In commercial buildings, which hold people who work and relax, heating is crucial for creating a comfortable indoor environment. This could be regarding minor aspects such as indoor heating, ventilation, and air- quality preventing condensation or cooking, but it can also help facilitate more extensive industrial processes. Our article details the UK’s leading heating system options for heating a commercial building, including their advantages and disadvantages.
What Types of Heating Systems Are There in the UK?
With the other heating systems and ventilation systems listed above, let’s go into more detail about each one so you understand what they are and you can compare what is best for your business.
Biomass Boilers for a Commercial Heating System
Fuelled by wood pellets, chips, and logs, biomass and wood commercial heating systems generate heat and hot water through the combustion of organic material.
Biomass boilers are typically paired with other central commercial heating systems for heating a single space. Easy maintenance and fully automated systems are some advantages of commercial biomass boilers.
The UK is slowly following many other European countries (especially Scandinavia) in embracing this commercial heating system, becoming increasingly popular as time goes on.
Contact us if you want to know more about biomass heating!
Commercial Heating Pumps
A heat pump is nothing more than a two-way air conditioner. When it’s hot outside, air conditioners move heat from indoors to the outside. However, in winter, the heat pump collects any heat from outside and distributes it inside the building, keeping your employees warm and cosy! Most heat pumps move heated air throughout the space using forced warm-air delivery systems.
Two kinds of heat pump systems exist. These are air-source heat pumps (ASHPs) and ground-source heat pumps (GSHPs, also known as geothermal energy pumps).
Air-source heat pumps generate heat by using outside air in the winter; they sink heat from warm air heating and into cooler air in the summer. Ground-source heat pumps extract heat from underground, using warm air, where there are more constant background temperatures.
The air-source heat pump is cheaper and easier to install than a ground-source heat pump.
Nevertheless, ground-source heat pumps are much more efficient and are commonly chosen by consumers who want to be more sustainable and plan to remain in the same building for a while.
Despite this, heat pumps for air temperature are rare in the UK. The upfront installation cost may be the reason for this. However, over the life of an air source heat pump, you will typically save £6,700 compared to a gas boiler. Individuals can apply to receive air source heat pump grants through ECO4 scheme, but at this moment of time it is not available to commercial businesses.
Electricity is generated by solar panels using sunlight.
Solar panels are installed on approximately 1.2 million homes in the UK. Solar energy is the most popular form of renewable energy in the UK, installing solar power panels faster than in any other European country.
As UK businesses continue to prioritise sustainability and energy efficiency, the integration of solar panels into their heating systems demonstrates not only a commitment to environmental responsibility but also a forward-thinking approach to embracing renewable energy technologies for a greener future.
Installing solar panels as a heating system offers numerous advantages for businesses, particularly in terms of cost savings, environmental impact, and long-term benefits. Some of the key advantages include:
- Reduced energy costs: By generating a significant portion of their thermal energy requirements, businesses can substantially lower their energy bills and achieve greater cost efficiency.
- Improved sustainability: Solar panels provide a clean and renewable energy source, contributing to a reduced carbon footprint and a greener corporate image.
- Low maintenance: Solar thermal systems typically require minimal maintenance, reducing both time and costs spent on upkeep.
- Government incentives: Many UK businesses can benefit from government schemes, such as the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), which provide financial support for implementing renewable heating technologies.
- Energy independence: Utilising solar energy allows businesses to reduce their reliance on traditional energy sources, providing greater stability and protection against fluctuating energy prices.
Various types of businesses can significantly benefit from integrating commercial solar panels into their heating systems, such as:
- Schools and universities: Educational institutions often have large heating demands for classrooms, lecture halls, and sports facilities, making solar thermal systems a valuable addition.
- Hotels and hospitality: With constant hot water requirements for guest rooms, kitchens, and laundry facilities, solar panels can provide a sustainable and cost-effective heating solution.
- Healthcare facilities: Hospitals, clinics, and care homes can benefit from the reliable and constant supply of hot water and heating provided by solar thermal systems.
Industrial and manufacturing: Companies involved in manufacturing or processing can utilise solar energy for various heating applications, reducing their overall energy consumption and costs.
- Office buildings and commercial centres: Solar panels can provide energy-efficient space heating and hot water supply for offices and commercial centres, promoting sustainability and reducing operating expenses.
Gas and Oil Commercial Boilers
Most boilers use natural gas or heating oil when commercial heating engineers install them. Essentially, a boiler is a water heater. The furnace circulates warm air, whereas the boiler circulates hot water throughout the room through radiators. Afterwards, the hot water is reheated in the boiler.
Most UK homes have central heating powered by mains gas. It is estimated that 95% of UK homes are centrally heated today. Almost all of them use either gas boilers or oil boilers.
Infrared Commercial Heating Panels
You can heat your commercial building more effectively with infrared panels (radiant plaque heaters suspended). Unlike conventional heating and air conditioning, infrared radiant heating directly warms objects and people inside a room through infrared radiation waves, just as the sun’s infrared rays do on our skin.
Using relatively new technology, infrared heating provides a customised, efficient heating system and solution that is cost-effective and energy-efficient, even in domestic settings, though it is more prevalent in commercial premises and businesses.
Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Systems
A CHP system captures and uses heat produced by electricity generation.
By producing heat and power simultaneously, CHP reduces carbon emissions by up to 30% compared to conventional generation.
Many UK households are converting to CHP technology to make energy more cost efficient. Its versatility makes it suitable for various places of business, including hospitals, industrial facilities, and commercial buildings.
Businesses in the UK are increasingly interested in Combined Heat and Power (CHP) since it saves energy and running costs and improves their environmental performance. Energy bills of existing CHP users usually drop by 20%.
Heat Recovery Ventilation (HRV)
The heat recovery ventilation system is usually found in a plant room of a business building. A heat recovery system is more efficient than a conventional two-way air conditioner and heat exchanger by drawing heat from extracted air and passing it to outside air instead of simply removing and replacing it. This also greatly improves indoor air quality.
Buildings have significantly improved their energy efficiency thanks to heat recovery systems, which typically recover 73–95% of wasted energy from the heat in the exhaust air once the heating installations are complete.
Electric Heating Systems
Without the National Gas Grid, businesses may use electric commercial heating equipment or systems. You can heat your place of work with different types of electric commercial heating equipment. Among them:
- Electric storage heaters
- Convection radiators
- Fan heaters
- Electric boiler
- Immersion heaters
In buildings outside the National Grid, electric heating systems are the most common, but overall, central heating system is still the most popular!
District Heating Systems
Simply put, district heating connects energy sources to consumers through an insulated pipe system. Biomass energy could also be used in district heating if more plants were dedicated to it.
All fossil-fuel plants have a carbon footprint, but district heating with combined heat and power has the smallest.
However, district-heating solutions are gaining popularity in the UK. The UK will transition to net zero in the coming decades, increasing the availability of district commercial heating solutions and networks.
Other Uncommon Types of Commercial Heating Systems
There are other kinds of heating systems that are used in a commercial setting, but they are not as popular in the UK:
- Fire tube boiler
- Water tube boiler (without two or more fluids and where steam rises)
- Gas fired burner
- Floor standing models
- Secondary heaters
- Storage tanks
- Thermal desertification to eliminate stratified layers
Having a warm air heated space or any air conditioning in your commercial building can be challenging. But considering all options is essential to achieve a comfortable environment and constant temperature while maintaining energy efficiency. We hope you have learned something!
Visit our partner website, greenteampartnership.co.uk, to explore our comprehensive range of products such us commercial biomass boilers and solar panels and services tailored to meet your specific requirements.
Our team of experts is ready to guide you through every step of the process, ensuring that you make the best decision for your business. Don’t miss this opportunity to invest in a greener, more cost-effective future for your company!