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Solar thermal and CHP for iconic pool revamp

The £37 million revamp of the landmark Royal Commonwealth Pool in Edinburgh will feature a Combined Heat and Power system and a solar thermal roof.

Buro Happold is responsible for building services plus structural and environmental engineering for the scheme which is being led by S&P Architects for Edinburgh City Council.
One of the most ambitious elements of the sustainable measures will be the 800 metre square solar thermal roof which will supply hot water at the facility. The solar roof is expected to generate 458,000kWh a year potentially saving 70 tons of carbon dioxide annually.

Meanwhile, a 237KW (e) Combined Heat and Power system is being installed to provide 225kw to meet part of the facility's heating, hot water and electrical demand. Buro Happold claims this will provide carbon savings of 400 tons a year.

James Daw, from Buro Happold, explains the plans for the ‘solar roof’ at the Royal Commonwealth Pool: “A solar thermal system was desirable due to the consistently high demand for hot water throughout the year for showering.
“The Grade A listing of the building prohibited the use of solar panels which must be mounted at an angle.
“The solar thermal roof utilises arrays of matt black stainless steel plates to absorb direct and diffuse solar radiation.
“The solar radiation will preheat domestic hot water via dedicated calorifiers connecting to a solar hot water circuit.
“Unlike traditional solar thermal panels this type of solar collector can be laid at very low roof inclines and provides a robust roof finish.
“The system has watertight seals and will be used as the roof finish which makes it a more cost effective low to zero carbon technology.”
The manufacturer of the solar arrays is Switzerland based Energy Solaire and the distributor isConstruction Resources.
Other sustainable measures will include water-saving appliances, and recycling waste shower water for toilet flushing.

James Daw, Buro Happold’s project leader said: ““Buro Happold is very proud of its involvement in the resurrection of this pool, which is a great part of Scotland’s recent architectural and sporting heritage.

“It will go on site in 2009, and is planned to be ready in time to be used as a training centre in the run up to the 2012 Olympics, before being used for the 2014 Commonwealth Games.”

The refurbished pool - which is being backed by funding from Sport Scotland - will eventually be used for the diving competition at the Commonwealth Games in 2014 

The original pool, designed by RMJM Architects, was built in 1967 and used twice for the Commonwealth Games in the past – once in 1970, and again in 1986.

The design has had to preserve the elements which gained the modernist icon a Grade ‘A’ listing while upgrading the facilities.

The refurbishment will involve replacing the three existing tanks with state-of-the-art pools, meeting the standards for national swimming, water polo and synchronised swimming competitions, and international diving ones.