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Perfect Efficiency – Is It Achievable In Our Imperfect World?

Greater energy efficiency towards net zero can be widely & quickly achieved through practical, economic & technical solutions

Non-residential buildings are a more complex picture. The Non-Domestic National Energy Efficiency Data-Framework 2020 (England and Wales) published on 20th November 2020 by UK Govt Official Statistics made a summary and analysis of the non-domestic building stock and non-domestic building energy consumption in England and Wales using the latest version of the Non-Domestic National Energy Efficiency Data-Framework (ND-NEED).

Chris Goggin of Rinnai looks at the imbalance between two distinct sides of the NetZero equation. On one hand there are academics and Govt policymakers expecting an energy & fuel scenario that ticks all boxes of theory and then there is the national & international marketplace with its own expectations, options and solutions. He argues that a pragmatic, economic and technical approach is vital to aim for decarbonising UK commercial and residential building & housing stock.

UK energy consumers – both domestic and commercial – are confronting a list of uncertainties regarding the provision of future decarbonising power and energy. The wide variance of existing building stock and consistent misinformation spread through mass media along with the tactical use of academia amounts to an opaque vision of the UK energy landscape.

Academics and some of the dominant national media are wedded to the concept of total efficiency for both operational suitability & capability which will, in their logic, result in a NetZero world. They have largely dismissed all other energy and power vectors as being NetZero energy inefficient.

This approach has inherent weaknesses. Is it right to respond with just known technologies and policy solutions? This rush to identify what can be done is based on a somewhat reductive logic that doesn’t accept the inevitability of much more nuanced approaches which include planning truly and deliberately for the longer-term.

The belief that there is only one way holds more potential for many slips and trips along the way to 2050, the year written into UK statute law that we, as a nation, must achieve NetZero. Energy policy makers may well stipulate that all future UK decarbonising aims will be met through the widespread and rapid adoption of very specific fuels, appliances and systems but there are practical realities along the way that must be faced and resolved.

Academia and mass media have both expressed views that support a narrow scope of potential low carbon alternative fuel sources and technologies. All notable media views approve of instant decarbonisation yet do not mention the numerous difficulties the domestic UK energy market has to confront.

For instance, mass media and academics who only voice just one viable route of decarbonisation do not appear to face the detail of coping with the current UK housing stock of 25 million dwellings.

Non-residential buildings are a more complex picture. The Non-Domestic National Energy Efficiency Data-Framework 2020 (England and Wales) published on 20th November 2020 by UK Govt Official Statistics made a summary and analysis of the non-domestic building stock and non-domestic building energy consumption in England and Wales using the latest version of the Non-Domestic National Energy Efficiency Data-Framework (ND-NEED).

The statistics in ND-NEED covered non-domestic buildings in England and Wales, under the ND-NEED definition. Information on the non-domestic building stock (building number, building use, building size) reflects the end of March 2020 Information on energy consumption covered 2016-2018, and comprises electricity and gas consumed via the public distribution system (onsite generated electricity consumption is not included).

The key results were:

  • Under the ND-NEED definition, there are 1,656,000 non-domestic buildings in England and Wales (end of March 2020). The top three uses of non-domestic buildings are Shops (29%), Offices (20%) and Factories (14%).
  • The total energy consumption of non-domestic buildings in England and Wales is 293 TWh (2018).
  • The three building uses that consume the most energy are Factories (34%), Other (15%) and Offices (10%) (2018).
  • The building use that has the highest energy intensity is Hospitality (2018).

The UK has almost 27 million buildings and all need to achieve the 2050 goal of NetZero, a date which we cannot change unless the law is changed.

Rinnai’s solution is to provide practical, economic and technical solutions. Rinnai offer decarbonising technology and systems suited to every possible site. Obtaining a hot water and heating system designed to the specificities of any site or property ensures that savings can be made in purchase, running costs as well as carbon emissions.

Some properties are better suited towards a specific heating and hot water delivery system. For example, hybrid heat pump or solar thermal with BioLPG options could be considered the better solution for heating and hot water delivery when thinking of off-grid rural locations, especially off-grid properties with high heating and hot water demand with limited space.

Urban occupants could be advised to look at systems that utilise hybrid designs including hydrogen-ready units for gas blends of up to 20%. If say, a customer owns an urban retirement community consisting of three Edwardian houses with a mixture of heating and hot water delivery applications, Rinnai can design and install ONE WHOLE system that guarantees maximum output and minimises fuel and operational costs.

Not only will Rinnai advise the customer on what system should be installed, Rinnai will design a heating and hot water system that complements the customer’s site. Whichever location or dwelling, Rinnai can offer and design a heating and hot water system that will help reduce costs and carbon emissions.

Policy makers, academics, large media outlets and customers alike all demand efficiency in a world where little is genuinely efficient. Rinnai recognises the obstacles of international energy policy, distribution and immediate UK low carbon requirements. As a result, Rinnai have adapted its product range to allow commercial and residential sites to choose the best option specific to them.

Decarbonising options include heat pumps, solar thermal, hybrid systems, hydrogen ready water heaters and hot water heating units – all configured to give the very best value and efficiency in the variety of fuels – natural gas, hydrogen, renewable sources, electricity and BioLPG and other renewable liquid fuels for off-grid properties. Rinnai remain committed to supplying a variety of cost effective, low-carbon systems that encourage domestic and commercial decarbonising solutions. Rinnai seek to produce technological, economic and efficient solutions in a world where little is truly efficient.




Rinnai’s H3 range of decarbonising products include hydrogen / BioLPG ready technology, hybrid systems, and a wide range of LOW GWP heat pumps and solar thermal. Also, within Rinnai’s H3 range is Infinity hydrogen blend ready and BioLPG ready continuous flow water heaters which are stacked with a multitude of features that ensure long life, robust & durable use, customer satisfaction and product efficiency.

Rinnai’s range of decarbonising products – H1/H2/H3 – consists of heat pump, solar, hydrogen in any configuration, hybrid formats for either residential or commercial applications. Rinnai’s H3 range of products offer contractors, consultants and end users a range of efficient, robust and affordable decarbonising appliances which create practical, economic and technically feasible solutions. The range covers all forms of fuels and appliances currently available – electric, gas, hydrogen, BioLPG, rDME solar thermal, low GWP heat pumps and electric water heaters.

Rinnai H1 continuous water heaters and boilers?offer practical and economic decarbonization delivered through technological innovation in hydrogen and renewable liquid gas ready technology.

Rinnai’s H1 option is centred on hydrogen, as it is anticipated that clean hydrogen fuels will become internationally energy market-relevant in the future; Rinnai water heaters are hydrogen 20% blends ready and include the world’s first 100% hydrogen-ready hot water heating technology.

Rinnai H2 – Decarbonization simplified with renewable gas-ready units, Solar Thermal and Heat Pump Hybrids Rinnai H2 is designed to introduce a practical and low-cost option which may suit specific sites and enable multiple decarbonisation pathways with the addition of high performance.

Rinnai H3 – Low-GWP heat pump technology made easy – Rinnai heat pumps are available for domestic and commercial usage with an extensive range of 4 – 115kW appliances. 

Rinnai’s H3 heat pumps utilise R32 refrigerant and have favourable COP and SCOP.

Rinnai is a world leading manufacturer of hot water heaters and produces over two million units a year, operating on each of the five continents. The brand has gained an established reputation for producing products that offer high performance, cost efficiency and extended working lives.

Rinnai’s commercial and domestic continuous flow water heaters offer a limitless supply of instantaneous temperature controlled hot water and all units are designed to align with present and future energy sources. Rinnai condensing water heaters accept either existing fuel or hydrogen gas blends. Rinnai units are also suited for off-grid customers who require LPG and BioLPG or rDME.

Rinnai products are UKCA certified, A-rated water efficiency, accessed through multiple fuel options and are available for purchase 24/7, 365 days a year. Any unit can be delivered to any UK site within 24 hours. Rinnai offer carbon and cost comparison services that will calculate financial and carbon savings made when investing in a Rinnai system. Rinnai also provide a system design service that will suggest an appropriate system for the property in question. Rinnai offer comprehensive training courses and technical support in all aspects of the water heating industry including detailed CPD’s. More information can be found on Rinnai’s website and its “Help Me Choose” webpage.


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5 July 2023


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