Wednesday, 24 June 2015

John Guthrie, Energy Efficiency Manager, ABB writes: When you dive into your local swimming pool, do you ever think how much that water is costing?

Well, not so much the water itself, as the cost to filter it and keep it clean and hygienic. And what about the air handling units that maintain the right conditions in the pool hall?

The answer is they cost a lot - pool halls typically use five times more energy per square metre than offices.

This is why Liverpool City Council wanted something dramatic to cut the cost of energy at five of its swimming pools. An independent report had recommended ABB variable-speed drives, so the council approached ABB authorised value provider Central Group for a solution.

Central Group investigated the pumping set up at the swimming pool. They found that two filtration pumps were running in a duty/standby configuration. Pumping rates were increased as more people entered the pool. Central suggested using the pumps in a parallel pumping scheme that would cut energy use.

Naturally, the council was sceptical at first, so Central suggested a trial to prove that it could work. Logging the energy use of the pumps and then installing two ABB drives, Central predicted a saving of between 10 and 15 percent, but the reality was much better.

Once the drives were in operation, Central found that the drive actually made a 35 percent saving, with no effect on the flow rate or water pressure. And payback was a very respectable six months.

The Council went on to install 20 ABB drives at five pools, saving £60,000 a year and with an overall payback of 2 years.

Central Group also installed low occupancy switches, which cause the drives to run the motors at even lower speeds when few people are using the pool or when the pool is closed. The drives can run a low as 30 Hz with no effect on the pool operations.

A £60,000 saving? Now, that’s what I call making a splash in the world of energy efficiency.

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