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Otahuhu Primary School

Fuel bills slashed by $2,700 per month

Otahuhu Primary School has a mix of buildings, some dating back to the 1950s. The school’s coal-fired boiler dated back to that era, too. It had been upgraded with the addition of two gas boilers but this hybrid system was poorly designed and very inefficient.

The system relied on the two gas-fired boilers pumping hot water into the old boiler, which had been converted into a holding tank. Next the water went to a distribution pump to be pumped around the school’s 27 radiators. The trouble was that water never reached the correct temperature, while still consuming a king’s ransom in fuel. The school’s caretaker, Archie Shaw, said it was one of the worst systems he had ever seen.

With fuel bills running at $3,000 per month, the school knew it was time to look hard at their heating system. So Archie called a number of boiler companies and asked them to suggest an alternative.

Installing the optimum boiler system

Most of the boiler suppliers came back with a simplistic recommendation – just install a big new boiler. Only one took the trouble to look closely at the School’s requirements.

“Tubman Heating was the only company that did due diligence,” says Archie. “They measured the radiators and worked out how many kilowatts were needed to heat them.”

Tubman Heating also took Archie on a field trip to visit three schools using a similar system. “This was before we even committed to a contract,” he says.

Impressed by the Tubman Heating approach, the school commissioned a new boiler. The old system was replaced by a single wall-hung boiler that pumped water directly to the radiators. This condensing boiler offered 98% efficiency in converting gas to usable energy.

The project also required Tubman Heating to take out the old chimneystack, which was no longer needed. This freed up a large amount of space in the boiler room. The Tubman Heating team also connected all necessary pipework and the distribution pump to the new boiler.

Counting the savings

The school saw an immediate drop in its heating bill – from $3,000 to just $300 per month. With savings like this, the boiler paid for itself in just two winters.

Archie Shaw is impressed by the performance of the new heating system. ”It’s a lot more efficient now. It only takes 30 minutes from starting the boiler to getting the radiators up to the correct temperature in the classrooms.”

Tubman Heating has followed up the installation with regular servicing to ensure the warranty remains in force. Not every supplier goes to that trouble, according to Archie. The company also sprang into action when there was a small problem with the timer.

“It wasn’t Tubman’s problem but they fixed it anyway,” says Archie. “That’s the kind of service you get.”

“We’re very happy with the service we got from Tubman Heating. We’re saving a fortune on fuel and our new heating system is trouble-free.”