2011 October


Welcome to our "MBS Focus"

15 October, 2011

Hotels are unusual buildings, in that their occupants have a big influence on how they are operated. Unlike office workers, hotel guests won’t be ignored if their room is too cold or the hot water doesn’t work.

For hotel managers, unhappy guests complaining about the building services can result in lost revenues. In today’s economic climate where many hotels have seen guest numbers fall, this simply isn’t an option.

So in hotels building services really do have an impact on the bottom line. The problem is finding a balance between energy-efficient operation and occupant comfort.

These issues are all covered in this special “MBS Focus” devoted to hotels. There is a wealth of interesting ideas and hard experience in this special section of our web site. Click on any of the items on this page for more.

Thermal mass, Building Regulations, Part L, Salford houses

Scattered around Salford are some 250 ordinary-looking houses that were built in the late 1980s and which have been lived in ever since — but their thermal performance is quite extraordinary.

Working rule agreement, HVCA

A rapidly evolving, multi-skilled workforce needs to modernise the way it negotiates pay and conditions, says Blane Judd. Hence the development of a single working-rule agreement for mechanical, electrical and plumbing operatives.

Bilco, smoke vent, natural ventilation

The largest vent ever made by Bilco has been installed in the fly tower of the new Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury. This automatic acoustic smoke ventilator covers an area of 11 x 4 m and comprises six sections with 24 covers. It is also the first motorised acoustic ventilator to be made with a 2-cover design. Built on the site of the old theatre, the new theatre has a 1200-seat auditorium with vastly improved acoustics and sightlines.

Grundfos, Grundfos Pumps

The delivery of six new police investigation centres for police authorities in Norfolk and Suffolk as PFIs for the next 30 years includes a common energy-efficient M&E specification, with Grundfos Pumps meeting all the pumping requirements. The centres will provide facilities for detainee handling and investigation, enabling specialist police officers and staff to question suspects and hold them in custody in a purpose-build facility that will offer a much more cost-effective and seamless police service.

Velux, Philips Consumer Lighting, LED Lighting

LED lighting systems have been installed in two Velux CarbonLight homes in Rothwell, Kettering, to help deliver a 70% reduction in carbon emissions on site. The remaining 30% of carbon emissions are offset by allowable solutions such as funding energy-saving improvements to existing local housing stock, This project sets out to prove that it is possible to build energy-efficient, sustainable housing that is practical, appealing and comfortable for the consumer — while being easy for the volume house builder to replicate.

Daikin, Solar PV, renewable energy

Daikin Europe has installed almost 2000 solar PV panels at its factory at Ostend in Belgium which are designed to generate about 400 MWh of electricity a year. They will reduce CO2 emissions by up to 160 t a year. The system capacity of 400 MWh a year was dictated by limitations in the region’s electricity grid because of the high number of renewable systems already in place.

S&S Northern, gas safety

S&S Northern has completed its third project with Euro Garages, one of the UK’s largest independent forecourt retailers, with the installation of a new gas-safety interlock system as part of the £12.3 million redevelopment of Rivington Services on the M61 near Bolton. The system was for the site’s Burger King outlet and meets BS 6173, which is required for new and refurbished commercial kitchens.

Waste wood that would otherwise be destined for landfill will power a CHP energy centre in Plymouth to generate about 26 GWh of electricity a year and about 10 GWh of heat. It will burn 40 000 t of waste wood a year. The plant will also produce over 1800 t of carbon a year, which can be used for applications such as gas cleaning, water filtration and filters for cooking hoods. The plant will reduce CO2 emissions by some 16 500 t to a year compared to grid supply.


The UK must adopt the Government’s proposed Construction Strategy ‘enthusiastically and unequivocally if it is to have any prospect of meeting the challenging carbon-reduction targets to which it is already committed,’ HVCA president Bob Shelley has warned.

Biomass, woodchips, wood pellets, space heating, RHI, Renewable Heat Incentive

The Renewable Heat Incentive has a major impact on the economic benefits of boiler projects based on biomass boilers, as we found out from Jim Birse of Econergy.

The Energy Consortium (TEC) believes that changes made to the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme following the Comprehensive Spending Review mean that proactive carbon managers are penalised twice — first because revenue recycling has been scrapped and secondly because allowances now have to be purchased for automated meter readings (AMR).

Vaillant, ground source heat pumps, water source heat pump

A heat pump drawing energy from a lake on the site of The Lake House boutique hotel near Windermere was installed without first draining the lake. Vaillant, which supplied a 10kW geoTHERM heat pump for this project, believes it is the first to be installed in the UK without first draining the lake. The heat pump draws heat from the natural Knipe Tarn to provide underfloor heating for the hotel.

Weatherite, CRC Scheme

The refurbishment of the catering suite in a school in Pinvin, Worcestershire, includes recovering waste heat from the ventilation system. The work was project managed by Weatherite Building Services and included supplying and installing energy-efficient kitchen canopies, together with supply and exhaust ductwork, air-handling unit and controls, new boiler, water heater and pipework for gas and water.

Andrews Water Heaters, DHW, solar thermal, renewable energy

Hot water for the new Ark Academy in Wembley is provided by two solar-thermal systems and five direct-fired storage water heaters from Andrews Water Heaters in what is the largest area of the company’s glazed flat-plate collectors in a single project. The new school buildings provide education for children aged from three to 18. Planning requirements required a percentage of renewable energy to reduce the school’s carbon footprint.

Bitzer, refrigeration, training

Bitzer has developed a new concept for training customers in refrigeration technology. It includes new content, plenty of practical exercises and more specific training activities. It also enables Bitzer’s specialists to meet the needs of far more participants in each of the seminars. The highlight is that participants can select their required area of specialisation before a seminar, enabling specific topics to be addressed in detail in small groups.

Reneha, Zenex, boiler

Remeha Commercial has formed a partnership with energy-saving innovator Zenex and the appointment of its managing director Chris Farrell as Remeha’s independent technology adviser. Established in 2003, Zenex has gained a reputation for energy-saving technologies, with its GasSaver and Superflow recognised as energy-saving categories within UK Building Regulations. The Energy Saving Trust recognises GasSaver under its Energy Saving Recommended Scheme.

Hundreds of public buildings in London are set to get a green makeover with low-cost loans from a £100 million fund announced by the Mayor of London Boris Johnson. London’s public buildings are responsible for 10% of the capital’s carbon emissions. Retrofitting energy-reduction measures will reduce fuel bills and emissions, as well as creating jobs and helping to develop skills.

BDR Thermea, MCS, renewable energy

BDR Thermea offers a one-day course to help installers achieve accreditation with the Microgeneration Certification Scheme. It is suitable for contractors wanting to learn about the scheme and its related components, including Renewable Energy Assurance Listing, support on MCS listing and registration with MCS bodies.

Windhager, biomass, renewable energy

Windhager, which makes biomass heating systems, has doubled the area of its training facility at Chippenham to coincide with the new style of HETAS training course. It is one of 10 approved such training centres in the UK.

Hamworthy Heating, condensing boiler

Hamworthy Heating is taking its Fleet range of condensing boilers around the country with a roadshow running through to Summer 2012. You can request an invitation to these events, where you will have the opportunity to speak to Hamworthy sales engineers and business-development managers about the Fleet range and the boilers on display.

Big Foot Systems, Solar PV, renewable energy

Big Foot Systems offers the complete non-penetrative mounting system for photovoltaic panels on a flat roof.

Sirius, air extract, UV filtration

Sirius Products has supplied modular ESP and UV filtration to 13 restaurants in the new Westfield Stratford development. The systems are designed to enhance efficiency and performance by increasing air-inlet velocities to in excess of 12 m/s, improving the oxidising capacity of UV radiation with TiO2 coated photo-catalytic filters, and creating a more robust ionisation field to filter grease, smoke and other contaminants. Developed specifically for commercial kitchen environments, they feature unique cylindrical anode collection tubes for unrivalled collection of ambient pollutants.

Monodraught, natural ventilation

The new building at Deeplish Primary School in Rochdale was designed by Impact Partnership, a joint venture between Rochdale Borough Council and consulting and business-services group Mouchel, to provide better value for money while improving the use of space, the flow of the school and its future learning requirements. The new building also significantly improves life-cycle costs, sustainability and energy efficiency — helped by a natural-ventilation system based on Monodraught’s WindCatcher X-Air natural-ventilation systems.

MHS Radiators, space heating

As part of the major refurbishment of the building that is now Stirling City Council’s ‘Customer first — one stop shop’, heating is provided by 20 Monoplan radiators supplied by MHS Radiators. To help with the specific requirements of this project, MHS supplied bespoke welded feet for several Monoplan models.

Mitsubishi Electric, heat pump, ventilation

Energy-efficient heating and ventilation for animal houses at South Lakes Animal Park in Cumbria and hot water and heating for offices and the veterinary centre is provided by Mitsubishi Electric Ecodan air-source heat pumps and Lossnay ventilation systems. The installations include the otter house, which houses one of the world’s rarest animals, the South American Giant otter, which has a body length of up to 2 m. There are only two zoos in the UK where the public can see this animal.

Stokvis, boiler, DHW, renewable energy, biomass

A biomass boiler sized to meet half of the heating requirement of a new school in Bristol is supported by two Stokvis Econoflame boilers and plate heat exchangers. The plant meets the requirements for space heating and hot water. The Oasis Academy John Williams has been built by Bristol City Council to replace an earlier building on adjoining land. Skanska was the project manager.

Legrand, Salamandre, electrical trunking

Having won the contract for distribution board trunking assemblies for Brighton & Hove Albion’s, known as the Seagulls, new 22 500-capacity American Express Community Stadium, the Legrand team then secured the order for Swifts cable ladder and tray, Salamandre trunking and Swiftrack channel support. The initial order for the trunking assemblies was won on the basis of significant reductions in installation time.

Xpelair, ventilation

Mechanical ventilation with heat recovery for the refurbishment of heritage property overlooking London’s Hyde Park into prime residential accommodation is provide Xcell 400 units from Xpelair Ventilation Solutions. The systems for The Lancasters Grade 2 listed building in French Renaissance style were specified by Mecserve Consulting Engineers. The project involved converting the building into 77 grand apartments.

PassivHaus, Total Home Environment

The first social-housing flats in the UK to be built to PassivHaus standards have their ventilation and minimal heating requirements met by units providing mechanical ventilation with heat recovery and inline electric duct heating. The three flats making up Rowan House in Sivell Street, Exeter, are based on PassivHaus design standards, so they do not require a conventional heating system. Instead, they incorporate Total Home Environment’s PassivHaus-certified Genvex GES NVHR unit.

modbs tv logo

In August, MBStv talks to Stephen Lisk, president of CIBSE about the need to adapt to changes and how collaboration leads to better working. many more...

Part 1: Office of the future

Alan Jamieson of Peldon Rose discusses the changes and trends of building services within offices and the focus of wellbeing. 

Alastair Martin: The energy market right now

Chief Strategy Officer at Flexitricity expresses the current state of the energy market and the need for flexibility.