Solution: BMS Control System
Amazon.co.uk is one of the world’s leading online retailers. Our Client services their customers’ requirements through a series of large fulfilment centres (warehousing and packaging plants) located around the UK. Within each fulfilment centre there are a number of pick towers which hold the majority of stock items ready for selection and shipping.
The commercial environment within the pick towers is similar to many factories and generates a large amount of heat from lighting, machinery and staff activities. The employees and some of the product stored within the fulfilment centre had been suffering with summertime temperatures within the building peaking at over 45°C. This requires ventilation and cooling for most of the year to maintain a safe and comfortable working environment for the staff, whilst also having to maintain the correct parameters for the storage of the varied product lines held in the facility.
MECHON was tasked to design and implement an electronic HVAC control system with the primary remit of operating all ventilation and cooling systems at their most energy efficient point. The system was not to interfere with the effectiveness of the cooling functions of the HVAC system but utilise a combination of free evaporative and nighttime cooling within the daily cycle.
The result was an intelligent building management system (BMS) to monitor a number of ambient conditions and minimise energy usage throughout the HVAC systems. The free cooling control system monitors both the internal and external temperatures and varies the speed of the ventilation supply fans accordingly. The numbers of heat extraction fans allowed to operate are also controlled by the system, balancing the incoming and outgoing air flows. When the external ambient temperature rises above a number of pre-set values, the evaporative cooling systems cool the air coming into the building with little extra running cost, saving many thousands of pounds per year when compared to a conventional refrigerant based cooling systems. The control system continues to utilise free night-time cooling to reduce the temperature of the building fabric, in preparation for the following day.
The BMS display gives instant, accurate and easy to follow guidance to the facilities team, allowing them to monitor the system operation and energy use with ease. The system also allows maintenance teams to immediately spot minor faults quickly and efficiently. By having this information instantly at their fingertips it eliminates unnecessary and costly visits from specialist maintenance contractors.
Amazon employees have noticed a dramatic improvement to the environment within the fulfilment centre thanks to MECHON’s innovative solutions. Summertime peak temperatures have been dramatically reduced within the pick towers and the working environment has become noticeably more pleasant all year round for the staff. Temperatures within the pick towers have also remained more consistent throughout the winter due to the intelligent way that the control system regulates the volume and temperature of incoming ventilation air. The BMS control system ultimately maximised the benefit of the cooling and ventilation systems whilst making significant energy savings.