Steep learning curve for Lochinvar heat pumps

South Devon College upgraded its heating and hot water system and incorporated eight Lochinvar heat pumps providing 1.6 megawatts (MW) of heating for the site.

Eight heat pumps provided by Banbury-based manufacturer Lochinvar are helping a leading Further Education college achieve its ambitious sustainability and low carbon goals.

South Devon College in Paignton has a 10-year strategy for “putting sustainability at the heart of what we do and making a decade of change.” This includes transforming its campus to achieve net zero carbon emissions with the help of a major plant room upgrade.

The college said this approach was part of its contribution “towards creating a greener, cleaner, net zero economy that provides decent jobs and improves quality of life for all”.

Backed by funding from the government’s low carbon Salix finance initiative, which has provided £2.7bn of public funds to support public sector carbon reduction projects, the college was able to upgrade its heating and hot water system and incorporate eight Lochinvar heat pumps providing 1.6 megawatts (MW) of heating for the site.

This involved making significant changes to the existing heating system supplying the campus so it would work with renewable technologies. Lochinvar worked closely with the contractor Mitie Facilities Management of Cardiff and provided extensive advice to help them design and specify the most appropriate system.

The project team worked through several different options to try and address the challenges created by the geography of the site and its electrical load requirements. To meet the significant heating and hot water requirements of the college, Mitie specified eight air-to-water high temperature Amicus heat pumps supplying two 2,000 litre LBT thermal stores also supplied by Lochinvar.

The location of the campus on a very steep hill restricted the space available for such a large heat pump installation and a considerable amount of “creative thinking” was needed to achieve the necessary orientation to make the plant operate successfully.

The heat pumps are installed in a compound adjacent to the building they supply, and the system is split in half with four units serving one side of the building and four serving the other. Domestic hot water is supplied to three existing cylinders via a plate heat exchanger.

South Devon College said it was “committed to continuously improving our sustainability approach, through the promotion of environmental awareness and responsibility, and embedding sustainability principles across the college”.  It added that sustainability leads played a key part in its governor and leadership teams “to ensure that this remains a key focus”.