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Proactive Obsolescence Management

September 2021


Proactive obsolescence management can be used to drive net zero carbon opportunities and installations. There are many forms of obsolescence and given the UK’s net zero agenda there is a lot of technological developments and legislative changes occurring throughout the industry. Vercity’s proactive and forward-thinking approach to obsolescence management allowed us to implement a long-term replacement strategy over a 15-year period, providing a 45% reduction in carbon emissions across a portfolio of PFI and Local Authority schools.

Vercity Consultancy operationally manage an obsolescence management plan on the Modern Schools Barnsley Limited PFI project. The project consists of 13 primary schools across the borough of Barnsley, constructed in 2006.


Replacement strategy

We were aware the atmospheric gas water heaters installed across all schools were obsolete and given they were approaching the end of their serviceable life; an appropriate replacement strategy was required to be created and implemented. A further risk identified was the potential upcoming changes to legislation driving energy efficiencies on this type of product which could deem atmospheric technology obsolete in the coming years.


Long term planning and quick wins

Aware of the risks, we collaborated with the SPV Project Company, Modern Schools Barnsley Limited, and the building occupiers, Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council to discuss their long-term net zero carbon strategy across the estate. Using our whole life cost analysis toolkit, we were able to provide varying options to upgrade the atmospheric water heaters, whilst also considering other assets using gas technology. The cost analysis highlighted that the ideal option in this instance was to upgrade the atmospheric water heaters to gas condensing water heaters. The initial replacement provided significant energy efficiency savings and ensured the asset resilience required to safeguard building availability can be maintained until a longer-term strategy is explored.



Following discussions between stakeholders, the need to remove gas and reduce carbon emissions was a priority. We commissioned a feasibility study to be undertaken to understand the complexities and potential carbon savings by replacing the currently installed gas boilers which were due for replacement over the following six years. The study set out options to replace the boilers with either Ground Source or Air Source Heat Pumps, but also considered the future infrastructure required to replace the gas condensing water heaters when they were due for replacement.


Tangible Results

The study found that an initial upgrade to heat pump space heating would provide a saving of 394 carbon tonnes across the 13 sites, equating to a 35% reduction in carbon emissions. The study, in addition, provided a range of options to consider when removing the gas fired water heaters currently installed. Incorporating the domestic hot water system into the heat pump system and removing the water heaters completely could increase the carbon emission saving to 502 tonnes across the project.