M1 Trial Cuts Energy Costs
11 August 2016
Costain is testing an innovative new energy management system that could save customers thousands of pounds a year in energy costs.
Developed by Nottingham controls and communications specialist TerOpta, the TeroLight EM system is being trialled at site accommodation at Junction 34 of the M1, where Costain is working on the Highways England Smart Motorways project.
The trial, known as the ASSEMBLE Project, also involves Nottingham University and the National Energy Foundation and is being funded by Innovate UK.
As Michael Sharratt, TerOpta CEO, explains, Costain was looking for a way to monitor and control energy usage at temporary site accommodation. “These types of building are often ‘off grid’ and powered by diesel generators and so can be expensive to run. People are coming in and out – if it’s too cold, they’ll turn the heaters up; if it’s too hot, they’ll open the windows, making it hard to control consumption and costs.
“Conventional energy management systems are too expensive to install in a building that may only have a lifetime of two to three years. They can also be too complex for the building’s users to adjust and control. That’s why we have developed a cheaper, simpler system that’s quick to install and can be easily controlled via any internet-connected device. And when the job is finished, it can be removed and taken on to the next project.”
The ten-month trial began in December last year, when the system was retrofitted in the M1 site’s office block and adjacent welfare block. The results, says Costain’s Matt Kingsley, Project Environment Manager, are promising.
“By reducing the temperature in the welfare block a few degrees, we’ve achieved a reduction in our electricity bill of more than £2000 a year – that’s easily a 20% saving. And in our training room alone, we’re on course to save more than £400 a year, again just by maintaining an even temperature. Better still, we’ve not received any complaints so we’re achieving our aim of reducing the amount of energy we use without affecting the buildings’ users.”
Matt believes the system could be useful at other Costain sites – and not just to save money. “The system also tells us how our equipment is performing. Recently for example, we saw that the energy consumption of one of the heaters had dropped. We realised that it had failed and were able to intervene to repair it before the heater burnt out. I believe that for every £1 we make in direct energy savings, we also save £1 in equipment maintenance.”
Added Damian Canning, Costain’s Head of Carbon Management: “This project is a great example of how our teams are responding to the Climate Week Challenge and helping to Engineer a Sustainable Tomorrow*. Collaboration is one of the ways we encourage innovation and deliver world first installations that continue to raise the bar.”
• ‘Engineering A Sustainable Tomorrow’ is the next phase of our Costain Cares commitment to build a sustainable business and is based on our four sustainability goals:
- Ensuring Costain is a safe and great place to work,
- Creating a better environment,
- Supporting our local communities and leaving a positive lasting legacy,
- Providing better solutions for the marketplace.
Costain Communications Department