Planning an Office Refurbishment – We Look at the Most Efficient Office Heating Systems

Commercial buildings are responsible for 18% of the total UK emissions, and over half of the energy each commercial property uses is for space and water heating. The majority of offices today use electrically sourced heating systems, but with energy costs at an all-time high, heating a commercial building comes with an eye-watering bill. Let’s not forget, there’s also the added pressure on businesses to reduce their carbon footprint in support of the Government’s Net Zero Carbon Emissions Targets for 2050. It would seem that now is the opportune time to review your energy usage and explore the most efficient office heating and cooling systems.

What are the Most Efficient Office Heating Systems?

Heat pumps are undoubtably the most energy efficient form of space and water heating/cooling. They can offer substantial cost savings too.

If we take the domestic setting as an example, Energy Saving Trust say that based on the average sized four-bed detached home, the most notable financial savings of installing heat pumps occur when replacing:

  • Old G- rated LPG boilers (up to £1,410pa)
  • Old electric storage heaters (up to £1,330 pa)
  • New electric storage heaters (up to £720 pa)

Although heat pumps are always more eco-efficient, its important to note that in some plant replacement situations, there are no financial savings. This applies when replacing one of the following:

  • A new A-rated gas boiler (loss of £205 pa)
  • A new A-rated LPG boiler (loss of £290 pa)

How do Heat Pumps Work?

Using a small amount of electricity heat pumps collect energy from renewable resources, such as water, air and the ground.

At this stage in the process, the energy is not sufficient to heat our homes and offices – especially in the winter months. However it will heat the refrigerant liquid, which then evaporates and turns into a gas.

This gas is then transferred to the compressor, where it is pressurised, creating extra heat.

This heat is then sent over the heat exchange and transferred to the heat radiators, water or air conditioners.

Heat pumps can also work in reverse to remove heat from the internal space in order to cool it.

Heat pumps can be retrofit to work in unison with existing central heating, water systems, air conditioning, or as part of a new build fit out.

Benefits of Commercial Heat Pumps

  • There are government incentives for heat pump installations. There’s more on this further down.
  • They help to achieve the UK’s Net Zero Emissions Targets
  • Highly efficient, reducing energy costs and CO2 emissions
  • Easy to install
  • Ideal for refurbished or new builds
  • Reduce carbon footprint
  • Can work independently or as part of a turnkey heating, cooling and water system
  • Provide sanitary and hot water
  • There are heat recovery options for moving heat from one space to another

What is the Difference Between Water, Air and Ground Source Heat Pumps?

Water source heat pumps harvest energy from a constant flow or circulation of water by submerging pipework in almost any large body of water, including rivers, lakes, bore holes and aquifers.

Ground source heat pumps require substantial external space that can be excavated to lay copious pipework in order to collect heat from the ground and convert the energy within the heat pump.

Water and ground source heat pumps are known as Geothermal heat pumps and although they cost more to install, and require significant outdoor space they offer the highest energy savings of 30% to 60%.

Air source heat pumps are the easiest option for installation and the most achievable for all types of commercial property, as they do not require substantial external space or a body of water. Instead, they can be mounted to the wall or roof top. The outside unit harvests energy created from air flow.

There are two types of air source heat pumps – monobloc and split systems.

  • A monobloc system is a single outdoor unit, with pipes carrying water to the central heating system and a hot water cylinder inside the property.
  • A split system has two smaller units for indoor and outdoor installations. A monobloc costs less than the split system, but the split system can be more efficient.

The type of air source heat pump you have installed depends on your available outdoor space and having enough space around the unit.

Regardless of where the heat source is harvested, the pump itself uses the same methods to convert the source and upgrade the temperature to effectively heat the space.

Which Commercial Environments Use Heat Pumps?

Leading manufacturers, such as Mitsubishi Electric, have performed significant R&D into heat pump technology. As a result, they now offer heat pumps for a whole range of commercial environments, including:

  • Offices
  • Hospitals
  • Hotels
  • Leisure facilities
  • Restaurants
  • Retail

When is the Best Time to Upgrade an Office Heating System?

If you are considering moving offices or starting a full strip out of your current property, this is the best time to assess the overall energy performance of your building. Start by looking at the most efficient office heating system to future proof your business against increasing energy costs and emissions targets.

However, don’t be too hasty. There are government grants and schemes that can aid your upgrade to the most efficient office heating and cooling systems. Read on…

Tax Savings and Government Grants for Implementing Green Technologies in your Business

Coming soon is the Clean Heat Grant, which is expected to launch in April 2022. The Government run scheme is set to subsidise £4,000 towards heat pump installation and will replace the current RHI scheme, which is currently only available to domestic installations.

There are also government grants available to support businesses that want to implement green technologies in their commercial property in order to reduce their carbon emissions and save energy. These grants are awarded by region and are not necessarily available at the same time or meet the same criteria. Before looking to install a new energy efficient heating system, it’s worth looking at the grants available at the time on the UK gov page “Finance and support for your business“.

There are also capital allowances when renovating a commercial property using green technologies and plant systems.

Supporting the UK’s Net Zero Carbon Emissions Target 2050

Back in 2019 the UK was the first major economy in the world to legally commit to achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Having spearheaded the industrial revolution and been the first country to roll out the Covid vaccine programme, the UK has been a pioneer in some of the most influential global trends for centuries.

The Net Zero target is ambitious, however there is a plan in place, which is expected to lead to significant economic growth from UK exports of low carbon solutions. Consequently, we’re seeing investment into new technologies, off-set schemes and methods to collect carbon and store/reuse it for plant growth.

In support of the UK’s Net Zero Emissions Targets for 2050, businesses across the country are striving to reduce their own carbon footprint by questioning how they:

  • Use energy in the workplace
  • Handle waste
  • Carry out everyday practices
  • Travel to work
  • Outsource contractors and suppliers
  • Use materials
  • Off set carbon emissions

From choosing the most efficient office heating system to reducing general waste. There are many ways for companies to reduce their carbon footprint.

As a commercial refurbishment company in London and Kent, we are making it our business to offer solutions that can help you become more eco-efficient in the long term.

There are many ways to create a more sustainable workplace, and we will continue to report on solution that improve your workplace now and in the future.

How Can JBH Refurbishments Help You?

The team at JBH Refurbishments are always on hand to offer the best solutions for your office refurbishment. Whether that’s offering advice on the most efficient office heating systems, or designing your space to suit your business needs. If you would like professional and personal support for your office fitout, call us on 0333 207 0339 or contact us via our contact page.

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