What is System Integration?

System Integration is when you bring together two or more different types of heating appliances (heat source) or heat generators.  These heat generators are then connected to the hot water tank and the central heating. 

These appliances cannot simply be linked together but must be carefully designed to ensure efficient operation under all circumstances.

What are the benefits of System Integration?

Some heat generators cost less to run than others and with an integrated system you can make the best use of the available energy.  You might link an oil boiler with a wood burning stove.  In cost per kilowatt hour wood is less expensive to heat the building than oil. 

An integrated system will let the wood stove provide the heat when lit and prevent the oil boiler from running.  When the wood stove is not running the oil boiler would automatically switch on to provide the heat.  You are in control of your running costs without compromising the warmth of the building.


What can be linked together in an integrated system?

All kinds of heat generators and heat distribution circuits can be joined together to provide a very energy efficient system.

This table shows what heat generators can be linked to various heating and hot water circuits.  You can use any combination to give the most cost and energy efficient system for your project. 
















What are the best combinations of appliances to integrate?

This will depend on whether your system is an existing one or a new installation.  Existing systems will require a lot of changes to the plumbing in order to integrate new appliances.  System integration is therefore only practical if you are having a complete upgrade or are putting in a new installation.

When deciding which appliances to integrate it is recommended to use those that consume the least amount of fuel.  Solar can be integrated into any system and a Radiant solar system gives excellent year round heat energy for hot water and central heating and is very competitively priced.

Air Source Heat Pumps are also relatively easy to integrate into either an existing or new system.


How is an integrated system controlled?

Controlling the equipment will depend on the complexity of the system.  In all cases the controls will always priorities the use of the cheapest energy first.  Our standard control equipment uses programmers and optimising thermostats.  Our deluxe controls use weather compensating energy management devices by Siemens.

The cheapest energy to use is solar heating which can be used for both hot water and central heating.  Next would be the renewable energies such as wood, biomass and heat pumps.  Finally the fossil fuels of oil and gas boilers and central heating cookers.


How do I get an integrated system design?

Click the system design form link and follow the instructions on how to fill out this form. 


Are there other ways to improve the running costs of the system?

Yes, once you have the design for an efficient heating system the next step is to look at improvements to the building.  The most cost effective measure is to use mechanical ventilation with heat recovery (heat/vent recovery or HVR). 


Whole building heat ventilation recovery
The air inside any building has to be constantly changed to ensure a healthy environment.  This air change extracts odours and moisture and replaces it with fresh air.  However the air that leaves the building will be warm whilst the fresh air could be very cold.  During the colder months this air change will remove a lot of heat from the building.  In an uncontrolled situation such as trickle vents or extraction fans this heat is simply lost.  The new fresh air has to be heated up again and this costs money.  To prevent this waste a heat/vent recovery (HVR) system is used.

The HVR system gives controlled ventilation with the added benefit of capturing most of the extracted heat.  Heat exchangers inside the unit transfer the heat from the outgoing warm moist air to the incoming cool fresh air.  On average, 70% of the outgoing heat is recovered by the unit making it a very cost effective device.  The cost of installing a HVR system in to a new building is no more that fitting trickle vents to windows and mechanical fans to all the bathrooms.  The benefits however are lower fuel bills and a comfortable, controlled environment.

Please see our HVR buy it now page for product range and prices.  If you would like a HVR system specifying for your project then please use the HVR quote design form.


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