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Addition of a CHP unit to supply the Clonmel Leisure Centre and County Museum


The Clonmel Leisure Centre in County Tipperary, Ireland, used to use an average efficiency gas boiler to supply heat to the swimming pool. The County museum, situated beside the leisure centre, also used an average efficiency boiler. Both the leisure centre and the museum imported electricity as normal. Because of the specialised use of these buildings, their different heat and electricity loads together make them excellent candidates for a Combined Heat and Power (CHP) system. Even though the buildings are owned by different Councils, the Clonmel Borough Council for the leisure centre and South Tipperary County Council for the museum, the Councils worked together with the help of the Tipperary Energy Agency and installed a CHP system to effectively serve both the leisure centre (for heat and power) and the museum (for power).

Building details

Type of building Leisure centre including a pool and a museum next-door
Building year / Floor area / Operating hours Both buildings were built in 1980 and renovated in 2002. The leisure centre operates 106 hrs per week and the museum operates 60 hours a week, but the Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) maintains a constant temperature continually.
Heating and cooling installed A CHP system to provide HVAC to the leisure centre and an upgraded management optimiser for the museum’s gas boiler.
Energy / CO2 / Water label

The combined Display® label for the leisure centre and the museum following installation of the CHP system has yet to be calculated as the CHP plant will only be operational from August 2007.

Project description

Aim The aim of the project was to install a CHP system to efficiently supply heat to the leisure centre (including the swimming pool) and electricity to both the leisure centre and the museum.
Key points CHP is a process where electricity is generated and the resulting heat, which is normally wasted, is used to provide heating, chilled water for air conditioning and hot water.

The Tipperary County Museum contains sensitive artefacts and requires a very carefully controlled atmosphere. Therefore the museum has a high HVAC electrical load. The Clonmel Leisure Centre has a high thermal load because of the swimming pool, but a relatively low electrical load. Combining the two buildings through the use of a CHP system created an opportunity for savings.

Tipperary County Museum

Consequently, a 143kW CHP plant was installed in the leisure centre to provide heat and power for the centre. In addition to this, the County Museum, which is situated next-door to the leisure centre, was connected to the CHP system, so that the system now supplies their electricity. Not only does this provide an efficient use of the heat and power provided by the CHP plant, it also has the benefit of saving on electrical standing and metering charges.

The CHP engine

In addition, the museum’s boiler was upgraded with a management optimiser that saved 19% of the total gas used by increasing the firing cycles for low-load, preventing overshoot and tightening control of the combustion process.

The museum and the leisure centre are owned by different local authorities. Therefore close cooperation between the building’s owners was required to ensure that this project was a success.

There is also a real time display being installed in the leisure centre and the museum to educate patrons of the benefits of cogeneration. This will feature a diagram of the buildings and the CHP and include real time statistics of how much energy is being produced and how much money and CO2 are being saved.

Reason for inclusion as Shining Example This project demonstrates how combining the energy and heating needs of buildings with different electrical and thermal loads can allow for better technical solutions to provide more efficient and lower CO2 energy sources. Installing this CHP system involved extensive cooperation between different organisations, particularly because the buildings involved are owned by different local authorities. This shows that excellent results can be achieved when organisations work together.

Costs and benefits

Costs & funding The total project cost was approximately €350,000. A grant of €147,000 was provided by Sustainable Energy Ireland, Ireland’s national energy agency.

With an estimated annual saving of €43,600, this resulted in a payback, after the grant, of just under five years (or eight years to payback the total project cost including the grant). The savings will be shared by both the museum and the leisure centre.

Benefits Installing the CHP system will save 230 tonnes of CO2 emissions per annum and the museum’s boiler optimiser will save 6.6 tonnes of CO2 per annum. The annual monetary savings will be €43,600.

The CHP system is due for commissioning in August 2007, so the capabilities of the system will be fully verified at that stage.

The CHP system will also be used to raise awareness of the benefits of cogeneration, among members of the public who visit the leisure centre and museum.

Partnership details

Partners and role This project involved the cooperation of several organisations, including:
- Clonmel Borough Council, who own and manage the leisure centre
- South Tipperary County Council, who own and manage the museum
- Sustainable Energy Ireland, who provided funding for the project
- Tipperary Energy Agency, who facilitated the project (note: Tipperary Energy Agency aim to support the development of sustainable energy in County Tipperary and beyond)
- Edina, a supplier of power generation equipment, who provided the equipment for this project
- Irish Energy Management, consultants to the project.


Achievements The major obstacle that this project overcame was joining two different buildings by their energy flows. In the original proposal, there was a third building that was going to be connected to the CHP system. However, it was found that this was not feasible because of the location of the building. It is hoped that some day in the future it will be possible to connect the civic offices to the CHP system.

An energy management program is being implemented in both the leisure centre and the museum in 2007 to see if any further reductions in energy consumption are possible.

Lessons learned Originally the project aimed to provide power to the local authority civic offices in addition to the museum. Subsequently, it was found that this was not allowed under the local Distribution Code and Grid Code, as it passed under a public road. This issue was not highlighted at the beginning of the project. As a result of this there was a significant change in the scope of the project and a significant delay in the project. In future all projects that have external stakeholders should be presented to the stakeholder and “signed off” to ensure that the project is viable, and all meetings with stakeholders should be well-documented.

To know more

Organistaion name Tipperary Energy Agency
Contact Paul Kenny
Phone +353 52 43090

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