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Optimising Artefact Preservation and Energy Efficiency: SensorCIS at a Local Authority

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Optimising Artefact Preservation and Energy Efficiency: SensorCIS at a Local Authority

SUMMARY

The Museum (Local Authority client) faced challenges in maintaining the optimal temperature for preserving its artefacts. They relied on air handling units (AHUs) to achieve the required humidity and temperature, however, the excessive usage of outside air led to high operational costs and energy consumption.

The Local Authority partnered with Ultan Technologies and implemented SensorCIS, a utility monitoring system. We also reviewed their energy and water use in this building and recommended some changes.

By adopting an air recirculation strategy and integrating a CO2 sensor, the Museum switched to recirculating the existing air in the museum when possible. This change led to an immediate significant drop in energy usage. SensorCIS dashboards reflected substantial savings in electricity, gas, and water, marking a success in an energy management initiative.

Artifacts at Risk: Addressing the Museum's Energy Consumption Challenge

The Local Authority’s Museum, located next to the sea, faced significant challenges in maintaining ideal temperature conditions for preserving its artefacts.

The museum relied on two energy-intensive air handling units (AHUs) to achieve the required 50% humidity and temperature between 18-20 degrees Celsius.

We audited the building in December 2022 and as a result of the audit, we recommended that the AHUs be reconfigured to use the appropriate amount of outdoor air (it was using 100% outdoor air) in order to achieve large savings in Gas, Electricity and Water. 

This could be done while maintaining the building at the required humidity and temperature levels and also maintaining the desired air quality for Visitors and Staff.

Electricity Savings Per Week

2,500 kWh

50% savings in Water

4,000 kWh Gas Savings per week

This has led to savings of up to 2,500 kWh per week in Electricity, savings of up to 4,000 kWh per week in Gas and savings of up to 50% of water. These values are for the higher-use periods, but significant savings are also made throughout the year.

Some details of the set up and work are simplified in this case study for ease of understanding.

SensorCIS dashboard shows a significant drop in energy usage within weeks.

Inefficient Air Circulation Cycle

These AHUs used outside air only. They heated this to meet the temperature requirements and then sprayed water into the air to meet the desired humidity level. The ongoing intake of fresh air to maintain the museum conditions consumed a lot of electricity and gas for heating and more water to meet the required humidity.

Above shows a system that IS using returned warm air

Gas Boilers were connected to the AHU Heating Coils to help heat the air and electricity was used in the AHU Fans and in the DX Cooling Coils to cool the air.

This energy-intensive process led to high operational expenses and put a strain on the museum’s budget. The inefficiency of the existing system became a concern that needed immediate attention.

Rising costs and utility usage concerns prompted the museum’s management to seek an innovative solution to optimise their energy consumption and cut costs.

The customizable nature of the Excel templates in SensorCIS allows for detailed financial reports including comparative analyses of energy expenditure. This enables CFOs to forecast and budget to predict future costs based on historical data, and identify trends, anomalies, and opportunities for cost-saving measures. This level of detail is crucial for effective budget management and financial planning.

Costs can be examined at a different granular levels – Quarter-Hourly up to Annually.

This SensorCIS dashboard breaks down energy usage drops - weekly, daily and hourly.

Audit, SensorCIS & Air Recirculation Strategy

The local authority partnered with Ultan Technologies to review how the HVAC systems consumed the energy and water to meet the required conditions. Using SensorCIS, (our energy management system) it was possible to see the energy
consumption under different weather conditions and allowed us to recommend
changes to the configuration to achieve savings.

Our proposal involved implementing an air recirculation strategy and installing a CO2 sensor to automate the process:

  • The CO2 sensor determines when it was safe for the AHU to recirculate the existing air in the museum and reduced the need for excessive fresh air intake. Thus, external air usage would be minimised.
  • This would reduce the heating needed to get that air up to the desired temperature and it would reduce the water needed to get it to the desired humidity.
  • CO2 sensors are used to determine when fresh air should be used in the cycle again.
Weekly comparison is displayed in easy-to-read dashboards, that can be exported into a PDF.

Drop in Energy and Water Usage

The implementation of these recommendations resulted in cost and usage savings for the Local Authority’s Museum.

The the new energy management approach (which was proved through the data collected on SensorCIS) led to savings of up to 2,500 kWh per week in Electricity, savings of up to 4,000 kWh per week in Gas and savings of up to 50% of Water. These all led to significant cost savings. See below for a dashboard example.

Transforming the Way Energy Is Saved

By addressing the inefficiencies in the AHUs’ operations, the museum achieved its goal of preserving artefacts while substantially cutting down on energy and water consumption.

The successful collaboration with Ultan Technologies not only improved the museum’s environmental sustainability but also freed up financial resources that could now be redirected toward enhancing exhibits and visitor experiences.

The Museum now stands as a shining example of how innovative energy management solutions can transform operations and benefit both cultural institutions and the environment.