Westminster Abbey upgrades its BMS using Priva Blue ID system
Following reliability issues with its BMS installed in the 1990s, Westminster Abbey in London has undergone a retrofit using Priva Blue ID. As a result of the project, temperature control is far more efficient and the extensive and laborious checks previously required are no longer. Some tasks have been reduced from hours to seconds.
Clerk of works Jim Vincent explains, ‘The BMS was in dire need of an upgrade. The controls weren’t communicating very well and kept failing, so I had to call in our system integrator Electrical & Mechanical Controls [EMC]. Eventually, EMC convinced me that a retrofit would make financial sense, especially using Priva Blue ID.’
EMC was able to replace the old system across most of the site in little more than two weeks. A major benefit was Priva Blue ID using the existing BMS network, including temperature sensors. The system uses 2-wire technology, so the existing twisted-pair network could be used for IP communications. Costs were reduced significantly.
A major cost was avoided by being able to simply replace the controls in a large panel in the museum.
The new BMS network is a mix of controllers using Ethernet and 2-wire connections, with full scalability moving forward — unlike the previous system.
An important role of the BMS is maintain a temperature of 20°C at 50% RH to help preserve a host of important artefacts.
Numerous panels around the site have Priva S10 controllers with various I/O modules to suit the specific plant. Some other panels have a Blue ID Touchpoint on the front for local access to the equipment.
Mr Vincent says that one of the best attributes of the new BMS is the font-end user interface, which he describes as ‘idiot proof’. He says, ‘I can view the system with a web browser on a PC on our internal network or remotely. Previously, I had to use engineering software, but there was no front end. I used to be an electrician, so it was fine for me, but the rest of the team couldn’t understand it.’
Two other members of the abbey staff have access to the front end. Any manual changes to the control settings are flagged on the system.
Faults are also flagged, so, for example, it takes a few seconds to check for any problems in the boiler houses rather than taking two hours to walk round them.