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AmbiRad is champion at school sports hall


Building a state of the art sports centre, the St. John’s Beaumont School, a Jesuit preparatory school near Egham, looked for a heating system that offered flexibility alongside superb efficiency. The solution was found in leading supplier of heating systems AmbiRad’s Nor-Ray-Vac – a radiant heating system that is so popular it has been installed in over 700 sports halls in the UK.

St. John’s Beaumont School’s new build sports centre, a Ball Hall project, is packed with a host of features, including a 30ft climbing wall, indoor cricket facilities, performing arts centre, rowing room and a gymnasium alongside the main athletics hall. Intended to double up as a venue for the school, the hall has a cutting edge draping system that can instantly turn it into a marquee environment for plays, prize givings and more.

Owing to the multipurpose nature of the centre, heating choice was particularly important. To ensure energy efficiency, the system had to stand alone from the school’s boilers, which function 24/7, and warm up quickly when needed. It also had to have superb temperature control, able to be cool enough for athletic activities and hot enough to keep people warm during school events. The Nor-Ray-Vac system is so advanced that as well as heating halls precisely, it can warm different areas according to need, for example keeping spectators warm and sports teams cool during athletic fixtures.

It is the SmartCom3 controller that allows heating provision to be controlled so accurately. A specialised microprocessor, it lets users control heating provision precisely, ensuring that the sports hall can be flexibly heated to meet any need, from sporting events to concerts and school balls.

The selected heating was based around two radiant branches of the Nor-Ray-Vac system. Each was connected to a 32LR and 24LR burner. These energy efficient units are capable of delivering excellent fuel savings of up to 60% on alternative methods. Such energy efficiency is due to the ingenious design of the system. By burning fuel at point of use, wasteful heat distribution is eliminated, along with the need for a separate plant area.

Nor-Ray-Vac radiant heating systems provide an excellent solution for sports halls. Mounted at ceiling height, they provide no obstruction for sporting activities and can be covered with grilles for added protection. Their height provides no obstruction to their functioning, as they work by emitting infrared rays, like the sun. These rays heat only the objects and people in their path, meaning that no energy is wasted warming the massive volume of air within the hall.

The system works by drawing fresh air from ducts into the burners and heating system with a vacuum fan. To comply with the acoustic requirements of BB93, a Department for Education and Skills mandate that specifies the acoustic performance of educational buildings, the fan was enclosed in an acoustic enclosure located remotely from the hall. This and other noise reduction features added to the standard equipment can allow the system within a sports hall to meet the regulations stating that schools are quiet environments where staff and students are not undermined by disturbance.

Owing to its excellent energy efficiency, the AmbiRad Nor-Ray-Vac system is on the Energy Technology list, meaning that in choosing it the school qualified for Enhanced Capital Allowance. This programme allows organisations to write off the cost of their eco-friendly investments against their taxable profits during the investment period. By reducing the payback period of the remarkable sports hall’s heating system in this way, the school ensured even greater operational savings from its Nor-Ray-Vac heating unit.

Completed, the sports centre is a prominent feature of St. John’s Beaumont School. Opened for the start of the new academic year by Her Majesty the Queen, it has proved extremely popular with the students. Meeting the challenge of heating its large sports hall, the AmbiRad Nor-Ray-Vac provides the school with an energy efficient, cost effective and highly usable climate control system that is a top choice with specifiers across the UK.

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