Sector: Leisure
Building: Theatre rebuild
Products: Powerstock glass lined calorifier
Application: Space heating 660kW, domestic hot water

The new Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury, Kent is reaping the benefits of hugely reduced gas consumption thanks to a rebuild and heating upgrade to Purewell VariHeat boilers. The old Marlowe Theatre was created out of a former cinema and had a capacity of 1,000 seats. As part of the new development the building now comprises a 1,200 seat auditorium, plus a smaller second auditorium, offices, a bar and restaurant, amenities and service areas.

The old theatre was fitted with six Hamworthy UR atmospheric boilers from the 1980s that were no longer operating efficiently. As part of the theatre rebuild, the heating needed to be reviewed. 

Philip Kiss, Building Services Engineer at Canterbury City Council is tasked with reducing energy use across council run buildings in Canterbury and sees heating as a key part of this: 

“I take a considered view at each site to review what option would be best suited. I may look at renewable energy products, but I do believe we need to reduce the demand before changing the method of delivery. This is why we have installed high efficiency condensing boilers from Hamworthy Heating across many of our sites, including the Marlowe Theatre.”

The Solution

The boilers were replaced with six Hamworthy Purewell VariHeat 110kW cast iron, condensing modular boilers installed by Canterbury based contractor Halsion Limited. These boilers provide the heating for the 1,200 seat theatre via heating coils and air handling units in the auditorium. They are also the indirect heat source for a hot water calorifier to supply the domestic hot water for the building’s showers and taps. The council has a building management system that controls the whole building.

Philip monitors the gas consumption of the building and it now uses much less gas despite being a bigger theatre, and this is thanks to the efficiencies of the condensing boilers from Hamworthy Heating as well as improved building fabric. 

Philip commented, 
“Prior to the rebuild in 2009, two of the boilers were changed to newer boilers and this helped to improve the efficiency of the system in the interim. Compared to 2005 the gas usage per square metre of floor space has fallen from 212 to 80kWh per m² - that’s a 62% saving.”

“Despite a 36% increase in effective area to be heated by the boilers the annual meter reading has almost halved falling from circa 760MW to 400MW over the 10-year period. This is saving the council money on fuel bills and is also better for the environment as there is a corresponding reduction in carbon emissions.”

Stuart Turner, National Sales Manager at Hamworthy Heating, fully endorses the way Philip keeps a watchful eye on gas consumption of his buildings, and said: 

“We encourage our customers to look back at their gas bills to see how much gas has been used by the current boilers in the system – this often shocks some people. We can then show how by upgrading to modern, condensing boilers and changing control strategies a massive saving in gas costs can be made. Once this is actioned they can then consider renewable options down the line, if desired, but will benefit from lower fuel bills and reductions in carbon emissions right away.”

Philip concluded, 

“I have used Hamworthy Heating products for a long time now. They are well manufactured robust products that come with excellent back up and support from their staff. I will continue to advocate the use of condensing boilers as the savings I have seen from the Marlowe Theatre speak for themselves.”


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