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Environmental control systems: Come on in, the water’s lovely

Heatstar offers HVAC contractors and installers the specialist expertise and equipment to develop the lucrative swimming pool market through the use of better environmental control and optimised energy recovery
Environmental control systems: Come on in, the water’s lovely
Recently much focus has been put on the use of energy and the necessity to reduce consumption and emissions wherever possible.
However, there is one notable heating and ventilation application where there has been a priority to optimise energy recovery for many years.
Indoor swimming pools represent a huge reservoir of stored energy. Consider that a typical leisure centre pool can contain up to a million litres of water heated to around 30°C and that the water evaporation levels from the surface of such a pool can equate to hundreds of litres every hour.
There are two main considerations:
· the evaporated water must be removed from the pool hall air, otherwise the humidity levels will rapidly rise to saturation levels with resulting structural condensation/deterioration and reduced visibility;
· the evaporated water is, in essence, low pressure steam and contains huge quantities of latent energy.
Many years ago, before energy costs and concerns came into focus, the common approach would be to simply expel the evaporated water to atmosphere, essentially accepting total energy loss.
However, because of the very high energy consumption and financial implications, nearly all pools in the UK now employ some form of energy recovery process, although it must be said that there is still a wide gulf in the actual energy recovery achievable by the various systems employed, particularly the older placid heat recovery applications.
Remarkably, there are still a limited number of total loss systems operating in the UK but, given the comparatively high cost of fuel, the capital cost recovery period offered by the efficiency of modern equipment ensures that the economic argument is now overwhelming.
Although HVAC contractors may only occasionally become involved in a swimming pool project, there are literally tens of thousands of indoor pool installations within the UK of varying sizes. This growing market can best be developed by HVAC contractors in conjuction with a dedicated manufacturer like UK-based Heatstar.
Heatstar has produced heat recovery systems for swimming pools since 1978 and was among the first to become involved in this specialist field. The company has manufactured and supplied more than 6,000 systems giving it unrivalled experience.
A swimming pool application can be both a lucrative and interesting project and, while pool applications are comparatively specialist, teaming up with a dedicated manufacturer will avoid any unforeseen pitfalls and ensure the latest practices regarding energy saving technologies are properly considered.
Energy recovery technology is developing all the time and it is important to bear in mind that published guidance often fails to keep pace with progress.
The latest approach offered by Heatstar is to dehumidify and de-energise the pool hall air using refrigerated direct expansion coils and use active heat pump technology to reclaim energy directly back into the swimming pool water via a condenser, thereby recycling the latent energy back into the pool.
Any air exhausted to atmosphere is precisely regulated by inverter-driven, backward curved fans and has been de-energised to such an extent that the exhaust air actually feels chilled and refrigerated - a simple and obvious demonstration of the effectiveness of the heat recovery principles involved.
Having an on-board refrigeration system also gives improved control over the pool hall conditions, enabling refrigerant cooling to be provided to the pool hall air to combat the effects of any solar gain potential.
The construction of a swimming pool climate control unit is also rather specialist, being required to tolerate chemically laden corrosively aggressive air at high humidity throughout its operational service life.
All components therefore have to be specially selected, necessitating extensive use of coatings, treatments and plastics.
However, despite this criteria, dedicated companies like Heatstar manufacture only to this level of specification, ensuring cost effective solutions.

Heatstar. T: 01983 521465

Energy reclaim is provided for the recently-built swimming pool and leisure complex at Bishops Stortford College by Heatstar's Taurus environmental control system.

Using Heatstar's heat pump technology, the new system provides precise control of the environmental conditions within the pool hall and minimises energy usage.

Instead of crudely ventilating the potentially damaging humid pool hall air to atmosphere, the new system incorporates a cold refrigerated surface on which the humidity within the pool hall air is simply condensed to water.

As well as minimising heat lost through air extraction, the latent energy contained within humid air is also absorbed into the refrigeration unit and returned, together with all the electrical energy consumed, back into the pool hall air as dry, usable heat.

During warm summer days, when the emphasis is on cooling the pool hall air temperature, the heat recovery process continues whereby the reclaimed latent energy is returned back into the pool water to help subsidise fuel heating costs.

As the refrigeration unit collects both latent and sensible energy, under such conditions, the pool hall air also benefits from the cooling effect.

The Heatstar system is also used to control the environment within the adjoining changing areas, where a lower air temperature is required.
1 January 2006


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