Avon's Heat Recovery System

Heat distribution system at the Avon Rec Center

The first-of-its-kind in Colorado, Avon's Community Heat Recovery System uses heat energy from treated effluent discharged at the Avon Waste Water Treatment Facility (WWFT) to heat the Avon Recreation Center pools and has the capacity to eventually provide heat to additional buildings in the town core. It does this by capturing the heat-energy from the warm water effluent prior to it being discharged into the Eagle River, and through a series of heat pumps and heat exchangers, transfers the heat to the Recreation Center to heat the pool water. It is a closed-loop system so waste water, water in the system, and the water in the pools never contact.

Heat Distribution Rec Ctr
Before this system was installed, warm, treated waste water effluent went directly into the Eagle River. This system interrupts the water flow capturing the otherwise wasted heat from the effluent, and then discharging cooled water into the river. During hot dry weather periods, cooler effluent temperatures may be beneficial to aquatic health. 

  • Heat Source: The treated effluent is cooled up to 7°F at full system capacity and then discharged to the Eagle River. The temperature of the effluent before it’s diverted for heat recovery is 60-61°F. At current system demands, the temperature of effluent after it’s diverted and used for heat recovery is 57-58°F
  • Heat Pump: The heat pump can efficiently produce 1 to 3.7 million British Thermal Unit (BTU) of heat. About four units of heat energy are produced for every unit of electrical energy used. The Heat Pump removes energy from the Heat Source and uses it to maintain Heat Recovery Loop temperatures.
  • Heat Recovery Loop: The main hot water loop circulates between 750 - 800 gpm at a temperature of approximately 115°F through 3,500 feet of 8” insulated steel pipe which travels from a mechanical building on the Avon WWTF  through a trench under Nottingham Park to a mechanical building on the east side of the Recreation Center.
  • Building Space Heat: Three utility buildings are currently being heated by this system. The Town has the ability to expand this to heat other nearby buildings.
  • Power Supply: The Town of Avon has opted to buy wind-generated electricity to power all of the pumps and other devices in the Heat Recovery system, allowing the main system to be carbon-neutral. Only the back-up boiler has a carbon footprint.

This system provides cost-effective heat for the community pool and the heating of public buildings. And, as an expandable system, additional sources of heat such as solar thermal can be added to the system, or it can accommodate additional uses such as the heating of other buildings.

For more information on this innovative system, contact Justin Hildreth, Town Engineer at 970-748-4045.

System graphic