I’ve had a tour of a newly refit church hall where the equipment isn’t entirely as expected, so there are questions about whether the system meets the requirements and is set up properly. There have been a few surprises along the way (there always are!). The main questions are, as always, all about the controls, but this time, with three possible issues – whether the centralized controls will play nicely with fan convectors that have individual controls, whether the users can do what they need and no more, and whether the heating management is simple enough for volunteers to work.
Going back a few years before HeatHack, when we thought the main goal was saving energy, we were looking at lighting as well heating – and I had a pleasant experience revisiting those times this week, when Christ Church Morningside reminded me that they’d recently completed their lighting refit.
I wasn’t very involved in the latest changes, but I did do quite a bit of head-scratching in the early days about what lamps went in what fittings, and why. When I first looked, the main floor of the building had 89 light bulbs of 17 different types and was drawing just under 10 kW of power during services when they were all on. St John’s, on the other hand, had it easy with every lamp identical. In maintenance terms, that made a lot of sense, but wasn’t going to work in this place without chandeliers. Yes there’s the energy costs (financial and externalized), but what I learned for high level systems is that maintenance costs and health and safety are even more immediate reasons to get LEDs in. Scaffolding for this site is £1000 a pop, and you don’t want anyone tempted to go up high ladders because yet another halogen has gone out!
They’ve got their systems sorted now, so it gave me great pleasure to once again sort through the lamps, this time for looking at what could now go. That’s a whole black bin bag ready for disposal.
I’m getting a good trickle of HeatHack-related coffees and emails coming through – this week’s highlight looks to be before-and-after radiator measures – but I’m still having to take things a bit slow with some outages I can’t always predict ahead, so Tuesday nights are still off.
If there’s a particular session, with a particular focus, you’d like to have as a group before Christmas, do let me know and I’ll make sure that happens. Otherwise, I’m minded to just let the Tuesdays slide for a bit while we think about how best we can help the community. The demand is now there, and we have enough show-and-tell devices to grab attention while we explain ourselves. Most of what we have in mind now is site visits and looking at the data with people who know their buildings – not on Tuesday nights, though. Plus development of a few more things, some of which are because they’re helpful for the engineering (like the anemometry, and making the three-phase electric monitor easier to deploy) and some because they’re interesting and explain us a little deeper (like the thermal comfort game). Despite the current vogue for pair programming, that doesn’t fit the current model either.