New future-proofed grandstand at Cheltenham Racecourse with Viessmann heat pumps

One of the most iconic courses on the horse racing calendar and the home of jump racing, Cheltenham Racecourse has recently undergone a £45m transformation. The new state-of-the-art 6,500 capacity grandstand, which is now heated and cooled using Viessmann heat pumps, replaces a 1920’s building that was no longer fit for purpose. The new five-storey stand comprises of restaurants, bars, public viewing areas and a new Royal box.

The Jockey Club, which runs Cheltenham Racecourse, wanted the new stand to be less reliant on fossil fuels than its predecessor. It sought a highly efficient, low carbon heating source to provide the base load heating and cooling for the building, which could be easily regulated. The new system also had to be ready within three months, in time for the grand opening ahead of a new season.

Geothermal heating and natural cooling offers a renewable solution

Due to the ample space available near the stand and the lack of planning regulations needed, contractor BaileyGomm Ltd opted for ground source heat pumps, using two Viessmann Vitocal 300-G units, installed by G Core Ltd.

Situated in the main boiler plant room of the new grandstand, the two ground source heat pumps work together in a master / slave configuration, where the lead 42.8 kW heat pump works in conjunction with a 28.8 kW unit, to provide 100 per cent of the building’s cooling requirements and 20 per cent of the heating.

The remainder of the heat support is provided by two 1 MW gas boilers, which provide a top up heating requirement to the heat pump delivered base-load, as and when required. Sixteen 130 m deep boreholes draw heat from the ground, which is then stored in a 950 litre heating buffer. The heat pumps are able to signal to the gas boilers when a top up is needed and the new system always draws from the most efficient form of heating.

Efficient heat pumps avoid a photo finish

The heating system took three months to install and commission, well in advance of the client’s strict deadline. The solution provided by BaileyGomm Ltd and G Core Ltd also met with the Racecourse’s request for an easily regulated renewable technology.

With a coefficient of performance of 4.6, Cheltenham Racecourse is now saving over £30,000 per year in fuel bills, a saving that will be further increased when the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) tariff is included. Fourteen tonnes of CO2 will be saved per year.

“Cheltenham Racecourse was a very straightforward, well planned installation,” says G Core Ltd Heating Engineer, Rob Gardiner. “The Viessmann heat pumps fulfil the client’s requirements and we were able to complete ahead of the tight deadline”.

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