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Don’t get overheated

Don’t get overheated

With energy costs spiralling upwards and the ever-present spectre of climate change it’s incumbent on all building owners and operators to eliminate energy wastage as much as possible.

  • Blog
  • End customer - Investor
One common area to assess is that of overheating, a common cause of excessive energy consumption that typically stems from one or more control issues – or lack of control issues. For example, in homes with central heating system it’s now common for radiators to be fitted with a thermostatic radiator valve, thereby dividing the home into ‘zones’. Common sense clearly, yet it’s surprising how many commercial and industrial buildings lack effective zoning of their heating systems.

Zoning is particularly important in businesses where staff occupancy is variable. The days of all staff going to the office five days a week are behind us post-lockdown. Hybrid working is now common and it’s important to ensure that unoccupied areas aren’t being heated unnecessarily.

The same principle applies to many logistics and warehouse buildings where areas are often unoccupied for much of the time. A zoned heating system enables separate areas to be heated independently, ideally linking the heating to occupancy sensors to provide demand-controlled heating.

Another common problem occurs when there are changes to the building and its usage that modify demand for space heating, but the heating system is not reconfigured to reflect this. Changes such as improved thermal insulation of the building envelope or increased staff density both reduce the space heating demand.
When such changes are instigated, therefore, it’s important to re-commission the heating system accordingly.

In all such cases, the heating system needs to have the inherent flexibility to respond in the most efficient manner. For instance, boilers with a good turndown capacity and modulating burners are able to operate efficiently at part-loads, thereby maintaining efficiency as demand for heat from the building falls.
With mixed heating systems becoming increasingly popular there is also a need for more sophisticated control of a range of heating systems, making optimum use of the characteristics of each. A combination of inherently efficient heating plant at all loads, backed by effective control and regular maintenance/recommissioning will eliminate overheating and make a significant difference to heating bills.

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