Home / How Multiple Retirement Homes In The UK Improved The Living Conditions Of Their Inhabitants And Reduced Their Heating Bills Using Vicki LoRaWAN®

The client

Voytech Systems is a UK-based company that produces the Sitelink BMS control system, a low-cost Building Management system with native on-site LoRaWAN integration and device drivers for a variety of LoRaWAN devices including the Mclimate Vicki TRV. The Sitelink BMS extends conventional building control to the occupied areas of a building using LoRaWAN, allowing energy-efficient control of large numbers of zones using wireless zone sensors and TRVs to optimise building operation.

Challenges

Our customers were looking for a solution to reduce heating energy consumption in a number of residential care homes across the UK. They needed a wireless, retrofitable, long-range device that waseasy to install, and that could be used to control radiators in many different rooms.

These buildings are equipped with a lot of radiators—in every residents room, as well as in all of the shared spaces – corridors, kitchens, living rooms, TV rooms etc. The existing system used a conventional BMS to control the boilers and primary heating circuit, and allowed all radiators to be manually operated with no active measures to reduce energy consumption. This meant that a lot of energy was being spent where it wasn't needed, which led to higher energy bills.

Goal

It was important to find a solution that allows the temperature in individual rooms to be controlled remotely, allowing the automatic control system to set day and night-time target temperatures, without any major repairs and without disrupting the comfort of the occupants.

Solution

The solution was to install multiple (50 to 300 depending on the site) of our Vicki smart thermostatic valves. . The Vicki TRVs are integrated with the Voytech Sitelink Building Management System (BMS) which supports native LoRaWAN devices. The BMS control logic manages each group of one or more TRVs, using the Vicki 'Child-lock' functionality to operate shared spaces with setpoints set by the BMS and not adjustable by the occupants. In addition LoRaWAN room Temperature/Motion sensors are used to control intermittently occupied spaces so that the TRVs switch to lower setpoints when the rooms are not occupied. In areas with opening windows, wireless LoRaWAN window switches are used to prevent TRV operation if windows are open. All zones are controlled from the BMS using time schedules so that TRV setpoint targets are reduced or TRVs disabled outside of the occupancy time period.

All TRVs feedback information to the BMS reporting if heating is required by the TRV. The BMS uses the total TRV heating requirements combined with outside air temperature to optimise heat supplied to the building under different conditions and minimise gas usage.

Installation of the TRVs was carried out with no issues, replacing existing thermostatic TRV heads with the Vicki TRV either directly or using adapters.

Results & Benefits

1500+

Vicki Smart TRVs installed

30%

Estimated reduction of the heating costs

20%

CO2 emissions saved per building

The Vicki TRV integrated with the Voytech BMS allows for much greater control over heating in every room within the building compared with conventional installations. This high resolution control allows for greater energy savings to be achievable by minimising unnecessary energy wastage on a room by room basis.

Energy usage data from two of the customers buildings was analysed using Degree Day data from the local area to compare energy usage before and after installation of the Voytech BMS and Vicki TRVs. The buildings have the following configuration:

BUILDING A

3400 m²

3 Floors, 49 flats, corridors & communal areas

217

MClimate Vicki installed

365 mWh

Average annual energy use

Energy use for heating
80% of total energy

2019/2020

292.5 mWh

2020/2021

203.4 mWh

2019/2020

292.5 mWh

2020/2021

203.4 mWh

2019/2020

292.5 mWh

2020/2021

203.4 mWh

Energy savings

Daily temperatures

30.5 %

unadjusted

Monthly temperatures

22.8 %

degree day-adjusted

£13,700.00

Estimated savings post installation
(£0.2/kWh)

BUILDING B

3400 m²

3 Floors, 40 flats, corridors & communal areas

290

MClimate Vicki installed

453 mWh

Average annual energy use

Energy use for heating
80% of total energy

2019/2020

377.3 mWh

2020/2021

231.1 mWh

2019/2020

377.3 mWh

2020/2021

231.1 mWh

2019/2020

377.3 mWh

2020/2021

231.1 mWh

Energy savings

38.7 %

Daily temperatures unadjusted

33.6 %

Monthly temperatures degree day-adjusted

£25,900.00

Estimated savings post installation
(£0.2/kWh)

The results demonstrate that savings of 20% to 30% or more are achievable using the Voytech BMS in conjunction with the Vicki TRV. Control of residential care homes requires high energy use and almost continuous heating due to the vulnerable nature of the occupants. In commercial office applications there is even more scope for energy reduction by the use of more occupant driven control operation using motion sensors and window interlocks. Using LoRaWAN Vicki TRV has a battery life of up to 10 years, which saved our customers time of changing batteries on an yearly basis.

“Vicki is the perfect solution for those buildings, some of them more than 100 years old. It allowed us to improve the energy consumption and results are seen after the very first heating season.”

Richard Fargus, Voytech Systems Ltd.

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