Students have been advising a Cornish leisure centre how to reduce its energy consumption and costs. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Exeter students help Cornish leisure centre towards better energy efficiency

Students from the University of Exeter’s Penryn Campus have been advising a Cornish leisure centre how to reduce its energy consumption and costs.

29 second year Renewable Energy BSc and MEng students spent several weeks exploring energy efficiency options for Polkyth Leisure Centre in St Austell after visiting the site.

Using data secured from thermal imaging cameras to look at temperatures and measuring the humidity of the facilities, which include two pools, a fitness studio and a sports hall, the students drew up suggestions for reducing heat loss through the use of pool covers, replacement boilers and combined heat and power (CHP) technologies.

“Using a real case study adds great context to the lectures and enhances our student’s understanding of Energy Management hugely. They begin to realise the potential that they have to reduce energy bills and carbon dioxide emissions in almost all sectors by applying good engineering practices,” said David Parish who lectures in Energy Management for the University’s Renewable Energy Group. “We are very grateful to Tempus Leisure and to the centre’s manager Amelia Kitchen, who helped to facilitate this study.”

The project is the latest in a number that David has set up with breweries, dairies, colleges and care homes around Cornwall over the past six years. Students worked in small groups and presented their findings and proposals to representatives from Tempus Leisure, which manages other leisure facilities in the county.

“The students proposed various actions to reduce energy loses,” added David Parish. “The representatives from Tempus seemed genuinely impressed and we are hoping that this will develop into an ongoing relationship with contributions from third and fourth year students in the future.

“One problem Tempus have is that of escalating energy costs and deteriorating, outdated energy- related infrastructure. Our student's work is based around these issues. The Information provided will be very useful for Tempus.”

Tim Webb, Head of Leisure Facilities at Tempus Leisure, said: ‘My colleagues and I were really impressed by the level of preparation and detail the students presented. The standard of all the presentations was very professional and the students did a great job of answering some tricky questions; a great testament to their depth of knowledge. We will definitely consider implementing many of the suggestions and hope to work with the University again on other projects in the future.”

Date: 14 December 2015

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