Council and residents over the moon about new community centre

The £6m purpose-built STAR Community Centre, recently opened in Cardiff, is part of the council’s Community Hubs programme, which invests in community services and facilities in priority areas, with the aim of making it easier and more convenient for people to access council and partner services. The new building includes a 25m swimming pool, gym and fitness suite, a new library, multi-use training and event rooms, and a community café.  Principal contractor Willmott Dixon was tasked to deliver the highest standards of energy efficiency, including solar thermal panels to reduce heating costs.

Consequently, the roof top mounted solar thermal system supplied by Kingspan Thermomax is the largest array ever installed in Wales. The 155sqm solar thermal array is made up of 1,440 Thermomax evacuated tube collectors, horizontally mounted on specially designed low profile frames to reduce visual impact. The collector tubes have been individually rotated to an angle of 18 degrees to face due south to maximise the energy output. The solar system feeds 2 x 1,000 litre Kingspan hot water cylinders and then automatically diverts to heat the swimming pool. 

South Wales based Ecofit Energy Systems were selected for the installation and collaborated closely with Kingspan Thermomax to ensure a smooth and trouble-free installation of this challenging solar thermal project. 

Steven Birchenough, Build Manager at Willmott Dixon, comments: “We were extremely satisfied with the level of service that Ecofit and Kingspan delivered on this project. From design through to installation and commissioning, we have been very impressed with the expertise shown. There was some complexity to interface the array with both the building and the swimming pool which we didn’t have to manage at all. We certainly hope to work with this project team again soon.”

Overall, the integrated solar thermal solution for both domestic hot water supply and pool heating saves up to 30% on energy costs. The carbon savings over the course of the 20-year life of the system would be the equivalent of travelling to the moon and back three times.

To see the installation in action, watch our video here