AMROC Group has helped Gower College Swansea save over 30% on its energy bills since installing a state-of-the-art building management system across its five campuses.
The Swansea-based business, which specialises in mechanical, electrical installation and maintenance services for commercial customers across the UK, has just completed the first annual review of the new system, and the results are plain to see as Richard Carlson, Project Manager of AMROC explained:
“We completed the installation in the Spring of 2022, so we have had 12 months of data to analyse against previous energy usage readings and overall, the average saving is 30% plus.”
These savings have come from upgrading the old Building Management System (BMS) to a new version from experts in building automation, Kieback and Peter.
“The new system has been retrofitted to the existing network,” explained Richard, “however at some sites, we also installed new boilers, pipework and more, to ensure the College achieves the maximum savings potential.”
With the ability to control the ambient heating temperature in each classroom, the opening/closing of windows as well as controlling when lights come on and off, the system has been a game-changer for the Estates Team as Mark Littlejohn reflected.
“We have 29 plant rooms across the five sites,” said Mark,” and being able to control the BMS remotely for each one means we can effectively manage and measure the energy usage from our offices at the Tycoch Campus.”
Sensors are the key to the new system, and whether it’s the light metering to activate the external lights automatically when it gets dark or the carbon dioxide detectors which automatically open windows when communal areas get too busy, the sensors encourage efficient energy usage.
“The system sensors have been a great help,” reflected Mark, “and an example of this is when the CO2 detectors work in synergy with the rain detectors, so if CO2 levels rise, but it’s raining outside, the BMS will not open the roof lights and let the rain in, but instead, open the side-windows to relieve CO2 levels while keeping staff and students dry.”
The constant measuring of energy usage as well as the ability to override the automatic setting is a key feature of the BMS, and although they can increase and decrease room temperatures when needed, consistency is the secret to reducing the energy bills.
“We aim to keep the ambient temperature in each room at a comfortable 19 degrees consistently, but will increase or decrease it a few degrees either side depending on the temperature outside,” said Mark.
“This approach means we are not trying to heat a room from cold, which historically would have meant firing up the boilers to full power to get the room heated as quickly as possible, thus using more energy and ultimately costing more,” said Mark.
The new approach is very much “slow and steady” and with a 12% reduction in gas consumption and a 30%+ saving across the board, the system is definitely a success.
“Not only are we saving money, but staff and students are working in a comfortable environment and ultimately, we are on the right path to reduce our carbon footprint and help the environment,” Mark concluded.