Wireless technology slashes heating costs at bus depots
Aimteq’s installation of WEMS wireless BEMS technology in Go-Ahead’s bus depots has achieved significant reductions in gas consumption, with average savings of 30% and a payback on the investment within two years. Go-Ahead is one of the of the UK’s largest bus operators and has a fleet of around 4600 buses that are boarded by nearly two million passengers every day.
Chris Grinstead, Go-Ahead’s environment and energy manager, explains, ‘Our depots are served by gas boilers and gas-fired AmbiRad heaters. Until recently, the heating controls involved hitting the on switch in October and the off switch in April.
‘Furthermore, some depots operate 24 hours, but not all, which meant we were unnecessarily heating certain sites overnight. Our energy bills told us it was time to get smarter with regard to gas consumption.
‘Completely by chance, we were introduced to Aimteq via Network Rail, a systems integrator based in the north west of England, who put forward a proposal for each individual site based on WEMS wireless I/O and BMS units, along with projected savings against existing gas consumption.
‘Not only was the solution relatively cheap thanks in part to the wireless element of the system, but it came with a guarantee with regards to return on investment [ROI]. This made it a no-risk investment, and on that basis we moved forward.’
Systems were installed at eight depots in the summer of 2015, followed by similar upgrades the following winter at 10 sites for Go-Ahead London.
The sites owned by Brighton & Hove and Go South Coast have gone through a full heating season. The average reduction in gas use across the four Brighton & Hove depots is 42%. At the four Go South Coast sites, it is 31%.
‘This means,’ says Chris Grinstead, ‘that we are on course to achieve ROI within two years.’
He continues, ‘Going wireless was one of the big attractions of WEMS technology.’
At some sites, the pit area doors were linked to the BMS so that the heating could be turned off if the doors for buses remain open for longer than two minutes.
During the guaranteed ROI period, Aimteq’s bureau service has almost complete control over the heating systems at each depot, although Go Ahead is free to make change requests to temperature and timing patterns if required.
Once payback has been achieved, front-end access will be created at each depot that will provide access to authorised Go-Ahead staff, although the bureau services will remain in place.