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Andrews Water Heaters, part of Baxi Commercial Division, has supplied two SOLARflo water heating systems, along with Queen’s Award winning MAXXflo condensing water heaters, for the new Beacon Centre for the Blind in Wolverhampton. The centre brings together services for people with sight loss which were previously housed in eight separate buildings on the seven acre site. Some of these were in need of refurbishment and all were expensive to maintain and run so, after due consideration, the decision was taken to replace them with a brand new centre. The new state of the art facilities comprise a three storey office block and a separate support area to the residential block which have both been designed to achieve an energy efficient solution which minimizes CO2 emissions.

The whole Building concept scheme with the two SOLARflo systems were specified by Rediger Ltd., who are CIBSE registered Low Carbon Consultants. A spokesman commented, “We have used this equipment in the past and Andrews have a good reputation in this respect. The system comes as a complete package and the inbuilt controls provide all that is necessary for efficient operation. I n addition, there were no problems tying in with the BMS.”

Matched equipment from a single source, together with the availability of technical advice throughout the installation, is a particular benefit of the Andrews Water Heaters product range and after sales service.

The SOLARflo system serving the office block provides domestic hot water to washroom facilities and kitchenettes on each of three floors, a total of 24 wash hand basins and five sinks. In the residential support building, the system serves a kitchen with four outlets, a bar with two sinks, a hairdresser’s with four basins and two toilet areas with a total of eight wash hand basins. Both systems were designed and installed by William Davis Ltd. and a spokesman commented, ‘Everything went well from initial concept to completion of the project’.

The office block system comprises six roof-mounted, glazed flat plate solar collectors with a total area of 15.6 square metres, a 900 litre twin coil cylinder and a MAXXflo CWH120/300 condensing storage water heater. The MAXXflo water heater, cylinder and other components of the solar package are installed in the ground floor plant room, where the water heater is installed with a horizontal, balanced flue. The residential support block has seven roof mounted solar collectors with a total area of 18.5 square metres. A 700 litre twin coil cylinder, a MAXXflo CWH 60/300 water heater, with vertical balanced flue and the remainder of the solar package are again installed in a ground floor plant room. These high efficiency, gas-fired, condensing storage water heaters each have a capacity of 300 litres and recovery rates through 50oC of 1020 litres per hour for the CWH 60/300 and 2040 litres per hour for the CWH 120/300 which is the largest unit in the MAXXflo range.

Water is preheated by the glazed flat plate solar collectors, which have a transmission efficiency of 90.8%, an absorption efficiency of 95% and a low emission loss of only 5%. Heat is transferred to the two twin coil cylinders which in turn pre-heat the supply to the MAXXflo water heaters, thereby considerably reducing consumption of natural gas. In addition to the solar collectors and non-corrosive, stainless steel solar cylinders the complete SOLARflo package also includes solar controls, pump station, expansion vessels, first fill of heat transfer fluid and collector mounting accessories.

The MAXXflo range of high efficiency, condensing, gas-fired storage water heaters has won the Queen’s Award for Innovation for it’s energy saving capabilities. These units are therefore ideal for buildings with a high demand for hot water and, thanks to their fast recovery rate and innovative design, carbon footprint, NOx levels and running costs are kept to a minimum. MAXXflo storage water heaters incorporate a fully modulating burner to provide maximum performance and flexibility, using condensing technology to achieve an operational efficiency of 109%. Heat input and flow are carefully regulated to produce a closely controlled water temperature and a high temperature anti-Legionella program is incorporated as standard.

Editor’s Note

The Beacon Centre for the Blind in Wolverhampton helps local people with sight loss to live fuller and more independent lives by offering them the finest facilities and support, including a mix of residential, day care and community services. Formed in 1875 as the Wolverhampton Society for the Blind, the current name was adopted in 1991 and, in 2003, the former individual workshops on the site were eventually closed. The decision to redevelop the site completely was taken against the background of Government forecasts which predict a rise of 35% in visual impairment by the year 2020, due to an ageing population and the prevalence of diabetes.

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