What exactly is a HIU?

What exactly is a HIU?

At Mibec we sell a range of Heat Interface Units (HIUs); however they are still relatively new and the concept may not be familiar to everyone. This article gives you a quick 101 of HIUs and their many benefits.

So what are they? A heat interface unit basically fulfils the same function as a gas boiler in a property when used as part of a communal heating network. A central plant room (either a gas boiler or a renewable energy source) will generate heat which is distributed through a network of pipes to each separate property in the building. Each home or apartment has its own HIU installed, which uses heat distributed from the central network to provide heating and domestic hot water (DHW) for use in the home, completely replacing the requirement for individual boilers in each property. To the end user it’s just like having a boiler as normal but without the flame.

This concept is all about improving energy efficiency, reducing CO2 and saving on running costs by having one large heat source running very efficiently, rather than each property having separate smaller ones running less efficiently. This lends itself well to projects such as apartments and social housing which would usually require multiple small boilers.

At Mibec we can supply HIUs in a number of permutations to suit the project. Models are designed to offer both supply, and very importantly, individual metering of DHW and / or primary heating water.

So what are the benefits to the people using HIUs?

Occupants will find that all their hot water and heating requirements are easily supplied by HIUs, which provide instant supply on demand. HIUs also take up very little space, and maintenance requirements on an HIU are very straight forward compared to a gas boiler with easy access to all components inside the box for the service engineer – saving time and money. For example the plate heat exchangers are extremely easy to access and can be removed for cleaning in seconds.

HIUs are also a great option for designers and developers, with the biggest advantage being that each individual property doesn’t need its own gas supply, hugely simplifying the project and saving on capital costs. Not having gas boilers also means there is no requirement for flues, again saving on costs but also providing more flexibility around the design and layout of the property. Having a centralised plant in the building can help developers meet CO2 targets and makes using a large renewable heat source such as biomass a great option for the project. Installers will find HIUs easy to fit and commission, the associated pipework is easy to install and only a programmable room thermostat is required to complete the system.

In rented accommodation landlords can benefit from reduced service and maintenance costs compared to individual boilers. The removal of flues makes complying with health and safety laws easier, eliminating the need for individual gas compliance checks in each property. HIUs include individual accurate metering which makes billing for the tenants fairer and makes it easy for the landlord to manage large portfolios of properties. Pre-payment metering can also be accommodated as an option. The tenants will also have good visibility of consumption promoting energy saving around the home.

We offer a full free of charge specification service covering the whole of the UK, designed to support architects, specifiers or contractors, helping you to select the right heating solution to meet your needs. Please feel free to email or call our support department on 01948 661639 where one of our trained advisers will be happy to help you.