In pursuit of perfection

When it comes to energy usage, every commercial building has the same aim – to reduce it, but with every building comes a unique set of needs and problems.

Tracey Rushton-Thorpe visited the Glenmorangie bottling plant in Livingston to see how understanding their energy usage is helping them to tackle the problem.

With the tallest stills in Scotland, the most advanced approach to extra-maturation and a commitment to only ever using their casks twice, it is clear to see that The Glenmorangie Company is striving for one thing – perfection. But this commitment to perfection isn’t just about the products – it is inherent in everything that they do.

Glenmorangie has a rich heritage which dates back to 1843 when it was founded by William Matheson. Over the years many things have changed, and it is now under the stewardship of Louis Vuitton Moet-Hennessy. But despite the changes, the skills which are used to produce these unique single malts have been passed down from generation to generation and remain pretty much the same today as they have always been.

The raw ingredient, the Tarlogie Springs, Glenmorangie’s own water source and most prized asset, is also just as important today as it was in 1843. It is this natural ingredient, which is unique amongst highland distilleries, that provides Glenmorangie with its hard water qualities and its distinctive taste.

Although there is a proud heritage with processes and skills which date back many years, the company still faces the same issues as everyone else – the need to save energy and their route to achieving these savings is firmly based on new technology. 

Great opportunity

The bottling plant in Livingstone is worlds apart from their distillery in Tain and boasts all of the efficiency measures which you would expect from a building which is only 18 months old. The site was designed specifically for The Glenmorangie Company and included a Priva Building Management System as part of the original design. Facilities Manager, John Newlands says: “Saving energy is at the top of our agenda and we are constantly looking for ways to make savings across our estate, but our distilleries are very old buildings and therefore the opportunities are very limited.

“This building however is a completely different story and the installation of a Building Management System (BMS) at the outset has allowed us to link all of our plant and services and achieve savings through the introduction of numerous energy efficiency measures.”

Being able to control every aspect of a building is one step towards efficiency and it will certainly ensure that all of the plant and services are working in harmony. But the key to achieving further savings lies in being able to collect real time data from the BMS and use it to make improvements.

Understand your energy

When we talk about energy management many people believe that it just a case of using as little energy as possible. But in fact while we do need to reduce the energy we use, effective energy management is more about making energy consumption easier to understand.

This is one of the concepts which lies at the heart of TC Energy, a web based energy monitoring solution from Priva Building Intelligence which combines the functions of a BMS with real time energy monitoring to provide further cost savings throughout a building.

TC Energy was installed at the Glenmorangie bottling plant as a pilot project earlier this year. It is the first installation in the UK and is already proving its worth. John explains: “When we first moved into the building we had a variety of new plant and systems and therefore the key for us was in finding reliable partners with different areas of expertise that we could work with. One of these was David Knox of BFCS (a Priva Partner) whose support in making the building work with the BMS has been invaluable.

“The BMS has already achieved numerous energy savings for us by allowing us to control all of our plant and services and ensure that energy is not being wasted. However our aim with this building has always been to introduce new technology with a view to making long term savings and therefore when David suggested the installation of TC Energy we realised that this would be an excellent opportunity for us to bring this to fruition.”

Monitor the savings

We already know that a BMS is capable of achieving savings on the bottom line but as Government targets for energy savings continue to rise it has become apparent to many building owners and managers that further steps need to be taken which has led to the rise in popularity of metering and monitoring solutions.

TC Energy is just that because it is fully integrated with the BMS to monitor individual plant, or different areas in a commercial building, to determine any areas which are using excessive amounts of energy and enable the building manager to identify the cause.

John says: “For us a key part of any energy monitoring solution is flexibility as the system needs to be able to monitor a variety of loads including heating, lighting and air conditioning which it would in any commercial building. But at the same time it needs to be able to monitor machinery and areas which are specific to our bottling plant.

“We have 40 meters at the site which are all hooked up to the TC Energy system and although it has only been in operation since June I am already delighted with the results. The system is extremely easy to use and allows us to see, in graphical as well as report format, energy consumption reports for each area of the building as well as reports on usage during different periods of time. What this has given us is an insight into the behaviour patterns of the building and in the longer term it will allow us to make further savings as a result of the information that we have gained.”

Knowledge is power

We all understand the need to make energy savings, but I think what many people fail to realise is that in order to make savings we first need to understand the behaviour of a building and the people working within it.  So if you are going to install a BMS then it makes sense to take that extra step and install a monitoring system such as TC Energy which provides the additional information which you need.

It is a longer term solution but the knowledge which you will gain from it will be invaluable and as John points out – some things are worth waiting for: “For over 160 years we’ve been constantly refining the way we make our whisky, but we appreciate that it takes time to achieve perfection. The same could be said for everything we do – we want the right solution for saving energy in this and all of our buildings and if it takes time then so be it – we are in it for the long term.”

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