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Warmafloor arrests energy use at Gloucestershire Constabulary's new headquarters


A Warmafloor underfloor heating and cooling system combined with ground source heat pumps is contributing to a 30% to 40% reduction in energy consumption and CO2 emissions at Gloucestershire Constabulary’s new £18 million headquarters building. The sustainable solution played a key role in the PFI project receiving the ‘Excellent’ rating in the BREEAM assessment process, which looks at a broad range of environmental impacts across various building types.

The Warmafloor Tacker underfloor heating and cooling system, drawing energy from nine 90kW Water Furnace geothermal heat pumps, was specified by multi-disciplinary property and construction consultancy McBains Cooper. The company provided a complete consultancy package for the project, including architecture, mechanical and electrical services and cost management. Malcolm Hardacre, Associate Director of McBains Cooper comments, “The building is one of the first PFI projects to utilise this type of combined renewable energy solution rather than a conventional air conditioning system. It’s proved very successful and the building was recently awarded the 2006 Environmental Initiative of the Year by the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers for its environmental friendliness and cost-efficiency.”

The combination of a Warmafloor Tacker System with geothermal heat pumps is making a major contribution to the building’s green rating. Whilst in heating mode during the winter months the heat pumps deliver a 50 / 40oC flow/return temperature to the underfloor heating circuits. During warm weather the pumps can achieve a flow/return temperature of 7 / 12oC to the same manifold serving the underfloor circuits to provide effective cooling. The system’s intelligent controls allow temperatures to be adjusted between these lower and upper limits to suit requirements for controlling condensation and comfort in the building.

Heating and cooling energy is drawn from 150 bore holes each drilled to a depth of 98m under the car park. Inside the building, the Warmafloor Tacker System is a high duty 65mm deep screed system with a thermal conductivity of 0.034W/mK and a compression strength of >110 kPa. The 18mm diameter polybutylene water pipe circuits were ‘tacked’ to laminated insulation panels and pressure tested before the screed was laid. At Gloucestershire Constabulary HQ the floor covering is Terrazzo.

In addition to the cost and energy saving benefits, an underfloor system frees up space and enables greater interior design flexibility as there is no need to allocate wall space to radiators or other heating appliances. Furthermore, unlike radiators, which transfer heat by convection, underfloor heating systems use radiant heat so there are no draughts or cold spots. No convection currents also mean the heating system is not constantly circulating airborne germs and dust. This contributes to a healthier environment and health and well-being is one of the key considerations in the BREEAM assessment process.

Warmafloor is one of the UK's leaders in underfloor heating and cooling solutions with over 20 years experience in projects from the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly to the British Museum, and from residential homes to the largest industrial buildings and schools. The company has worked in partnership with other suppliers to develop a wing of its own HQ building as the Sustainable Energy Centre to showcase expertise in integrating sustainable technologies which reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions by extraordinary amounts even in 'ordinary' buildings. Visit www.SustainableEnergyCentre.co.uk for an introduction to these solutions, or call 01489 581787 to arrange a visit to the Sustainable Energy Centre in Fareham, Hampshire.

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