Client: The Willows School
Project: Plant room refurbishment
The Willows Primary School in Ipswich is a member of the Orwell Multi Academy Trust, a group of seven infant and primary schools in Suffolk. The school opened in 2017 and is home to over 350 pupils, with an age range of 3-11 years. It offers a creative approach to the curriculum to allow the children to grow, flourish and learn together. This is supported by a strong focus on maths and literacy which equips the children for secondary education when they reach the end of their time with the Willows.
The existing heating system was approaching the end of its life and with CIF school improvement funding, there was an opportunity to refurbish the entire plant room for more efficient operation going forward. This would deliver significant savings in energy costs, reduce their carbon impact and protect the school from problems in the future.
The main challenges for this project were the location and the timings. We were working through their summer holiday shutdown and Ipswich is located across the UK from our home in the north-west. We took a team of four engineers as we were working on another project within the same Academy Trust simultaneously and that allowed us to share skills across both sites.
To complete the gas testing and purge the system ready for use, we had to bring a gas engineer in from Cambridge as the rural location made finding a qualified gas engineer locally a real challenge.
We removed the two existing 240kW Hamworthy boilers and replaced them with three Ideal EvoMax II 120kW boilers. This gave greater flexibility for the heating load. We installed two and three-port control valves to allow a summer and winter mode, which again aids efficiency.
For improved longevity of the system, we installed a Plate Heat Exchanger (PHE) to keep the water on the boiler side, separate to that on the school side. The boiler side was flushed and treated at the same time.
We also installed a new Trend Control panel, replacing the existing Schneider control system from the late 90’s. This will again allow the boiler system to benefit from the improved controls that modern control panels deliver.