Adveco - Experts in commercial hot water systems.

Hot Water and Heating for Leisure & Recreation

Hot Water and Heating for Leisure & Recreation

Water Heating For Leisure & Recreation

Hot water plays an important daily role in the leisure and recreation sector,  providing enjoyable experiences for visitors, from accommodation, eating & drinking, to hygienic leisure facilities.

Typical water heating applications developed and supplied by Adveco encompass:

  • Health and Wellness: The demand for fitness centres, spas, and wellness experiences remains strong. Maintaining small pools, jacuzzi, spa pools, hot tubs, steam rooms, and hydrotherapy treatments all rely on a consistent supply of hot water with precise temperature control for guest comfort and safety.
  • Out-of-Home Entertainment: Cinemas, theatres, theme parks, and other entertainment venues are primarily driven by basin and washroom-led demand.
  • Accommodation & Guest Facilities: Hotels, holiday parks, and campsites all require a steady supply of hot water for showers, baths, sinks, and laundry facilities.
  • Arts and Cultural Centres: Museums, galleries, theatres, clubs and live music continue to attract visitors, again requiring basin and washroom-led demand in front of house.

In addition, all the above have back-of-house cleaning and maintenance demands which require considerable amounts of hot water daily. Of note is the growth in food and beverage sales as part of a wider leisure experience. Hot water is vital for cleaning dishes, utensils and washdown of food preparation and serving. But also, wider sanitation, laundry and other hygiene processes.

Delivering this essential service comes with a responsibility to be efficient, cost-effective and, increasingly, sustainabl

Leisure centre heating systems from Adveco
girl in gym class

Approaching Commercial Water Heating For Leisure Facilities

A large proportion of hot water systems developed for the leisure sector are bespoke due to complexity and a wide set of variables.

Demand fluctuation is at the core of these variables where leisure facilities often experience peak hot water demand during specific periods. Selecting a system that can handle these fluctuations effectively is crucial. So too is maintaining high water temperatures in an application to prevent the growth of Legionella bacteria.

The facilities’ size and layout will also introduce variables, especially as some hot water systems may require more space or have very specific requirements, such as gravity flow in solar thermal systems. Leisure facilities must also comply with relevant building and plumbing regulations regarding hot water provision, including consideration of the environmental impact, not just of combustion emissions, but also noise and even the look and size of a system in consideration of the local environmental impact.  As a result, several methods can, or will need to be used to deliver hot water in the leisure sector, each with its advantages and considerations:

Larger leisure facilities traditionally opted for centralised gas or oil-fired boilers for bulk hot water generation. Not only high maintenance, these systems also contribute to carbon emissions and are increasingly at odds with corporate social & environmental responsibilities that distinguish customer offerings in a market increasingly interested in eco-friendly tourism and leisure activities that prioritize ethical practices and responsible sourcing.

Existing sites with a gas connection may continue to use gas water heaters, with the latest generation offering greater efficiency for lower energy consumption, curbing emissions and lowering fuel costs. However, new builds will be unlikely to receive a gas connection and instead be expected to use a mix or direct electric heating and renewables.

Electric boilers and water heaters offer cleaner operation. In the past, their efficiency did not compare well to gas, but that has shifted and the latest generation of appliances offer a wealth of choice in terms of efficient heat output, resiliency and improved controls. Combined with an indirect cylinder for thermal storage and basic controls, an all-electric system can be compact and easy to install in existing spaces.

Direct electric water heating is reliant on the grid where prices can be volatile, and remain considerably higher than that of gas. For this reason, electric boilers are often deployed as a source of top-up heating within a system to achieve safe operating temperatures (+60°C to counter threats of Legionella) and address peak demands.    

Within these new hybrid systems, ‘renewables’ are the popular choice for supplying the pre-heat into a system. Currently, two key technologies are proven and most likely to be specified for leisure facilities. These are solar thermal and air source heat pumps.

Fusion Packaged Electric Water Heaters

Reduce carbon emissions by up to 70% with compact, resilient & easy-to-install packaged commercial electric water heaters 

Ardent Commercial Electric Boiler

Compact and reliable 9-100 kW electric boilers for seamless, low-carbon hot water in commercial spaces.

Solar Collectors with Drain Back

Cuts carbon emissions and offsets operating costs associated with commercial water heating

FPi32 Air Source Heat Pumps

Reduce water heating carbon emissions year round with a compact 9 kW or 13 kW monobloc Air Source Heat Pumps 


Solar Thermal For Leisure 

solar thermal collectors on roof of leisure centre

These systems harness solar energy via collectors and a solar fluid, which transfers heat to water, offering a renewable and environmentally friendly solution.

With excellent sustainability credentials based on well-understood and easy-to-maintain technology, solar thermal has experienced a resurgence in popularity. Compared to solar PV, which generates electricity, solar thermal is considerably more efficient when applied to water heating, meaning less roof space is required for fitting panels. Reliance on sunlight does impact efficiency across the year. However, a well-designed system can still potentially meet all your hot water demands during the summer months, whilst continuing to supply some preheat throughout the darker winter months.

Solar thermal in the UK can be expected to supply on average 30% of the annual energy demands for hot water offering considerable carbon savings and offsetting electricity costs.

As a result of current higher grid electricity costs solar thermal payback periods have reduced considerably, making the technology increasingly attractive. Its silent operation is also a particular advantage for many leisure functions.   

Air Source Heat Pumps (ASHP) For Leisure 

air source heat pump for leisure facilities
ASHPs extract heat from the ambient air for hot water production. This is a highly sustainable solution which, when operating within efficient parameters, can also offer lower running costs. ASHPs work most efficiently when working with lower temperature water, which means whilst excellent for underfloor heating in new builds, they can struggle to achieve commercial hot water temperatures unless more electricity is pushed through the appliance leading to rising operational costs as efficiency drops.

As a result, ASHPs are best used as a source of preheat, working with the cold flow to generate consistent working flow temperatures of 50°C. Adveco will typically advocate the use of a heat pump with an indirect cylinder and an electric boiler to maximise the availability of hot water, significantly reduce carbon emissions, minimise energy demands and better control operational costs.

ASHPs are well-suited for hotels and resorts with moderate to high hot water demands, particularly for new builds or renovations. Spas with consistent hot water needs for showers, saunas, and steam rooms can also benefit significantly from the efficiency and sustainability of ASHPs. While ASHPs can contribute to pool heating, they will not be the sole solution, especially for larger pools. Combining them with a gas boiler or solar thermal system will be a viable approach. A combination of ASHP, solar thermal and electric boiler, though more complex, can be shown to confer key operational savings that mitigate initial system costs and maximise carbon emission reduction.

Balancing Sustainability with Guest Needs

The leisure industry faces a dual challenge of ensuring guest comfort with a reliable hot water supply, while minimising environmental impact. Investing in sustainable solutions often requires upfront costs. However, long-term savings on energy bills can make the investment worthwhile and Adveco is well-positioned to help address this challenge.

Energy efficiency upgrades and investment in renewable energy are the foundations for a sustainability strategy and hot water offers a relatively low-impact starting point for transition to new ways of operating services across the leisure sector. With an in-house applications and engineering team, Adveco can accurately assess a property’s requirements, generate theoretical demand cycles and design applications that meet a building’s exact needs. We can advise on the best technology options and supply all the necessary system components.

A sustainable approach should consider retrofitting existing boilers and replacing old appliances with energy-efficient models to reduce energy consumption significantly. Implementation of smart metering and controls for hot water systems will optimise usage and minimise unnecessary water heating. It is also worth investigating alternate water conservation measures, such as low-flow showerheads, tap aerators, and water-efficient appliances that can additionally reduce hot water demand without compromising guest experience.

The final simple thing to remember is to ensure regular system maintenance of appliances, pumps, and pipework. Simply ensuring boiler settings are optimised can provide efficiency gains, but regular maintenance ensures optimal performance and minimises energy losses over time.

Providing hot water in the UK leisure sector requires a balance between comfort, efficiency, and sustainability. By carefully selecting the most appropriate heating method, implementing water conservation measures, and adopting smart practices, businesses can ensure a comfortable experience for their guests while minimising their environmental impact. As technology advancements continue, the future holds promise for even more sustainable hot water provision that contributes to a greener leisure industry.

Live Metering – The most cost-effective and efficient path to sustainability for the leisure sector.

If you need assistance with a system for your leisure or recreation facilities, then Adveco’s Live Metering service is for you. Live Metering requires an Adveco engineer to visit your site and install a water meter to provide hot water temperature monitoring for verified water data and comment on the risk of the existing system.

Adveco will return within the month to collect the meter. During these visits we can confirm space and clearances, and installation suitability, and once we have analysed the data give a truly accurate sizing and emissions/costs calculation.

Adveco can then advise on a new hot water system which meets the demands of a building while increasing efficiency, lowering carbon emissions, and managing costs.

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