Energy efficiency upgrade for Oakham School

Baxi Commercial Division has supplied energy efficient equipment, including a combined heat and power unit, for a complete refurbishment of the heating system serving the prestigious Oakham School’s swimming pool and sports hall.

This equipment comprises Potterton Commercial condensing boilers, and an Andrews MAXXflo condensing water heater supplementing a Baxi-SenerTec UK Dachs mini-CHP unit which, together, have reduced the school’s carbon footprint and made a significant contribution to energy savings.  

Oakham is one of the country’s leading independent co-educational day and boarding schools and was winner of the Independent School of the Year in the Daily Telegraph’s 2009 Sport Matters Awards. Former pupils include cricketer, Stuart Broad and rugby internationals, Lewis Moody and Tom Croft.

The school has over 1,000 pupils aged 10 to 18, with equal numbers of boys and girls, boarders and day pupils. As a testament to the school’s dedication to a wide range of sporting activities, there are more than 40 acres of games pitches and a dedicated sports centre incorporating a 25m indoor pool.

Demand for heat

The new heating system was designed by Oakham Estates Department in consultation with installers MJL Mechanical Services and DL Electrical. An indoor swimming pool is an ideal project for employing mini-CHP technology since, for maximum operational efficiency, it is important to ensure that there is a constant demand for heat in order to ensure continuity of power generation – and this is provided by the pool.

The Baxi-SenerTec UK Dachs unit generates electricity whilst, at the same time, producing heat and acting as lead boiler. This is supplemented by two newly installed Potterton Commercial Paramount 80kW condensing boilers as well as an existing Potterton Commercial NXR3 gas-fired boiler which is only programmed to operate at peak demand during low external temperatures. 

An Andrews MAXXflo condensing stainless steel water heater provides the DHWS to showers and wash hand basins in the changing rooms.  The Dachs unit was commissioned in October 2010 and, at the time of its second service in August 2011, it was found to have run for a total of 6,529 hours. During this time the unit was running continually and had generated 89,867kWh of heat and 35,909 kWh of electricity, resulting in a significant saving in running costs and carbon emissions.  The electricity is used to power the swimming pool and sports hall, as well as the art, design and technology classrooms located above.

Total refurbishment

The Baxi Commercial Division equipment was installed in an existing plantroom in the Sports Hall. A spokesman for installers, MJL Mechanical Services commented: “The plantroom was a total refurbishment with all new pipework, controls and panel.  The pipework was divided into five new zones, all controlled separately through a PLC Control unit, which gives the flexibility to load the Dachs unit 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  

“Despite the location of the plantroom directly beneath classrooms, there were no noise issues. This was the first Dachs unit we had fitted but we found it relatively easy to connect with the other boilers and the whole project ran very smoothly.  We have been so pleased with the system that we are currently in the process of installing a further two new Dachs units with four Potterton Commercial Paramount 115 kW models as back-up boilers. These will feed the new science block and two existing boarding houses.”

Heating flexibility

The Paramount range of wall-hung condensing boilers feature state-of-the-art heating technology with a combustion system which delivers energy efficiency levels up to 109% net as well as ultra low NOx which exceeds Class 5 thereby qualifying for additional credit under the BREEAM assessment scheme.  

These boilers have pre-mix, fully modulating control for complete heating flexibility and the aluminium/silicon alloy heat exchanger carries a lifetime guarantee. A user-friendly control panel with full text display of operational status avoids the inconvenience of checking codes or lights. Other features include inbuilt weather compensation, summer/winter changeover and time control facilities. The advanced, ISR control system may be used with a simple room thermostat or, using volt-free contacts, with external control panels or a fully integrated Building Energy Management System.

Baxi-SenerTec UK Dachs gas-fired units have an electrical output of 5.5kW and a minimum heat output of 12.5kW or up to 15.5kW using an optional condenser.

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