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Retrofitting a self-installation heating management system to multi-occupancy buildings (SBRI)

Funder: Technology Strategy Board

Project Partners:

  • Experiential Engineering, WMG
    • Dr Rebecca Cain
    • Dr James Mackrill
    • Scott Crowther, Knowledge Transfer Specialist
  • University of Warwick Estates Office
  • JSJS Designs

Aims:

  • To retrofit a wireless heating micromanagement system to a multi-occupancy building
  • To engage users - obtain their buy-in to take part in the design and control of the system
  • To determine the energy saving benefits of installation of a heating management systems
  • To roll-out the system to other buildings and users

Project:

This project aims to address some of the issues associated with multi-occupancy buildings, such as office blocks. In such buildings, users typically have no control over the heating or cooling of rooms and often, building temperature can only be controlled by external facilities personnel who only have control over large areas of building space, rather than on an individual room / office basis. Such large scale management means that facilities teams cannot account for variables such as whether or not a heated room is occupied and whether windows and doors are open or closed.

A number of remote heating management products have been made commercially available for domestic users but so far it has been difficult to upscale these for use in larger multi-occupancy buildings. This project aims to address this by testing the robustness of an upscaled system and to see whether it can feasibly be managed by room occupants and an organisation's own facilities / estates team.

A multi-occupancy building on the campus of the University of Warwick has been identified to run this pilot project with building occupants also playing a key part in the project. JSJS Designs will be providing products for use in the study, such as:

  • Thermostatic radiator valves with wireless technology
  • Window sensors
  • Motion sensors
  • Wifi-enabled, wall mounted tablets and phone apps for system control and feedback

Experiential Engineering:

WMG's Experiential Engineering team brings expertise in 'participatory ergonomics' to the project. That is:

  • How do the buildings users want the system to be designed and to operate?
  • What is their perception of thermal comfort within the rooms after installation?

This will mean working with building users to look at the interface design of equipment within the building, testing its use and obtaining feedback from the users during and after installation. The team will investigate the engagement of building occupants over the course of the project and look at how this may alter over time and whether the system creates any changes in perceptions or behaviours.