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Scottish community building Radio City has installed 240 Kingspan Renewables solar thermal vacuum tubes to meet its extensive hot water needs, whilst becoming a model of sustainability in the town of Kilbirnie, Ayrshire.

Once a former art deco cinema, Radio City provides much-needed facilities for locals, including a gym, radio station, café, IT, office spaces and beauty rooms. The 25m2 installation of HP200 Thermomax solar thermal tubes was part of a large retrofit project to cut carbon emissions and running costs, which also included fitting solar PV panels to service the building’s electricity.

Thermomax tubes were specified to feed into a pre-heat system to help meet up to 70 per cent of the annual hot water needs of the listed multi-use building, including showers and sinks in the gym area. The solar thermal installation is expected to contribute 12.98MWh to the building’s hot water system annually and help Radio City avoid more than 3,500kg of carbon emissions each year.

Planning regulations
The tubes were specified and fitted by Glendevon Energy, Kinross-based suppliers and installers of solar thermal, solar PV, biomass and heat pump technologies. A key concern for sales director, Jamie Adams, was meeting strict planning regulations in place for work on listed buildings. He said: “It was a specific planning requirement that the solar thermal collectors did not impact on the view of the building from key vantage points, so we needed to find a solution that would effectively meet the hot water needs of the building without damaging its appearance.

“We chose Thermomax vacuum tubes because the smaller surface area of their manifolds make them much less obtrusive than competing products, yet they still deliver optimum performance – even in wet and windy weather. They provided the ultimate solution we were looking for, integrating discreetly with the look of the Radio City building whilst offering the highest level of efficiency needed to meet its demanding hot water requirements.”

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