The Coplow Centre, located in the village of Billesdon, is a multi-functional community facility in the heart of the Leicestershire countryside. With a large and adaptable main hall, a separate meeting room, a professional standard kitchen and parking for 50 cars, it is a great choice of setting for all kinds of gatherings – celebrations, sporting events, parties and theatre performances, as well as regular meetings for clubs and societies.
The Coplow Centre was designed to offer users the maximum flexibility with the best possible facilities for everyone. It comprises a spacious entrance hall with toilets and two changing rooms with showers, a large main hall with a raised stage and lighting for theatre and musical productions, a professional standard kitchen, ample storage and a lounge/bar area.
Mr. Simon Keast, Trustee of the Charity and Facilities Manager at The Coplow Centre, started looking for a Building Energy Management System in mid-2014, as a possible solution to mitigate their rising energy costs.
“The Coplow Centre records over 24,000 individual user visits each year. Each group of visitors, whether regular or one-offs, have their own, specific requirements in terms of the ambient temperature, and meeting those requirements can be very expensive” he told the HeatingSave reporter.
The Coplow Centre has an advanced heating system comprising a conventional gas-fired boiler and radiators, as well as a 35 KW ceiling-mounted radiant heater. A roof-mounted 30KW solar PV installation meets all of the Centre’s electricity requirements and exports the excess electricity to the national grid.
While the separate systems listed above have helped the centre reduce its energy bills, they lacked a central management and control solution that would streamline their functionality and make them work together in a concerted manner. This is where HeatingSave comes in.
“We’ve spent close to a year looking for a Building Energy Management System that would perfectly fit our specific requirements. Not until HeatingSave have we been able to find a system that was a perfect fit for the size of our building, could control our rather complex heating setup, and, last but certainly not least, delivered an exceptional value for money” said Simon.
The HeatingSave Building Energy Management System was commissioned in August 2015 and has a few special modifications designed to help The Coplow Centre make the most of their heating system.
First and foremost, the System includes the HeatingSave destratification fans, designed to overcome thermal stratification of the air in buildings with a roof apex of 5 metres or more. The fans work by mixing the air steadily, creating a uniform temperature throughout the space. The fan speed is determined by a mathematical algorithm that compares the temperature at the top of the space with that at floor level. This algorithm is further modified depending upon the outside temperature, as in summer users might want the fans to run on hot days although there might not be a stratified effect. Some simple user-friendly parameters allow the customers to trim the algorithm to suit their particular needs.
HeatingSave’s destratification fans will help the heating/cooling system maintain the same temperature set-point with less effort, resulting in significant energy savings, but also in an instantly noticeable improvement in thermal comfort. Destratification can reduce to between 1°c and 2°c (or less) the temperature differentials from floor to ceiling.
The HeatingSave Building Energy Management (BEMS) system at The Coplow Centre will also control the electricity output from the roof-mounted solar panel installation to minimize costs whenever there’s a surge in the level of electricity demand (for example, when the radiant heater is switched on). Plus, it fully manages the Centre’s air-conditioning units, thus being able to ensure that the desired setpoint temperature is always right, regardless of season and outside temperatures.
Although he is yet to compare yearly bills in order to find out just how much they’re saving, Simon is confident that HeatingSave will be able to drastically cut The Coplow Centre’s energy expenditure.
“Now that the system has been running for a while, fewer radiators are heating during normal working hours in order to achieve and maintain the desired temperatures. The same applies to our air-conditioning units. I am absolutely certain that overall energy usage has gone down since HeatingSave was installed” he said.
The Coplow Centre makes extensive use of occupancy sensors (PIRs) in order to reduce heating in unoccupied zones (variable occupancy is commonplace for community centres and other similar facilities).
Occupancy sensors allow HeatingSave to automatically turn the heating down to a background temperature when nobody is present but automatically turn it up when employees or visitors enter the area. All of this happens automatically without you having to do anything – whilst HeatingSave keeps visitors warm and saves money. Fuel savings for buildings with variable occupancy can be in excess of 20%.
Simon is very happy with the PIR’s current level of efficiency (“they’re very effective”) and believes that they play an important part in helping the centre cut its energy usage.
A multi-functional community facility such as The Coplow Centre has a very challenging set of heating requirements due to the varied nature of the activities taking place within. But the heating diary function within HeatingSave is the perfect solution to meet every customer group’s specific needs.
In Simon’s own words “You can’t have the same level of temperature set for an aerobics or yoga class and a book discussion club, just to give an example. However, HeatingSave’s diary function allows us to cater to our customers’ needs and requirements perfectly, providing the perfect ambiance on every occasion.”
The HeatingSave Building Energy Management System system enables users to use smart heating patterns to better manage heating and cooling equipment that they already have. The intelligent controller at the heart of the system “self learns” the heat-loss profile of any building so that it can switch on the heating later if it’s warm and also switch off earlier if it’s cold, whilst the occupancy algorithm only heats parts of the building when it’s occupied.
Asked what he liked most about HeatingSave, Simon replied: “The level of control over the Centre’s heating, hot water and solar power systems that HeatingSave can deliver. I also love the level of predictability it provides – I can rest assured that the temperature in a specific heating zone will reach the desired value just in time for the activity scheduled to take place in there.”
“I also like that HeatingSave is a reliable system, so I don’t have to worry about it on a daily basis. And obviously, being able to access it all remotely, whether on or off site, is another major plus” he added.
Simon also believes that the system is “very easy to use”.
The Coplow Centre have used the HeatingSave HelpDesk a couple of times and the service was “fine” on every occasion. A few minor technical glitches prompted a few visits from the HeatingSave Operations department engineers to the Centre and Simon described the quality of the service as “very good”.
When asked by the HeatingSave reporter whether he would recommend the system to other village halls, Simon’s answer was a firm and resounding “Yes”.
Summing up his experience of HeatingSave, Simon concluded: “The HeatingSave system is very efficient and easy to operate. And it also clearly saves money!”
The Coplow Centre
Uppingham Road, Billesdon
Phone: 0116 259 9377