Significant savings for Tradies Club thanks to new heating and automation solution

by FM Media
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Here’s how the Tradies club of Gymea, New South Wales, implemented a heating and cooling solution that saves thousands every year.

Since its inception in 1960, The Sutherland District Trade Union Club (‘Tradies’ at Gymea, New South Wales, has been a place where people can gather to relax and enjoy themselves while helping to grow the community. Sustainability is one of the club’s values, and recently it has been looking to offer a more environmentally friendly heating and cooling solution. Turning to Graham Steed at Warmzone and Tom Ryan at Ryelec, the club agreed to a solution that is now saving it more than $40,000 a year.

The challenge

Providing comfortable conditions for patrons enjoying the outdoor gaming area, Tradies employees were manually turning on and off and adjusting a series of gas heaters in the area. Not only was this an expensive solution, but often heaters were left on when they weren’t needed. Tradies required a solution that would not only allow it to utilise solar energy production, but would be more effective for patrons and remove the hands-on requirements of staff.

Investing in dimmable infrared heaters, that warm bodies and objects rather than the air, Tradies Gymea called upon the services of Graham Steed at Warmzone. In order to provide an automation solution for the project, Steed contacted Tom Ryan, managing director of Ryelec. Certified through Schneider Electric’s EcoXpert program, Ryan was well placed to develop a solution that perfectly met the needs of Tradies.

The solution

Warmzone’s short wave infrared heaters can be controlled via radio frequency. This meant that new cabling was not required to be run for the heater’s controls. Instead, Steed and Ryan divided the space into 25 zones, installing a RS232 to RF transmitter with customised scripting to allow the heaters to be integrated with the new SpaceLogic C-Bus Network Automation Controller by Schneider Electric. The C-Bus Controller can integrate multiple standards and protocols including C-Bus, serial, BACnet, ethernet and Modbus.

To automate the solution further, sensors have been integrated to detect occupancy, outside temperature and humidity. If a presence is detected in the outdoor gaming area, the C-Bus unit first determines whether or not it is during operating hours. If this is the case, it then checks the temperature and humidity, turning the heaters on to the required level. During the warmer months, fans and misters have been programmed to work together to cool the air to keep patrons comfortable. If the sensors detect that the area is too humid, then the misting system is not turned on.

The system can be accessed remotely by club management, allowing problems to be fixed without the need to physically be in the area. The backend of the system allows details of the energy usage and system’s operation to be viewed retrospectively, which may be helpful if the club wishes to do a deep dive into their energy usage.

The outcome

Bringing together the heaters, sensors, and multiple interfaces, the new C-Bus Network Automation Controller was integral to the project.

“The C-Bus Controller really is the key to the whole solution,” Ryan says. “We needed something that could bring control to all the pieces – and C-Bus offered that.”

As a result of the project, Steed and Ryan have helped to reduce the energy bill for Tradies outdoor heating in the gaming area by $43,000 per annum. The automation solution allows employees at Tradies to be hands-off, demonstrating that even in shift work environments with changing staff, there is no impact on the system’s ability to be controlled.

“Not only have we found a more environmentally friendly solution, but also one that reduces our club’s operating costs” says Matthew Bell, Tradies Gymea group gaming and IT manager. “The Tradies Group has always strived to provide the best and most sustainable facilities for our members and this solution ticks all the boxes.”

Similar solutions are now being considered at the Tradies clubs at Caringbah and Helensburgh.

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