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Leisure centres install fan-tastic new energy saving measures

South Oxfordshire District Council has installed new energy saving measures at Didcot Wave Leisure Centre aiming to make the swimming pool area more comfortable for users, while also cutting the centre’s energy bills by more than a third.

The council has just completed the installation of 11 destratification fans at the centre. These are designed to stabilise the temperature at the pool by deflecting hot air, which has risen to top of the high roof, back down to the lower area where the pool users are.

Before the fans were installed, the pool’s heating system had to work harder to maintain a comfortable temperature for swimmers at pool level, while the heated air naturally rose to the highest point in the building and heat was then lost through the roof.

The new measures at the Didcot centre follow a similar installation at the White Horse Leisure and Tennis Centre, in Abingdon in the Vale of White Horse district in June this year.

In the first three months of use at the Abingdon centre, the destratification system reduced energy consumption by 21 per cent.

It is anticipated that there will be a 35 per cent saving in energy costs at the Didcot Wave, thanks to the fans. Estimates show that around 30 tonnes of carbon emission could also be saved each year as a result.

Cllr Maggie Filipova-Rivers, cabinet member for community wellbeing at South Oxfordshire District Council, said: “In swimming pools and similar buildings with high ceilings, it can be around 10 degrees warmer in the roof area compared with that at ground level. That these fans can make a more comfortable atmosphere is great news for all those who attend the Didcot Wave. The fact that this change also means a great reduction in energy use, carbon emissions and, of course, energy bills by not losing vast amounts of heated air is even better news.”

Cllr Debra Dewhurst, cabinet member for leisure centres and community buildings at Vale of White Horse District Council, said: “The example at White Horse Leisure and Tennis Centre is proof that in a short time we can make great energy savings which will reduce our carbon footprint and save money. These measures help us to keep our leisure centres running for residents to use and enjoy. We are delighted South Oxfordshire has been able to make the same investment and with the same great results expected.”

Guy Bridges, Managing Director at Airius, provider of destratification fan systems at the leisure centres, said: “Destratification systems can have a profound impact on the operational cost of swimming pools, as well as the user experience by optimising heating systems and comfort. There are also additional benefits, such as reducing condensation and pool water evaporation. We are very pleased that Didcot Wave, and the community it serves. will benefit from these improvements.”

Notes to editors

Destratification systems

Thermal stratification is a natural phenomenon that affects all buildings. Hot, lighter air rises towards the ceiling. Cool air falls to the floor. The result is a dramatic temperature difference between the floor and ceiling. This happens significantly with swimming pool environments.

Heating and ventilation systems have to work harder to maintain an even temperature, and consequently energy bills are higher as a result. Swimming pools have high ceilings and more likely to suffer from extreme temperature differences.

Destratification fan systems are designed to balance internal temperatures within the swimming pool hall by forcing existing heat from the ceiling back down to floor level through continuous recirculation.

This information was presented to the climate committees of both South and Vale.