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Energy Use in the small office environment

A substantial amount of the global workforce spend one third of their day sitting at desks in a variety of locations from large office complexes, to Portakabins and spaces within industrial and commercial buildings. In this post we explore the energy usage and comfort within one of these work places, but also highlight some opportunities to reduce costs.

Kevin is a director at TKA Firestopping Specialists based out of Cork, Ireland. They operate offices within the upper floor of their commercial unit, facilitating 4 full time staff and associated ICT. The office space itself is 80 metres squared with a suspended ceiling. Heated by a mixture of both air-conditioning and Dyson fan heaters. Lighting is plentiful and delivered by fluorescent units within the ceiling.

Over a year ago, Kevin asked us to install a monitoring system which would allow him to understand 2 things within the premises;

1. Energy consumption and breakdown

2. Environmental conditions

A live view of a day in TKA of Energy and temperature

TKA's realtime web dashboard depicting usage of all key energy consumers in the building

The past 50 days of consumption in TKA Graphed against Tempurature and Costs over time.

Within about an hour of delivery, Kevin had a DCSix Wattrics unit monitoring his energy consumption across 10 electrical single and 3 phase circuits. He also had 3 wireless temperature, humidity and light sensors installed sending back data to the Wattrics platform every 10 seconds, giving a near real-time view of energy usage and environmental conditions.

Return on investment:

After week one it was possible to identify the energy hogs. In this case, they were represented in the form of a rogue immersion heater for a sink in a room which was not used and lighting which was not being switched off. Kevin found it very surprising how quickly the load associated with fluorescent lighting builds up.

By linking energy consumption in near real-time with temperature and humidity it was possible to see that the existing heating methods found it impossible to heat the office temperature above 17 degrees Celsius in March 2019. Wattrics allowed Kevin to recognize some measures that had to be put in place to allow office temperatures to climb above 19 degrees.

Wattrics helped TKA to make two small changes that lead to massive savings:

1. Distribute 200mm of insulation above the suspended ceiling.

2. Remove half of the tubes from lights which were not directly over a workstation.

Upon insulating the ceilings, temperatures soared above 24 degrees easily and allowed comfort levels to increase dramatically for staff. The warmth lasted for several hours after turning off the heating.

While TKA have increased the comfort within the office. DCSix's Wattrics has allowed Kevin to:

1. Appreciate when, where and how he is using energy

2. Reduce heating load by 15%

3. Reduce lighting load by 25%

Which have enabled a nett annual saving of €235 for TKA

DCSix April 2020

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