St Gregory the Great Catholic School slashes energy bills with HeatingSave
St Gregory the Great Catholic School is a voluntary-aided comprehensive secondary school with academy status in Cowley, Oxford, within Oxfordshire LEA, and is a specialises in Music.
The school currently has around 1,250 pupils ranging from Primary School level (aged 4) up to 6th form (aged 16–18). The 6th form itself contains around 180 pupils, and offers a wide range of subjects. The school also employs around 250 members of staff.
Until the new buildings of the school were finalised in 2006, the school existed on two sites: the Cardinal Newman Middle School site on Cricket Road, and the St Augustine’s school site at Iffley Turn, Oxford. However, after receiving a £20,000,000 grant from the Catholic Archdiocese of Birmingham, the current buildings were constructed.
The central heating system installed at the St Gregory the Great Catholic School comprises 8 modern gas-fired boilers, accompanied by a large number of radiators used for heating all the buildings on the premises.
As Ms. Vicky Davies, the school’s bursar, recalls, around 3 years ago, the school board started looking for a solution that would have enabled them to save money on their energy bills and granted more control over the school’s extensive heating system in the same time.
After carefully considering several of the solutions available on the market, the school’s board chose a HeatingSave Small Business system, which was installed at the St Gregory the Great Catholic School back in 2011. An 8-channel expansion unit was also added to the package, in order to mitigate for the specific configuration of the school’s heating system.
The school’s bursar remembers that the whole process was a fairly smooth one. “We did experience a problem involving a control panel that kept breaking down and had to be replaced, ultimately”, added Ms. Davies.
The bursar recalls that the school staff received extensive “handy advice” on using the HeatingSave system, and praised the quality of the training as “very good”.
When asked by the HeatingSave reporter whether she believes that the Building Energy Management system is used at its full potential right now, Ms. Davies’ reply was a definite “Yes”. She also acknowledged the fact that the school has managed to achieve some good progress in achieving its initial energy expenditure reduction goals, but was particular happy with the superior level of control it delivers, as well as the fact that the system is “really easy to use”.
“I like the system as a whole” she commented. “I particularly like the fact that it provides more control over the school’s boilers and heating system. I can even login from home and control it, which is a major plus” Ms. Davies added.
The HeatingSave system enables its administrators to control either a single building or multiple ones from a single PC, while also allowing users to login and get to any part of the system from any internet enabled PC.
The control software supports the advanced planning of heating patterns and diary allowing 365 day programming with different patterns for each zone, viewing graphs showing every temperature and on/off event ever recorded.
Furthermore, users will be able to get a number of alerts including boilers failing to respond, or when they unexpectedly start to increase in heat (manually overridden by someone), while sensors hitting maximum/minimum temperatures are also displayed.
Additional useful features include the possibility of viewing the costs of boilers, equipment like pumps or immersions, air-cons etc., broken down by site or by each system individually and then displayed daily, monthly and quarterly.
Last, but certainly not least, it’s interesting to mention that the HeatingSave control dashboard enables users to view their sites as a schematic with temperatures and equipment status overlaid, meaning that managers can easily keep track of an entire site from one easy view.
Over the three years since the system was installed, Ms Davies and her colleagues at the St Gregory the Great Catholic School did have to get in touch with the HeatingSave help desk on a couple of occasions and the school bursar describes the quality of the service they provided as “fine”. “The analysts were always very helpful” she added.
Ms. Davies summed up by saying that “HeatingSave is a really good system” and that she’s already “recommended it to other schools in the area.”
St Gregory the Great Catholic School
Cricket Road, Oxford,
Phone: 01865 749933
Fax: 01865 717314