BMS cuts energy use

City of Bristol College’s Soundwell and Orpen Park Centres have improved their energy efficiency and boosted their Display Energy Certificate (DEC) ratings, as a result of the retrofit installation of a state-of-the-art building management system (BMS) from Priva Building Intelligence Ltd.

Replacing the aging BMS at the College’s Soundwell and Orpen Park centres with a high-functioning, remote-access alternative was made possible via a loan from the government-funded Salix scheme. Salix, which recently opened up a new £1million pot for projects that can be completed in the next four months, is open to public-sector organisations, enabling them to install equipment to cut their carbon dioxide emissions. Similar interest-free loans of up to £100,000 are available via The Carbon Trust to private and third-sector organisations looking to improve their on-site energy efficiency.

“When the opportunity to apply for Salix funding arose, it was a natural step for us to retrofit the BMS at the Soundwell and Orpen Park Centres with a new Priva system,” commented Steve Ramsden, Building Services Engineer at City of Bristol College. “We have been actively looking for ways to reduce energy use on site, particularly in light of the recent legislation that compels us to make public the building’s energy use through a Display Energy Certificate. Our previous BMS was an unreliable, 1970s set-up that had become obsolete and definitely didn’t fit with our current energy-conscious ethos.”

City of Bristol College appointed Salisbury-based building control specialist, Novac Control Systems, to undertake installation of a new BMS. The college put together a bid and carried out survey works to ensure that the Priva installation met the criteria to secure Salix funding. It was established that the new system would save carbon at a cost-effective rate and achieve payback within five years, allowing the college to proceed with its funding application.

“It was part of the Salix funding criteria that the work had to be carried out during the summer break, when the college buildings were relatively empty,” commented Novac’s Neil Clarke. “We were able to work within this timescale, allowing the centres to be up and running with improved BMS by September when the new term began, minimising disruption to the staff and students.”

The installation of new technology on site has had a marked impact at both centres. As modern learning and training spaces, the large centres have a number of different uses. As well as teaching spaces and a Learning Resource Centre, the Soundwell centre also houses IT facilities and a hairdressing salon. A nursery also operates from the site. Whereas the old BMS was crude and timer-controlled, the new Priva system allows for flexible control of the heating and lighting systems, leading to much-improved energy management.

The Priva system has also opened the door for the college to provide even better facilities to its students. A sports hall within the Soundwell Centre was recently transformed into a high-spec training kitchen, with operational gas consumption. The state-of-the-art Priva controls were crucial for making this change of use possible, since the old BMS was too crude to manage this type of energy use.

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