Monday, 24 February 2014

Buildings use a huge amount of energy. Quite rightly, the people who work in shops and offices demand a comfortable temperature and there are legal guidelines and regulations to back them up.

Maintaining an equitable temperature comes down to using HVAC systems - moving air around and cooling it or warming it makes air conditioning and its associated motors among the largest consumers of energy.

The potential for energy savings in buildings is therefore very high and is set to increase still further - global energy consumption for buildings is expected to grow by a staggering 45 percent between 2002 and 2025.

A recent figure I saw from the Carbon Trust was that business could be losing £400 million a year from poor air conditioning systems. Although much of this may be due to insulation and the subsequent heat loss, another vast amount is surely down to how HVAC systems are controlled.

With the weather being increasingly variable and people often working at home rather than coming into the office every day, today’s HVAC systems need to be a bit more intelligent.

Using variable-speed drives (VSDs) ensures that the BMS can match the temperature and humidity to the prevailing weather and number of occupants. In this way, the building operator can make the most of the capabilities of the BMS’ software and sensors.

This alone can save huge amounts of energy, slashing energy costs by as much as 50 percent in many cases - operators of the Omnibus building office building in Reigate, Surrey, are saving £20,000 a year on energy costs for the building’s HVAC system following the installation of ABB standard drives for HVAC.

Set up correctly, a BMS working in conjunction with an a modern intelligent VSD is a key to lower energy use, keeping costs low and comfort high.

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