The SolX Energy ThermX solar thermal technology was installed onto the fitness studio cooling systems.
The move is a first for the leisure centre industry and comes following an internal review into the leisure centre’s electrical consumption zones.
Greenwich Leisure unsurprisingly found its air conditioning to have potential for great energy savings, and the energy audit team recommended an installation of the solar thermal technology, ThermX, onto the VRF cooling systems for the fitness studio.
The fitness studio is serviced by 3 Mitsubishi VRF systems: two at 35kW and one at 30kW capacity. The systems are used for cooling only and are in service constantly during the centre’s 14 hours of operation. They are located on the roof of the building - a large expanse of open space ideal for locating the solar thermal collectors.
The system's collective energy consumption was monitored for seven weeks prior to installation and seven weeks post-installation, ensuring credible and comparative like-for-like weather conditions.
Mark Trahearn of Greewich Leisure said: “We are always looking at introducing new technologies to further reduce utility spend as this is our second biggest cost. We met with SolX Energy to gain an understanding of how the ThermX system could benefit our existing plant.
“With a conservative projection of 25 percent from the offset, we were keen to trial. Two months on, the system is delivering a 42 percent saving which has way exceeded our expectations. We are certainly looking forward to seeing what further savings can be achieved in the height of summer next year.”
Roger Shenton, European sales director at SolX Energy explained how ThermX works: “In really short terms, our internationally patent granted and pending technology involves the installation of a solar thermal array within the refrigerant line of any refrigeration system or air conditioning system in heating and cooling modes.
“It is an unfortunate but common misconception that we are increasing the heat in the refrigeration process. This is simply not the case; we are adding an element of the heat which would, under normal circumstances, be generated by the compressor, thus allowing the modulating compressor or compressors to unload.”
Mr Shenton added: “The new variable refrigerant flow systems available in today’s HVACR market are as reliable on thermodynamics as they are on pressure. To further emphasise this point, you will find, for example, that many of today’s VRF/VRV/MDV systems are manufactured with not a single pressure transducer linked to the operational logic controls. ThermX partners perfectly with this technology.”
ThermX has been installed in many high-profile corporations over the last few years, including Cummins Engineering in the UK and USA; over a megawatt of VRF on a single location at Mercedes Benz; a full VRF installation at Johnson Matthey’s headquarters in the UK; and Cable & Wireless’ total facility in the Bahamas, to name just a few. In fact, SolX Energy now have systems installed across six continents in 48 countries.
After yet another successful VRF installation, SolX Energy is now expecting to improve the health of the finances across many more leisure centres.