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All going swimmingly

Buderus solar panels on a roof
Oxford Brookes University began its life as long ago as 1865 when it was the Oxford School of Art, later becoming one of the first polytechnics to confer degrees in 1991.

The following year it became a university and has grown rapidly, gaining a high academic reputation.

In 2004 it established its first research institute, the Oxford Institute for Sustainable Development, and is fully committed to sustainability in all aspects of its activities.

In 2007 it received a first class rating for its environmental credentials in an environmental table of universities.

Solar Installation

At its Harcourt Hill Campus, the university has upheld its sustainability ethos with the installation of an environmentally friendly solar panel system from Buderus, Europe's leading manufacturer of commercial solar heating and boiler systems.

Specialist installers Solar Solutions Direct of Eynsham, Oxfordshire worked with the Buderus technical team to design the optimum solar system to heat the 25m swimming pool - a service much appreciated by Solar Solutions Direct and the Managing Director Darren Taylor.

"The Buderus service was nothing short of brilliant" he says "Although we have been installing solar heating systems for a number of swimming pool installations recently, this was the first time we had actually used the Buderus collectors.

“In addition to helping with the system design, they also advised on grant availability, provided detailed analysis of performance, carbon footprint and pay-back periods as well as giving our installation team special training at their training centre.

“We were very impressed with the panels too with high build quality and high performance”.

Solar specification

There are 18 Buderus solar panels giving a 40m2 collector surface area in order to keep the pool constantly up to its 29o temperature.

The specification was based on the T-Sol database of weather and temperature conditions in the Oxford area over the last 10 years and includes external weather sensors as part of the controls package.

The Buderus solar collector system includes a range of pumps and controls which allows installations of up to 50 collectors in a single field with multiple fields also available.

Installer profile

Solar Solutions Direct was formed 5-years ago after 20 years in the plumbing and heating industry installing systems in London, the south east and the midlands.

It employs 13 people and claims to have taken on the first UK solar apprentice two years ago, recognising the growing demand for specialist installers of solar and other renewable energy systems.

This apprentice is now undergoing Buderus training to obtain the necessary qualifications in commercial solar technology to add to his existing qualifications.

Together Solar Solutions and Buderus have ensured a truly environmentally friendly installation which will pay for itself within an estimated 5-years, the high efficiency system heating the pool for the majority of the year, only calling on supplementary heat from the existing boiler on the limited number of dull winter days which do not provide sufficient radiation levels.