Folk Hall is a thriving community hub in the village of New Earswick, York. Opened by Joseph Rowntree in 1907, the Folk Hall was given as a gift to the people of the village as “a place for meeting”. Under the care of JRHT (Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust), the building has just undergone a major modernisation, creating a fully accessible and wonderfully light, bright space for everyone to enjoy.
The community centre offers several rooms available for hire with capacities from 2 to 160 people, including a 1-to-1 teaching space, a fully-equipped professional boardroom, 5 meeting rooms, multiple offices and a dance hall with stage and bar. Folk Hall also hosts a café and eatery, the local Parish Council, the library and even the Post Office – truly the heart of the local community.
Following the extensive refurbishment of the Folk Hall premises, Mr. Kent Oliver, JRHT Project Manager, started looking for a building management system that could provide a superior level of control over the 3 gas-fired boilers and multiple radiators installed on site and also help the hall save money on their energy bills.
Finding a system that would “tick all the boxes” for JRHT was not the easiest of tasks. In Kent’s own words: “We reviewed several competing products, including some big names, like Trend, but none of them met our specific requirements.”
“I come from a facilities management background and have an extensive experience in using BMS systems. Therefore, I realised that a traditional BMS system was not the right choice for Folk Hall: something like Trend would have been too expensive and not adaptable enough for our needs.
What we needed was a hybrid: a solution capable of providing a high level of versatility in terms of control features and software capabilities, while keeping overall costs low – and HeatingSave was it!” he added.
Asked to explain the Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust’s decision to choose the HeatingSave low-cost building management system, Kent replied: “We came across the HeatingSave website while conducting our research for the new heating control system. We have read the case studies, especially those related to community centres and village halls, and have also watched the videos showing the HeatingSave system in use on customer sites – the one recorded at the Gerrards Cross Community Association was particularly insightful, as their building is not that dissimilar to ours!”
The HeatingSave Building Management System was installed and commissioned in mid-2018. There were a few teething bugs when the system was first installed, but these were dealt with promptly. The development of a collaborative relationship between us and the HeatingSave helpdesk and engineers at Folk Hall was a key step in this process.
The HeatingSave reporter asked Kent what was the main energy-saving objective the JRHT wanted to achieve by installing HeatingSave and the Facility Manager’s reply was: “A multi-functional community facility such as the Folk Hall has a very challenging set of heating requirements due to the varied nature of the activities taking place within. Certain rooms or areas are variably occupied, so the heating needs to be switched off in order to save energy, but these rooms also need to reach a certain pre-set temperature for the times when they’re scheduled to become occupied. In effect, they must become individually-controlled heating zones.”
The solution? Using wired thermostatic radiator valves (“TRV”) to control the radiators, coupled with individual room temperature sensors that provide real-time temperature readings for each heating zone.
Wired TRVs are always the best and most reliable option when individual radiator control is required. They are very easy to install, as they only need a thin 2 core, bell-wire type cable to be run between the radiator and the HeatingSave controller. This is often a simple retro-fit if you have false ceilings and an obvious choice for new buildings or when you refurbish a building. Wired TRV’s are low voltage, requiring only 24 volts DC and they draw very little current.
Other advantages are:
- No batteries to replace
- Very reliable, cable will last 100 years+
- Smoothing effect excellent for heating offices
Wired TRV’s need only one relay for each radiator or group of radiators. Additional T3516 sub units can be connected to every T3520 controller adding 8 off relays, 8 off digital inputs for PIR’s or switches, 8 analogue inputs for temperature and light sensors + two connections for smart card readers for access control OR inexpensive attendance monitoring. A whole system can be multi-site and multi-building with as many T3520 controllers as needed.
The New Earswick Folk Hall Facilities Manager is conservative in the savings made so far by saying “The system was only just installed and commissioned this summer. Due to the mild weather, we haven’t been in a position to use the HeatingSave system at its full potential just yet.
However, we plan to use this winter (2018-2019) as a benchmark to see just how much we can save by using it extensively across our site. We will be doing a lot of testing and adjusting the settings in order to push HeatingSave to its full potential here at the Folk Hall.”
Kent’s favourite part of the system is, by far, the extensive level of control it delivers. In his own words: “What I like most about HeatingSave is that the staff can remotely view all the different heating zones, check and change their settings and monitor their activity”
“I also believe the software and system itself are very intuitive and easy to use”, he added.
Folk Hall have used the HeatingSave Helpdesk on several occasions and the assistance they provided was “fantastic” every time. Kent praised the quality of the service: “The Helpdesk Analysts have always been very prompt, but also very patient and helped us resolve all the issues in a fast and professional manner.”
A few visits from the HeatingSave Operations department engineers were required to sort out some hardware glitches, and Kent has described the quality of the service as “good”.
When asked by the HeatingSave reporter whether he would recommend the system to other community centres and village halls, Kent’s answer was a firm and resounding “Yes, I certainly would”.
Summing up his experience of HeatingSave, Kent concluded, “The system provides a very good level of control over our heating and the software is very intuitive and easy to use. HeatingSave itself is a very professional company providing an excellent level of service, and we are happy to have selected the HeatingSave Building Management System for the New Earswick Folk Hall.”
New Earswick Folk Hall
Phone: 01904 769621