A Veolia composting facility in East Sussex which recycles green
waste into organic soil conditioner is using Dimplex electric
heating and solar thermal hot water to optimise its own energy
In addition to five full-time staff based at the Woodlands Centre at Whitesmith near Uckfield, the site receives up to 60 visitors a week, including the general public, schools, and local authorities from across Europe, all coming to investigate environmental best practice - so a comfortable environment is vital and Dimplex’s flexible electric heating offered an ideal solution.
Dimplex EPX panel heaters with a four-zone electronic programmer were specified for the high-specification single-storey control room and visitor centre, and in keeping with the environmentally-friendly purpose of the facility, Dimplex solar thermal water heating was installed to meet the hot water requirement for the washrooms, showers and kitchenette.
The offices and visitor centre have been designed to be as ‘green’ as possible, being highly insulated and externally clad with cedar. Electric heating performs very well in modern airtight buildings, maximising energy efficiency, while the solar thermal water heating supplies plenty of low carbon hot water.
100 percent efficient electric appliances have no waste, no emissions, no on-site storage concerns and no need for an annual safety inspection, making them ideal for commercial developments. Running costs are kept to a minimum by the sophisticated Dimplex four-zone electronic controller, which can maintain different operating patterns in different zones, for example, boosting the temperature in the changing rooms ready for the end of a work shift.
The installation was carried out by Staffordshire-based R&C Electrical Engineers Ltd. Installer Matt Houghton comments: “We’re very familiar with Dimplex and its heating products, so we knew these would be ideal. It was our first solar thermal water heating installation, but everything came together very easily.”
Three solar panels were specified, together with a 300 litre solar cylinder with supplementary immersion coil to top up the solar warmth when necessary. “Due to the placement of the panels for optimum efficiency and the design of the building, the pipework ran externally over the roof,” says Matt. “We opted for hard tubing to give protection from the elements, and made sure the system was well insulated to hold on to the heat from the panels. Push fit connectors made the installation very straightforward.”
The majority of the site houses an enclosed in-vessel composting facility capable of turning 46,000 tonnes a year of consumers’ green waste and kitchen scraps into high quality compost. The facility opened in October 2009 and easily coped with the harshest winter in 30 years; although there was over 30cm of snow on the ground, the Dimplex panel heaters coped easily with the extreme conditions.
Martin Prior, Veolia’s transfer and IVC manager at the facility, says: “The offices are kept very warm and comfortable by the Dimplex heaters. The composting area has been designed to look agricultural and fit with the landscape, but there’s a real contrast with the high-spec office interiors. The control room/viewing area has large glass panels to view the composting tunnels, but even this is no challenge to the heating system - visitors have often commented how comfortable the facilities are, and how unexpected when they come to view a composting facility.”