Steel store strikes the right climate balance with NIBE

Faced with the challenge of keeping £15m-worth of steel at the perfect temperature and humidity levels – while maintaining low energy costs – logistics firm AV Dawson has fitted ten NIBE ground source heat pumps (GSHPs) at its new warehouse in Teesside.

Unveiled earlier this year, the 130,000m3 warehouse has been built specifically to store steel coils for a nearby international car manufacturer. With steel at risk of ‘sweating’ and rusting in high humidity levels exceeding 65%, AV Dawson was tasked with ensuring a specific climate for the warehouse, without which the steel would be rendered unusable. NIBE GSHPs provided the solution – guaranteeing consistently low humidity levels, while keeping energy costs to a minimum.

 The ten F1345 60kW GSHPs are each paired with their own ventilating unit and 500L NIBE UKV buffer tank – producing a total output of 600kW. Solar panels on the roof provide an additional 220kW to help meet the warehouse’s electricity needs. Howard Tribick, Director at HT Energy specified, designed and fitted the heat pump system. He explains: “We considered a whole host of options, but none matched up to the NIBE GSHPs when it came to ensuring high efficiency and reliability, matched with minimal maintenance and long-term cost savings.

NIBE Installation At AV Dawson

NIBE Installation At AV Dawson

“Given the site was built on top of an active water table (the River Tees), we were able to make the most of the surroundings as a natural energy source. The heat pumps collect heat from 70 bore holes, each 150m deep – that’s 10,500m of active bore hole depth in total. The results have been even better than expected, with a seasonal performance factor (SPF) of 3.65 and average humidity levels of just 47%.”

Commenting on the install, AV Dawson MD Gary Dawson says: “This system made perfect commercial sense for us. While the initial outlay was greater than some of the other alternatives, GSHPs provided the most cost-effective solution by far in the long term. In fact, compared to natural gas, we will be making an impressive energy saving of 1.58 million kW/h each year. Our projected payback period is just 10 years and we’re also benefiting from Renewable Heat Incentive payments for each unit of renewable energy we’re generating.”

Interconnected with 3km of header pipes, the ten GSHPs are spaced equidistantly along one side of the 264m-long building. The units are set up as separate systems, so they can work independently of each other or together as required. This provides an added level of security for the customer, ensuring the system can cope at all times and steel is kept at optimum conditions.

NIBE’s MCS-accredited F1345 GSHPs are designed for use in larger residential, commercial and industrial installations, using ground, rock or lake as a heat source. Available in an output range of 24kW-60kW to suit applications of various sizes, the high-efficiency units perform at a CoP of up to 4.51 at 0/35°C. They also feature an integrated control system for bespoke programming and a multi-colour user display for straightforward and intuitive operation

Phil Hurley, MD at NIBE, concludes: “This is a truly pioneering project that perfectly showcases the scope of what can be achieved with ground source heat pump technology. The sheer scale of the application, coupled with its unique climate demands, make the AV Dawson installation a real first for the UK. Armed with the right technology and expertise, Howard and the HT Energy team were able to design a system that not only met the customer’s brief, but actually exceeded their expectations – and in doing so, they have raised the bar for future buildings of this nature.”

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