Elcomponent Keeps An Eye On Energy In The Antarctic

The brief

In support of its strong commitment to minimising the environmental impact of its operations, the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) is making extensive use of energy sub-metering equipment and software supplied by Elcomponent, a leading developer of energy monitoring systems and solutions. Elcomponent equipment is installed both at the BAS UK headquarters in Cambridge, and at the organisation's research stations in the Antarctic.

The main installation in the Antarctic is at BAS's Rothera research station, a research centre that is operational all year round with a staffing level that ranges from around 20 people in the winter up to 120 people at the height of the local summer. The research station derives all of its electricity from on-site marine gas oil powered generator sets, with the demand varying from 180 kW in the winter to as much as 360 kW in the summer.

The principal loads on the electrical system are the research station's IT and communications equipment, its kitchen installations, its drinking water plant and lighting. To determine exactly where the energy is being used with a view to identifying opportunities for making savings, BAS has installed ten Elcomponent sub-meters, with an additional 14 meter being connected to the system this year.

Our solution

Fortunately, the Elcomponent equipment was designed with ease of installation in mind, which meant that BAS electricians were easily able to install the equipment itself, prior to final commissioning by the IT dept. A decided advantage bearing in mind that the site is one of the most remote on the planet!

Data from the Elcomponent system at the Antarctic research station is monitored at the organisation's Cambridge headquarters via a satellite link. Analysis of the data is also performed in Cambridge.

Currently, a major area of focus for the BAS energy-monitoring programme is the reverse-osmosis unit that supplies the drinking water for the Rothera research station. This is one of the largest electrical loads, and the BAS team are using data from the energy monitoring system as an aid to finding ways in which its overall consumption can be reduced.

The Elcomponent system is also proving useful at the BAS headquarters in Cambridge, where it is, for example, being used to generate baseline data for a lighting installations before it is converted to use LED bulbs and luminaires. After the conversion, the data currently being gathered will allow an accurate assessment to be made of the energy saved by the new light sources prior to site-wide roll-out of the scheme.

The sub-metering system is also providing invaluable data about the energy used by the organisation's IT installation, as it yields information that is sufficiently detailed to allow the power consumption of the servers to be monitored separately from that of the air-conditioning plant. This is making the task of optimising the rooms cooling much easier and it will also allow the savings to be quantified.

BAS installed the first phase of its Elcomponent sub-metering system almost three years ago, and has found that the data it produces is an invaluable aid to enhancing energy efficiency and reducing carbon emissions. In the near future, the organisation plans to extend the system to include detailed monitoring of a facility currently being constructed in the Antarctic on behalf of the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research. This will incorporate a roof-mounted a solar PV installation which has the potential to make a significant contribution to the building's energy use during the summer period and BAS are keen to ensure that this is utilised to maximum effect.

Elcomponent's managing director Bill Gysin commented saying...

"It's a privilege to be associated with an organisation with the credentials of BAS. They are right at the cutting edge of the effects of Climate Change, and that awareness is in the forefront of everything they do. The fact that they use Elcomponent systems to assist them in their own energy and carbon management strategies is something we're very proud of."


Providing a comprehensive energy analysis solution for Buro Happold

Elcomponent The UK's Leading MeterRing System Providers Install their 500th Automatic Energy Monitoring and Targeting System

The brief

Elcomponent have been a major force in the supply and installation of Automatic Sub-MeterRing Systems for many years, and have just installed their 500th automatic energy monitoring and targeting system. The milestone was reached with a multi-utility package provided for the West End offices of leading consulting engineers Buro Happold.

Providing a comprehensive energy analysis solution..

Elcomponent has designed and installed both hardware and software to allow a floor by floor breakdown of all major energy loads including heating, lighting, and A/C plant. Buro Happold are at the leading edge of sustainable design for the built environment, and naturally their own energy monitoring and carbon efficiency is a top priority.

Elcomponent have a great deal of experience in providing retrofit energy monitoring solutions for submetering, but according to their lead installer Rai Gaidys, the job was a challenging one...

"The client's specification was clear, but implementing it meant we had to bring a large number of small loads together to provide the required data. Fortunately our latest meter designs provide so much additional flexibility we could deliver the system 'as required' within budget and with no supply interruptions".

This new energy meter technology employs much smaller and lighter current transformers which are not only easier to fit into tight spaces, they also use much lighter gauge cables, and can be connected in multiple without any additional bulky 'summation' hardware - just one of the reasons why Elcomponent continue to offer the best performance and best value in automatic sub-metering systems for energy analysis.

Although the 500th installation was in a commercial building, the company has recently signed off automatic energy monitoring systems in the Higher Education sector at Kingston University London, the manufacturing sector at Ball Aerocan in Devizes, and for the NHS at the Hywel Dda Hospital in South Wales.

CHEP searching for environmental sustainability

Elcomponent, the UK's provider of leading energy management solutions, supports CHEP in its search for environmental sustainability

The brief

CHEP, the global leader in pallet and container pooling services, has implemented an environmental sustainability programme to reduce the impact of its plant operations. CHEP is now using Elcomponent's SPC Pro portable three-phase energy data loggers to monitor the energy use of individual plant and processes across Europe.

CHEP selected SPCPro for this application because it is easy and safe to use, it requires no special knowledge of electrical systems to operate and because of its compact and lightweight, yet robust, construction.

The SPCPro energy data loggers are playing a key role in CHEP's 'Measure to Manage' programme, which the company has implemented to provide accurate and detailed information about the energy consumed by machines and equipment in its service centres in the UK, Ireland, Benelux and Spain.

The information produced by the data loggers is carefully analysed, using the 'PowerPackPro' software package supplied as part of the SPCPro kit, to reveal areas of high consumption and to identify opportunities for improving energy management so as to reduce both the company's expenditure on energy and its carbon footprint.

Portable Data Loggers were the obvious choice for energy management

Since CHEP has so many sites and so much equipment, portable instruments were the logical (and very cost-effective) choice for this application. Many portable three-phase energy data loggers, however, require specialist knowledge to use safely since they require voltage connections to be made to all three phases, usually with some form of temporary connector such as a crocodile clip. While this is no problem for a properly trained technician, it is certainly not a task that should be attempted by anyone who does not have the appropriate skills.

By contrast, the SPCPro requires only one voltage input and this is easily and safely obtained by plugging the instrument in to the nearest wall socket - a job which anyone can do safely. The instrument's current transformers are fully insulated flexible loop types and are, therefore, equally safe and easy to use.

Elcomponent's innovative and highly acclaimed 'PowerPackPro' software which is used to analyse the data from the instrument ensures that despite the use of only one voltage input, accurate and dependable information about real energy use is obtained. These factors, along with the very competitive price of the SPC Pro, were decisive for CHEP in its choice of instruments as part of an effective environmental sustainability programme.


Elcomponent's Energy Pro Data Logger Provides Accurate Energy Measurement for High-Efficiency Cooling.

The brief

ebm-papst are world leaders in supplying high-efficiency fans and motors to OEM markets in HVAC, IT, Industrial and Domestic markets. They are also involved in the upgrade market, assisting their customers to reduce energy usage costs and carbon emissions by changing existing AC fans to new more efficient EC technology.

Due to the large number of variables inherent in the re-design of fan cooling systems they do not rely solely on their own in-house performance data for calculating expected energy savings they carry out customer trials using a portable data logger to verify actual performance in the field.

The solution

The Chelmsford based company has opted for Elcomponent's Energy Pro Data logger as the reference instrument for all customer trials of their innovative 'EC Technology' fan products. EC (Electronic commutation) fans are high efficiency DC Motors but with direct connection AC mains supply.

They deliver energy savings of over 30% compared to traditional AC types in a typical data centre environment.

Savings are achieved through a combination of motor efficiency and improved impeller designs, all of which results in a fan that is cooler, quieter, and above all is energy efficient and costs a lot less to run.

ebm-papst UK Ltd are offering their customers a 'trial' installation so that energy savings can be proven before the project is rolled out to cover the entire cooling scheme, and Elcomponent's Energy Pro3 phase data logger is used for the energy measurement duties.

The Energy Pro is just part of Elcomponent's range of portable data loggers for electricity measurement, which includes the SPC Loggers - designed specifically for Energy Managers -as well as professional power quality analysers such as the PowerPro.

Clients Feedback

James Cooper, ebm-papstProduct Manager explains...

"We needed a rugged portable instrument that would measure all aspects of motor performance and cope with the special demands of non-sinusoidal waveforms in our EC fan motors. Elcomponent's Energy Pro ticks all the boxes - it's easy to use, and it's very close to the lab instruments on our airflow test rig in terms of accuracy. It allows us to demonstrate directly to our customers that the 30%+ energy savings we claim for the EC fans are real and guaranteed!"

Elcomponent MD Bill Gysin comments...

"We are always proud to be associated with energy saving technology that works, and ebm-papst have made a huge investment reducing their customers' costs and carbon emissions. However, accurate measurement is key to delivering that technology to the market."

Kingston University

Kingston University London SAVES 25% with Elcomponent Sub-metering

Kingston University is a major seat of learning with over 25000 students and 2,500 full-time members of staff. It comprises four main campus locations from the banks of the Thames in the West, to Wimbledon Common in the East.

With over 170 buildings from listed structures to the brand-new Business School at Kingston Hill, energy and carbon management is a major challenge, but the university continues to score highly for green credentials. KUL implemented its Carbon Management Plan in 2008, and is on target to reduce emissions by 35% by 2020 via a combination of focused investment and excellent management.

Fundamental to the strategy is the implementation of a comprehensive automatic sub-metering system across all three utilities. This provides half-hour data on both tariff and sub-meters, and can be configured to drive realtime Building Energy Dashboard Displays.

This was demonstrated very clearly when a major lighting and air handling upgrade was carried out at the University's Sopwith Building. Initial performance was good, but careful evaluation of the sub-meter data showed that some adjustments were needed, which once implemented resulted in a 25% drop in electricity usage. This equated to approximately 320,000 kWh over a year, or around 168 tons of CO2.

According to Energy Manager, Wayne Hitchings...

"It's essential for a number of reasons that the detailed consumption data which the system provides is readily available in a clear and concise form. One of those reasons is that it is crucial for the evaluation of new energy efficient plant and equipment - of which there is much - to ensure the projected savings are being achieved."

SPC Pro Achieves 51% Savings

SPC Pro Achieves 51% Saving at MoD Site!

The brief

Leading Energy and Carbon Reduction Specialists C3 Resources Ltd are metering and data logging experts so it's no surprise that Elcomponent's SPC PROs are a major part of their toolkit. However, a recent major project opportunity required an even more innovative approach than usual to work around the restrictions of the site and its operating conditions.

The energy data logger SPC PRO is usually plugged into the mains whilst logging, but it's a versatile instrument and for applications where no voltage hookup is available, its hefty internal battery provides up to 3 weeks logging. However in this instance that was not sufficient. The project was going to need at least 20 units in use simultaneously for up to six weeks, and in order to provide the necessary survey endurance to ascertain the full potential for carbon reduction, a new approach was needed.

The challenge was to double the battery life of the SPC PRO but remain within the tight cost constraints necessary to keep the project viable. It was also important that the instrument's core advantages of compact dimensions and ease-of-use in the field were not compromised as a data logger.

We needed a solution to modify our data logger

The solution came in the form of a very efficient external lithium-ion rechargeable battery pack which boosted the 'no voltage available' survey duration of the SPC PRO from three to six weeks. Integrating the additional battery pack required some modifications to the data logger which were carried out as a 'level 2 special build' during production, and took the form of a revised power supply design and a new input socket to allow the external battery to be connected.

These 'C3 Specials' were supplied as complete kits in Elcomponent's standard zip-up case complete with all accessories and ready to start work immediately.


Ian Beynon, Operations Director at C3 Resources takes up the story...

"The level of service from Elcomponent was excellent and it was really refreshing to work with a dynamic, forward-thinking, company that understands and cares about their customer needs. The SPC PRO data loggers with the bespoke modifications have already been utilised extensively throughout the MOD estate and are really proving their worth in search of carbon reduction opportunities. In one recent application 51% of HVAC energy was saved by identifying out-of hours electricity consumption. As a result of the 'Energy Mapping' exercise 13% of the total building's electricity has been saved."

Elcomponent Sales Manager Debbie Burton adds...

"I really wanted to be able to help the guys at C3 Resources out, although the spec initially sounded like a tough call. In fact, the project went very smoothly - they were able to tell us exactly what they needed and we were able to agree the revised logger spec, and then sign off the design and build the units inside six weeks."

University of Strathclyde

Major Metering Project Completes Ahead of Time

Elcomponent have recently completed the first two phases of a campus-wide sub-metering package at the University of Strathclyde. The company tendered successfully for the business and were awarded the contract in May 2013, and the initial phase comprising data acquisition for almost 200 meters was completed inside a two-week window in July.

The Requirement

It was imperative that the initial phase of the work was completed to a tight timescale to minimise any disruption to the operation of the University, which like most HE establishments sees only a minor reduction in activity during student vacation periods. The University is committed to delivering a 50% reduction in its greenhouse gas emissions over the next 5 years and automatic sub-metering is a fundamental step to achieving that goal.

Clients Feedback

The nature of the Strathclyde campus (many separate buildings in the centre of Glasgow) added to the challenge, but according to Elcomponent MD Bill Gysin the LAN-based package that the company supplied simplified the job considerably.

"The time frame was tight" he reports, "but we had maximum co-operation from the Estates team and their colleagues, and although many new meters were fitted, quite a few were already in place. We had to install the communications hardware, and link everything up and test it before integrating it into the campus LAN. Our MODBUS/TCP architecture and Meter Network Controllers made that easy to do, and although we initially thought some radio links would be required, it turned out not to be necessary in most cases, so we were able to control costs very tightly."

Elcomponent say their new Meter Network Controller can talk successfully to just about any meter out there - MODBUS, M-BUS or pulse output, and was used exclusively for data collection & storage on the Strathclyde job to provide a flexible device interface, and improve system resilience.


This in turn will assist us in achieving our ambitious energy demand reduction targets.

David Charles - Energy Engineer
University of Strathclyde

The English Provender Company

Elcomponent Metering System Saves £16K at Fine Food Factory

It's all in the name... The English Provender Company are manufacturers of very delightful chutneys, curds, condiments and salad dressings.

The recipes are simple enough - old-style English fare made with the finest ingredients using traditional methods, so quality control is of paramount importance. The best ingredients do not come cheap, and with one notable exception must be used in exactly the right quantities. The notable exception is of course energy, and whilst the company will not compromise its recipes to even the smallest degree, it is passionate about delivering the finished product with an energy content which is as low as possible.

The solution

This isn't easy - many of the manufacturing processes such as 'open pan' cooking represent an energy management challenge, but it's one that site Process Manager Nick Green is ready for...

"Ultimately we need to know the exact energy content of all our products, but right now we're making significant savings by taking control of unnecessary usage" he says. The tool that has allowed this to take place is a fully integrated multi-utility sub-metering system installed by Elcomponent. "It has provided invaluable information on the various processes, right from day one."

The system provides half-hour data on electricity, water and gas usage, and has enabled English Provender to get a grip on their utility usage in a way that is simply not possible without automatic sub-metering. Significant savings on gas & electricity have been realised by ensuring that plant and equipment runs only when needed, and better control of water usage has already reduced consumption by 5%. Overall savings of about £16,000.00 p.a. have been realised.

The Elcomponent system also provides wireless radio-based automatic temperature monitoring to 26 points including warehouse storage areas, freezers and blast chillers. Obviously the chilled areas must be managed efficiently to minimise energy usage and the Elcomponent MeterRing MM package offers temperature measurement as an integral function - something that is normally handled via a completely separate system.

Clients Feedback

Nick Green is clear about the advantages of the Elcomponent approach...

"Being able to monitor and graph temperature on the same desktop as energy and utility usage is a massive advantage" he says. "So much so, we're scoping out the installation of the system in our other manufacturing sites."

Elcomponent sales engineer, Stef Kawalek, is obviously pleased with the outcome...

"We've recently added radio-based temperature logging to our system capability" he notes, "and that made all the difference here. A combination of cable, radio and LAN means we can deliver a cost-effective working solution in the most challenging and complex environment."

University of Bath

Elcomponent Energy Management Software MeterRing MM Saves £35,000PA, a 50% improvement in energy efficiency

The brief

Built in 2005, the cutting edge architecture of the 3 West North building - part of the Department of Physics - reflects the university's commitment to providing the very highest quality of teaching and research accommodation. Encompassing hi-tech fabrication facilities, laboratories, classrooms and a 200 seat lecture theatre, the building also had to balance intensive energy use with the lowest possible running costs and carbon footprint.

Being Highly Pro-active With Energy Management

Accurate and detailed energy measurement is key to ensuring best practice in terms of energy efficiency, and in this arena Bath University has been highly pro-active. The entire campus is metered by an Elcomponent 'MeterRing MM' automatic sub-metering system, which provides around 1000 data streams on every aspect of energy usage and carbon equivalency on a site-wide basis. The system was of course specified for 3 West North and aggregated meter readings showed that the building was consuming electricity at a rate of some £70K+ per annum.

Combining the data with a coherent action plan is essential if energy savings are to be realised and maintained, and in this instance the plan was the university's 'Big Energy Challenge' which involves the appointment of an 'Energy Champion' for the building. This role is a challenging one as it requires detailed knowledge of the department and processes to enable an effective action plan for energy efficiency to be produced. The energy management plan was created in conjunction with senior departmental staff and the university's energy experts, and defined energy reduction measures which did not present a risk to the integrity of research projects and other critical loads, but still had the ability deliver worthwhile savings, and ultimately an energy efficient building.

The Results

Bath University's Energy Engineer Phil Auger reports that this was achieved in some style at this location as can be seen from the chart adjacent. The red trace shows the monthly consumption at the start of the project with the orange bar chart demonstrating the energy usage in the month following implementation of the new regime. The difference amounts to some £35,000 per annum - about 50% - not to mention a whopping 160 tonnes of CO2, which is a very impressive reduction in the buildings carbon footprint!