for modern commercial operations.