Directory Mon, Sep 28, 2020 9:14 AM
Roy Marsden, Product Manager for Heatrae Sadia, explains how new ways of working should see a rise in smart technology to ensure buildings intelligently manage hot water provision.
As buildings gradually re-open after the coronavirus lockdown, more employers are looking at new ways of utilising their office spaces. The main difference between now and pre-COVID times, is that building opening hours are being reduced to accommodate for more remote working, and this commitment is likely to last. Facebook, for example, has predicted that remote working will increase over the next five to ten years and many more companies are following suit.
For personnel tasked with evaluating and modifying energy management to meet the requirements of new ways of working, this has its benefits when it comes to reducing building running costs.
Reducing running costs
One of the key benefits of reducing building opening hours is that running costs can be reduced, but only if the right technology is in place to cater for new working patterns. This is where smart thermostat controls can help to minimise the whole-life-cost of a building’s hot water system.
Hot water cylinder thermostats have come a long way in terms of technology, and the difference between a conventional thermostat and a smart one is vast. While a conventional hot water thermostat’s job is to turn the heater on and off at a prescribed time, in addition to keeping the water temperature at a set level, a smart thermostat can do so much more.
Hot water cylinders with smart thermostat controls are capable of recognising and self-managing through peaks and troughs in demand. This level of self-automated control helps to maximise energy savings, as the system ‘learns’ typical usage patterns within the first two weeks of being installed. The Heatrae Sadia Multipoint Eco, which has this technology, has been found to reduce fuel consumption by up to 19%. The Heatrae Sadia Multipoint Eco also has a vacation mode, to ensure water isn’t heated unnecessarily and that output is carefully controlled to match demand.
Through investment into this smart technology, buildings can benefit from a system that is always learning, and therefore can change based on sporadic ways of working. If a conventional system is kept that does not utilise this technology, the building is at risk of energy wastage and an overreliance on manual intervention, which isn’t always practical. However, it is still important that any controls are still intuitive enough to operate smoothly when required. Water heaters, such as the Multipoint Eco, now come with stylish and simple displays that enable easy programming. This reduces the amount of interaction time required, and further contributes to cheaper total cost of ownership.
For buildings taking advantage of smart thermostat technology, there could be some worry that more irregular heating patterns could lead to a risk of Legionnaires’ disease. This is because the bacteria multiply where temperatures are between 20-45°C. The bacteria remain dormant below 20°C and do not survive above 60°C. However, this shouldn’t be the case unless a system has not been in use for some time.
Whenever a system is not used for an extended period, the water outlets should be flushed frequently. Flushing hot water for several minutes through all points of use, for instance all showers and taps, helps to replace the stagnant water with fresh water in the line to remove contaminants. A competent person should routinely check, inspect and clean the system, in accordance with the risk assessment.
For added assurance, products such as the Multipoint Eco come equipped with legionella prevention. Heatrae Sadia’s Legionella Control System guards users against harmful bacteria and is ideal for high-risk legionella installs, such as buildings in the leisure industry or offices with showering facilities.
Facilities managers face the challenge of providing top class water-heating solutions to their building occupants, whilst simultaneously minimising running costs in a changing environment which is seeing a rise in irregular working hours. With the right smart thermostat technology incorporated into modern unvented water-heating systems, the solution to the ‘new normal’ is easily achieved.
In association with Heatrae Sadia
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