Articles

Air Source Energy – A Low-Carbon Solution that Delivers

By Phil Draper
Senior Technical and Sustainability Manager at Broadgate Estates

26 Jul 2016

Two years after we introduced an air source pump at 350 Euston Road, results have exceeded expectations. Gas use is down 85%, occupiers are benefiting from cost savings and people in the building are enjoying improved temperatures.

Air source heating and cooling is a renewable energy technology that takes free air from outside and uses it to heat and cool buildings.

We tested it at 350 Euston Road and it’s been such a success that we’re looking at rolling it out elsewhere. We’re also trying to get it specified into new developments early on, as we’ve found that this can actually cut capital expenditure on boilers and chillers if you get in there early enough.

So what are the results at 350 Euston Road?

The additional expenditure to retro fit the air source pump achieved payback within a year and now saves occupiers £60,000 every year. With a lifecycle of ten years, this is a great return on investment. We’ve also seen a 40% reduction in complaints relating to temperature by people in the building, supporting our wellbeing focus. In addition, the switch from gas boilers is cutting carbon emissions by 470 tonnes each year and has reduced the need for flues, minimising impacts on local air quality.

As an added bonus, our building team is finding that maintenance of the equipment is easier and cheaper than conventional boilers. Early-warning lights flag when there’s an upcoming issue that needs attention, much like a modern car with its dashboard alerts. This condition-based monitoring is a big change from traditional maintenance regimes, where engineering checks are scheduled four times a year or problems are only spotted when equipment stops working.

It’s no wonder that when we carried out energy audits in all our buildings as part of the Government’s Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme, 350 Euston Road’s air source pump was highlighted as a ‘champagne’ project to be considered in more buildings. More here.

It’s definitely proved to us is that this low-carbon solution not only makes sense for new buildings, it can be successfully retrofitted in existing buildings, delivering a win/win on cost savings, carbon reductions and comfort levels. I look forward to seeing more of them on London’s rooftops.

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