Robbens underfloor systems provide a safe, easy access solution to the heating requirements of a leading Kent school. Like any modern school The Weald of Kent Grammar School for Girls at Tonbridge has adapted to the technology that is an essential feature of education in the 21st Century. A whole campus of buildings has grown up on the school site to provide the laboratories, workshops and special study areas that are needed.

The "Canteen" building is the latest of these developments - designed like all the best school projects with versatility in mind. The two-storey structure provides a galleried dining hall with adjacent classrooms plus a fully equipped kitchen, together with toilets and changing facilities including a disabled shower.

Upstairs there is provision for an office, a 6th Form study and a careers guidance suite.

Special version Robbens underfloor heating systems have been used throughout the building, serving a total area of some 650 m2.

A solid floor construction was employed for both levels. During installation loops of Robbens multi-layer pipework were fixed in position above a layer of insulation material with the loop ends connected to discreetly located manifolds. A special 20mm version of Robbens' multi-layer pipe was selected for the Canteen project. This made it easier to ensure a good supply of warm water in the large floor areas (the largest has 13 loops) and thus good response to the room temperature control sensors.

The manifolds are connected in turn by flow and return pipes to the high efficiency gas-fired boiler plant, which, although not a fully condensing unit, benefits from low return temperatures.

. After pressure testing, a normal sand and cement screed was poured to integrate the heating system into the floor structure and provide a smooth, even surface for the heavy-duty vinyl sheeting, which comprises the final floor finish.

The concealed system is completely safe and tamper-proof (see Easy access is provided to all areas all the wall space is free to use. Visitors and Weald Grammar’s own pupils using the new changing rooms and showers will also benefit from safer, quick drying floors.

Occupancy levels in the Canteen building vary widely according to the season, the day of the week and the time of day. To ensure full comfort for everyone in all circumstances the Robbens underfloor heating is linked to a boiler optimisation system with external weather sensors.

The system calculates the time required to get up to temperature, based on data acquired during the previous operating cycle period. The boiler plant will only be switched for the optimum time required to achieve the desired zone temperatures. Boiler run time is thus kept to the minimum required to bring zones up to temperature when the first occupants arrive.

Pre-commissioned Manifolds were assembled and pre-commissioned at the Robbens factory and delivered to site board-mounted for easy installation. This off site engineering, with return pressure settings already made, meant the system could be brought into action in the minimum possible time.

The Robbens underfloor heating systems at The Weald of Kent Grammar School were installed by J.Saunders and Co of Tonbridge Wells.

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