Solar Powered Learning for Surrey Students

As part of a major £61m investment, including a new 18,000 educational building for its students, East Surrey College has installed 1050 Kingspan Renewables Thermomax solar thermal vacuum tubes to service its annual hot water needs, which significantly cut carbon emissions and lower energy costs.

A model of sustainability, the new landmark building in Redhill has been awarded a BREEAM rating of ‘Very Good,’ with the large-scale solar thermal installation complemented by rainwater harvesting for toilet flushing, a wood chip fuelled biomass boiler and translucent cladding panels for thermal insulation and high levels of natural daylight.

Solar specialist Rayotec Ltd specified Kingspan’s Thermomax vacuum tubes for the new landmark building due to their high performance and reliability. Comments Rayotec Operation Manager Jac Rider: “This was a major development that required top-of-the-range technology to fulfil the substantial hot water demands of the college. We also needed to ensure savings of 55,000kWh/annum were achieved to be granted overall planning consent for the building. Thermomax was the obvious choice due to its unrivalled high output capabilities and consistent, optimum performance levels.”

Specifically tailored for Northern European climates, Thermomax vacuum tubes deliver an unparalleled transfer of this energy to heat, providing up to 70 percent of hot water requirements throughout the year. The vacuum inside each tube allows energy from the sun to be collected efficiently and effectively and provides perfect insulation by protecting the system from outside influences, such as cold, wet or windy weather. The rapid conductivity and transfer of energy into heat means the collectors are up to 30 per cent more effective than traditional flat plate panel equivalents.

Continues Rider: “We needed to provide a highly efficient pre-heat system for two 3,300 litre cylinders that would work all-year-round, whatever the weather. With Thermomax providing consistent solar-heated water to the cylinders at 43°C, we were able to make a dramatic reduction to the college’s energy use and subsequent costs.”

Kingspan Renewables Managing Director Cameron Holroyd adds: “Thermomax not only fits aesthetically with the modern, cutting-edge design of the new building, it delivers optimum results while boosting the college’s green credentials and cutting costs. We’re delighted to be part of what is a truly positive and sustainable asset for the students and local community.”

The new landmark building, part funded by the Learning and Skills Council, provides state-of-the-art facilities for students studying a range of courses from hair and beauty, art design and media through to construction and engineering. It also houses a sports hall, gym, two storey learning resource centre as well as an 800 sq m internal winter garden.

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