New College Durham

New College Durham improves DEC rating with Danfoss Drives and Digicon

Danfoss Drives together with its premium HVAC partner Digicon, is at the forefront of energy saving innovation technologies and has helped thousands of businesses become greener and more efficient. One of the organisations that has enjoyed impressive savings is New College Durham, where the benefits have been recognised by staff and students alike.

New College Durham is a higher education and sixth form college in County Durham, England. It was founded in 1977 as a result of a merger between Neville’s Cross College of Education and Durham Technical College. The institution has been actively working on making sustainability and carbon reduction a key element of its operations for many years. The college management has previously implemented energy saving schemes that include solar power, rain water harvesting and Building Management System (BMS) optimisation.

In July 2017, following discussions with Danfoss business partner, Digicon Solutions,

the college decided to install Danfoss VLT® FC102 HVAC Drives in 30 Air Handling Unit Fan (AHU) applications. The drives were integrated into the existing CYLON BMS with kWh consumption data being analised over the entire site.

The VLT® HVAC FC 102 Drive brings optimised process control to all heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) applications. Easy to use and to install, the drive features a wide range of functions specifically developed for use with pumps, fans and compressors to save energy, meet environmental regulations and reduce costs in modern buildings.

The drives, feature compact construction, and are available with supply voltages and power ranges of 200-240 V…1.1-45 kW, 380-480 V…1.1 kW – 1 MW, 525-600 V…1.1-90 kW, 525-690 V…45 kW – 1.4 MW. The drives enhance the performance of pumps, fans and compressors. They are an excellent investment with a short payback time as all the necessary hardware, I/O options and communication protocols are built in and are well suited to the requirements of the building industry.

Prior to installation of the drives, all the AHU Fans on the College’s sites operated at full speed all the time, wasting a lot of energy. To remedy this, carbon dioxide sensors were installed in the AHU return air ducts and connected through the BMS, which enabled the actual occupation level of each individual area being served to be measured and controlled. The speed of the fans was then automatically reduced or increased by the drives to provide the exact rate of air exchange needed to maintain a healthy and comfortable environment.

“We are very happy with the newly implemented system which has provided the outcomes predicted in the initial survey from Digicon,” explained Richard Newton, Estates Manager from New Durham College. “We’ve made very large energy savings thanks to the accurate control the new inverter drives have provided over the air moving systems within the College. Crucially, in order to achieve the maximum benefits, the units are being used in tandem with focussed building reviews and regular optimisation of control systems at a BMS level. The big benefits we’re getting have led us to looking into other applications within the building where there is potential for using inverter drives to move from fixed speed to variable speed operation, and we already have several new applications in mind.”

In the twelve months since the project was implemented, the energy savings produced by the Danfoss’ VLT® FC102 HVAC Drives have been reflected in the improvement in the College’s already outstanding Energy Performance Operational Ratings, which are included in the building’s DEC (Display Energy Certificate). The rating for the main building has improved from 60 to 55, while the sports and music building has improved from a rating of 57 to 54. The College’s Estates and Facilities team have reported a positive impact on the buildings’ environment from the point of view of both students and staff.

“We have quickly discovered that the benefits of using Danfoss’ inverter drive technologies are not limited to energy savings,” said Richard. “They have also reduced the need to change filters and belts within our many AHUs because we pull less air over a given period through the filters, which means they last proportionally longer. In addition, the drive belts are less stressed due to the controlled starting and stopping, so they also last longer. This has led in turn to saving physical resources and financial outlay,” explained Richard.

“We have also noted a marked benefit to the working environment and a significant reduction of complaints during extreme weather, resulting from the capacity to alter speeds and air flow from a supply and extract point of view in relation to air quality, temperature, humidity, and so on. All of these benefits are easily perceived by building users and have been noted in reviews submitted to us in the Estates Department. We are very pleased with the results we have seen from working with Digicon and the Danfoss drives!” added Richard.