Integrated heating systems are increasingly common, across both domestic homes and commercial premises. In this type of system, renewable heat (microgeneration) technologies integrate fully with traditional heating systems such as gas boilers etc.
The two energy sources complement each other well and an integrated or bivalent system can offer significant financial and environmental benefits to end-users.
Essentially, an integrated or bivalent heating system is one in which the heating is supplied by two different types of heat sources – integrating traditional forms of heat sources such as gas boilers with microgeneration technologies such as solar thermal or air source heat pumps.
Microgeneration technologies can be retrofitted into existing properties allowing fuel efficiencies to be achieved whilst retaining their original boiler as back-up or additional heating capacity. This can significantly reduce both fuel bills and CO2 emissions at a property.
In winter, for example, a solar thermal system can pre-heat the water in the hot water cylinder, reducing demand on the boiler. In the summer, the system can replace the boiler completely for all hot water generation.
The aim is to size a solar thermal system that gives the highest contribution to domestic hot water requirement across the year while ensuring the optimum system efficiency. Sizing the solar system and storage capacity accurately will provide optimum savings and reduced payback.
When controlled properly, microgeneration technologies will provide the base load energy requirement, whether that be space heating or domestic hot water requirements, whilst utilising the traditional heat sources to provide the remainder of the energy during peak demand periods.
Utilising both traditional and microgeneration technologies provides property owners with more choices and reduces their dependence and reliance on fossil fuels.
Thanks to our guest blogger Stephen Kelly, Specification Design Manager at Kingspan Environmental, for this post.