Do what it says on the tin

25th August 2021

Commissioning of new boilers, water heaters and heating systems must be prioritised if the anticipated energy and emissions savings are to be achieved, says Neville Small, Key Accounts Director at Baxi Heating.


Energy efficiency measures are vital to help the UK achieve its 2050 net zero emissions target. But gaps in building performance can be holding some businesses and organisations back from reaching their environmental goals.


So how to avoid an energy performance gap? When it comes to heating, a straightforward solution to optimal performance is to ensure thorough commissioning of new heating equipment and heating systems.


Heating is widely acknowledged as a natural target to increase efficiency and comfort in buildings. Depending on the nature of the building and the available budget, improvements might take the form of a full refurbishment of the heating system or replacement of ageing and inefficient plant with more energy-efficient condensing boilers and/or water heaters. Whatever the approach, it’s essential to bear in mind that heating equipment will only perform as designed if it is installed and maintained correctly – regardless of its efficiency credentials.


Achieving optimal performance


Take boilers, a key component of the plant room in most non-domestic buildings. Whether the sole provider of heat or working alongside low carbon technology, it’s essential that boilers are installed in such a way that they perform optimally from the outset. The next step is to maintain them according to manufacturer instructions to ensure that they continue to achieve the same high efficiencies throughout their lifetime.


Commissioning has a fundamental part to play in ensuring energy-efficient boiler operation. It is the critical stage of a commercial boiler installation that provides assurance that the specified output, efficiency and emission levels will be achieved.


In other words, commissioning ensures that the boilers do what they say on the tin.


What does commissioning involve?


Boiler commissioning consists of a series of installation, safety, operation, performance and failure checks, carried out by certified professionals – typically the manufacturer’s specialist engineers.

  • Detailed installation checks ensure that the system is installed according to the specification and manufacturer guidelines.
  • Rigorous safety checks ascertain that the system operates safely and responds correctly in all conditions.
  • Comprehensive operational testing makes sure the system operates and responds appropriately.
  • Full performance testing ensures that the boiler performs as is intended, producing the specified output, efficiency and emission levels.

Whole life efficiency


A robust commissioning process will identify any potential issues or mistakes at the outset and enable them to be caught and fixed prior to handover. The larger the boiler or water heater, the greater the requirement for thorough commissioning to ensure optimum performance and avoid additional energy consumption in the short and longer term from incorrect installation.


As commissioning takes place at the end of installation, there can be a tendency to rush the process on projects that have fallen slightly behind schedule. But in so doing, important opportunities can be missed to involve operational managers and facilities management providers in the efficient running of the equipment.


For example, this is the chance to record the initial settings that the manufacturer specifies, and to note any tips for the operation and future maintenance of the equipment. Information like this will help avoid unnecessary increases in energy consumption, emission levels and maintenance costs and will prolong the lifespan of the boiler.


Safety first


Crucially, commissioning provides peace of mind that the product will work safely. Heating systems and equipment that are not commissioned properly can pose safety risks to the building occupier and owner. But carrying out thorough boiler commissioning will ensure both the predicted high performance from the equipment and its safe operation. It will test that it responds in a safe and controlled manner during failures or shutdowns.


It is important to note that commissioning is a legal requirement to ensure adherence to Building Regulations and Gas Safe guidelines[1]Mim.


Extended warranties


Many local authorities specify manufacturer-led commissioning for certainty that the commercial boiler is set up according to manufacturer recommendations from day one. After all, no-one knows a product or how to optimise its efficiency better than the manufacturer.


A further benefit is the extended boiler warranty – up to five additional years for Remeha boilers – that can be unlocked if the appliance is commissioned by our own engineers.


Achieving goals


Ultimately, the importance of commissioning cannot be overstated given its potential to secure the ongoing high performance and safety credentials of a heating system.


Opting for manufacturer-led commissioning is a great way to access enhanced warranties and to set the boiler controls so that the system works efficiently and can easily be maintained through regular servicing.


Occupant comfort aside, commissioning provides assurance of maximum efficiency gains and carbon footprint reduction. By ensuring that the boilers and all other heating equipment do what they say on the tin, businesses are one step closer to achieving their environmental goals and setting their buildings on the path to net zero.

[1] Ref: IGEM/UP/10 Edition 4 Section 10