FEATURE CHP - COMBINED HEAT & POWER Improving energy performance with CHP

As organisations look to reduce energy usage wherever possible, leisure centres, with their high, constant demand for heat, are a natural target for improvement. Combined heat and power offers a variety of economic benefits in sites like these, says Mark Gibbons, Remeha CHP’s national sales manager


s energy managers strive to meet environmental commitments while

reducing operational costs, forward- thinking councils are turning to combined heat and power (CHP) to drive efficiency improvements at their leisure centres. Energy costs typically account for 30

per cent of a leisure centre’s total operational costs – greater than in any other industry sector. Heating and hot water provision is responsible for a large proportion of these bills, particularly in complexes with swimming pools. Electricity usage is also high, especially in centres that use it extensively for ventilation, lighting, fans and pumps. In sites like these, CHP offers compelling

financial and environmental advantages, due to its ability to generate lower cost electricity and heat simultaneously on site in one highly efficient process. So where is it being used? One

example is the recent CHP installation at Macclesfield Leisure Centre by consulting engineer, SVM-Building Services Design, and project M&E contractor, CM Oxendale. Cheshire East Council, the owner of the

leisure centre, has the ambition to become carbon neutral by 2025, so its energy department is keen to explore ways of reducing environmental impact across its estates. “CHP was the obvious choice for us

when the opportunity became available for the council energy department to improve the efficiency of Macclesfield Leisure Centre,” said Colin Farrelly, energy manager at Cheshire East Council. As the site is open almost every day of the year, and has a 25-metre swimming

pool as well as a training pool to heat, the site is perfectly suited for CHP. But how to

ensure that the system performs to its full potential for optimum energy savings? Pairing CHP with high efficiency condensing boilers is an effective solution. The design scoped by SVM-BSD for Engie, the council’s principal contractor and FM Provider, identified a Remeha R-Gen 50/100kW ultra-low NOx condensing CHP unit, working in conjunction with six Remeha Quinta Ace 160 high efficiency condensing boilers. Accurate sizing of the CHP unit and

good integration is critical to maximise the saving benefits – both areas on which good suppliers will offer support. As CHP is a specialist piece of plant,

the council has implemented a Remeha service plan to ensure that the CHP operates continuously and at optimum performance. This will maximise the lifetime efficiency of the CHP and related benefits. Visualisation of the CHP is a key

component of the plan. An estimated 85 per cent of reported CHP faults are able to be corrected and reset remotely, so enabling remote monitoring is an important factor in the smooth running of the CHP. From an FM perspective, the

remote monitoring service at Macclesfield Leisure Centre provides Engie with peace of mind that, if a problem should occur, it can be easily resolved – often without the need for a service visit. At Macclesfield Leisure Centre, the CHP

is running continuously, using all of the heat it generates to heat the swimming pool, provide space heating throughout the leisure centre, feed the air handling units, and serve the hot water demand. So what about the savings? CHP

typically reduces energy bills by around 30 per cent, but the ability of CHP to generate on-site electricity at lower gas prices will boost returns still further for the council. Electricity prices are currently around four times the cost of gas. Factor in this ‘spark spread’ – the difference between gas and electricity costs – and the cost savings will be substantial for Cheshire East Council. Indeed, the scheme has proved so

successful that the council is installing a second Remeha R-Gen CHP unit in another of its leisure centres imminently. “Since 2009, when Cheshire East

Council was established as part of structural changes, the local authority has reduced its CO2

by 40 per cent,” Farrelly

adds. “Alongside our environmental goals, the council has the ambition to improve the health of residents by providing them with access to leisure centres. So, it makes perfect sense to make them as efficient as possible – and CHP is helping us do just that.”

Remeha 14 WINTER 2019 | ENERGY MANAGEMENT 

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