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Low carbon hot water systems to replace gas and coal in commercial businesses

We can all play a role in developing a more energy-efficient economy using lower carbon, cleaner technologies in our buildings.

By focusing on decarbonising energy our government is starting to deliver on the commitments we made in the Zero Carbon Act. This includes the push for schools to replace ageing coal burners, industries adopting renewable energy sources and the proposed Climate Change Commission recommendation to halt new natural gas and LPG connections from 2025.

With this in mind, an important consideration for any new commercial building will be what clean energy solutions to implement. Existing commercial buildings will also need to consider options, especially as existing systems get to the end of their useful lives.

University halls of residence, apartments, hotels, motels and care homes

Domestic hot water and central heating are almost always the biggest energy users in accommodation businesses.  The delivery of plenty of hot water all year is absolutely critical, especially if the business is running laundry or food preparation facilities. Therefore a reliable and low carbon technology choice is fundamental.

These critical heating and hot water needs can be fulfilled with two of the lowest carbon and most reliable technologies available in NZ – Reclaim CO2 hot water heat pumps and ÖkoFEN wood pellet boilers.

Some examples:

Summerset Retirement Village, St Johns Street, Auckland
Te Kurakaupapa Motuhake o Tawhiaua in Murupara

Commercial kitchens, restaurants & cafes

Hot water is essential for the safe and sanitary operation of any commercial kitchen such as those in restaurants and cafes. A large supply is often necessary in order to sanitise pots, pans and preparation areas. Therefore, considerable savings can be made in energy use when choosing the right system to heat your hot water.

For small to medium-sized establishments, Reclaim CO2 hot water heat pumps will make the most savings for the smallest outlay. The systems are modular so they can be stacked if you need more hot water.  The Reclaim systems only use 1kW per hour and each one can deliver up to 700L of hot water a day.

Larger hot water users can benefit from the Reclaim Q-TON commercial, 3 phase, CO2 heat pump.  The Q-TON delivers all the benefits of an efficient CO2 system in a much larger package, providing up to 10,000 litres of hot water every day.

Some examples include:

Breweries & distilleries

Where hot water demand can be upwards of 6,000 litres a day significant savings in energy use and environmental impact can be made. An ideal solution such a large hot water supply is the Reclaim Q-TON CO2 commercial hot water heat pump.

Example: Reclaim Q-TON commercial heat pump – Shene Estate and Distillery in Pontville, Australia

Dairy farms

One of the largest users of power in a dairy shed is for the heating of hot water for plant and vat wash down.  Substantial savings can be made in this part of the farm business. Apricus solar hot water systems are ideal for this or a containerised pellet boiler system, with hot water provided at only 7c per kWh.

Example: Apricus solar hot water – Doug Leeder, Opotiki

Marae, papakainga housing and local community centres

For marae and community centres there can be funding available especially for sustainability initiatives that reduce carbon emissions and involve the community.  Apricus have a long and positive track record in helping all types of community organisations groups to apply for funding from government initiatives.  This includes the $14 million Renewable Energy Fund for Maori Housing from MBIE and the Provincial Growth Fund Marae improvement programme.

When applying for this type of funding it is often asked how the funding will benefit the community and we consider there to be no better contribution to than community than reducing running costs whilst reducing our environmental impact.  There are a variety of different options for making the most impact on finances and the environment, a solar hot water system from Apricus is often one of the best options with the least outlay, offering a viable alternative to gas and ongoing reduction in power bills.  In terms of savings and ease of use Reclaim CO2 hot water heat pumps are another option, especially if there is shading or a difficult to access roof.

If the buildings need central heating in winter as well as hot water all year, then an ideal system is a pellet boiler from Easypell or ÖkoFEN. These wood pellet boilers come a huge range of sizes to suit every building, from a small community centre to a large marae with multiple buildings and lots of showers and accommodation.  With pellet boilers there is a choice of doing a bit more manual work for a lower system cost or having a completely automated system that only needs the ash emptied straight onto the māra kai once every few weeks.

Some examples include:

When choosing the best system some important notes to remember are:

  • Hot water can be provided by Apricus solar, Reclaim CO2 or ÖkoFEN and Easypell pellet boilers
  • Central heating can only be provided by ÖkoFEN or Easypell pellet boilers
  • Apricus solar hot water collectors must be roof mounted and need to have hot water storage cylinders, which can be indoors or outdoors
  • Reclaim CO2 hot water heat pumps are always housed outdoors and require a cylinder/s which can be indoors or outdoors
  • Easypell and ÖkoFEN pellet boilers and associated pellet storage must be inside.  They can be installed in a plant room or delivered as an ÖkoFEN Energy Box, a pre-fabricated complete containerised system ready for placement and connection on-site. These can deliver all central heating and hot water required from a single 20’ container (6m x 2.4m) or multiple containers for larger buildings.