Located in a building designed to resemble a crashing wave, Blue Planet Aquarium in Cheshire is home to more than 100 living marine displays, including one of Europe’s largest collections of sharks. Temperature was precisely controlled in the water tanks and ecosystems containing marine and freshwater fish, mammals, reptiles and amphibians - but human beings weren’t enjoying the same perfect conditions because one of the venue’s two 18-year-old boilers for space heating was operating at only 50 percent capacity and the other was unusable.
Clearly there was a need to improve comfort for visitors and staff. And because the aquarium supports conservation activities and practices, there was a strong desire for a heating system that was more energy efficient and environmentally friendly.
Blue Planet Aquarium wanted to retain its existing gas and water supply, including the separate hot water system for showers, taps and kitchen. The aquarium’s management also sought assurances that the heating would be upgraded with minimal disruption, as this tourist attraction is open to visitors 364 days per year. As the aquarium’s general manager, Andy Oliver explains: “Viessmann worked with us to find the right solution, putting together a package that ticked all the right boxes.”
At the heart of the upgrade was a like-for-like replacement, replacing the two old boilers in the second-storey plant room with two much more efficient Viessmann Vitocrossal 200 CM2 gas condensing boilers. With energy outputs of 620 kW each, these provide high grade condensing technology with an outstanding price/performance ratio and enhanced efficiency through weather compensation technology. The two boilers provide heating via eight air handling units, connected to 16 radiators located in all public areas, exhibits and staff offices.
To further enhance energy efficiency, the boilers additionally provide heat to the aquariums via an innovative heat exchanger system located in the ground floor plant room. Water from the aquariums is circulated through a cleaning and filtration process into the plant room until eventually it reaches the heat exchanger, which is also connected to boilers. The heat exchanger transfers heat to the aquarium water without mixing water from either system.
The new heating system is easily operated via Viessmann’s Vitotronic control unit, which has communication capability and an integral diagnostic system.
Installation of the two new boilers has resulted in a consistently comfortable temperature for Blue Planet Aquarium’s visitors and staff. More than this, the inherent efficiency of Viessmann’s boilers, combined with the weather compensation technology and heat exchanger system, have delivered a reduction in heating bills of around 20 per cent, saving the aquarium approximately £70,000 per year.
Andy Oliver, general manager of Blue Planet Aquarium, says: “We found Viessmann very helpful and the service was fantastic from initial discussions to delivery and installation, which went to plan. We now have comfortable temperatures throughout the building while at the same time reducing our energy bills. Our new heating system has more than enough strength and greater efficiency than we hoped for.”