PFM 21 7 Oct 2018 - Page 14

Building Intelligence Helps Save 42% on Gas
Consumption at Private School
btec Building Technologies
(Abtec BT) is helping one of the
UK’s leading independent
schools to save around 42% a year on
its annual gas consumption for
heating. Importantly, the use of
Abtec’s integrated building energy
management system, HYDRA, is
allowing the school to easily navigate
and visualise logged events. Built on
the latest vector graphics platform,
HYDRA enables staff to zoom in to the
information they need, whether on a
PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone.
The Stamford Endowed Schools (SES)
are three independent schools in
Lincolnshire working together to provide
a first-class education to pupils aged 3 to
18. Structured as a ‘diamond’, boys and
girls are taught together at the coeducational nursery and junior school
before splitting to the respective boys and
girls senior schools until the age of 16.
This allows for a more tailored and
personalised education at every level,
either as day pupils or as boarders,
before coming back together in a joint
sixth form. SES turned to Abtec after the
company successfully completed a small
lighting control project in a newly
constructed chemistry laboratory.
“The project went well and we were
invited back to discuss some wider issues
with the management of the estate
facilities,” explains Dave Watkins,
director of Abtec BT, which specialises in
bringing cost-saving intelligence to
buildings. “We were asked to assess the
BMS systems currently installed and the
mechanical controls within the plant
rooms. In addition, we looked at the
various field-based sensors around the
site to check their functionality and
operational effectiveness.”
the user to zoom in on specific buildings
and access information instantly, such as
live classroom temperatures.”
The HYDRA system, with its supervisor
control and data acquisition functions, is
a window into the heart of a facility, as
well as a proactive tool giving information
to managers so they can make informed
business decisions. HYDRA supports
OPC, ModBus and BACnet, and allows
integration with third-party systems. Data
aggregation pulls information from many
different sources, while historical analysis
gives side-by-side trend comparisons.
“When we attended the site to look at the
plant rooms across the estate, we noted
a mixture of systems ranging in ages and
technology, while some buildings
appeared to have very little control at all,”
says Mr Watkins.
Due to the age and disparity of the
existing systems, obvious climate control
issues were immediately visible to the
Abtec team, with cold classrooms and
roasting dormitories all too common.
A pragmatic approach
“We were initially tasked with upgrading
the Browne House building, a purposebuilt boarding house accommodating
boys studying for GCSE and A-level
examinations,” explains Mr Watkins. “We
set about standardising the kit that was
controlling the plant. As climate control
would be the biggest driver of savings,
we installed a wireless sensor on every
window, a wireless thermostatic valve on
controllers in every corridor – all linked
to the boiler controller. Over three floors
of dormitories we estimate that SES will
save 42% on its annual gas usage thanks
to the upgrade.”
Across the SES estate Abtec is now
Mixture of systems
standardisation and vender agnostic
With origins dating back to 1532, SES controls. This strategy requires the use
has built or absorbed many different
buildings from different eras. This has led
to the accumulation of an eclectic mix of
plant rooms, equipment and control
systems, all of which have different
passwords and operational protocols.
“As a first step I delivered to the client a
demonstration of HYDRA, which has
Google Maps as the front page,” says Mr
Watkins. “This allows easy navigation of
expansive sites such as SES, permitting
of a standard panel in the six plant rooms
with the capacity to accommodate the
majority of scenarios. Here, a Tridium
BMS outstation with a 34 point I/O
controller is deployed. HYDRA operates
on the Tridium Niagra4 Framework, and
is displayed to users in web HTML5.
Tridium was chosen as it provides the
ability to integrate with existing field
controls should a protocol driver for the
system be available,” explains Mr
Watkins. “Moreover, we can normalise
data points, such as Mbus, MODBUS,
BACnet and KNX. It should also be noted
that each controller is IP-based and uses
open-based architecture, while remote
maintenance is easily achieved.”
One point of access
For the Stamford Endowed Schools, the
total floorplan can be displayed on one
page with the ability to scroll in and out
as required. In addition, Tridium
outstations can be brought online after
each plant room has been completed,
giving the client an overreaching BMS
and a single point of access.
Through Abtec’s expertise in the BMS
industry, the company can deliver
modern systems tailored to give
maximum energy savings through openbased controls. Abtec’s completely
impartial approach to the controls means
that it offers vendor-agnostic based
solutions; in effect approaching each
project with a view to giving clients the
very best solution for their properties,
enabling the largest possible reduction
in annual running costs and the shortest
possible ROI.
Following the success with Browne
House, Abtec is currently undertaking a
similar process in the Middle School at
Stamford Endowed Schools. In addition,
all six plant rooms on site will one-by-one
be brought online (on HYDRA).
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