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The value of bespoke commercial air handling solutions for leisure centres

7 min read
Insights Content leisure centre

Large leisure centres present a diverse range of facilities, all with very specific climate control requirements. Here we outline why Dantherm designs and engineers bespoke air handling units to create optimal conditions in the most energy-efficient way.

In this article, we will explain how Dantherm and our bespoke air handling solutions for leisure facilities:

  • Provide unique knowledge and solutions of how energy is consumed in leisure centres, and how this can be minimised

  • Give expertise into the environmental needs for every application in these centres

  • Present solutions for every space that are fit-for-purpose and value for money

  • Offer tailored, lean systems that meet design parameters, accommodate awkward spaces and fulfil Part L2 and ErP requirements

  • Deliver flat packing and construction on site

The climate control challenges in leisure centres

From swimming pools and gyms, to cafeterias and reception desks, every area in a leisure centre has its own distinct needs in regards to air quality, temperature and humidity – conditions that fluctuate with the time of day, crowdedness and many other factors.

This isn’t a ground-breaking revelation, but it is a vital one. Because to ensure that peoples’ wellbeing is consistently looked after, and the structural integrity of the building is safe from the threat of water damage, it is critical each area has the right air handling solution for its specific requirements.

Beyond this, there is also the all-important energy factor. With energy prices on the rise globally and the ongoing drive towards decarbonisation, truly effective climate control for leisure centres cannot simply function well. The need to simultaneously minimise energy consumption has never been greater.

Leisure centre energy problems and leisure centre energy costs facing 150% increase - Infographic

For these reasons, as well as the diverse layout and architecture in different leisure and recreational facilities, it is imperative that the climate control systems they employ are tailored to the exact environment they operate in.

For decades, Dantherm has been trusted by consultants, designers and contractors to provide bespoke, energy-saving systems for swimming pools across the globe. And the same unparalleled knowledge and expertise we use to engineer these solutions can be applied to every corner of a leisure centre.

Below, we explain the value of built-for-purpose climate control for leisure centres to meet precise expectations and keep running costs under control.

Delivering true climate control for swimming pools

First, it is important to discuss the swimming pool – the centrepiece of most leisure facilities, and where the need for effective climate control is at its greatest. It is difficult to overstate the importance of controlling the sheer volume of moisture in these atmospheres to preserve the comfort of bathers and protect the fabric of the pool room from water damage.

Impact of water evaporation from indoor swimming pools - lose up to 68 litres per hour in leisure centres - Infographic

The pool hall of a leisure centre is also a big contributor to overall energy consumption. An inefficient air handling solution significantly raises bills and diminishes a building’s environmental credentials. With energy a growing concern for leisure facilities, it is vital that the environmental control systems used in these locations fulfil expectations while minimising long-term expenses.

Finding the right balance requires a calculated, technical approach – one that Dantherm has mastered over the past 40+ years of supporting clients across Europe. There are numerous factors that contribute to the design of the ideal system, including:

  • The size of the pool hall and volume of the swimming pool, which will greatly influence the volume of air that must be managed and the amount of water vapour consistently entering the atmosphere

  • The local temperature and humidity outside of the pool building – for example, a ventilation system with a heat pump is recommended in locations with low outdoor air temperatures)

  • The thermal transmittance, or U-value, of the building, and how this influences the way the system must perform to prevent condensation caused by stagnant air, and limit evaporation to stop energy costs spiralling out of control

  • Where thermal bridges and cold patches are at the highest risk of forming, again influencing the amount of air circulation required

  • The volume of people using the pool throughout the day, to ensure that fresh air requirements can be met during busy periods

  • The need to create a negative pressure vacuum to prevent wet air escaping into halls, corridors and reception areas

Image linking to article - must know factors for installing effective air handling solutions in swimming pools

These are simply scraping the surface of the factors that play into designing the optimal solution. Pool halls are unique, demanding environments, and call for specialist technology and expertise… something Dantherm provides to best support those entrusted to deliver the right system for these settings.

Our unrivalled understanding of the precise calculations and considerations behind effective, efficient air handling solutions allows us to advise consultants, designers and contractors on the best course of action in all circumstances.

This knowledge is evident in the evolution of our DanX range. Not only has this been optimised over the years to give a remarkable level of ventilation, humidity and temperature control in these challenging environments, but to save and repurpose energy wherever possible:

  • Intelligent control systems monitor temperature and humidity at all times, allowing the unit to run as efficiently as possible under different conditions

  • Specific energy-driven technology, such as integrated water-cooled condensers, are built into the heat pump so excess heat can be recovered and used to raise both pool and domestic water temperatures

  • The use of highly-efficient EC plug fans and bag filters prevent low pressure drops and maximise climate control efficiency

If you would like to learn more about our work in pool halls over the years, check out the solution we developed for The Dome Leisure Centre in Doncaster.

The significance of bespoke climate control solutions

There is no cookie-cutter template for a swimming pool or overall leisure centre. They will vary wildly in terms of their dimensions, build materials and layouts, and this heavily influences their climate control requirements.

Consequently, this can prove an issue when working with manufacturers offering a finite range of air handling models. Fundamentally, this approach likely means compromising somewhere along the line. It could mean selecting a unit that is not quite powerful enough to best deliver air, humidity and temperature control, or one that over-delivers, resulting in greater energy consumption.

When you are trying to deliver the ideal solution for clients, this is far from ideal. You want to ensure that the system you propose will meet expectations, minimise ongoing costs and will continue to perform well many years after it is initially installed. That is why we champion the need for bespoke, customisable air handling solutions specifically built for the environment they support.

What do we mean by bespoke? It means we will adapt our selection of air handling units for any and all requirements. This can involve:

  • Resizing the units to meet specific building regulations or European directives, even by a matter of milimetres

  • Adapting units to fit into awkward spaces and difficult plant rooms, with the capability to conduct flat packing and construction on site where necessary

  • Employing a distinct selection of components to meet exact performance requirements, so that the swimming pool environment is optimal at all times

  • Enlarging or reducing the air flow that these units can produce

  • Installing dedicated energy-saving features and components that will not compromise on performance

  • Delivering the ideal finishes and materials to withstand the harsh conditions around a swimming pool, reducing the risk of corrosion and breakdowns

This means we have the expertise and capabilities to fine-tune air handling systems for any scenario. Particularly in an indoor swimming pool, this is a powerful advantage we deliver for our customers to guarantee the solutions they present their client will deliver exceptional performance, reduced energy costs and limited output of greenhouse gases.

Through our knowledge of the specialist calculations needed to establish the features an air handling must include, and our capabilities to manufacture and fine-tune these to present the best possible end-product, our goal is to make the lives of our customers easier – and this extends beyond the bounds of a swimming pool…

Providing whole-building solutions for leisure centres

As noted earlier, there are many facets to a leisure centre – gyms, cafeterias, sports halls, wet-change areas, spas, reception desks – the list goes on. And each area has specific optimal climates. A spa for instance is best maintained at a humidity of 55-60% RH and temperature of 30º-31ºC; in a gym, this shifts to 40%-60% RH and 18ºC-20ºC respectively.

They also demand distinct requirements regarding the materials and features of the units. For example, in a wet-change room the air handling unit will need coating that protects it from corrosion due to the water in the atmosphere, and installed to safely drain away the condensate it recovers as part of its energy-saving functionality.

So while a swimming pool might present the most demanding climate control requirements in a leisure centre, each facility should have its own purpose-built system to guarantee optimal conditions across all areas. This is vital to keep visitors comfortable in every setting, to support the long-term viability of the units and surrounding structures, and to keep energy costs down.

For this reason we can apply the same meticulous approach we take when tailoring our swimming pool-grade units to our choice of commercial-grade air handling units, such as the WD range.

Like our DanX swimming pool units, we will help customers determine the right model, and then specially adapt this to each area’s precise needs. For example, we have incorporated specific refrigeration components for customers looking to deliver the most effective, efficient climate control for gyms in a leisure centre.

By choosing Dantherm to design and engineer the solutions for all areas of a leisure centre, you benefit from:

  • A guarantee that all products and their components will deliver long-term results because they carry Dantherm’s trusted brand

  • The support of our highly trained engineers, whose understanding of this technology is unmatched

  • Finishes and materials selected to suit each unit’s surroundings – for example, an air handling solution for a cafeteria won’t require the same anti-corrosive finish as the one used in a pool hall or wet-change area

  • Solutions that operate as energy-efficiently as possible, with all our units specifically tailored to meet the standards of both Part L2 and ErP 2018 (the current European energy directive) and deliver exceptional heat recovery

  • Working with a single manufacturer to take care of everything, leading to a much more streamlined and controlled process

Through their flexible, modular configurations, units in the DanX and WD ranges can be specially optimised for any conditions. These can then be joined together by a rail system for more straightforward installation and minimal fuss in regard to maintenance.

Product showcase comparing Dantherm commercial and swimming pool air handling units features for leisure centres - Infographic

Talk to the climate control experts

We hope that this has helped you appreciate the importance of prioritising bespoke, tailored climate control technology in leisure centres, rather than settling for an off-the-shelf model.

The diverse and fluctuating air quality, temperature and humidity requirements throughout these facilities demand specially engineered solutions. Without these, you may be unwittingly placing a limit on the performance, suitability and long-term viability of these systems.

Working with Dantherm gives you access to unparalleled understanding of the design and manufacturing of climate control systems, guaranteeing that the final product ensures comfortable environments, minimised running costs and an exceptional return on investment for leisure centre operators.

Leisure centre bespoke commercial solutions and why client trust Dantherm for climate control expertise and equipment

We pride ourselves on the lengths we will go to give our customers the information they need to design solutions and the technical expertise to manufacture these to exact specifications. We never compromise on quality, and work to develop systems that will dutifully serve leisure and recreational facilities for many years.

If you are looking to design and install tailored air handling systems in leisure centres, swimming pools, gyms or similar settings, speak to our team to benefit from trusted advice and exceptionally engineered products.

Related products

Dantherm DanX XWPRS – swimming pool air handling units
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The DanX XWPRS combines the best advantages of a heat pump and an outside air dehumidification system.

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A UK specific product, this is a range of compact heat recovery air handling units.

Dantherm DanX CF – swimming pool air handling units
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The DanX CF is a very effective outdoor air dehumidification system with a highly efficient counter-flow heat exchanger.

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