School Case Study

Firebird Future Proofing Schools For Generations to Come  

It’s that time of year when schools are looking to plan and prioritise upgrade works to take place during the summer break. This is especially the case this year with the pandemic, as schools have had a higher demand for heating to try and keep their students warm while windows remain open for ventilation.

Necessity and cost-efficiency are always the key drivers in decision-making but there is a growing trend to ensure sustainability and future proofing is as high up on the agenda.

Firebird, Ireland’s leading suppliers of high performance solutions for the domestic and commercial heating market, has seen a growing trend of schools ensuring their new boiler systems not only stand the test of time but that they have the flexibility to adapt to future technologies.

“With many schools built in the 70’s and 80’s, their boilers are starting to fail or are requiring more maintenance. The boilers are naturally reaching the end of their life cycle.  Schools cannot afford these boilers to fail because of the impact this will have on the school’s operations, students, staff, finances etc.,” explained Paul McGuckin, technical manager from Firebird.

“Schools need boilers with higher capabilities due to their demand and reliability is also hugely important. As the only supplier in Ireland and the UK with a highly efficient condensing boiler range of up to 100kW, customers are choosing Firebird’s solutions to meet their needs not only for our product capability but also for our advanced boiler technology.”

With a clear focus on renewables and sustainability, Firebird has dedicated significant resources and invested heavily in developing products with increased fuel efficiency, reduced emissions and products that use more renewable and sustainable fuel sources.

The requirements of the Energy Related Products (ErP) directive introduced within the last 5 years, which includes fossil fuel boilers between 70kW and 400kW rated output, has had a significant impact on the commercial boiler market. This was a massive shake up for the industry with heating and efficiency bands tightened for both new and existing buildings. More small-to-medium sized installation projects now effectively require a condensing boiler solution.

Primary schools in Cavan and Sligo are recent examples of those that have switched to Firebird boilers. In projects delivered in less than a fortnight, two 100kW condensing boilers were fitted in each school to meet their capability requirements.

“These boilers boast high efficiency and low NOx (Nitrogen Oxide) emissions,” Paul continued. “Typically, with these older school buildings the heat loss can be greater, however the schools can achieve lower capital costs with our boilers as they reach a set point temperature up three times faster than their original cast iron boilers to deliver further efficiency and cost savings.”

According to Paul, another key selling point for Firebird was how these boilers are fossil free ready.

“The schools were very impressed to know and understand how the boilers are also future-proofed for HVO (Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil), an advanced fossil-free fuel derived from 100% renewable waste streams which will enable them to adapt with little or no additional costs to using HVO as an alternative fuel source in the not so distant future,” Paul stated.

“This is naturally where the sector will evolve over the coming years. We are already very active in this space trialling and indeed using HVO at Firebird’s own manufacturing sites in the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and in the UK. It won’t be long before Ireland follows many other European countries to introduce HVO as an alternative, renewable, low-cost fuel source.”

Installer Noel Cusack from Noel Cusack Mechanical from Cavan who regularly works with Firebird’s products explained how customers are looking more to the future with their investment in new heating solutions. “For schools, changing their boiler happens once in a generation,” Paul explained. “Making the right decision and choosing the right product, not just based on cost is crucial. We know sustainability is where the sector is headed. It’s really encouraging to see customers such as schools using the need and time to change their decades-old boilers with more innovative, future-proofed and smart systems that will save them in every way going forward.”

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