Bristol Lido - A Solar Hot Spot

Bristol Lido, the oldest lido in the country, has been transformed into a model of energy efficiency following a two-year restoration. The complex, including a 24-metre open-air swimming pool, now features one of the highest performing solar thermal collectors in the world, which generate up to 70 per cent of the lido’s annual hot water needs. They are also responsible for simultaneously reducing energy bills as well as the overall carbon footprint of the establishment.

As part of its commitment to sustainability, Bristol Lido specified 720 Kingspan Solar Thermomax HP200 vacuum tubes, which cover 80 square metres of the south-facing roof. Specifically designed and manufactured to operate in Northern European climates, they use vacuum technology to deliver an unrivalled transfer of solar energy into heat. They are up to 30 per cent more effective than traditional flat plate panels and allow energy from the sun to be captured efficiently and effectively. The vacuum inside each tube not only provides perfect insulation, it also suppresses heat loss by protecting the system from outside influences, such as cold, wet and windy weather. The result is optimum performance levels all year round.

Arne Ringer, owner of the 150-year-old Grade II listed Lido, is a great believer in conservation and wanted to find a way to heat the vast amount of water used at the lido without relying on expensive, carbon fuel resources. He comments: “We conducted a great deal of research into sustainable energy options ahead of the restoration and the Kingspan Solar Thermomax vacuum tube collectors were the obvious answer. They tick all the boxes and far surpass the competition in terms of delivering premium performance matched with financial benefits.

“Heating a large outdoor pool requires a sizeable amount of energy, and is both financially and environmentally a very costly affair. The solar collectors allow us to heat our water cost-effectively, whilst helping reduce carbon emissions in the process.”

The Bristol Lido installation was undertaken by local specialist solar heating installer Solarsense. Stephen Barrett, MD of Solarsense, comments: “The Bristol Lido installation is one of the biggest in the South of England and the perfect example of how to reduce your carbon footprint and hot water costs without compromising on performance. Its 720 solar collectors generate a massive amount of energy, heating three 500-litre cylinders as well as the 24-metre swimming pool.

“Over the past 16 years we have installed over 40,000 Kingspan Solar Thermomax collectors and they continue to lead the market in terms of efficiency. We’re proud to be playing a part in creating a more sustainable future.”

As well as refurbishing the swimming pool, the restored Victorian lido now has three brand new features including a restaurant, spa and poolside bar. Its newly installed solar vacuum tube collectors were not the only energy efficient addition. The kitchen boasts an Italian wood-fired oven; ambient heat pumps create additional heat by extracting and redistributing warm air from the restaurant, café and kitchen; and wall-to-ceiling glass doors reduce heat loss.

Kingspan Solar, part of Kingspan Renewables Ltd, is unique in its full solar package offerings, which are custom-designed to suit each specific application. Packages include the highest level of customer support from initial advice, through to bespoke design, installation, final commissioning and technical support. The range offers either flat plate options (in-roof or on-roof) or Thermomax vacuum tube collectors, together with all required components for the complete installation.

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