Heat pumps provide excellent heating and hot water services even under the most demanding of situations
The five-star Chewton Glen country house hotel wanted to build new accommodation in its grounds, at the edge of the New Forest National Park, in time for the opening of the London 2012 Olympics.
This presented an interesting challenge for heating and hot water provision as the 12 luxury suites are sited in six treehouses on the forest edge, each with a family-sized whirlpool bath, a power shower and underfloor heating.
The Olympics deadline was fast approaching and while one company had quoted to do the work, its solution did not fit within the budget. The hotel turned to renewable energy system installer PowerNaturally Ltd, and its sister company Underfloor Heating Now, to come up with an alternative.
Paul Yeatman, Technical Director of Dorset-based PowerNaturally, says he knew exactly where to look: âThere was really only one company and only one product that would fit. I went straight to Daikin UK for its high temperature units because I knew that was the only way I was going to be able to satisfy the high hot water and heating demands.
âGuests are paying anywhere up to ,500 a night to stay in the suites, so if they want to be in their whirlpool baths at one or two oâclock in the morning â and then to jump in the shower and then back in the whirlpool â there should be hot water available. âHowever, while there was this clear requirement for luxury â along with copious amounts of hot water â the hotel is within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, so there are restrictions on what can be built. Renewable energy systems, and air-to-water heat pumps in particular, were the best way of making the treehouses as green as possible.â
Twelve Daikin Altherma 16kW High Temperature Split heat pumps were installed, one for each suite. Each system comprised an outdoor unit, an indoor unit (or hydrobox) and a 260 litre hot water cylinder installed on top of the indoor unit. These systems were selected as they can heat the water in the cylinders up to 75Â°C with relatively quick re-heat times. This ensured that the high hot water demand of the treehouses could be met. Additionally, as the cylinders were installed on top of the hydroboxes this reduced the internal space required for the equipment.
To optimise system efficiency, the underfloor heating was designed with a maximum flow temperature of 45Â°C. Consequently, the treehouses benefit from low running costs for space heating. The system has stood the test of time, Yeatman says: âThe heat pumps and underfloor heating have been in place for just over a year now and there were no reported problems over one of the coldest winters on record. Weâve managed to satisfy both the very demanding hot water requirements and the environmental restrictions.â
Yeatman is also particularly pleased that the noise of the heat pumps does not aff ect the much-cherished tranquillity of the treehouses.
âI was confident that the system would suit the hotelâs requirements but at the design stage, I warned the hotel that I might have to fit sound-attenuating panels on the doors to the plant rooms because they are in the lobby of each suite. However, the hotel has told me that there was nothing to worry about â the pumps are really quiet.â
âWhen considering installing a Daikin Altherma HT heat pump, customers often ask if they are going to have enough hot water. I can now tell them that if itâs good enough for a luxury hotel suite, itâs good enough for anyone!â
The treehouses opened the same night as the Olympic opening ceremony was held and the hotel is delighted with them.
âThe Treehouse Suites have been a real hit with our customers over the past year,â says Business Development Director of Chewton Glen, Leigh Jenkins, âand this popularity shows no signs of abating. The air-towater heat pump system has been a key enabler for this success, helping us to meet stringent customer demands for reliability and our own sustainability targets.â
The installation of the 12 Daikin Altherma High Temperature heat pumps and underfloor heating at the Chewton Glen Treehouse Suites satisfied demands for a continuous supply of high volumes of hot water at up to 75Â°C and underfloor heating at 45Â°C. The system has reduced running costs dramatically when compared with fossil fuels and the resulting drop in carbon emissions is also in keeping with the requirements of the surrounding area.