Aston Villa scores with Trend BMS
His office PC is one of several ways Josh Tooth, assistant stadium manager at Aston Villa, can access the trend control system. Villa Park, has under-pitch heating and movable lighting rigs to encourage grass growth. Turf temperatures, moisture levels and light levels are monitored by the Trend system.
Tony Diffley, stadium manager at Aston Villa, is over the moon with the capabilities of the expanding Trend building-management system.Villa Park — the home of Aston Villa Football Club — has one of the most advanced building-management systems in any UK sports stadium. The Trend system enables the stadium manager to access the status of all monitored points from any PC terminal in the building, wirelessly from his personal digital assistant (PDA) or elsewhere via the Internet. The system also sends a text message to his mobile telephone in the event of critical alarms, such as due to a boiler, gas valve or ventilation fan failure. The system includes The Holte, the club’s own pub next to Villa Park, and the training ground, 10 miles away near Tamworth — both through Ethernet links. The Trend BMS was designed and installed by Direct Control Systems and currently has 24 outstations on the stadium site. The training ground has six outstations controlling under-pitch heating as well as room environments, the hot-water system, a swimming pool and hydro spas. Standalone HVAC control systems at Villa Park are being upgraded and added to the Trend BMS when practically possible. It will also increase considerably when the new North Stand is expanded, completing the network around all four stands at the stadium. ‘I believe what Direct Control Systems, Trend and ourselves have achieved on existing plant and in working buildings is as impressive as any BMS system around today, including the new Wembley Stadium, where they had a clean slate and a much greater budget,’ says stadium manager, Tony Diffley, who is dedicated to ensuring Villa Park’s systems always function when required and as energy efficiently as possible. ‘Each week my assistant manager, Josh Tooth, receives a function sheet showing the days and times when HVAC zones should be set to come on. He programs these for the week ahead, so systems come on automatically as required. If the schedule changes, he can make changes easily, wherever he is: from his office PC, or remotely using Trend 916 Mobile Display Software on his PDA, or via the Internet using Trend 963 Client Server Display Software on his laptop. The Trend 963 allows alterations to be carried out by three users at any one time. ‘Similarly, he can use his mobile phone, PDA or laptop to receive alarms and monitor or adjust the systems as required — even from the other side of the world, if necessary.’ Prior to the installation of the Trend BMS, Villa Park’s HVAC plant was controlled by relatively simple local controls. It tended to be left running continuously because it was too time consuming and expensive in terms of manpower to visit each area within the stadium to switch them on and off before and after each event, especially as many functions run until 1.00 am. The first BMS at Villa Park was installed when Direct Controls installed Trend controllers in the Trinity Road stand during its construction in 2001. This stand has eight plant rooms, each with at least one Trend outstation. Since then the Trend BMS has been expanded with more sensors, and the outstations have been networked. This backwards-compatibility philosophy, where generations of IQ controllers installed over many years work together seamlessly, provides a benefit to Aston Villa of protecting their investment and removing the need for extensive retraining on new products. Wireless sensors were employed in several locations to avoid the cost and complexity of hard wiring. A Trend 963 Client Server real-time user interface with clear, logical graphics provides easy supervisory access to the BMS for monitoring and control. Many of the stadium’s supply and extract fans, such as in the kitchens and boxes, have been fitted with variable-speed drives. These enable the BMS to adjust fan speeds automatically, providing considerable energy saving compared with running them continuously at maximum speed. The club plans to install light-level sensors throughout the stadium and monitor and control lighting from the Trend BMS. Emergency power generators will be added to the IP network and monitored via the BMS. Reflecting on the systems which keep Villa Park running on match days, Tony Diffley says, ‘While most football stadiums call in several BMS engineers and operators as well as tradesmen from contractors for games and other events, Villa Park has only me and my assistant, supported if necessary by a contract plumber and electrician and a technician from Direct Controls, all of whom are on call if case we need them. The fact that everything here works so well is a fantastic testament to the reliability of our Trend BMS, of Direct Controls as its designer and installer, and of our other contractors who service the electrical and HVAC plant so well.’