• Jason Greve

HIUs made simple - How does a heat interface unit work?

Quick overview: Heat Interface Units (HIU) serve as a bridge between the central boiler in a building and the hot water and heating systems in individual apartments/units.

HIUs provide a wealth of benefits all round – from the tenant, to the landlord, onto the developers and plumbers who build the property and install the system.

What is a Heating Interface Unit (HIU)?

A HIU looks very similar to a boiler, and it sits within a central location in a building of multiple properties (this could be a multi-dwelling residential apartment, or a commercial space such as a shopping centre).

A HIU transfers heat to the shared community heating network, ensuring that hot water is instantly available (as opposed to being reliant on a thermostat and heating programmer).

A heat metre within the HIU measures the amount of energy that is used by each individual property, which is tracked in kilowatts (just as standard energy is with a traditional boiler).

The Science – How does a Heating Interface Unit (HIU) work?

HIUs separate the central heating system, from the heating systems in individual properties through a plate exchanger, which is responsible for transferring thermal energy from a fluid within the central HIU, to fluids in each of the connected secondary systems.

A HIU will have one of two forms of control types – thermostatic or proportional hydraulic. Which of the two is selected is based on the requirements of the project, however the vast majority of installations have a thermostatic control.

Thermostatic control

HIUs operated by thermostatic control have a lower initial purchase price, however this must be balanced with the fact that they are sometimes reported to suffer from slight water temperature fluctuations (although this can be overcome with the use of a fast-responding thermostat).

Proportional hydraulic

Heat Interface Units that are operated by proportional hydraulic control provide for more consistent water temperatures, however they are more expensive to initially install than HIUs with a thermostatic control.

From tenant to landlord - The far and wide-ranging benefits of HIUs

For developers, Heat Interface Units (HIUs) are faster and easier to install than individual gas boilers.

For plumbers, an easier installation comes as standard, as there’s no gas connection and no flue pipe (so there’s no need for them to have a gas qualification, nor do battle with complex ventilation routes).

For the tenant, smart-energy-ready technology hands them insight and better control over their energy use. Another added benefit is that they’ll no longer need to deal with maintenance due to a heating problem (an inconvenience loathed by tenants since renting began).

For local authorities, this minimal maintenance could also cut ongoing costs, and replace the current issue of servicing and repairing boilers in every apartment in a block. Research shows that this could equate to savings of £120,000 over the course of twenty years in a block of 80 properties.

Lower CO2 emissions will also provide a tick in the box of ever more pressing green targets that public bodies must meet.

At RSS Energy, we’re in no doubt as to where the future for energy lies.

With two decades of history in construction, we’ve encountered the pressures and demands for the developer on a day-to-day basis.

This month we could be installing a HIU for a 13-storey block of 52 apartments. The next we might be handling a multi-unit business premises.

But whatever the project, we always care about the task at hand.

Ready to hear about what HIUs could do for you? Let’s talk…

RSS Energy – Innovative heating solutions for new builds and businesses

“We have worked with RSS Energy for many years, they continually meet, or exceed, our expectations: which is why they are chosen to work on our projects and with our clients. They are a trusted partner that fits well with our business and ethics and we hope to be working with them for many years to come."

Gavin Welsman, Divisional Manager - Oventrop Projects

Daikin approved installer | Energie approved installer | Oventrop approved installer | DHP approved contractor

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