• Marc Bates

Why Covid safety comes via education sector boilers and HVAC

Hodgkinson Bennis can help to ensure education sector boilers and HVAC systems work at their best to create Covid-secure campuses.


education sector boilers and HVAC systems

We all know that the education sector has been among the most disrupted parts of the UK economy during the pandemic. Schools, colleges, and universities have had to introduce whole new ways of working across their campuses. Now we know more about the spread of the SARS-CoV2 virus that causes Covid-19, we recognise the central importance of ventilation. Schools are back for the autumn term, and colleges and universities are soon to start the new academic year. It’s time for education institutions to make sure that heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems and boilers are working at their best. In this blog, we’ll look at Hodgkinson Bennis services for education sector boilers and HVAC.


Creating Covid-secure campuses

Across the UK, there are currently just over 32,000 schools needing reliable heating, hot water, and ventilation to continue operating safely for the coming academic year. Together, these schools educate a total of 10.3 million young people and employ upwards of a million teaching and support staff. In terms of higher education, there are 300 further education colleges and 130 universities. These institutions jointly educate around a million people more and employ tens of thousands of staff.


Currently, there are several important things for universities, colleges, and schools to provide for Covid safety. They need an uninterrupted supply of hot water to keep everyone’s hands clean. And they need to keep lecture spaces, laboratories, classrooms, and canteens well-ventilated (and at the right temperature). Installing a new boiler or HVAC system may be a good place to start. Hodgkinson Bennis are experts at fitting and commissioning new boilers and HVAC systems in schools. We design and install systems, including work on plant rooms. We can advise on the best fuel source for university and college boilers, be it gas, liquid, or solid fuels. Institutions can consider biomass boilers, which benefit from the government’s Non-Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) to offset installation costs over the boiler’s lifetime.


New equipment may not be an option, so control and flow are key

However, we recognise that budgets are stretched thin this year. Therefore, now may not be the best time to fit entire new systems. One lower-cost alternative is for universities, colleges, and schools to refurbish and replace control equipment. HVAC system control can be problematic with old, inefficient time controls. Upgrades to state-of-the-art thermostats, timer switches, and CO2 monitors can pay for themselves very quickly through energy cost savings. For instance, we can advise on an optimum start controller, which learns how quickly the building reaches the desired temperature. It then brings the heating on in time for the arrival of staff and students, depending on the weather.


Hodgkinson Bennis can also redesign hot water systems. Older heating and hot water systems waste hot water through redundancy. For instance, if pipes to hot water taps are too long, people will have to run the water until it becomes hot. We can review pipework design to make it more efficient. Rationalising pipework and installing point-of-use heaters can save water and energy and have beneficial effects on reducing water waste.


Planned preventive maintenance will aid with energy efficiency too

Once universities, colleges, and schools have an efficient boiler fitted, it’s essential to keep it regularly serviced and maintained. We can undertake regular servicing and maintenance of existing boilers and HVAC equipment, as well as pipework. We can help by undertaking annual gas safety checks and insurance inspections. And we can devise a planned preventive maintenance (PPM) schedule to ensure that systems go on operating at peak efficiency.


Across the country, the education sector uses a massive amount of energy on an annual basis. A Carbon Trust study suggests UK universities and colleges could save millions each year on energy. Given around 65% of energy costs arise from HVAC and hot water requirements, this is a key area for improvement. Savings on utilities could be even greater if facilities also control their water usage, turn off lighting and other equipment when not in use, and maintain building fabric.


Ultimately, everyone should have some responsibility to use resources wisely. For instance, an energy team comprising management, faculty, maintenance staff, cleaners and students can help identify opportunities for savings. And involving students in improving energy efficiency helps them to learn about the built environment. We’re all getting used to the new realities of living with Covid – and working to reduce carbon emissions can sit alongside this. It’s all part of our commitment to help keep essential services going.


To find out more about the range of Hodgkinson Bennis services for education sector boilers and HVAC, contact one of the team today.

About Hodgkinson Bennis education sector boilers and HVAC

Hodgkinson Bennis designs, installs, and maintains the most fuel-efficient commercial and industrial boilers. Headquartered in Manchester, we work across the UK, particularly in the North West, North East and throughout the Midlands. Contact us today to discuss how we can deliver advanced commercial and industrial boilers, and our range of other services. At Hodgkinson Bennis, we have worked with commercial and industrial boilers since 1872. This history gives us an enviable amount of experience as pioneers in the industry. We place an enormous emphasis on ensuring the health and safety of all team members, suppliers, contractors, and the public. We provide the most fuel-efficient boiler solutions for industrial and commercial applications.

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