Sector: Education
Building: Special needs school refurbishment
Products: Purewell VariHeat condensing cast iron boiler, Dorchester DR-FC Evo condensing water heater
Application: Space heating, 360kW, direct fired DHW


Abbey Hill Academy is a school for children with learning difficulties based in Stockton-on-Tees. The facility consists of three buildings providing a comfortable learning atmosphere for around 300 students aged 11 to 19 years.

Two old cast iron sectional non condensing boilers were supplying heating and hot water for the main Stephenson Building consisting of 18 classrooms for around 160 students. Old atmospheric water heaters installed in the same building, delivered hot water to showers, sinks, basins and the main kitchen.

The Solution

Philip McHale, Premises & Facilities Manager at Abbey Hill Academy as part of the Horizons Specialist Academy Trust, was looking for a cost-effective upgrade. 

“The priority was to find a boiler that was energy efficient, would reduce costs, could be fitted to the existing system and came with a complete package of supply to commission. I checked a lot of boiler manufacturers and found Hamworthy’s website to be useful with the offer of a free site survey. We were pleased that we got to meet both Steve Johnson, area sales manager and Stuart Turner, the national sales manager. Both had a genuine interest in our project.”

Two Purewell VariHeat cast iron condensing boilers with a combined output of 360kW were chosen to replace the two old non-condensing cast iron sectional school boilers. With heat exchangers made from the same robust material, big waterways and an upgrade to condensing models, the boilers offer long-term reliability, compatibility to the existing school heating system while profiting from up-to-date technology for best efficiency.

The hot water supply was met by the installation of two Dorchester DR-FC Evo direct fired condensing water heaters to replace old water tanks, delivering a total output of 1,192 litres per hour. 

Philip noted,

“We updated the old tank fed system that delivered poor hot water pressure to mains fed. There has been a vast improvement in hot water pressure and it has also improved our Legionella management. The web based control system enables us to manage the usage of the boilers, saving us energy.”

The water heaters have an anti-legionella safety function, which means water will be heated for a period at a high temperature (e.g. 65°C for one hour) to prevent the risk of legionella bacteria forming in the vessel. Additionally, the recirculation pump can be set to run to ensure the whole system is purged. Built in controls allow this task to be performed on a regular basis, ensuring water stays legionella-free and safe.

Mark Smith, Project Engineer at Leybourne Urwin Ltd, mechanical and electrical engineers who installed the school boilers and water heaters, says 

“The boilers were very easy to position and install, the installation instructions were clear to follow. Everything was delivered as and when Hamworthy said it would be. We also used the Hamworthy pipe kits, which are great, as they save time on site.”

Funding the school boiler refurbishment 

Abbey Hill Academy was seeking a way to finance the capital-intensive project. For this purpose, the Condition Improvement Fund (CIF) is offered by the Education Funding Agency (EFA). CIF is an annual bidding round available for academies and sixth-form colleges to fund projects to keep buildings safe and in good working order. This could be e.g. rectifying health and safety issues, problems with building compliance or improving poor buildings condition. Previous CIF rounds have been heavily oversubscribed which is why applicants need to meet the bid criteria and demonstrate the urgency of projects to secure the fund.

Philip explained, 

“The bid criteria set by the EFA put the boiler replacement programme in a high priority level. Due to the condition of our existing school boilers and the likelihood of complete failure, our bid was successful.”

Set up for maximum efficiency

After the installation, commissioning of the newly installed boilers and water heaters was carried out by a Hamworthy-approved service engineer. This not only ensured that they were set up for optimised performance, but also improved their warranty terms, covering parts plus labour for two years from commissioning.

Mark Smith added,

“We chose Hamworthy for commissioning, as they are the manufacturer, know what they’re doing and what they are looking for during commissioning.”

About working with Hamworthy, Philip commented,

“The customer service was good. We had the free site survey and direct contact with Steve (our local contact). The boilers arrived on time and well packaged and the commission of the system at the end of the job went well. I’m all round happy with the service.”

The Dorchester DR-FC Evo condensing water heater has gross seasonal efficiencies up to 98%. They have large storage capacities and are able to heat up water quickly to meet a high continuous hot water demand.

Hamworthy’s Purewell VariHeat boiler is the only cast iron condensing commercial boiler that is compliant with the Energy related Products Directive (ErP) available in the UK. Thanks to a similar footprint to many atmospheric boilers and its non-complicated design, it presents an ideal choice for refurbishment projects.  A sturdy design featuring cast iron heat exchangers guarantees long-term reliability and a tolerance of existing heating systems.

 

Could we help to improve your special needs school's heating? Get in touch.