Asset’s ecological ambitions help reduce University of Leicester’s carbon footprint

Asset International Ltd, the UK’s leading water management solutions company, has provided REHAU, a leading provider of polymer-based construction solutions, with its Weholite brand of high density polyethylene (HDPE) pipes as part of a ground-air heat exchanger system for a £42million renewable energy project at the University of Leicester.

The University of Leicester is developing a state-of-the-art academic research and teaching building, which is due for completion in Autumn 2015. The new Centre for Medicine will be built on Lancaster Road, just outside the city centre, using land recently acquired from Regent College, one of three sixth form colleges in Leicester.

Leicester University project The ground-air heat exchanger (also known as ‘earth tubes’) will use the near-constant temperature of the ground to heat the ventilation air in winter and cool it in summer for the 12,000m2 building. The utilisation of a ground-air heat exchanger is a cost effective method of tempering the air to ensure the building has a low carbon footprint.

Asset has provided REHAU with approximately 200metres of 1,050mm diameter Weholite header pipe work and round to rectangular box conversions for the project. Weholite pipes were chosen for the header pipes due to their high tolerance of ground movements and their durability. They are lightweight and therefore low cost in regards to transportation as well as being easy to manoeuvre for installation.

Steve Richmond, Business Team Manager for Renewable Energy at REHAU adds: “Connecting our innovative AWADUKT Thermo antimicrobial pipe system to a Weholite header pipe system offers clients a high-performance ground-air heat exchanger solution. Due to the project specific nature of the product, working closely with Asset allows us to fabricate a unique solution. REHAU’s bespoke calculation software was used to estimate the potential energy savings from the 32,400m³/h system.”

The University of Leicester site is extremely tight, meaning it was often difficult to coordinate the deliveries on site. However, with good communication between REHAU and Asset, the pipes were successfully delivered and fitted.

Paul O’Regan, Asset’s technical sales engineer for the renewables sector, said: “Asset is extremely environmentally conscious and for that reason this is a project that we were keen to be involved with. We have worked with REHAU on many projects so they have benefitted first-hand from the effectiveness of Weholite.

“As new buildings seek to boost their environmental credentials, we are seeing high demand for Weholite which is proven to have a lower carbon footprint than its rivals.”