The rise of co-working spaces in the UK is changing the nature of hot water heater specification, bringing unique challenges, says Andrews Water Heaters.
Co-working, where offices are shared by the self-employed and small teams, is on the rise. Buildings in this competitive sector require a hot water system that can provide a continuous supply of hot water to wash basins, showers and toilet facilities – at any time, at any capacity – to meet the demands and expectations of customers.
Tom Murray, Specification Director at Baxi Heating, explains: “Co-working spaces bring unique hot water challenges that the specifier must overcome. The owners of such spaces will want to ensure that the property is as energy-efficient as possible to reduce operating costs.
“The use of a condensing boiler might have once been the traditional choice to achieve maximum efficiency but such appliances cannot provide hot water in condensing mode, meaning that when they are producing hot water, they do so around 10% less efficient than when in condensing mode. Whereas a water heater will not lose efficiency during the generation and supply of hot water,” says Tom.
Space in co-working environments is at a premium; a reduction in usable floor space results in fewer desks and subsequently, fewer customers.
Tom argues: “Specifiers should be mindful of space in shared offices. Careful consideration should be paid to the variations between boilers and hot water heaters. For instance, a boiler coupled with a calorifier could require on average around 8m2 of floorspace, whereas a typical water heater would only need around 2m2 of space.”
Office roofs are increasingly becoming an attractive place for water heater installations. “The roof could be used by specifiers to really maximise the use of space. But this comes with its own restrictions,” Tom says. “Specifiers will need to check that the roof can cope with the weight of the water – in this instance, a water heater is going to weigh considerably less than a boiler and a calorifier.”
“Investment management company JLL predicts that 30% of all commercial office space will be shared by 2030. With this in mind, specifiers can get ahead of the curve by specifying an energy-efficient, space-saving water heater to keep costs low, efficiencies high, and customer satisfaction levels at an optimum level,” Tom concludes.