HeatingSave – The Ideal Heating and Security Management Solution for Hunsdon Village Hall
Set in the picturesque and historic village of Hunsdon in East Hertfordshire, Hunsdon Village Hall is located at the centre of the village and at the heart of the community. Built in the 15’th century and functioning over the years as a private residence and school, the hall now serves the local and surrounding communities as a function venue, meeting place and activity centre.
The main hall is provides a versatile space for a number of activities and includes its own stage. In 2010, a new annex was added to the building, incorporating modern accessible toilets, three storage rooms, a Doctors Consulting room and a second meeting room. The latter now allows dual concurrent use of the hall, when the main hall is in use.
The heating system uses a gas-fired boiler for heating and hot water with panel radiators controlled by Thermostatic Radiator Valves (“TRV’s”).
The Village Hall is used on a regular basis by up to 10 different organizations who hire it for various classes and meetings. It is also a very popular location for private events, so much so, that around 18 months ago, managing all the bookings and heating requirements for all the groups became a very challenging task for the dedicated team of volunteers in charge of running the hall:
• It was increasingly difficult to make sure that the temperature within each area of the building was appropriate for each booking.
• Heating patterns were not optimized depending on occupancy and use, leading to heating left on, energy being wasted and higher bills.
• It created an extra workload and security concerns related to access on site.
This is where the HeatingSave Hall & Energy Management System (HESM) came in – and just at the right time, as Mike Newman, village representative and buildings manager at Hunsdon Village Hall, told the HeatingSave reporter.
“We attended a meeting of local village halls where our colleagues from Sabridgeworth presented their new HeatingSave system. We were very interested and after looking more into it and attending a demo by the HeatingSave consultant, we concluded that it was a “must” for us as well” said Mike.
Asked to explain the Hunsdon Village Hall’s decision to choose the HeatingSave Hall Energy & Security Management (HESM) system over other systems, Mike replied, “We chose HESM because it is a tailor-made system specifically for the requirements of village halls and community centres, such as ourselves. Most importantly, it also has very good and complete room booking software AND a built-in access control system; which is something we had considered installing for a while.”
The HESM system was installed at Hunsdon Village Hall in November 2019 and no major problems were encountered during the hardware or software installation.
Since the building was old with existing restrictions, the HeatingSave system needed to keep wiring to a minimum. For this reason, the system is built around a T3520-Z HeatingSave BEMS (Building Energy Management System) controller with Zig 2.4 GHz Wireless Mesh Network module, accompanied by T3522 wireless room temperature sensors located in each of the 10 separate heating zones and a T3528 wireless outside temperature sensor.
All radiators are controlled by the HeatingSave Wireless TRVs. Wireless repeaters are used to making sure that the wireless mesh network reaches all the corners of the village hall, with all devices reporting back in real-time.
The Hunsdon HeatingSaves system also incorporates a smart card access control reader which has an integral keypad. This provides superior security and traceability.
The HeatingSave Operations Department engineers trained Mike on how to use the system. Describing the quality of the training, Mike said, “The training was very good in terms of helping me understand the basics of using the HeatingSave system. However, since then, I have learned a lot more about it by using it daily and also by keeping in touch with the HeatingSave Helpdesk – and I am still learning more.”
Is Hunsdon Village Hall using HeatingSave at its full potential? In Mike’s own words, “HeatingSave offers such a diverse range of advanced capabilities that I think it’s actually very difficult to reach its full potential. I can say that the more you understand it, the wider the system’s scope becomes.”
“But as long as the people using the various areas find that the temperature is appropriate depending on their specific activity then I believe HeatingSave has achieved its goal”, he added.
When asked by the HeatingSave reporter what he likes most about the system, Mike replied “the ease with which you can set the appropriate temperature for each particular zone, depending on the intended use of that area at any particular time. And of course, the fact that HeatingSave doesn’t just offer you granular heating control, but also enhanced site security made possible by the built-in access control system.”
“With the new access control system within HESM, whenever we rent out the hall to a specific user, they receive a unique code to enter upon entering the premises. In this way, we can make sure that only authorized people can enter the premises, which relieves some of the pressure and responsibility from volunteers running the village hall” Mike added.
The HeatingSave smart card access control system will provide a good, auditable method of controlling who goes where, for the majority of buildings. Its key features include:
- Smart Card / PIN access for barriers, gates and rooms, Customised Security Profiles to suit your particular site
- Graphical display showing doors being opened / closed & those with alarm status/forced entry
- Configure doors to open automatically on fire alarms & lock automatically on burglar alarms
- Anti Pass Back to prevent fraud, Fire Roll Call, Resilient System even if IP network fails
- Forced entry and break-in monitoring and audit trail showing who gained access (or denied) where and when?
Mike also had nothing but praise for the Room Booking System included within the HeatingSave Hall Energy & Security Management (HESM) system. “I strongly believe the Room Booking System is a critical part of HeatingSave and a fantastic offering for village halls. We are not just using it to manage heating for our various areas, but also for booking those areas to specific groups, invoicing, etc. It’s a very useful system that would normally cost a lot more if purchased separately, and we are looking forward to further integrating it with our website as well.”
The room booking part of HESM allows users of halls and buildings to rent out various areas of the building and control booking logistics, quotations, deposits, collection of monies and management of accounts simply by using a Browser and the Internet.
- Room temperatures can be set depending upon the customer’s requirements. For example, the Fitness Class might want 18°c whilst the Toddlers play group might want 21.50°c.
- Analysis software to view different income streams, total income and unused potential.
- Email alerts when deposits are due and other deadlines.
Is the HeatingSave system easy to use? Mike definitely thinks so, but he also acknowledges that “users with a technical background will most likely get used to the software a lot faster than those without, and that’s purely because HeatingSave offers so many advanced features.”
In terms of usability, Mike was also kind enough to share some third-party feedback on HeatingSave: “I have shown the HeatingSave system to someone involved the BMS sector, and they were very amazed with the flexibility, ease of use and versatility it offered, compared to the systems provided by the larger manufacturers.”
Hunsdon Village Hall have used the HeatingSave Helpdesk on several occasions – not necessarily to sort out functionality issues, but rather to help optimize the system – and the experience was “excellent” every time. Mike praised the quality of the service, saying that “the Helpdesk Analysts have been absolutely brilliant on every occasion.”
The HeatingSave Operations department only had to visit Hunsdon Village Hall once following a wireless mesh network connectivity issue, and their service was “prompt and good”. Mike was in fact very impressed with the system’s reliability – “that one connectivity issue was the only problem we’ve ever really had since the system was installed” he said.
Could HeatingSave improve the level of service provided to Hunsdon Village Hall? In Mike’s own words, ”the level of service provided by HeatingSave has been outstanding. The only improvement I can think of is that we’d like to have a software feature that would generate an alert whenever the set point in a certain zone goes under a certain value for a particular booking – it would be very helpful for us.” We thank Mike for the suggestion and assure him that our R & D software engineers will be looking at adding this type of functionality in future releases.
When asked by the HeatingSave reporter whether he would recommend the system to other community centres and village halls, Mike’s answer was an enthusiastic “Oh yes, I definitely would”.
Summing up his experience of HeatingSave, Mike concluded “Overall, HeatingSave is the ideal energy management and access control solution for any small / medium sized facility or organization.”
Hunsdon Village Hall
45 High Street, Hunsdon, Ware,
Hertfordshire, SG12 8NJ
Phone: 01279 843358