Part L Opportunity for condensing boilers to boost efficiency

As stricter regulations for the conservation of fuel and power bed in, Chris Caton, head of commercial product management at Ideal Heating, explains how the latest revision promotes the most efficient operation for condensing boilers.

Building regulations are in flux as policymakers hurry to set stricter requirements for insulation and energy conservation, laying the groundwork for meeting the mammoth target of net-zero emissions by 2050.

These initial steps towards decarbonisation are causing revisions to an alphabet’s worth of approved documents, with changes to Part L causing a new shake-up of whole building efficiency including heating requirements for buildings in England.

Vendors and installers must pay close attention to these changes that came into force in June this year, in order to make clients’ new heating systems compliant.

While change may create some challenge, it also presents opportunity to ensure the best possible efficiencies.

The UK transitioned to condensing heating products across the bulk of the market as a result of ErP (2015). But in some cases, these were installed on older systems that didn’t enable the boilers to work at the optimum flow temperature needed to fulfil their maximum efficiency potential.

Now, the new Part L revisions promote lower temperature flow rates, which enables condensing boilers to operate to the best of their capability.

This is a great opportunity for customers. More efficient boilers means less gas is needed for heating and hot water, helping organisations to reduce their direct emissions as they edge towards decarbonisation, and allowing businesses to save on their energy bills.

Revisions and the science

Part L is split into two volumes. Approved Document 1 Part L (ADL1) concerns dwellings, while ADL2 concerns buildings other than dwellings.

ADL2 requires where feasible that: ‘all parts of the system, including pipework and emitters, should be sized to allow the space heating system to operate effectively and in a manner that meets the heating needs of the building, at a maximum flow temperature of 55°C or lower.’

It’s not by chance that policymakers landed at 55°C for this maximum flow temperature. It is closely linked to the science that underpins condensing boiler technology, which offer buildings greater efficiency in their gas usage for heating and hot water. It also helps buildings be ready to transition to low carbon heating in the future.

Condensing boilers can recover heat that was typically lost via the flue in non-condensing models, and they recycle this heat for pre-heating purposes.

This efficient condensing process can only work when the temperature of the water returning to the boiler is less than 54°C. Even then, it’s more efficient if the temperature is slightly lower at 45°C.

Parameters fit for efficient boilers

It’s Part L’s broader tightening of thermal insulation requirements that enable condensing boilers to work at a more efficient temperature of under 54°C.

Draughty buildings aren’t friendly to lower operating temperatures, as more heat is needed to keep rooms warm. Part L’s focus on improving the building fabric to trap heat in, will allow condensing boilers to operate at their more optimum temperature.

A good boiler supplier will be able to help you to select the best option for your customer from a comfort, energy efficiency and compliance perspective following the implementation of the new rules.

At Ideal Heating, we offer a large range of condensing boilers for commercial settings, including the Evomax 2, Imax Xtra 2, Imax Xtra EL and Evomod models. That includes wall hung, floor standing and modular options that deliver power and efficiency in small footprints delivering outputs from 30kW to 1450kW.

Speak to our team about how we can help you and your clients in a changing regulatory landscape.