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Rinnai in Malta – hot water heating on a hot island

Energy Savings Solutions, headed by Franco Bileci, has been the sole supplier of Rinnai products on the jewelled island of Malta since 2007. In that time, Franco has supplied and installed products and systems to thousands of sites, mainly in domestic homes but also in all types of commercial sites such as hotels, healthcare and nursing homes.

Franco Bileci of Energy Saving Solutions

The company was founded in 2007 by Franco after a family connection in Australia suggested that the Rinnai product range might be suited to Malta. It became quickly apparent to Franco that the best way of progressing the business and provide long term customer satisfaction was to ensure that his company also carried out the installations.

“Malta has a very specific set of climatic and geological conditions – it only harvests about 50% of its water via natural means such as rainfall or wells & bore holes and the rest of it comes from desalination plants. Water quality needs constant attention. This means that we need to take this into account with each installation. And the island is almost entirely built on limestone, which adds to these peculiarities,” says Franco.

Fuel is another moot point on the island – it comes in the form of electricity purchased from nearby Sicily and LNG-Liquified Natural Gas. There is a huge sea terminal and storage facilities catering for the LNG supplies at the port of Marsaxlokk, just southwest of the capital Valletta.

“All sites with Rinnai units use bottled gas and all have a system of changeover, so they don’t run dry. To the outsider it is reasonable to expect that solar power would be a major source of energy, but it isn’t. At the moment the Government does give grants on both solar thermal and heat pumps.  However solar is not enough especially in winter when the temperature drops and the sun has its limits. But Malta is not the only place in the world with some eccentricities!” says Franco.

Although domestic sites take up the vast majority of Franco’s business, he is rapidly developing the commercial side too. All commercial sites also use bottled gas – one such installation is in a nursing home catering for several hundred patients and staff. Here Franco has installed 3 x 1600i N Series, along with calorifiers.

“This site has a plant room,” says Franco,” which is convenient for the installation as it has the room for a dedicated space. In other sites, especially hotels, they do not want to give up space that can be earning them money through letting

more bedrooms for guests. At hotels the installation and bottled gas storage tends to almost always be on the rooftop. It is very awkward for the delivery men but carrying gas bottles, two at a time, it helps them get very fit!”

“One hotel customer – he has 35 rooms, open all year and with an occupancy rate approaching 90% –  has2 x Rinnai 1600e units. It only really uses one unit, the other is back-up as they simply don’t want the problems of not providing hot water to guests.

“But” adds Franco, “we are also looking at designing and installing a Hybrid system, utilising one of the Rinnai Low GWP heat pumps at a hotel undergoing a major refit. He adds, “The owner is keen to minimise energy costs on heating hot water but not at the expense of quality and all the other benefits a Rinnai system offers – durability, dependability, cost efficiency.

“Rinnai offers constant and consistent flow rates, plus temperature accurate delivery on demand. A stored system would struggle to cope with the peak demands. The Rinnai product range is valued and perceived on the island as being a product of excellence delivering a premium performance to each and every site.

Franco has numerous installations of Rinnai H1 BioLPG ready water heaters and is now looking forward to H2 hybrid solutions of Solar Thermal & Heat Pumps and H3 advanced Heat Pumps technology.

Malta is a busy, prosperous island of almost half a million population with huge amounts of inward investment in financial services, tourism and gaming – and it is home to serious amounts of super yachts and cruise ships. Against this background Franco Bileci looks to expand his business with measured progress so that each and every customer of Energy Saving Solutions has both product and service excellence.

13 April 2023


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