Leading the drive for efficiency -one LED at a time!

23 Jan

Today the Aitken Spence family is yet again at the forefront of innovation with their move to green their office spaces by making them more efficient and environmentally friendly. Some of the methods used are state-of-the-art, while others are just plain common sense.
Sampath Godavitharana, Mechanical Engineer who worked on the installation of Building Management Systems (BMS) in the Aitken Spence Tower II at Vauxhall Street, spoke about some of the changes they implemented and how it has helped increase energy efficiency.
“We have installed a Building Management System atthe Aitken Spence Tower II , through which our general energy and resource consumption is monitored and controlled for optimum savings and minimal environmental impact. The BMS, as we call it, is a system that has integrated most of the facility areas like chillers, generators, water management systems, road systems, as well as a portion of the lighting system.
The cooling system itself is a revolutionarily simple method;three years ago we installed three chilled water systems of different capacities to cool the insides of the building as well as to reduce the temperature of the output from the building. BMS is able to regulate the temperature by identifying the load in the building or the floor at the moment, it then regulates airflow – so if there are five people on the office floor, then the load on the cooling system is less than if there were ten –essentially switching between higher and lower capacity chilling systems depending on the load at any one point – so there is never an ‘over cooling’ effect. BMS therefore acts as a regulatory watch dog on energy consumption and thanks to that we have consumed almost 20% less energy!”
“In addition to the cooling system, BMS also regulates water consumption in the building. The water we consume is held in overhead tanks located on the rooftops, and in underground rain water collection tanks. BMS is able to keep an eye on water levels and regulate the refilling process without any human interaction. This saves many man hours on what could potentially be a very difficult job – and also ensure that the building is never out of water. While there may not be a direct cost benefit from this, there is definitely an operational benefit.
Similarly the BMS system is able to monitor our generator systems. While there are many different generators located in various sections of the building, through BMS our engineers are able to check on the important parameters such as battery voltage and oil levels in one location and target interventions accordingly – making it infinitely more efficient than using precious man hours to do regular check-ups on the generators around the building.”
With regard to lighting, in addition to using highly efficient LED lights in the main lobby and service lobby, Sampath mentioned the use of a perimeter lighting system or PEBA, where the artificial light regulates according to the available natural light. For instance if there is a lot of natural light in the room then the artificial lights would be dimmed and vice versa. On account of the “intelligent lighting system used, theoretically there could be a larger conservation of energy because of the minimal electricity consumption. However he mentioned that despite the obvious benefits of using the perimeter lighting system, currently it isn’t yielding the benefits that it ought to because many offices have used solid blindsto cut out the glare that is coming in through the windows. While they have been instructed to use the vertical blinds which can be angled in such a way to prevent the glare, there are still some occupants that haven’t switched to this option.”
Overall, the Aitken Spence family is well on its way to being more efficient and environmentally friendly as a result of the practical approach used to regulate over-consumption of resources; it is a unique and commendable achievement. To further reap the benefits of the high-tech systems installed, Sampath suggests following these guidelines to help make Aitken Spence Towers in Vauxhall Streeteven more efficient and environmentally friendly!
 Use the PEBA system to its full potential by using natural light as much as possible, for example in the lobbies and washrooms where an abundance of natural light reduces the need to turn the LED lights on. The washrooms in particular are equipped with occupancy sensors – if there isn’t enough natural light it will turn the artificial lights on as soon as someone walks in. Vertical blinds to angle the glare away from your workspace should also be fitted.
 Use the hibernation option on computers – if you are not working on it, it will automatically go in to sleep mode and use minimal energy
 Turn off photocopiers when not in use as it saves significant amounts of energy. Turn off water dispensers after work – and switch offthe heating option if it isn’t necessary.


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