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Due to age and scale, this school’s hot water system had slowed down to a trickle
How we discovered the leak
This school building, dating from the 1970s, suffered a small water leak (known as a ‘pinhole’ leak) from a section of galvanised steel pipe. Since leaks of this type in plain pipe sections usually indicate a problem with the installation, Aster Maintenance investigated in order to establish the root cause. This was found to be an under-sized hot water secondary (return) pump which had insufficient power to return the water to the calorifier.
Hot water system repairs
Our remit was to replace the pipework along the affected section so as to take the flow back up to its designed level, which also restored the secondary hot water ‘loop’. This not only meant an improved flow on the system, it also meant that the water in the loop would be hotter and a potential source of Legionella bacteria was removed. We also replaced the under-sized pump with a correctly-sized one.
These two relatively simple changes transformed the performance and effectiveness of the hot water system in the affected area. The client was very satisfied with the results achieved, which were carried out during a half-term holiday.
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Energy efficiency for a London University after boiler plant was tested against regulations for educational buildings
By replacing the former modular boilers with fully-condensing modern units, the university now benefits from a more dependable and more efficient heating system presenting significant cost savings.
The previous boiler plant serving a part of this prestigious university in London had become unreliable and the client requested Aster Maintenance to undertake a complete renewal of the boilers and their control system.
The solution chosen
These new boilers had to be fitted into a small plant room and new flue arrangements installed. The new boilers were required to be available for service by the start of the heating season.
We chose Remeha Quinta Pro boilers for this project, due to their high efficiency and small footprint. These boilers have an integrated control system as an option and we chose this, so as to obtain the optimum performance from them.
The university now benefits from the improved reliability and performance of these boilers which is important for comfort and economy.
In accordance with current regulations for educational establishments, we installed automatic gas and CO detection equipment, which automatically shuts off the gas supply in the event that it detects a leak within the boiler room.
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Through the design & installation of modern energy-efficient condensing boilers, replacing life-expired district heating, the school benefited from attractive energy efficiency savings.
The site legacy
This extensive school complex, spread over multiple buildings, had inherited a district heating system from the site’s previous occupiers. The system had become life-expired with poor insulation, leaks, and long lengths of buried ducting causing considerable energy losses.
Asters were chosen to carry out replacement of the installation.
Our remit was to isolate and disconnect the incoming district heating pipework & install energy-efficient condensing boilers as the source of heating. In order to do this we had to extend an existing gas main to serve the new boilers and fit new insulation to the pipework.
Aster Maintenance had to design the boiler room layout & pipework, co-ordinate this with the new BMS panel that was also being fitted, and commission the system.
The work included replacement control valves to regulate the heating & hot water in the building. The existing pumps were replaced with energy-saving inverter-driven pumps, offering further economies in service.
All this work had to be undertaken during a school holiday period, with the system available for service by the first day of the following term. Careful co-ordination of all the various trades involved in a project of this complex nature was required.
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Energy savings gained for Airport terminal by renewing the existing boilers with a modern heating plant
Airport terminal buildings served by the existing boilers were suffering from poor heating performance due to the age and condition of the heating plant.
The client’s requirements
Aster Maintenance were tasked with carrying out a partial replacement of the heating plant supplying the main terminal building and one of the aircraft maintenance hangars.
The existing modular boilers were functional but showing obvious signs of wear-and-tear. They were also starting to require extensive repairs to remain safe and serviceable.
As replacements, Asters installed two new Hamworthy Wessex ModuMax Mk3 boilers together with new flues. The main challenge that we faced was that two of the existing boilers were to be retained, working alongside the new units. This meant that the boiler pipework had to be specially modified, and new flueing arrangements installed.
These potential headaches were successfully overcome and the new boilers are now working alongside the two retained older units, helping the customer to realise energy savings from their more efficient operation.
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Careful planning was required installing a standby cooling system into a University’s data centre protecting critical servers and important data processing facilities.
Our brief from the client
This work was carried out by Aster Maintenance for a University in London. The task was to install backup cooling equipment in each of their 3 server rooms.
Past experience had taught them that in the event of a server room cooling equipment failure, spares were not always immediately available. This left them with a choice of either keeping a large stock of spares on site, with the chance that many of them would never be used, or installation of a backup cooling system for each server room.
The solution chosen
The University opted to install backup cooling systems, and Aster Maintenance were chosen to install them.
We installed a Mitsubishi split a/c unit in each server room, which presented challenges due to the restricted space available. Further challenges were overcome in running the pipework to the external condensers, through older buildings with room layout constraints.
We also had to install new power supplies to each of the new units.
All the work had to take place in the summer break between Semesters, meaning that careful planning of each activity was essential. The work was carried out during the space of a single week and commissioned successfully, leading to a satisfied client.
The client now has standby cooling readily available, which can be switched over by their own Facilities Manager. This gives a much quicker response time to problems with the main systems than was formerly available.
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Do you require greater control over the temperature when heating or cooling different areas of your office?
The lack of control over the building temperature was leading to a number of complaints from customers and frustrated staff for this busy office.
The faults we found
Aster Maintenance took over the HVAC maintenance of this medium-sized office building in West London from another provider. The building’s owners reported a severe lack of control in many of the office areas, leading to complaints from their staff and visitors.
One of our first tasks was to undertake a building-wide survey of all the HVAC plant - main Air Handling Units (AHUs) and the local Fan Coil Units (FCUs) to establish why there were so many problems.
Some of the issues found were faulty items of equipment such as actuators or FCU controllers, but the majority were controllers being set up or wired incorrectly. There were also a large number of valve actuators that had been removed for unknown reasons, and left ‘hanging’ by their wires.
What we had to do to solve the problems
Aster Maintenance undertook a programme of works to reinstate full control to all areas by addressing these problems in stages. We rewired one complete office area, where a replacement controller had been fitted that was incompatible with the valves it was attempting to control, thus leading to no control at all!
We completed the work by fitting a replacement discrete temperature controller to the building’s main AHU, in conjunction with fitting a new diverting valve on the heating coil. The existing valve had seized, having not operated for a considerable period of time due to being incompatible with the AHU controller, which had itself failed.
The building also benefited from Aster Maintenance replacing a failed expansion bellows and a failed expansion vessel on the heating system, which were identified during our very first maintenance visit.
The occupiers have been delighted with the restoration of temperature control to their office areas. Aster are currently undertaking the replacement of a number of complete fan-coil assemblies which have been isolated due to coil failures in the past.
These works are a part of the owners’ on-going investment programme to bring the building back to full serviceability.
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We were able to identify that the main VT (Variable Temperature) valve had been forced open and left at 100%, and also wrongly configured with the actuator in the wrong orientation. The building had no space sensor fitted, which was not helping matters.
We brought the building back under control by recommissioning the VT and HWS (Hot Water Service) motorised valves, and setting up the building controller correctly.
We also installed pump controls at the same time (these had been omitted in the original installation), which added to the economies achieved by switching off the pumps when the controls were not demanding them to run.
We fitted a room sensor to improve system regulation and enable ‘night setback’, reducing the temperature at night when most of the residents are asleep.
Following our remedial works the heating was fully controllable by the client, the VT heating regulated correctly and the gas consumption was brought back to a reasonable level.
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Did you know that you are required by law to possess a valid energy assessment report for your air conditioning system? However, organising regular energy efficiency assessments can also mean substantial savings. Read on for our top 10 facts on air conditioning inspections.
Key facts within this blog have been taken from the document; 'Improving the energy efficiency of our buildings: A guide to air-conditioning inspections for buildings', Published by the Department for Communities and Local Government, December 2012. Download the full document online at: http://www.communities.gov.uk/publications/planningandbuilding/airconditioning
To arrange air conditioning maintenance visits or an energy inspection report, contact us today for a no-obligation quote.
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As a mandatory programme, all large businesses in the UK will be affected by Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS).
Unfortunately, many of these large UK businesses that qualify for this programme are surprisingly unaware or prepared for it. All qualified businesses are required to comply with this mandatory government initiative by 5th December, 2015.
This date has been set as deadline for the first compliance period, by which all qualifying businesses will have to achieve compliance with the regulations and notify the Environment Agency.
If you are yet to prepare for this programme, there is still to enough time to get things underway and guarantee compliance before the deadline of the first compliance period. Failure to get this compliance promptly will make you susceptible to paying premium rates and hefty non-compliance fines.
The criteria for the inclusion to ESOS is clear-cut, but to explain further it applies to any large undertaking that is involved in trade or business (company) in the UK, and any corporate body where at least a member of the UK group meets the criteria of the ESOS.
That definition of a large undertaking for this purpose is one that has at least 250 employees, or has less than 250 employees but an annual turnover of €50 million (£38,937,777) and a balance sheet of €43 million (£33,486,489). Most public bodies are not included, but some that may qualify include some Universities.
In order to comply with the regulations, a “Lead Energy Assessor” will need to conduct an audit to include the following:
The main aim of the ESOS is to help identify opportunities to reduce energy use and to cut the consumption, emission and consequently the cost.
If you have yet to start the compliance procedures all you need to do is to contact us on 01252 844055 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We provide a complete suite of ESOS services that will help companies achieve compliance with the regulations in a cost effective and efficient manner and turn energy-saving opportunities to your business advantage. Avoid paying premium rates and hefty non-compliance fines. We have a great wealth of experience and have already worked with lots of companies to help them comply with ESOS.
We cover Hampshire, Surrey, Berkshire, Dorset, Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Sussex, and London.
So if you need to comply with ESOS, require clarification or have any questions please contact us on 01252 844055 or email email@example.com
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Let's face it, things are changing when it comes to the weather - temperature fluctuations bringing in icy conditions as well as heat waves. Have you thought about the potential impact a heating failure could have at your school in the Winter? Schools need to be prepared for the possible consequences of heating failure, the financial impact, and how these failures can be prevented.
With a heating failure, not only will pupils and teachers suffer from the cold temperatures, with lack of energy, lower test results and a loss of focus being just some of the symptoms, but infrastructure can obviously be damaged when under attack from repeated low temperatures. This can lead to breakdowns and potential school closures.
Financial impact can arise from the many areas of the school that will be affected from a heating failure. Temporary heating devices may cost an initial outlay, and may not be as energy and cost efficient as they could be. Heating failures, when they relate to power supply, may cause problems with catering leading schools, who will need to consider the impact of short term catering measures on both their budgets and the pupil’s health and wellbeing.
In many cases the school may have to close meaning that children will not be able to attend school and will therefore have to stay at home or with a friend or relative.
In addition to the direct impact that this can have on the school, it can also create financial impact on the parents who may have to take time out of work to look after the child. That can then also have a knock on effect to the people that employ them. Who is going to cover their work whilst absent?
How can heating failure be prevented in schools?
These heating failures can be prevented by regular maintenance of your heating system. A maintenance plan, with regular visits from fully trained engineers, can help locate and repair problems before they occur. This not only saves you from potential failures and closures, but can also be extremely cost effective.
Historically, schools and educational establishments have not been always been committed to looking at their heating systems with a long term view. By committing to a regular maintenance plan, any educational establishment, whether it is a school, college or university, can be sure that the financial impact of a heating failure can be minimised significantly, if not eradicated completely.
Notably there are now Insurance policies that parents can take out against the cost implication to them, especially as many companies are now refusing to pay staff when this type of occurance happens. This article in the Daily Telegraph explains further.
Regular maintenance of your school’s heating system also improves its efficiency and is better for the environment while saving essential funds. Your school not only saves on the possible financial impact of heating failures, but regular maintenance will make the school’s heating system more efficient, providing long term benefits.
Contact us to help you with minimising the chance of your heating system failing.