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Black Country School meets growing demands of campus with ongoing boiler and water heater upgrade


A Black Country boarding school is enjoying more efficient, cost effective heating and hot water after investing in upgrades during a period of expansion.

The heating and hot water systems previously installed in boarding and teaching blocks across the Old Swinford Hospital School in Stourbridge were old and inefficient, leaving staff and pupils to feel the chill, particularly in colder months.

However, a programme of funding secured to replace the existing systems across the school has meant a gradual upgrade of the facilities, enabling the school to install high performance, energy efficient products from sister brands Andrews Water Heaters and Potterton Commercial.

The school, which first opened in 1667, is a secondary boarding school with 650 students in total. It is one of 36 state boarding schools in England and has over 330 boys boarding, as well as a number of day pupils and a mixed gender Sixth Form Centre.

The school began its upgrade with Baxter House, which is a 60-bedroom boarding block, in 2008. A 25kW NEOflo from Andrews Water Heaters with 300 litres storage was installed, providing hot water to meet the high demand in the shared shower blocks.

Further upgrades were later rolled out across the science and food technology block and Lyttleton, which is a teaching block for a variety of subjects. Upgrades were also carried out in additional boarding houses, including Prospect, Foley, Maybury, Witley and Dudley which house up to 500 pupils.

With a number of boarders remaining on campus over weekends and half term, a consistent supply of heating and hot water was required across the boarding houses. For this reason, the upgrades were all made outside of term time, ensuring disruption to pupils and teachers was kept to a minimum.

Products installed include Andrews Water Heaters NEOflo and HIflo, as well as both wall hung and floor standing Potterton Commercial 70kW Sirius boilers, with Lyttleton House also including a cascade frame header kit.

Offering high efficiencies, the NEOflo direct fired storage water heater provides low internal pressure loss, making it the perfect solution for areas where low water pressure is a problem. And as the HIflo commercial storage water heater has a fast recovery rate, it is ideal for applications such as this, where the demand for hot water peaks at certain times. On top of this, the Sirius FS boiler provides an energy efficient, cost effective heating solution with a compact design - saving valuable space.

Phil Coyle, director of estates and facilities at Old Swinford Hospital School, comments: "With funding for building upgrades available in stages, we have been able to work with Andrews Water Heaters and Potterton Commercial on an ongoing basis to update the heating and hot water systems across the school.

"Their products were first recommended by Bradley Industrial, who were responsible for carrying out the upgrades on the school buildings and had previously used Potterton Commercial boilers in various projects.

"Having now used Andrews Water Heaters and Potterton Commercial for many years, we've always found their products to be dependable. The service and support received has also been second to none and we know that when we choose a product from them, we can trust that they will deliver products as promised and be on hand for any advice.

"Previously, old, inefficient twin boilers and water heaters were installed, which failed to provide adequate heat to keep the buildings at a comfortable temperature and enough hot water to meet demand at peak times. The new products have not only meant we have a more responsive heating and hot water system, but have also benefitted the school financially. Despite increased output, the school is currently paying less for energy than five years ago, which is a huge success.”

Mark Field, national key account manager for Andrews Water Heaters and Potterton Commercial, adds: "A key consideration for schools undergoing building upgrades is downtime, which is of further importance for a school that has boarders. For this reason, we've worked closely with Old Swinford Hospital School to ensure any upgrades have been made during the school shutdown, ensuring pupils and staffs aren't affected by the work.

"Our long-running relationship with the school means that they can be confident in our ability to provide reliable products that meet the demand of specific buildings, whether for boarding or teaching facilities.

"Upgrades have so far been installed in eight blocks across the school; however we have also specified ECOflo water heaters and Sirius wall hung boilers for a refit in Foster House, which will require high demand across 40 ensuite boarding rooms.”


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