Mace Camden Lock District Heating Network Complete

The Camden Lock mixed-use development is being delivered by renowned developers Mace and incorporates a state-of-the-art basement level energy centre and district heating network which was installed by Vital Energi.

“The Vital team had good industry and energy centre knowledge to bring to the project, they knew what they were talking about and had a very good level of communications, good reporting and good point of contact in the relevant teams.”

Jacques De Lange Senior M&E Manager

Project Overview

Camden Lock Village is being delivered by renowned developers Mace and will see the creation of 50,000sqm of mixed use development.   This included 195 residential dwellings as well as commercial businesses and a new school.

Camden Council have been proactive in supporting low carbon developments in the area, which has been designated an air quality management area and this is the sixth decentralised energy project we have delivered in the borough.  The new energy infrastructure at the heart of the development sees low-carbon cooling, heat and hot water delivered via a buried district heating and cooling network which is fed by a basement level energy centre.

Solution

The district heating and cooling is supplied by an energy centre located in the lower basement level (B2) of one of the tower blocks named C2.   It houses a 185kWe CHP two 1,700kW condensing boilers, three 8,000 litre thermal stores and four low temperature hot water skids.  The energy centre also feeds the district cooling network.

Both the energy centre and district heating network were originally delivered by consultants Aecom and our approach was to work with the lead client’s professional team to develop improvements where possible.  In this instance we were able to help enhance the design to reduce the overall footprint of the excavations.  Our designers were able to create a solution which utilised twin pipe, where it was practical… Something which was necessary due to the congested site and other services being installed at the same time.  

The full installation comprised of 5 primary district heating networks and 2 cooling networks which were made of Logstor series 2 steel pipework.  Due to the complexity of the project we also used a broader range of Logstor products, utilising ALU-PEX Twin, Steelflex, Pex, Twin and Steel Pipework, integrating the different elements into an optimised network.

One of the main challenges our team were presented with came from the site’s proximity to live rail lines.  Due to this, representatives from Network Rail were on-site on a watching brief and constantly measuring any movement within the railway arches, which will later be converted into retail spaces.  Network rail also imposed certain restrictions on the installations, which included maximum trench depths and dictated a maximum 12m of open trench before the need to backfill.

Ideally, we would opt for a 72m trench which would allow for one full day’s continuous welding and deliver maximum progress.   Normally, this type of trench size restriction would have an impact on the delivery schedule, but because of our large pool of in house operatives we were able to allocate a full-time welding and jointing team who could install as the trenches were made available to us.

On many developments, the district heating is one of the first things installed, but on the Camden Lock Village Development buildings were already under construction and out of the ground before any of the underground services installation began.   This contributed to the congested nature of the site and saw the need for us to store all district heating pipework off site, where it could be delivered within the hour, as needed.  Additionally, the swing radius of the crane was limited to 2.5m from the railway which saw the need to drop the DH in this area and then transport it into the final position.   Normally, we install district heating in 12m lengths, but on this project we used 6m long lengths which could be more easily transported more easily around the site.

One of the issues which can arise on sites of this type are clashes with other services. To overcome these we held onsite co-ordination and daily district heating meetings.  This aimed to avoid clashes where possible and create solutions where not.  Some of the clashes involved oil lines and oil cooled power cables which had a 1m restriction zone around, so the on-site team would create small variations to the route to ensure the installation was installed safely, while performing optimally.

Despite facing numerous challenges, we were able to work closely with the Client and their professional team to deliver the 1,000m or district heating and 200m of district cooling to connect three residential blocks and 31 retail arches, making this another successful decentralised energy project in the London Borough of Camden.

Benefits

  • Off-site storage creating a less congested site
  • On-site based labour
  • Reduced trench size
  • Reduced pipework size aiding ease of transport.