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Article Date: 19th September 2013

Trend makes Energy Saving a Commercial Venture

Energy Management Systems - Building Energy Management - BMS Systems

Trend Building

Matrix House in Basingstoke is one of the town’s most prominent structures and acts as home to a diverse range of companies. When the building owners wanted to improve the efficiency of its plant and make ongoing cost savings, a Building Energy Management System (BEMS) from Trend Control Systems was the first port of call.

Basingstoke is one of Hampshire’s main strategic commercial centres, with excellent links to the national motorway network, a highly efficient internal road system and a fast and frequent rail service to London. These are just a few of the reasons why the town plays host to such a wide range of blue chip national and international companies, some of which are based in Matrix House.

Located in what was once dubbed the ‘Dallas of Hampshire’, Matrix House is a distinctive building that occupies one of the most prominent sites in the Basing View business area. Its current tenants include Sun Life Financial of Canada, Handelsbanken, Diligenta, CGI Group and Advantage Resourcing. Covering six floors, the office space is arranged around a striking enclosed atrium facility, which incorporates communal break out areas, together with a cafeteria, gymnasium, conference facilities, meeting rooms for hire and secure on-site parking.

Sidcup based Powell Systems Engineering is a leading BEMS design, installation and maintenance specialist, and has had a relationship with Matrix House that stretches back over 10 years. The company’s sales director and energy specialist, Wayne Miles, takes up the story and says, ‘In early 2003 we were asked to take part in a competitive tender that involved the replacement of a defunct BEMS with one that could offer enhanced energy efficiency, financial savings and increased comfort conditions.’

Having submitted his recommendations, Miles was told that although his suggestion didn’t offer the cheapest initial cost, it comprehensively outlined how achievable savings could be made over the long-term. On this basis and due to the quality of the products that would be installed to the highest standards, Powell Systems Engineering was awarded the contract to install and maintain a Trend BEMS.

The company uses Trend’s products and when asked why, Miles responds, ‘As well as being robust and reliable, they are also incredibly flexible, which means that whatever environment we have to install a BEMS in we can configure it to meet the customer’s exact needs.’

Powell Systems has been a Trend Partner for over 20 years, and is now an IQ Assured Partner. To achieve this additional accreditation a company must be an expert in the Trend BEMS system and offer exceptional levels of customer care and support. To maintain the highest standards of workmanship and quality control, IQ Assured Partners are regularly audited and also benefit from exclusive access to Trend’s latest diagnostic tools.

The BEMS at Matrix House achieved a return on investment (ROI) in just over a year. Miles explains, ‘The savings were actually slightly higher than we originally anticipated and an 18 per cent reduction in energy usage was recorded. This equated to a sum of £80,000 for that year and every year since, all for an initial investment of £90,000.’

Fast forward to 2009 and facilitated by the savings achieved by the Trend BEMS, a new project was instigated that would make further savings. The first stage involved the replacement of all the TASC drives, changing them to EF1 motors and installing new inverters. While this was fairly straightforward, a more significant challenge involved replacing the motor control centre (MCC) panel.

‘The old panel was becoming unserviceable, unreliable and economically unviable to repair,’ explains Miles. ‘Even more worryingly, there had been evidence of overheating, which meant that it had to be replaced straight away in order to avoid a potential catastrophe. However, with 600 people working in the building each day, simply turning off the power during normal working hours was not possible, so we had to come up with an alternative solution.’

Replacing an MCC panel in a live building without affecting the working lives of the occupants required careful planning. It was successfully accomplished by running temporary power supplies to all areas of the building, and the panel was swapped out over a period of two weeks. In fact, none of the tenants realised the work was going on and there were no instances of downtime.

Flexible and versatile enough to control any type of plant, Trend IQ3 controllers are situated in the panel itself and other locations within the building, and a number of motors, drives and I/O modules have also been installed. Although it was not financially possible to replace the original pneumatic variable air volume (VAV) controllers, because the reconfigured system is demand based they are in fact able to run very efficiently.

The pumps on the building’s three chillers are also controlled and metered, with data fed through the BEMS. External environmental conditions can make significant changes to the energy consumption of this plant, so it has been configured in such a way that degree day data can be called up and entered to allow for differences in weather conditions. This also means that there is no impact on the setpoints. Daily energy usage profiles have also been created to enable comparison of actual and expected consumption and if the former exceeds the latter by a preset amount an email report is automatically generated.

The project was successfully finished on time and on budget, with some outstanding results. Miles comments, ‘Since completion, almost one million kWh of electricity have been saved per year, which provides £80,000 worth of additional savings on top of the £80,000 already annually saved as a result of the initial installation. When it comes to annual carbon emissions, the figure stands at just over 1,900 tonnes of CO2, which for a building of its size and use is outstanding.

One person who is particularly delighted with the Trend BEMS is Graham Savage, the facilities manager at Matrix House. He concludes, ‘The differences that the system has made to the operation and comfort conditions in the building are incredible, as is the amount of money we have saved. It just goes to highlight that it is sometimes necessary to spend money to save money and dare to do something different. Also, because we consider the BEMS to be a work in progress, we can expect further savings in the future as the system is continually tweaked and optimised.’

For further information please contact Trend Marketing by email below:

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