Large commercial buildings that make significant use of ventilation, refrigeration and air conditioning could be putting the waste heat from these processes to better use, according to experts in construction and building services.
Sites such as manufacturing facilities, leisure centres, supermarkets and warehouses could transform the waste heat from industrial cooling processes to use in their own buildings and in district heating schemes.
One report in the CIBSE Journal estimates if the UK reused waste heat from its buildings and industrial processes, it could supply 14% of the hot water and heating demand in UK homes, supporting the country’s journey to net zero.
Tesco has alreadybeen looking at the possibilities in detail and the retailer’s group refrigeration engineering manager Phil Hozer recently spoke to members of BESA(Building Engineering Services Association) about the progress that has been made to date.
Hozer said the company was looking at ways to make better use of the heat generated by its HVAC equipment and early steps had been taken to start assessing the heating needs of each individual store, which varies according to location, size and structure as well as each site’s use of cold air retrieval solutions and the types of mechanical ventilation systems in place.
Tesco has launched a knowledge sharing hub with University College London to study the data in more depth.
Hozer said one challenge being faced around rethinking waste heat was based on the integration of HVAC and refrigeration controls to ensure different systems were being efficiently used together, while also taking into account seasonal changes in demand.
He said that many stores have shown demand for heat functions in summer months “so the integration of the heat demand signal in particular with refrigeration controls is still problematic.”
Graeme Fox, BESA’s head of technical, believes waste heat generated by larger scale commercial and industrial cooling systems can offer new ways of providing more efficient and cost effective heat and has called for greater collaboration between HVAC and building services teams.
He said: “The building services design consultants need to work more collaboratively with refrigeration consultants, rather than in their more traditional siloes, so that we can harness ejected heat and help our built environment become truly carbon neutral.”
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