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Swimming pools are great, the energy wasted to heat them is not

Many of us enjoy the benefits of an early morning swim at the local leisure centre. Others opt for a more pensive paddle in the evening after work.

A lot of parents are thankful for the local ‘pond’ to get the kids moving, having fun in the water and using up all that spare energy they have! Ah yes, spare energy… chance would be a fine thing.

Spare energy is a luxury unheard of for most cost-conscious commercial building owners. Even less so for facilities managers running leisure centres, acutely aware as they are of how much they are paying for water, heating and electricity.

The heating bill for the swimming pool alone will account for a large chunk of the annual budget

The conundrum that leisure centres face is how to deliver the level of services required, and expected by users, whilst not using energy needlessly. We make the case that your local leisure centre could save money, energy and carbon by investing in the Minibems solution.

The heating system implemented by leisure centres often operate inefficiently by design, installation and set-up; characterised by having multiple, incompatible, systems in place. Furthermore, the business as usual Leisure Centre heating set-up from 80ºC flow and 70ºC return.

Under the 80/70 scenario, a lot of energy is wasted. The simplest analogy is that of heat supply playing the role of, ‘sledgehammer’, to the heat demand’s, ‘walnut’. In a leisure centre context the principal perpetrators of wasted heat are:

  • Air-Handling Unit (AHU) controls
  • Heat exchangers, e.g. for swimming pool heating
  • Boilers
  • Calorifiers

All of this plant can be controlled cost-effectively by Minibems.

What would help is real-time optimisation the ensures a sizeable gap between the flow temperature and the return temperature. Minibems can deliver 80ºC flow and 30ºC return. Minibems achieves this by applying variable volume and variable temperature control. By matching supply with demand, only the heat needed is transferred, and the lowest return temperature is delivered back to heating appliances. In the case of gas boilers, this ensures that condensation occurs.

Minibems’ low cost, distributed controls architecture manages all existing components across the site on one dashboard. All of the system is made visible; pumps, valves, sensors, buffer stores, boilers, heat exchangers etc. This allows a true and real-time assessment of issues that can be shared immediately, online. It will integrate the plant, monitor and measure the energy used for heating and hot water and therefore continually improve usage to maximise efficiency and savings.

The solution and investment will be very similar for each site and will deliver payback in the short-term, usually within two years. All leisure centres can access these savings, as they are all set-up in a similar way.

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Contact Minibems today