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.

Trox, multi service, chilled beams

Bespoke-designed Trox multi service chilled beams (MSCBs) have been chosen to meet the interior design brief for a magnificent 18th-century building in The Netherlands. The project came about when project-management company A. T. Osborne decided to refurbish the listed Villa Rusthoek in Baarn, near Utrecht, as its new offices. Built in 1771 and altered substantially in 1905, the building is a national monument and a previous residence of a member of the Dutch royal family.

Kinetico, water softening

Over the last 12 years, Kinetico products have been the preferred choice for water treatment in new Tesco stores. Mach 2020 and 2060 units provide softened water for stores across the UK. For several years, Kinetico has been written into the specification of new-build Tesco stores and has worked with many contractors, including Platignum, Essex Services Group and Constant Air Systems.

MHS Radiators, space heating

As part of the complete refurbishment of a Grade A listed building in Edinburgh, MHS Radiators has supplied 25 Carat contemporary flat-panel radiators, as specified by consulting engineers Arup. They were installed in The Hub, Edinburgh’s Festival Centre on the Royal Mile, by Taylor and Francis of Paisley, which has long experience of working on historic buildings.

Shenton, standby power, generator

Faced with a potential bill in excess of £50 000 for an onsite electrical substation to meet greater demand from increasing production time from 12 to 24 h a day, Herrco Cosmetics approached Shenton Group to provide a bespoke generator to automatically manage peak loads. The bespoke generator for the factory at Halesworth, Suffolk, has an output of 138 kVA and a specially built control panel.

Hamworthy, space heating, boiler

Boilers serving two buildings from one boiler house in Christchurch have been replaced have been replaced with two pairs of Hamworthy Heating’s LT90 steel boilers to meet the different demands. One of the buildings is occupied by Dorset County Council’s adult-education service and the other by Dorset Police Authority, acting as Christchurch Police Station. Each occupant placed different demands on the shared heating system, so Dorset County Council decided to provide two separate boiler systems, while replacing the existing and increasingly inefficient boilers.

TA Hydronics, balancing

Hydronic balancing expertise from TA Hydronics has helped the headquarters of Ceskoslovenska Obchodni Banka (CSOB) win the Gold Prize LEED Green Building Award for outstanding energy efficiency. The installation of the company’s specialist balancing valves, alongside other energy-reducing solutions, has reduced the building’s overall energy consumption by 65%.

Buderus, boiler, CRC Scheme

The Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency Scheme has been met with uncertainty since its introduction in April last year, with many believing that the scheme is overly complex. As the Department of Energy & Climate Chance looks at ways to simplify the scheme, Mike Southall explains why it is still a positive incentive for large public and private-sector organisations.

MITIE, carbon reduction, CRC Scheme

The Carbon Reduction Commitment league tables mean large organisations now have an even greater incentive to reduce their emissions. But energy-services companies need to start delivering comprehensive carbon strategies if they are to provide clients with the best results and help stave off a national energy crisis, argues Mike Sewell.

Navetas, smart meter, CRC Scheme

Smarter smart metering

05 October, 2011

Nick Wellington believes that the capabilities of smart meters currently fall short of what is needed to identify where energy is being wasted.

Trend, BMS, BEMS, CRC Scheme

The UK is facing an energy crisis and, with the Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency Scheme (CRC) and other initiatives piling the pressure on building managers to reduce energy consumption, Yasar Butt and Sean Brook of Trend Controls explain why a building energy management system (BEMS) can help.

eSight Energy, CRC Scheme

The masses of data that can be made available by a building-management system can make it easy to prepare CRC reports, with the help of additional specialist software — as Jennifer Eastman explains.

Pegler Yorkshire offers one type of thermostatic mixing valve to suit Type 3 (for environments such as hospitals) and Type 2, which is now allowed in certain hospital locations since the arrival of Health Technical Memorandum HTM04-01. The one blended valve offers all the high performance of a TMV3, but has lower servicing costs if used in TMV2 environments. TMV2 is also suitable for the domestic environment.

Rinnai, domestic hot water, DHW, water heater

Design improvements to Rinnai’s Infinity continuous-flow hot-water systems have increased net efficiency from 90 to 105% and reduced gas consumption by about 16%. The pre-mix ceramic burner system has also reduced NOx emissions to just 30 ppm. The Infinity range can be installed indoors or outdoors and has very precise control of temperature, even if other outlets are suddenly opened.

Aereco, demand controller ventilation

Aereco, which specialises in demand-controlled ventilation (DCV), offers an unconditional 30-year guarantee on the humidity sensor used to control grilles. Unlike other ventilation systems, a humidity-sensitive DCV system has no filters that need changing, so a system is virtually maintenance free and can be planned into the life of an actual building — with the 30-year guarantee offering peace of mind to specifiers and end users.

Siemens, busbar trunking

To help improve fire-safety standards in data centres, the Siemens Building Technologies range of cast-resin busbar has successfully undergone additional testing to ensure ‘fire withstand ability’ of the busbar trunking at 750°C for up to 3 h is now achievable. Copper and aluminium versions of Siemens’ cast-resin busbar trunking now conform to IEC 60331-31 (tests for electrical cables under fire conditions) and are proven to meet the standards required for life-safety and emergency supplies.

Armstrong, pump, booster set

Armstrong has extended its IVS and IVS Sensorless ranges of integrated variable-speed pumps from 55 kW up to 250 kW. These pumps have integrated variable-speed drives and can be controlled by transducers, BMSs or without a sensor for the Sensorless models. The installed cost for an IVS Sensorless pump is said to be typically 25% lower than a conventional vertical inline pump with separate variable-speed drive and remote sensor.

JS Humidifiers, Condair

Condair Mk5 resistive steam humidifiers from JS Humidifiers offer close humidity control and maintenance costs that can be up to 65% less than other electrode-boiler humidifiers. These humidifiers manage scale so that it is easy to remove, thereby eliminating the need for expensive disposable boiling cylinders. Outputs range from 5 to 80 kg/h, with full modulation of the output.

Fire Fighting Enterprises, optical beam smoke detector

The Fireray 3000 end-to-end optical-beam smoke detector from Fire Fighting Enterprises is said to offer cost-effective protection of large open spaces and for situations where ceiling mounting is difficult or inappropriate. A few units can cover very large areas — with benefits for the time, cost and complexity of installation.

Dimplex, heat pump, renewable energy

Dimplex offers a range of air-source heat-pump packs that contain everything needed for most common domestic applications. The packs come with a choice of LA MS or LA PMS heat pumps. MS models are designed to minimise noise and have outputs from 9 to 16 kW. The PMS range offers variable heating water flow temperatures from 35 to 65°C, weather compensated.

The Calflow Plus water-flow regulator and isolation valve from Altecnic has WRAS approval and the Waterwise marque. This device also incorporates a filtration mesh to help prevent debris entering and damaging valves in a system. It can aid even distribution in a multi-outlet new build and is available with a wide range of flow regulators from 2 to 18 l/min and operating with an inlet pressure of up to 16 bar.

AET, Advanced Environmental Technologies, solar thermal, DHW, renewable energy

AET offers solar thermal panels for commercial applications with its Camel Solar range. The products have been developed to use solar energy to heat water for a range of applications such as swimming pools and domestic hot water for hospitals, hotels and large industrial processes. The range includes copper and aluminium flat-plate collectors, copper and aluminium facade collectors and evacuated-tube collectors for large-scale applications where premium performance is required.

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Manufacturer helps equip skills centre

Ideal Heating has helped to equip a new £500,000 green energy centre in Merseyside which is seeking to attract fresh talent into the heating industry.

Acoustic solutions suite with easy access to services at University of Birmingham

A suite of ceiling and wall acoustic solutions have been specified for The University of Birmingham’s new landmark Molecular Sciences building, which will provide a hub for research and academic work.