Variable speed pumps reduce HVAC costs on office block refurb

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Variable speed pumps from Armstrong Fluid Technology are reducing energy consumption at The Axis, a major commercial building in central Birmingham

Variable speed pumps reduce HVAC costs on office block refurbEmploying demand-based control technology, the Armstrong pumps will significantly reduce utility bills and improve the building’s environmental performance. In addition, the retrofitted pumps are capable of optimising energy efficiency across a wide operating envelope, offering the building’s owners the best possible environmental performance irrespective of changes in tenancy and occupation levels.

An office complex of 178,000ft2 on a 4.15 acre city centre site, location of The Axis has made it a popular commercial premises throughout its history. Now this 11-storey building, supported by London and Continental Railways Limited, has undergone a major HVAC refurbishment.

Armstrong Fluid Technology was asked by the site’s controls specialist, Demma Controls, to provide a proposal for refurbishing of the site’s HVAC pumping system as the existing models — fixed-speed end suction pumps from another manufacturer — were reaching the end of their useful life.

Armstrong was asked to suggest an alternative solution which would reduce energy consumption, improve efficiency and enhance the building's sustainability, with input from Demma Controls regarding the BMS interfacing. It was also important that the project could be carried out with minimal adaptation of pipework, and that the new pumps could be installed within a similar physical footprint to those currently installed.

Technical options

A number of different technical options, quantifying potential benefits, were compared by the Armstrong Fluid Technology’s sales team, who recommended a solution which was able to meet the project’s demanding requirements. The pumps, now installed at The Axis, are Armstrong 4300 Series Design Envelope IVS variable speed models which provide outstanding environmental performance by optimising energy efficiency of the system automatically across a wide range of operational conditions.

Armstrong 4300 Design Envelope pumps offer a complete solution for heating and cooling systems, integrating a Vertical In-Line pump, motor, and Intelligent Variable Speed controller. They reduce pumping costs through variable speed, demand-based operation, consuming only the energy required based on current system demand. The variable speed intelligence embedded in the controller enables the pump to respond instantaneously and automatically to system load, adjusting the speed of the pump and drawing only the power required to meet that load.

As the pumps are designed using Armstrong’s innovative Design Envelope concept, they offer a high level of energy efficiency capabilities across a wide operational range — energy efficiency continues to be optimised even if operational requirements of the building vary due to changes in tenancy or occupancy levels. This built-in safety net eradicates the need to trade-off the energy efficiency of the installation through over-sizing of equipment 'to be on the safe side'. It also futureproofs the building by providing more flexibility over time without the need for costly HVAC refurbishment/upgrading.

Efficiency of the pump motors is also well ahead of the incoming 2017 legislation which, in combination with the in-built variable speed intelligence, enables the pumps to deliver energy savings of up to 70 per cent.

Reduced installation times

Pump accessories specified for The Axis delivered further project savings by reducing installation times. Armstrong Suction Guides and Flo-Trex valves reduce the requirement for pipework and fittings, and perform multiple functions with a single component. This speeds up installation and reduces cost at the same time as offering a valuable reduction in physical footprint. The resulting space reduction made possible by pump accessories, and the vertical in-line design of the 4300 Series, enabled the pumps to be retrofitted within a similar footprint at The Axis, with much of the original pipework retained, delivering cost savings and speeding up the project delivery timescales.

Throughout their lifecycle, the pumps will also reduce maintenance costs for the building owners — the pumps feature a split-coupled design which enables seals to be replaced in-situ, without removing the pump or motor. This enables seal changes to be carried out in hours rather than days, without the need for specialist lifting equipment.

“We were delighted to work alongside Demma Controls to deliver the new pumping capability for this important refurbishment project." said David Roper, Area Sales Manager at Armstrong Fluid Technology. "The Armstrong 4300 pumps are an extremely effective and reliable choice for commercial buildings such as this, and the extra flexibility provided by the Design Envelope design concept provides additional peace of mind for the building owners and occupiers. Energy efficient operation is an automatic outcome, whatever operational changes may occur.”



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