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The Breuskesbach housing estate in Recklinghausen was built in the 1970s to provide housing for the employees of a local coalmine and their families. Recently, landowner, Gelsenkirchener VIVAWEST Wohnen GmbH, together with consultants, Wasser + Licht GmbH undertook the renovation of the buildings’ façades and an upgrade of the energy infrastructure. To mark the start of a new era the project was renamed the New Recklinghausen City Gardens.
The €22 million renovation project required a full upgrade of all heating pumps to deliver a high-efficiency heating system. Building managers also decided that to safeguard pumps from debris and to prolong the lifespan of the system, an automatic dirt separator should be installed in each building.Hydronic balancing was paramount to ensure the system met the strict efficiency specifications, but the problem with large pipe networks is there is a risk of the network not being fully documented and therefore design parameters are based on assumptions. Wasser + Licht approached IMI Hydronic Engineering to discuss the thermostatic valve body with automatic flow control (AFC) technology as a way of overcoming this challenge.
The new AFC technology automatically controls the maximum flow directly at the radiator, eliminating the need for differential pressure controllers. It also meant detailed knowledge of the pipework was unnecessary as the water needed for the radiators was determined by the heat load. The only constraint was that the pump head could not exceed 60 kPa, but the buildings met this requirement. The new valve bodies automatically balanced the entire system, even with partial load. All radiators were supplied with the right amount of hot water depending on the room temperature, even during morning start-up or if the valves nearby were closed and, because they were designed for differential pressures of up to 60 kPa, they were quiet in function. Integrating AFC technology in a standard valve body also meant valve inserts could be replaced quickly if necessary with little inconvenience to tenants. To protect the new system and ensure high performance of the valve bodies, IMI Hydronic Engineering installed its Zeparo Cyclone dirt separators which remove dirt and dust 9 times more efficiently than similar products in the market.