When a luxury developer in Buckinghamshire was looking to give its latest apartment complex in Gerrards Cross the wow factor, it chose REHAU to help deliver a premium heating and cooling solution for its buyers.
Mentmore Homes is an established residential developer based in south Buckinghamshire, with a reputation for constructing high quality, individually designed homes. When the company was working on the specification for its Oakley Court development – for six, three-bedroom luxury flats in the commuter town of Gerrards Cross – the architects wanted to install a renewable heating and cooling system throughout to create both a sustainable and more comfortable living environment for buyers.
Mentmore Homes contacted local installers BeGreen about the specification of the heating and cooling infrastructure for Oakley Court. BeGreen had worked with Mentmore on a number of successful developments in the past and was keen to impress with a renewable-based system with some luxurious finishes using high quality products from REHAU – a trusted supplier they had worked with for over a decade.
Garry Woods, owner of BeGreen said: “The design for the Oakley Court apartments was very much focused on delivering luxury living spaces with the latest climate control technology that was easy to use. We knew we needed underfloor heating for the development as this would work well with the renewable heating solutions we had in mind. As well as being more energy efficient, underfloor heating is aesthetically more pleasing for buyers as there is no need for radiators so homeowners have more choice about how they want their rooms arranged.”
Oakley Court has a central plant room with two 11Kw ground source heat pumps to deliver all the hot water to the six properties. As well as this the ground source heat pumps produce low grade hot water that is ideal for use with underfloor heating installations.
REHAU’s PE-Xa pipework was installed in each of the flats to circulate the hot water and provide homeowners with cost-effective underfloor heating. To ensure a neat and tidy installation, the pipework was run up the internal riser of the building in the medium voltage high riser.
PE-Xa pipes are made from cross-linked polyethylene manufactured with peroxide, and have the highest flexibility of all PEX pipes. As well as having a life span of more than 50 years, one of the main advantages of PE-Xa pipes for underfloor heating is its memory effect, which means it will always return to its original shape and strength when heat is applied. Any kinks that happen during installation can be easily repaired with a heat gun, without the need for coupling.
Oakley Court’s renewable heating system is supported by photovoltaic solar panels, which provide enough electricity to power the cooling system and the heating of the buffer and hot water tanks in the summer months to make the development even more sustainable.
Tony Harbour, Senior Commercial Manager, from REHAU said: “When the weather is warmer demand for cooling increases and in a luxury apartment, buyers expect full control of their climate. Rather than fitting air conditioning, which can be noisy and intrusive, Mentmore Homes required something more subtle to provide the cooling their clients wanted. So we suggested chilled ceilings to BeGreen, and everyone felt it was the solution they were looking for.”
Quick to install, REHAU’s CoolBoard provides energy efficient cooling systems for residential and light commercial spaces. CoolBoard is made up of a double thickness gypsum board, pre-assembled with routed grooves and PE-Xa pipework, connected with EVERLOC fittings. Chilled water, which comes from the boreholes connected to the ground source heat pumps, is then run through the pipes to provide efficient and effective cooling.
As well as chilled ceiling solutions and underfloor heating, REHAU pipework has also been used outside of the development at Oakley Court. Pipes laid under the pavement leading up to the front door carry warm water to help clear frost and snow from the path during the winter months – this is imperative to avoid slips and falls as the path is on a gradient. The underground heating pipe also helps to recharge the heat pumps’ ground collectors in summer, as does the cooling of the flats via the Chilled Ceilings as well as from the joint extract vents on the ventilation systems. With all this heat going into the ground collector it enables BeGreen to drill less boreholes than would normally be required, making the whole system less costly to install.
Nick Peck, from Mentmore Homes, concluded: “Using the heating and cooling system, we have been able to create automatic climate control so our homeowners can keep each room at a set temperature, in the most efficient way. It makes for a more comfortable living environment for the people who buy our homes and it doesn’t cost the earth. It also made the flats very desirable and all were sold prior to the completion of the apartments helped in some measure by the innovative and renewable heating and cooling system.”