Remeha reports on London Royal Academy of Art’s heating solution

For London’s Royal Academy of Arts, achieving high environmental standards is essential to protect its valuable collections. James Porter, Sales Director at Remeha, reports on its new future-proofed heating solution.



n 2018, the Royal Academy of Arts (RA) in London celebrates a milestone anniversary – 250 years of shaping the country’s understanding, appreciation and creation of art. Honouring this impressive achievement, it is transforming its historic two acre estate, opening up, uniting and revitalising its buildings on Piccadilly and Burlington Gardens in a £50m project led by renowned Architect David Chipperfield.

Running in parallel is an extensive infrastructure masterplan that has included refurbishing, relocating and centralising the heat generation plant across the RA estate within a newly-designed plant room. This is located on the rooftop above the Sackler Wing of Galleries at Burlington House.

“Our key requirement was to develop a long-term, future-proofed solution to more efficient and reliable heating while ensuring the close controlled conditions demanded by Government indemnified standards,” said Kyle Peters, Senior Project Manager at the RA. The RA appointed Arup as services designer on the bespoke heating system.

“The new boiler plant room consolidates the heating generation across the RA estate,” explained Vasilis Maroulas, Associate at Arup, “centralising the maintenance regimes, liberating space for use as back-of-house storage and RA staff offices, and enabling the implementation of the critical electrical infrastructure upgrades.”

Arup specified 16 Remeha Quinta Pro 115 boilers to meet the building’s flexible heating load. The boilers can provide a total heat output of up to 1.8MW to meet peak demand with the ability to be turned automatically down as low as 17kW when required for more efficient energy use. The design called for a large DN200 diameter primary boiler loop pipe to connect to the existing distribution system.

The long, narrow dimensions of the new Sackler plant room presented an interesting additional challenge for Arup and principal contractor CBRE.

“Given the shape of the plant room, the only viable solution was to use modular, wall-mounted boilers,” explained Antaeus Wheatley, Arup’s Senior Mechanical Engineer.

Working with Arup and CBRE, heating manufacturer Remeha provided a bespoke, off-site-fabricated rig solution to meet the specific requirements of the project and site.

“To overcome the plant room constraints, the boilers were arranged in an in-line format,” said Nick Stevenson, Remeha’s Prefabrication Expert. “Arup and CBRE specified designing the rig in four separate modules to facilitate positioning within the rooftop plant room. Each module comprised four Quinta Pro 115 units, shunt pumps, isolation valves, control valves and safety valves plus flow and return header pipework.”

The rig was specially designed to accommodate the specified additional orifice plates, test points, expansion vessels and increased shunt pump sizes for each boiler on the frame.

As the boilers needed to be crane-lifted into the plant room through a limited opening in the roof structure, the four modules feature lifting eyes for easier manoeuvrability. The packaging was designed to be retained during the lifting process to suit CBRE’s plant room build programme and assist in keeping the galleries fully operational during construction.

Each module incorporated Remeha iSense Pro controls, prewired within control panels with the requisite safety interlocks and shut-off switches as specified by Arup. The control wiring was bespoke to this project to accommodate the specific requirements for additional pump control, monitoring and water treatment functions. To meet Arup’s specific requirement, the control panels were provided with interconnection boxes to add flexibility for future repositioning if required.

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