30 May 2023

Leveraging Advanced Technology and Strategic Planning for an Energy-Efficient Future.


A residential scheme in Saffron Walden, home for the retired, faced a daunting challenge. A primary heating circuit failure led to a total loss of hot water and heating in the central plant room, affecting the entire estate and residents. The root cause was discovered to be corrosive, untreated water which had been circulating in the system for years. The immediate crisis required swift action, yet it was evident that a long-term, sustainable solution was needed.

A Crisis Calls for Innovation: Identifying and Addressing the Root Cause

The pipe's corrosion and subsequent system failure led to a critical review of the scope of the system's service and maintenance programme. It was soon discovered that this did not encompass necessary procedures, such as; sampling, testing, or remedial actions.

For many years, the system had been operating using completely untreated raw water.

Owing to the level of urgency, the client requested a prompt solution and asked for the calorifier to be replaced as soon as possible. However, a full onsite survey revealed a more comprehensive solution should be considered: a total refurbishment and upgrade of the plant room. This solution would not only address the immediate problem, but also provide an energy-efficient, long-term solution for the client (and hence the tenants) and it formed the basis for our recommendations.

Solving the Problem: System Refurbishment and Upgrade

The complete refurbishment project encompassed a thorough flushing, cleaning, and water treatment programme for the entire heating system. The actual domestic hot and cold water demand of the building was reassessed and the required size of the replacement hot water calorifier was almost half that of the storage cylinder that had failed, thus reducing the energy required to provide hot water by 50%.

The obsolete control system was replaced with a purpose-built energy management system and the entire heating system was recommissioned.

Each heating circuit was proportionally balanced and regulated to ensure that each zone in the building had the correct flow rate (versus design) and return temperature to meet the energy output when and where required.

A Successful Outcome: Satisfied Client and Enhanced Energy Efficiency

Our solution had a remarkable impact: the capital funding required for the project was offset very quickly as a result of improved system efficiency and reduced energy costs.

Following this successful implementation, the client requested that condition surveys for other housing schemes of a similar age and design were carried out immediately and that closed system sampling and analysis were to be carried out regularly across their portfolio of properties.

Conclusion: A Win-Win Situation for All Stakeholders

With the new system, the housing association significantly reduced heating and hot water service charges for the residents within a year. Additionally, the building energy management system enabled the client to actively monitor the building's energy consumption. This sustainable upgrade in Saffron Walden’s social housing scheme not only improved user experience and reduced reactive call-outs, but also fostered an environment-friendly, energy-efficient future for the tenants.

Your Partner in Sustainable Energy Solutions

Our successful intervention at Saffron Walden is a testament to our dedication to providing tailored, sustainable solutions. As we celebrate the expansion of our HVAC and Closed System department, we're excited to offer more in-depth services to all our clients.

Well-thought-out solutions can not only solve immediate issues, but also pave the way for a more energy-efficient and sustainable future. Our team at SMS Environmental is committed to providing such tailored, effective solutions to all our clients.

So if you are experiencing similar issues in your buildings or want to pre-emptively upgrade your systems to be more energy-efficient and sustainable, reach out to us today for a site survey and consultation. Whatever your needs, our expert consultants are here to help. Contact us today and let us work together to create a more sustainable future for your properties.

More about our closed system services

Celebrating HVAC and Closed System Expansion at SMS Environmental

Furthermore to mark our recent expansion we're hosting a complementary CPD training event in June 2023 at the amazing Williams F1 Experience Centre in Oxfordshire. Join us to gain valuable insights into optimising your closed heating and cooling systems.

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