Mixed technology: the best of both worlds


21 September 2022

Paul Hawkins, commercial sales manager at Vokèra by Riello, looks at how mixed technology systems can offer sustainability and reliability of supply for commercial applications.

The combination of high-efficiency condensing boilers and renewable technologies can provide the perfect balance between carbon, comfort and energy efficiency. Indeed, this concept can be seen in action at a care home in Bristol where a fully integrated Steel Pro Power gas condensing commercial boiler and NXH Air-Water Heat Pumps from Vokèra by Riello Commercial are providing a low carbon system that maintains residents’ comfort.

The innovative solution is part of the redevelopment of a disused care home in the city which has created modern, high quality accommodation for around 85 elderly residents. The hybrid system meets the care home’s critical heating and hot water demands, including underfloor heating on the ground floor, a heating circuit serving radiators on the second storey and bathrooms. 

Single supplier solution

When it came to specifying a heating system, the care home owners were keen to install a more climate-friendly solution. However, they were concerned about relying solely on renewable energy sources to provide a constant supply of heating and hot water for their vulnerable elderly residents. A mixed technology system combining a gas condensing commercial boiler with a renewable energy source, such as heat pumps, offered the ideal solution. Working alongside the renewable energy source as a sort of ancillary system, the boiler only kicks in when the renewable source is unable to match demand.
With this in mind, Vokèra by Riello Commercial designed and supplied a complete hybrid system for the project from its comprehensive range of fully integrated heating products. This single supplier option has significant benefits for specifiers and contractors as it simplifies the supply chain and enables efficiencies in ordering, administration and delivery.

Vokèra’s product package for the care home includes a 405kW Steel Pro Power commercial boiler – a floor standing gas condensing system equipped with low energy modulating pumps. Units are pre-built, complete with heat exchangers, for simple ‘plug and play’ installation. The Steel Pro Power range is available in outputs up to 1.3MW and all models are internally equipped with hydraulic, gas, condensate and flue exhaust manifolds. The power supplied by individual modules is managed with an advanced electronics control, compatible with the Modbus protocol., 

Commercial applications

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The Steel Pro Power boiler specified for the care home is combined with air-water commercial heat pumps from Vokèra’s NXH range. Designed to meet the high output demands of commercial applications, only two externally installed 122kW NXH units were required for the care home – saving plant room space and installation costs. The NXH series feature axial fans and external rotor with variable speed to ensure reliable operation in outdoor temperatures down to -10°C in heating mode. Touch screen control provides an intuitive interface with potential for M-BUS connection.

Complete plant package

In addition to the main heating components Vokèra’s total plant package for the care home included two 1500 litre cylinders, buffer tank, system distribution pumps, related accessories and external flueing system. Vokèra’s expert team also worked closely with the project’s specialist HVAC contractors, providing technical support and assisting smooth installation and commissioning.  

At Vokèra we believe this type of mixed technology system can deliver the best of both worlds for all types of commercial application and could also help promote the wider uptake of sustainable heating products, like air-water heat pumps, as the HVAC industry makes the transition to net zero.