The existing sports hall, now a listed building, was refurbished to a high standard and was transformed into a 120-station fitness suite with state-of-the-art equipment.  The redevelopment also included the creation of a 12-court sports hall, floodlit 3G pitches, pitch side changing rooms and a new strength and conditioning suite.

The new sports hall is larger than the previous hall and sized to cater for ’premier’ standard sports to national competition standard and also to host spectator sports events.  The new strength and conditioning gym will provide larger modern facilities for elite athlete training and coaching.

Facilities at the university have helped to boost quality and meet a rising demand among students as well as offer high-quality sporting provision for visiting teams and the wider community.  Around 2000 visits per week are received by the University’s facilities, which include the local community; youth sports clubs, and regional and national amateur and professional sports teams.

Nortek Global HVAC, in conjunction with consulting engineers Arup, and M&E Contractors, Sleaford Building Services Ltd were able to provide the ideal sporting heating solution under the Reznor brand.

Traditional sports hall design presents particular challenges when it comes to maintaining a comfortable environment. In one vast, open space, the requirements of all users, from athletes to spectators, must be fully satisfied.  The aim is to create an environment without stuffiness where occupants can exercise vigorously in complete comfort.

Achieving universal comfort and low energy consumption therefore demands a heating system that:

  • Offers a rapid response to changed conditions
  • Has frugal energy consumption
  • Can be ‘zoned’ to heat only those areas in use
  • Operates at low noise levels to comply with BB93
  • Will not compromise the fabric of the building

EU and UK legislation also has an impact on the choice of HVAC system. Becoming ever stringent, it requires modern heating systems to optimise fuel efficiency and produce lower greenhouse gas emissions.

While conventional boiler and distributed radiator or under floor systems frequently fail to provide the flexibility or speed of response needed in today’s multi-use halls, highly economical gas fired radiant tube heating is an effective solution. In fact, no other heating system currently in use in sports halls can match it for energy efficiency.

Since gas fired radiant tube heaters burn fuel at the point of use, heat distribution losses are eliminated and there is no requirement for a separate plant area. The warming effect can be felt within just a few minutes of switch-on, even on the coldest days. Mounted at high level, the heaters are well out of the way of sports equipment and can be covered with safety grilles to protect them from highflying balls, for example.

The ideal solution for sports halls

Like the sun, radiant tube heating emits infrared rays, which warm only people and objects in their path. This type of heating is therefore ideal for sports halls because it ensures even heat coverage throughout the space and the comfort of the building occupants, regardless of their level of activity.

No energy is wasted heating the volume of air – an important factor in buildings, which are typically around 690m² with roof heights of 8-10m. Similarly, heating 6,200m³+ of air to ensure people are warm at the lowest 2-3 metres is not feasible in terms of fuel-efficiency.

Radiant tube heating’s big advantage is that air remains relatively cool and conducive for active sports.  Air does absorb some of the heat given off by people and the building fabric at low level, but it is not heated directly so the occupants are comfortable. If they should feel too warm, the close control possible with radiant tube heating means that temperatures reduce immediately once the system is turned down or switched off.

For the 71m x 38m facility, Reznor provided the Nor-Ray-Vac system with  6 x 38m modulating NRV burners suspended at approximately 9m, complete with ball guards arranged in one temperature zone controlled by a Reznor SmartCom3 controller.

The single discharge fan is located remote from the hall.  The modulating NRV burners can turn down to 50% of capacity, thus maximizing comfort conditions and efficiency whilst minimizing fuel consumption.  The Nor-Ray-Vac system design layout provides blanket heat coverage of the sports facility eliminating any cold spots.

This energy efficient system combusts the fuel at the point of use, resulting in no distribution losses and virtually instantaneous heat.  In complying with the requirements of the European Gas Appliance directive (EN777) they have reduced running costs and can be designed to qualify for inclusion on the Energy Technology List and thus qualify for Enhanced Capital Allowance.

Following the handover of the facility in 2019 the new sporting facility at University of Hull is now providing students and staff with state-of-the-art facilities for all to enjoy.  This project was also key to unlocking the remainder of the planned capital projects £200m master plan

Benefits of Reznor’s Radiant Heat / Nor Ray Vac in Sports Facilities

  • Achieves a comfortable environmental temperature with approx. 5°C lower air temperature, ideal for active sports
  • Condensation on walls or floors should always be eliminated, as this can be dangerous and poses a threat to player safety. Nor-Ray-Vac eliminates condensation and moisture by directly heating walls and other surfaces.
  • Radiant tube heaters mounted overhead, produce infrared radiant heat that is directed downward by a reflector. The infrared heat passes through the air without heating it and falls on people, floors and equipment below by creating a comfortable all round radiant warmth at low level, without wastefully heating the whole volume of the building or the roof space.
  • Maximises efficiency, as the fuel is combusted at the point of use, thus eliminating any distribution losses
  • The objective of a radiant heating system is to ensure that the people in the building are comfortably warm.
  • The human body experiences a sensation of comfortable warmth when it is giving heat to its surroundings. If the body emits too much heat it feels cold. Conversely, if the body cannot emit sufficient heat it feels too hot. By the correct application of radiant heating system comfort levels can be optimised.
  • Radiant heat warms objects and surfaces, increasing the mean radiant temperature and reducing the body’s loss of heat to its surroundings. In addition by eliminating air movement, convective loss of heat from the body will also be reduced.
  • By heating without air movement, increases player comfort and is essential for badminton
  • Warms muscles prior to strenuous activity
  • Provides rapid response times to changed conditions.

Radiant tube space heating is proven to meet the HVAC challenge posed by sports halls, reducing fuel consumption without affecting comfort levels to deliver sustainable cost savings over the long term.

Installation Summary:

  • Nor-Ray-Vac continuous radiant tube system
  • Uniform blanket heat coverage
  • Highly efficient with rapid heat recovery times
  • Zoning capabilities
  • Operative temperature; 16˚C – for sport activity

Technical Summary:

  • Product: Nor-Ray-Vac system installed at 9 m above finished floor level.
  • Heaters:  6 x 38m Modulating burners
  • Roof Height – Eaves 10.3m / Apex 10.8m
  • Control –Dimensions – 34m x 20m
  • Area – 2,698m2
  • Volume – 284,639m3

Project start date: 2018

Project end date: 2019