Room for Improvement: Potterton Commercial’s Hotel Heating Solution

Operating on a 24-hour basis and consisting of 14 floors, Novotel Reading is a modern hotel, located in the centre of Reading. Owned by Accor, a multinational hospitality company, the hotel was put forward for a replacement heating system. Tech Asset Management were quick to recommend Potterton Commercial and its Sirius three range of commercial boilers for an efficient and accessible solution.

Situated next to the Novotel is an IBIS, another Accor hotel, with both buildings sharing a combined plant room on the top floor. As such, the single plant room is tasked with serving circa 361 rooms, a restaurant, and a leisure centre featuring a sauna, steam room and a heated indoor swimming pool.

Current conditions

Used for heating and hot water, the present plant room contained four 500kW steel-welded tube boilers which were 13 years old.

Ben Reeson, Contracts Manager at Tech Asset Management was keen to try the new Sirius three range when he was challenged with this project. The boilers would be used to provide heat for the site’s air handling units (AHUs), fan coils and domestic hot water (DHW).


He comments: “We downsized the existing boilers slightly, reducing the whole plant by 1000kW.  As such, we decided to install four 250kW Sirius three floor standing boilers in a cascade arrangement. The hotel is able to operate on one boiler a day, meaning that each boiler can share the wear and tear.”

The logistics

Given that the combined plant room is located on the 14th floor of the hotels, one of the key challenges of the project was removing the existing boilers and getting the new boilers in place. It was therefore essential that both sets of boilers could fit in the lift.

Ben says: “Weighing around 350 kilos each, there was no equipment available to help remove the current boilers from the building. Luckily, we were able to use the ramps which had been delivered with the Potterton Commercial boilers to get them into the lifts.

“We’d initially set aside a day to position the new boilers on site by lifting them up to the plant room. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the Sirius three boilers came with castor wheels and a ramp. It was the first time I’d seen this on a Potterton appliance. With this handy addition, we were able to finish the positioning in record time by 11:30am – saving time, money and effort.”

With downtime not an option for a hotel facility, which has a continuous demand for heating and hot water, the team at Tech Asset Management ensured that one of the new boilers was installed and piped up in one day by using a temporary flue arrangement.  For a period of around four days, the single boiler was able to run the whole hotel while the team piped up the remaining three boilers.

The existing skid had a main boiler with a flow/return header, so the main pipework had to be taken back to the header, leaving the main header in position due to the condition of the pipework. The skid was then extended to accommodate the new boilers.

A fitting example

Given that there is a 24/7 heating and hot water demand, the boilers’ wide 9:1 modulation ratio reduces constant on/off cycling to improve efficiency and boiler longevity. A gross seasonal efficiency of up to 97.5% reduces energy consumption while a stainless steel heat exchanger helps to ensure systems cleanliness for ultimate reliability.

Ben adds: "We chose the Sirius three floor standing boilers as they occupy a very small footprint considering their power output and they were very easy to install and commission. The boilers have lifting hooks and wheels on the bottom so we just rolled them off the pallet and into position using the supplied ramp. This enabled easy access over a step in the plant room and saved us a lot of time and effort. The boilers were narrow enough to fit through a standard door which made getting the boilers into position for installation a cinch.  

“The new HMI was easy to programme with a clear menu system, and it also has a built-in cascade controller which was pretty neat.  Commissioning was quick and simple and the boilers have a 5-year warranty which was the icing on the cake really.

“On all of our projects, we perform a major and minor service on an annual basis to gauge how the systems are performing. The Novotel system had a major service in September 2018 and based on combustion figures everything was running well.

“While the boilers are monitored externally, I have visited the site on a regular basis since the install to check that everything is running as it should be. All the boilers have had the same number of burning hours and are working as efficiently as possible, meaning the cascade arrangement is working correctly. We’re really proud of the Novotel Reading project and are actually using it almost as a blueprint for other hotel projects we have in the pipeline.”

For more information, download the Sirius three FS specification sheet, visit the Sirus three FS product page or contact your Potterton Commercial Representative.