Virgin Active, a leading fitness club chain, has successfully completed a project to replace its outdated chiller system with a cutting-edge, energy-efficient solution. The project was undertaken by Newsome, a firm specialising in humidity and temperature control solutions. Located at 5 Old Broad Street, London, the project aimed to enhance the performance of the chiller system while reducing energy costs and environmental impact.
The existing McQuay ALS 178.2 air-cooled chiller at the Virgin Active facility was outdated and inefficient, especially when ambient temperatures exceeded 30 degrees Celsius. The strain on the chiller’s performance during heatwaves led to increased energy consumption and substantial additional costs estimated at approximately £15,000 per year. Furthermore, the refrigerant used in the existing chiller had a high Global Warming Potential (GWP), making it non-compliant with current legislation and at risk of becoming obsolete.
To address these challenges, Newsome implemented a comprehensive solution. They installed a state-of-the-art CGAF 180 SE/SN air-cooled chiller with adiabatic cooling functionality, capable of dissipating a thermal load of 630kW. The new chiller offered 18% higher energy efficiency than the previous model, significantly reducing energy consumption and running costs. Importantly, it utilised a low GWP refrigerant, R454b, which complied with regulations and provided a 76% reduction in GWP compared to the previous refrigerant.
To ensure optimal performance even in high temperatures, Newsome incorporated an adiabatic spray system. This system effectively controlled the ambient air temperature, preventing it from exceeding 35°C. By maintaining ideal operating conditions, the chiller’s overall efficiency was further enhanced, leading to additional energy savings.
The project involved a twelve-month timeline, including the design phase, supply, and installation. Newsome provided a full turnkey solution, handling all aspects of the mechanical, electrical, and technical implementation. The process began with the removal of the existing chiller, followed by the positioning and engagement of the new chiller in the cooling circuit. Newsome also supplied and installed stainless steel pipework, electrical components, and thermal insulation for the new system. Additionally, an adiabatic spray kit was integrated into the chiller, consisting of various components for effective cooling.
The implementation of the new chiller and adiabatic spray kit was completed smoothly and without significant disruption to Virgin Active’s operations. The project ensured a future-proof cooling solution by reducing the GWP of the refrigerant and achieving a more efficient and sustainable system. As a result, the fitness club chain is expected to reduce CO2 emissions by 21 tonnes annually, with a projected payback period of less than six years.
The successful completion of the project exemplifies Virgin Active’s commitment to sustainability and energy efficiency. By investing in advanced cooling technology, the fitness chain aims to provide a comfortable environment for its members while reducing its environmental footprint. With the implementation of this innovative chiller solution, Virgin Active sets an example for other commercial establishments to follow, demonstrating the potential for cost savings, improved performance, and reduced environmental impact through energy-efficient upgrades.