A guest blog by Phil Beardmore
Moseley Road Baths is a beautiful treasure of a building. It is also very old and hasn’t had much investment over the years. So it is no surprise that it is a building that is quite wasteful of heat, power and water.
So I was delighted in summer 2017 to be appointed by the Friends of Moseley Road Baths Action Group to produce a report on energy and water saving options at the baths.
The age of the building and its listed status puts limitations on what you can and can’t do.
Here are some of the key recommendations that I made for things that won’t cost too much will have a short return on investment:
- Detect and repair all leaks of cold water, hot water and steam, and reinstate lagging on hot water and steam pipework
- Use a pool cover on Pool 2 to prevent evaporation of water, heat loss and excessive humidity
- Use a timer on the filtration pump
- Upgrade all lighting in frequently used areas to LED lighting
- Upgrade all heating and lighting controls
- Optimise the use of electrical appliances to align with times of day when electricity is cheapest.
The following recommendations will cost more and have a longer return on investment but will nonetheless save money over their lifetimes:
- Replace the roof above Pool 2 with a new one conforming to current standards of insulation
- Replace the gas-fired steam boilers that supply heat to the pools, and also their heat exchangers, with either energy efficient gas, or with biomass boilers subject to further options appraisal
- Replace the gas-fired domestic hot water boilers that supply hot water to wash basins and showers, with energy efficient gas boilers
- Upgrade the ventilation system in Pool 2 to an energy efficient heat recovery system, with variable speed drive.
Other measures that could lead to the generation of energy and non-potable water on site include:
- Solar electricity, with or without battery storage
- Solar thermal, to pre-heat water to the domestic hot water boilers
- Solar cooling, which uses the heat of the sun to optimise the refrigerant gas in a dehumidifier
- Investigate the feasibility of rainwater harvesting and/or groundwater abstraction to provide filtered water to the pool; a paid internship with the University of Birmingham will be advertised shortly
- Develop a business case for an energy and water services company to fund, own and operate on site generation of non-potable water and renewable energy.
I’ve also recommended that when the time is right to do so, the Moseley Road Baths CIO should engage a reputable broker of energy and water supplies in order to obtain the most competitive prices.
There is a lot to be done but the business case for investment in energy efficiency is very strong. The good news is that Moseley Road Baths CIO is in a good position to secure the funds that could lead to saving a lot of money, and carbon dioxide emissions, in the near future.
Moseley Road Baths CIO will implement some of these recommendations and will work with the City Council and our other coalition partners to achieve the others. We’re really grateful to Phil for an excellent and thorough report. This is part of some development work funded by the Bright Ideas grant programme.