Pace measures progress with energy metering

Pace plc, one of the biggest set-top box brands worldwide and a leader in high-definition equipment is committed to enhancing its environmental performance.

Any improvement strategy, whether for business purposes or otherwise, is dependent on effective techniques to measure performance. To collect detailed data on energy usage at Pace’s headquarters in Saltaire, West Yorkshire, Facilities Manager Graham Barker and his team have installed an electricity metering and management system comprising networkable energy meters and PowerSoft energy-management software from Carlo Gavazzi.

“The most effective way to reduce our energy usage is to involve and incentivise our people. We need to communicate measurements in a way that shows how everyone’s actions contribute to saving electricity,” explains Graham Barker. In parallel with a significant refurbishment of the site, including upgrading to new energy-efficient lighting in the majority of the work areas, the Carlo Gavazzi equipment was selected to allow the electricity consumed individually by each of the laboratories and offices on site to be measured. “We started measuring total consumption for each area, with the intention to collect more detailed data by installing extra meters in the future.”

This strategy called for a scalable, networkable energy metering infrastructure capable of collecting data from a number of remote meters and providing a platform to analyse the data. Working with instrumentation solutions specialists Camax and Meter Manager, Graham Barker and Site Electrician Bryan Jeffrey installed a network of 14 Carlo Gavazzi EM24 DIN-mountable energy meters and integrated these with the PowerSoft platform.

“The meters were relatively easy to install and connect to the network,” says Bryan Jeffrey. PowerSoft runs as a virtual server, accessible using Remote Desktop, which allows us to login and view consumption data in real time.”

To enable Pace to broaden access to its energy-usage information, Carlo Gavazzi modified the PowerSoft software to allow access for a larger number of users. Up to 30 users can now login simultaneously to view the PowerSoft virtual meters, which display the consumption of each area as well as overall energy usage at the Saltaire site.

The newly installed meters began delivering benefits immediately, as Bryan Jeffrey explains: “Since the EM24 meters meet international norms, we were able to compare our own energy measurements with the landlord’s figures, from which our billing is derived. As a result the landlord’s meters were upgraded to ensure accurate billing.”

By making energy data readily accessible, covering individual labs and offices, the plan has drawn in the majority of employees, who have become active in the drive to reduce electricity consumption. People have come on board very quickly, according to Bryan Jeffrey, and are keen to find ways of fulfilling their tasks while using less electricity. “We have a large number of technical staff who are all now enthused by the challenge. Having seen the figures they are paying close attention to details such as turning off unused soldering irons and using the various power-saving modes of their PCs. The cumulative effects of these small actions are realising tangible savings for the area as a whole.”

Pace’s energy-reduction plan also recognises that much of the site’s electricity is consumed by systems not directly controlled by the staff, including services such as lighting, air conditioning and other plant. Passive Infrared (PIR) sensors installed throughout the site now enable more efficient control by automatically detecting room occupancy and adjusting settings accordingly.

In the 12 months since the first meters were installed, the results have been highly successful. “There has been a significant reduction in energy consumed at Saltaire, since we began measuring and communicating our performance. In fact, one lab alone, which has about 100 people, has reduced its power budget by some 20kW.”

Moving on from this initial success, additional meters are now being installed in each area to enable consumption data to be collected from the lighting, plant and power-point circuits individually. “This will not only provide even greater visibility of the effects of individuals’ actions on energy usage, but will also help us to improve the way we control lighting and other electricity-consuming services. We will be able to use this data to improve aspects of building management and identify more optimal settings for lighting and air conditioning to achieve ongoing energy savings.”

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