Evomax Helps Deliver Excellent BREEAM Rating for Residential Tower Block Refurbishment

Leading British manufacturer Ideal Commercial Boilers has supplied 20 Evomax 150kW wall-hung commercial condensing boilers and five Frame and Header kits to Southampton City Council, which have been installed as part of a £14m investment to improve energy efficiency in five residential tower blocks at International Way, Weston.

Not only did the Evomax boilers meet challenging installation criteria, their exceptionally high efficiencies and advanced control systems will help the council achieve an annual reduction in energy use of up to 50%. In addition, they have contributed towards a BREEAM Excellent rating that was necessary to make the project eligible for funding through Ofgem’s Community Energy Saving Programme (CESP).

The previous heating system in each of the five residential blocks at International Way consisted of electric underfloor heating, which was both inefficient and expensive to run. There was already an existing gas supply to the buildings, however a plant room needed to be constructed within each block to accommodate the Evomax boilers and other appliances. The decision was made to refurbish the old drying deck, located at the very top of each building just below the roof, as this was previously a wasted space and offered the capacity required, albeit with space constraints. The requirement for compact easy-to-install boilers was then critical, as the appliances not only had to be installed in a confined plant room space, they also needed to be transported to the very top of each 13-storey block via the lifts without overloading them or causing damage.

Four Evomax 150kW boilers from Ideal Commercial Boilers were specified for each residential building as they fit the criteria for being light and compact whilst offering exceptionally high efficiencies and were able to achieve the required output when installed in cascade. The boilers were installed in each of the residential blocks in five separate phases to minimise disruption for the tenants and Ideal Commercial Boilers’ Frame and Header kits were also selected to further reduce the time and cost of building works.

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Jim Simpkins, project manager for the mechanical element of the works for Southampton City Council, explains, “For this installation, the option of pre-packaged Frame and Header kits with vertical flues and modulating sequencer kits was a massive bonus, as there was very limited space in the new plant rooms for laying out the header arrangement. The pre-packaged header and flexible connections made installation quick and easy, enabling the engineering team to install each heating system in less than two weeks, greatly minimising any inconvenience for the tenants.”

The heating and hot water for each residence is distributed throughout the building via pipework that drops down through the block and feeds each flat through an individual Heat Interface Unit (HIU). This allows each resident to control their usage, ensuring they only pay for the heating and hot water they actually use.

Jim said, “In addition to the Evomax boilers themselves offering optimum efficiency, the modulating sequencer kits from Ideal Commercial Boilers control the system very well. The system is so efficient, in fact, that temperatures on the primary circuit can be kept at around 70-75°C, as opposed to the normal 80°C, which further reduces energy use.”

In order to ensure engineers would be familiar with the control system, Ideal Commercial Boilers also conducted an in-depth training session on the Evomax boilers and the modulating sequencer kits with the council’s team of engineers. The session took place on-site and consisted of a theory session, during which trainees could practice on an actual controller, before they were taken up to the plant room where they could apply what they had learnt to the existing system.

“The training session was very informative and covered everything our engineers need to know to keep the system working at optimum efficiency,” said Jim. “In fact, all technical backup from Ideal Commercial Boilers has been very good indeed. In conjunction with the other works carried out on site, including the installation of PV panels, double-glazing and External Wall Insulation, the Evomax boilers and control systems have contributed to an overall reduction in energy use which I calculate to be in the region of 40-50%.This will result in enormous cost savings to both the council and the 100 or so residents in each block, as well as reducing carbon emissions, which were the key drivers of the scheme.”

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The Evomax boilers were installed by Southampton City Council in partnership with British Gas as part of Ofgem’s Community Energy Saving Programme (CESP), which was launched in 2009 as part of the government’s Home Energy Saving Programme. This scheme targets households across Great Britain, in areas of low income, to improve energy efficiency standards and reduce fuel bills. It uses a ‘whole house’ approach, matching energy efficiency measures with each unique property in order to best service individual needs. In the case of International Way, the refurbishment works also included the installation of photovoltaic panels to generate electricity for the communal areas within each building, the replacement of windows with double glazed alternatives and External Wall Insulation (EWI) systems.

Both council and tenants are delighted with the outcome of the project. Margaret Page, one of the tenants at Weston, affirms, “My energy bills are much cheaper now and it’s great to choose when I turn on the heating and hot water rather than having to pay a set monthly charge whether I used it or not.”

Designed for ease of installation, commissioning and servicing, Ideal Commercial Boilers’ Evomax range expands the options for commercial buildings with one of the largest output ranges consisting of seven models from 30kW to 150kW. In addition to its lightweight design, supported through quality build and aesthetics, siting is made easy with a selection of room-sealed and open flue system choices. The option of insulated Frame and Header Kits allow the Evomax to be installed in cascade formation, either back-to-back or in-line depending on the requirements of the plantroom, with a combined top capacity of 600kW. Even more flexibility is provided with the option of Low Height Frame and Header Kits, which ensure installation of the Evomax is made simpler in instances where there is reduced headroom or inconvenient sloping ceilings.

In addition to flexible installation options, Evomax is Ideal Commercial Boilers’ highest efficiency boiler to date with seasonal efficiencies of up to 97.2%, exceeding those stipulated in Part L2 of the Building Regulations. Each boiler is capable of wider output modulation of 5:1, which ensures the load is matched closely to the building’s requirements to maximise system efficiency. This market-leading performance combines with low NOx emissions of less than 40mg/kWh to offer a boiler solution that qualifies for maximum BREEAM points. In addition, the high efficiency of the Evomax range still exceeds the stringent assessment criteria required for inclusion on the Energy Technology List (ETL), making these boilers eligible for the Government’s Enhanced Capital Allowance scheme.