What’s best for your business?

Heating remains one of the biggest operational overheads for industries throughout the UK. The Government’s Climate Change Levy has added an extra cost to all fuel bills. Switching to energy-efficient space heating technology will minimise fuel consumption, benefit the environment and, most importantly, reduce costs. DAVID ROCK of Ambi-Rad Limited explains.Advances in heating technology have transformed British industry’s capability to efficiently and cost effectively heat its buildings, however large or poorly insulated. The choice of heating system will depend on the construction and configuration of the building (including roof height), the activity which takes place within it and the constant temperature requirement. Many other factors — including ventilation requirement, constantly opening loading bays doors and the need for ductwork — will also influence the selection. Choosing your heating The following types of heating system are particularly suitable for large industrial and commercial premises: • Radiant tube heating • Air curtains • Indirect gas-fired warm air • Direct-fired combined heating and ventilation • Air induction systems. Radiant heating is widely used in industrial applications, and is particularly suitable where the roof is very high. The infra-red heat emitted by a radiant tube warms people and objects in its path, but without heating the volume of air in the building. As a result, radiant is one of the most economic forms of space heating — typically saving 25 to 70 % of fuel costs over conventional boiler systems. Radiant is very quick to heat up and rapidly re-establishes comfort temperatures following an influx of cold air, making it ideal where external doors are constantly opening and closing. It also heats without circulating air and dust — an important factor in ‘clean’ environments. In a similar vein, air curtains provide a protective barrier when doors have to be opened. They work by deflecting the natural convection airflow, and delivering a blast, or ‘curtain’, of ambient or warm-air across the doorway at constant velocity to separate internal and external environments and maintain conditions inside the building by preventing heat loss and the ingress of cold air. Indirect warm-air heating is supplied either from internally suspended units, ducted from a remote plant room or externally mounted heater, or from floor-standing cabinets. Warm air heating is highly energy efficient and directional (where nozzles are fitted), ensuring air is discharged where it is most needed. When air needs to be constantly introduced into the building to maintain good air quality — such as in areas where airborne particles result from the production process — direct fired combined heating and ventilation systems are an excellent solution. These systems circulate controlled fresh air, without causing draughts or using expensive low-level displacement ventilation outlets. Air-induction systems use either indirect or direct heating units linked to ductwork which takes primary air to induction boxes around the building, where it is discharged through diffusers, grilles or nozzles. The system provides even, controllable air velocities and stable temperatures throughout the building. Air induction offers rapid warm-up with reduced running costs. Enhanced Capital Allowances These heating technologies, with the exception of air curtains, have recently been included in the Government’s Enhanced Capital Allowances scheme which means 100% of the capital cost can be claimed back over 12 months. Each system offers energy efficiencies that reduce fuel consumption and associated costs. With the additional financial incentive of the ECA scheme, there has never been a more advantageous time to invest in a new heating system. David Rock is with Ambi-Rad Ltd, Fens Pool Avenue, Brierley Hill, West Midlands DY5 1QA.
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