Casllwchwr Primary School needed a new heating and hot water system after its existing boiler failed a yearly condition survey carried out by the local authority. With energy efficiency and reliability top priorities, the school turned to Potterton Commercial to deliver a comprehensive plant room refurbishment programme.
Located in the heart of the village of Loughor in South Wales, Casllwchwr Primary School serves over 200 pupils and has held a central place in the local community for many years and it occupies a two-storey building.
The school’s heating and hot water system had been in place for over 24 years when an annual inspection by the local authority found that the plant equipment was deemed ‘life expired’. The boilers provided the school with all its heating needs and were the main source of hot water for the kitchens and bathrooms so action needed to be taken quickly.
A new solution had to be found before a critical failure took place which would force the school to close its doors. The replacement of its outdated and inefficient heating system with new boilers would provide the school with the opportunity to modernise its system, to increase energy efficiency and to save money on its monthly bills.
Glenn Sullivan, Assistant Mechanical Engineer, Corporate Building & Property Services, City & County of Swansea said: “The boiler replacement project was scheduled to take place over the summer holidays to ensure that no term time activity was disrupted. We worked closely with Potterton Commercial on the system design because we wanted to ensure that it was fit-for-purpose and the installation could be completed as quickly and easily as possible.”
The school opted for the Potterton Commercial Sirius wall hung (WH) cascade system, with three 110Kw boilers which can run in sequence. By setting up the plant in this way, the boilers can share the load when they are all operational, and should one unit need to be taken offline for repair or maintenance; the remaining units can take the load so there’s no break in the capacity for heat delivery.
Glenn continued: “Potterton Commercial worked closely with the design team at Swansea City Council to offer assistance with all aspects of the upgrade, including a comprehensive site assessment to ensure that the new kit could fit into the existing plant room. The new system was installed in the summer of 2017 and everything went as smoothly as expected. Because we opted to replace the existing floor standing boilers with a wall hung cascade system, we freed up space in the plant room. Furthermore, modulating condensing boilers are inherently lighter because of their low mass and stainless-steel construction, making them much easier to install.”
Phil Smith, Area Sales Manager at Potterton Commercial said: “The boiler cascade system is perfect for schools looking to create efficiencies and save money. This configuration means that the system can respond to changing heat demands, and in the case of Casllwchwr Primary School, each of the three new boilers are linked to provide a modulation range of 27:1. This not only delivers impressive efficiencies, it also offers a high turndown capability when only one boiler is needed and insurance that the system will continue to operate if one boiler in the cascade goes down.”
It was also decided that the heating and hot water circuits should be separated with a high efficiency storage water heater from Andrews Water Heaters. The separation of the heat and hot water plant in this instance will help to save fuel, as during the warmer months when space heating is not required, the Sirius boilers can be taken off line for servicing or turned off completely. This provides the school with much needed flexibility and the potential to significantly reduce heating costs.
The school has a high demand for hot water, with the kitchens, bathrooms and showers all in regular use by pupils and staff. As such, it required a high capacity water heater with a strong recovery rate. The MAXXflo from Andrews Water Heaters was chosen because it combines maximum performance with economical running costs, and recovery rates of up to 1920 litres of hot water per hour.
“We’ve been really impressed with the new system,” said Peter Owen, Headteacher at Casllwchwr Primary School. “With the unpredictable British weather, we rely on the heating system and hot water for the day-to-day operation of the school. In winter, if there’s a problem with the boilers we have to close, so it’s imperative that the system is one on which we can depend. Furthermore, we are looking to cut costs wherever possible and the new system has given us an opportunity to improve our energy efficiency in line with government targets. The other thing we’ve noticed is how quiet the system is compared to our old boilers, which is important for a learning environment.”
While annual fuel and cost savings are due to be measured later this year, students and teachers have noticed a big difference. The old boilers worked on a high or low setting, making it difficult to adjust the heating. However, the new boiler set up gives the end user greater control, resulting in a fit for purpose heating solution.
Swansea City Council is responsible for the ongoing maintenance of the new system, but with a five year parts and labour warranty, Potterton are available to support the team if any issues arise in the future.