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Penrith Leisure Centre

35% reduction in total primary energy usage at leisure centre with CHP

Eden District Council has reported impressive total primary energy savings in the region of 35% at Penrith Leisure Centre since installing a Remeha Combined Heat and Power (CHP) unit alongside three Remeha high efficiency condensing boilers. The findings compare energy usage in the second half of 2017 with the same period in 2018, after the installation of the new CHP unit.

Leisure centres are a major source of energy use, with energy costs accounting for as much as 30% of total operational costs, second only to the cost of labour. Heating and hot water provision accounts for a large proportion of energy bills in leisure centres, particularly in complexes with swimming pools. With large volumes of water that must be continuously heated, swimming pools typically use five times as much energy per square metre as offices, according to CIBSE.

The Centre had previously been heated by a turbine CHP, boilers and water heaters. However, the CHP unit was oversized and failed to achieve the anticipated performance levels, savings benefits and life expectancy.

When replacing the existing plant, EDC’s requirements were to implement a new high-efficiency renewable or low-carbon solution that would improve the Centre’s energy performance, reduce emissions and increase operational efficiency.

Mechanical & Electrical engineers Thomas Armstrong recommended replacing the old plant with a Remeha 20/44kW ultra-low R-Gen condensing CHP unit operating in conjunction with three Remeha Gas 310 Eco Pro high efficiency condensing boilers to meet the project requirements.

Accurate sizing of the CHP unit was critical to maximise the energy and carbon saving benefits. Remeha’s CHP team worked closely with Thomas Armstrong throughout the project, supporting them with the design and installation, and commissioning the system. Since then, the CHP has been running non-stop.

“The CHP produces 44kW of heat per hour and it’s using it all, even in the summer months,” said Thomas Armstrong’s Stephen Clarkson. “It’s heating the constant temperature circuit, feeding radiators, fan convectors, air handling units, providing hot water for shower facilities and, of course, heating the two swimming pools.”

From the outset, Thomas Armstrong were clear of the need to consider the long-term maintenance of the equipment. “A CHP unit is a specialist piece of plant,” Stephen added. “For us, it was important to install a unit that was not only sized correctly for maximum run time, but that there was a service programme offered that would keep the CHP operating at its optimum.

“Servicing the CHP allows the engineer to monitor the multiple moving parts and electrical components, identify any wear and tear and react quickly to any issues,” he continued. “That way, the CHP continues to produce electricity and heat to the building.”

As an estimated 85% of reported CHP faults are able to be corrected and reset remotely, remote monitoring is an important component of the service programme.

“If the unit has stopped working, is in alarm, or the performance drops for any reason, this is picked up within hours and action is taken to rectify the problem without prolonged downtime,” said Stephen.

Remeha is also providing the Council with monthly reports for evaluation purposes.

“The CHP installation went smoothly,” said Doug Huggon, Leisure & Community Services Manager at EDC. “We’re pleased to see that the CHP is running well, meeting our requirement for low carbon heat and power.”

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