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Retail Technology, Retail technology News

Hammonds puts energy waste to bed

Saturday November 27 2010

New building management systems saves furniture retailer money on power bill

New building management systems saves furniture retailer money on power bill


Hammonds Furniture is now on course to make big savings by reducing energy usage at its Nuneaton store with help from a building energy management system (BEMS) supplied by t-mac Technologies.


Over the last six months, t-mac Technologies has worked with the furniture specialists, conducting a full site survey and reviewing current energy bills. A t-mac system was installed to first meter and monitor the site’s energy consumption, providing remote access to real-time energy data. Using the online energy analysis software, the team identified energy inefficiencies and areas for improvement to reduce cost, consumption and carbon for the Hammonds store.


Having analysed the data collected from all measurable sources of energy consumption including heating and cooling, lighting and mains electricity, the t-mac team, with Hammonds, used their findings to put a plan in place using t-mac to control energy use.


Through t-mac’s online software the control strategy was implemented to cover lighting, heating and cooling equipment to meet the targets and aspirations of Hammonds for improving the quality of their energy management in line with the quality of furniture.


Digging deeper to save more


Lisa Wilkinson from t-mac Technologies explained: “It can be difficult for businesses themselves to spot where energy can be saved. Some practices within the workplace become habitual and, therefore, go unrecognisable as areas needing change to save energy and money. We work with all our customers to provide a solution that is right for them, identifying where improvements can be made in energy efficiency.”


The new t-mac system, which has just had its energy control strategy implemented will meter, monitor, manage and control Hammonds’ air-conditioning and lighting, while still providing metering data from the mains supply.


In specific response to the initial findings by the t-mac team, the system will also monitor and alert on other activities within the store that could impact on energy consumption, such as showroom, backroom and marketing lighting, by controlling the lux levels and introducing more efficient and economical presence-detection sensors.


Heating and cooling equipment control is a priority for change as it was previously managed manually by staff in relation to ‘comfort’ rather than necessity; this led to peaks of energy usage ranging from 8 to 20 kWh at any one time during a working day. Often the air conditioning was set at circa 28-30 degrees centigrade; a temperature which – if reached by the unit – would certainly result in an uncomfortable environment. The consultancy has placed a set point limitation on internal temperature settings for the air conditioning and interlinked with internal and external temperature to ensure the heating and cooling devices react automatically and are used consistently.


Plans are also in place to closely monitor the impact of having an open-door policy with a sensor at the front door providing alerts when it is propped open and an infra-red device measuring footfall which will establish when an open door is and is not necessary.


Good fortune is money saver


Hammonds were the lucky recipients of this expert advice and the t-mac BEMS technology after winning a competition on the t-mac Technologies website earlier this year. As part of the prize, t-mac will also host a staff briefing session explaining why it was necessary to make these changes and the benefits of these to staff in the long run and will be providing Hammonds with its own customised energy dashboard which is intended to provide a useful tool for encouraging staff buy-in and a company wide acceptance and understanding of Hammonds’ energy reduction drive.


Wilkinson continued: “We are confident that the changes we are implementing through the

t-mac system in Hammonds will help the store to not only reduce their carbon emissions by a significant amount, but also save the company a substantial amount of money over the next few months.”


The store is now set to fully utilise t-mac’s range of energy reducing technology such as wireless sensors, PIR devices, door contactors and lux monitoring. To analyse the data, Hammonds’ team will access the t-mac online software suite, viewing site activities and improvements through their own bespoke dashboard.


T-mac and Hammonds’ aim is to reduce the average annual utility spend by an estimated 10 to 20% once fully operational.