The rising cost of energy has placed a huge focus on energy efficiency for swimming pools. Here we discuss how Dantherm provided the Mayfield Girls School with an effective, energy-efficient upgrade for their pool hall on a budget.
In the past, when the cost of energy was consistent and affordable, many pool halls did not see a need to prioritise investment in more efficient air handling technology.
However, with energy prices soaring globally, the cost of operating pool facilities has more than doubled in some locations. To combat these spiralling figures, operators are now looking at how they can cut down the costs associated with their air handling units.
While entirely replacing old or outdated air handling units (AHUs) is the best way to bring a new level of control and cost-effectiveness to operations, some facilities cannot afford such a significant upgrade, or the works and downtime alongside it.
Tied by limited resources, the pool hall at Mayfield Girls School opted for a more affordable option and greenlit a refurbishment of their existing air handling system.
In this article, we discuss the problems the school faced, and how Dantherm worked to deliver a refurbishment that realised positive results on budget.
Mayfield Girls School – a background
The Mayfield Girls School is a leading establishment for students in Sussex, offering many great facilities including its own indoor swimming pool.
To keep conditions inside the pool safe and comfortable, the school installed one of our DanX air handling units in 2001. This has provided efficient and effective swimming pool climate control for more than 20 years by carefully controlling temperature, relative humidity and air quality.
However, after a long and successful operational life, the unit in question was beginning to show its age.
What problems did we identify?
Although the system was performing well two decades later, the technology within showed signs of fatigue during a routine bi-annual check from our Dantherm engineers.
Firstly we found that the outdated belt-driven fans, core to the operation of the air handling unit, were both noisy and inefficient. As well as driving energy bills up, the old fans were costly and time-consuming to maintain, requiring a replacement belt to be installed every six months.
This outdated technology within the fatigued air handling system put the safety and comfort of swimmers at risk, as well as the health of the pool hall itself, if preventative measures were not taken.
The age and wear of this system also meant that if these vital fans broke down, the disruption caused to the school could be significant, with long lead times on replacement parts.
The importance of high-quality inspections
Not every issue with an air handling unit will be as visible as loud fans or rusty panelling.
As time passes, and components naturally degrade or fail, their immediate impact on day-to-day operations and the swimming pool environment itself often go unnoticed by pool managers. Yet, their long-term influence can be massive.
If invisible issues, such as errors with humidity calibration go unaddressed, they can have a huge impact on a pool’s energy bill – we’ve seen cases of this adding as much as €115,000 (£100,000) to annual operating costs.
Expert engineers, such as our team at Dantherm, are specifically trained to root out these overlooked issues and interpret solutions that drive results and energy savings.
Beyond improvements to the AHU itself, Dantherm engineers also assessed the pool hall holistically and offered recommendations outside their scope, such as issues with the ducting installation that compromised the efficiency and condition of their system.
What was the chosen solution?
To address the issues the school faced, Dantherm recommended a refurbishment of the 20-year-old air handling unit to meet Mayfield School’s objectives:
As well as replacing panels and other small components, part of this project involved replacing the old and weathered belt-driven fans with modern, efficient EC fans.
Why was this the ideal solution?
Refurbishing the core components not only allowed the school to increase the longevity of their system, but allowed them to do so within their budget.
More specifically, choosing modern EC fans allowed the school to operate their existing air handling solution with greater efficiency and control. The knock-on effect, while difficult to quantify, was significant.
Power draw is reduced. Student comfort rises. Water heat loss is minimised. These elements impact the cost of heating in a big way, and contribute wider savings to the school’s facility.
To illustrate the importance of EC fans, consider the following example.
If a fan cannot adequately adjust its speed, too much outside air can be brought into a pool hall. This can cause overdrying, increase the rate of evaporation and send temperatures plummeting, jeopardising guest comfort.
To counteract this cold environment, a pool manager may raise the room and water temperatures. This can send energy consumption soaring and hugely impact operating costs – especially in the current landscape.
With more controllable components, such as EC fans, air handling solutions can more accurately adapt to the seasonal changes in air humidity, ducting the right amount of air into pool halls to meet demand. This results in greater comfort, efficiency and sustainability, and a reduction in needless expenses.
What impact has the air handling unit refurbishment had?
After completing this upgrade during the school holidays, and two follow-up checks by a Dantherm engineer to certify successful installation, this project has delivered exceptional results for the Mayfield Girls School with minimal disruption.
For a fraction of the cost of a new air handling unit, the school not only increased the operational life of their existing system, but also improved both energy efficiency and student comfort inside their pool hall.
The money saved by this refurbishment project will generate a return for the school in just a few years.
Unlock the full potential of your existing pool air handling units
As energy prices continue to soar globally, the need to make efficiency improvements in power-hungry pool environments has never been more important.
Refurbishing existing solutions can deliver positive, meaningful savings at a fraction of the cost of a new install. However, pool environments are sensitive, complex environments.
To maximise the efficiency of your existing air handling unit, it is important to seek expertise from a trusted expert. One who not only has the knowledge to identify invisible issues, but also the skills to deliver noticeable results.
Driven by more than 60 years of experience, Dantherm is a specialist in pool climate control. From heating and cooling to drying and ventilation, our team of engineers understand how to get the most out of air handlers of any age or brand.
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