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Using water source heat pump technology to achieve zero carbon

Extensive decarbonisation programme for Oxford City Council sees us install a water source heat pump at Hinksey Lake...

In 2021, Oxford City Council selected us to deliver an extensive decarbonisation programme across four leisure facilities; Ferry Leisure Centre, Leys Pool and Leisure Centre, Barton Leisure Centre and Hinksey Outdoor Pool.

Our team is working to reduce emissions by installing water and air source heat pumps to significantly offset fossil fuel consumption. A recent milestone has been achieved at Hinksey lake, where we have started to sink the heat collector pipework (i.e. slinky) that forms an integral part of the new carbon-saving Water Source Heat Pump installation.

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Once in place, low grade heat from the lake will be absorbed into the brine solution within the collector pipework, which is circulated via a pumped closed-loop circuit to four water source heat pumps located in the plant room. The low grade heat will be transferred from the brine to the heat pumps refrigerant circuit via the heat pumps ‘source’ heat exchanger (evaporator), which through the vapour-compression cycle, will elevate the temperature of the refrigerant, which in turn will transfer heat to the swimming pool via the heat pumps ‘load’ heat exchanger (condenser).

The WSHP installation will provide the vast majority of the heat required throughout the swimming pool season, resulting in an annual reduction is gas consumption of approximately 80%.

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These projects form a crucial part of Oxford City Council’s plan to be Zero Carbon across its estate and operations by 2030. With leisure centres making up around 40% of the council’s carbon emissions, the change will significantly reduce their carbon output.

Despite the challenge of working on four live projects simultaneously, the team has made significant progress. This includes installing temporary heating and ventilation plants to ensure the leisure facilities remain operational; a key driver for a hard-hit sector throughout the pandemic.