Oxygen House


Project Overview

Oxygen House appointed ATS to identify potential causes of the temperature control issues being experienced throughout the building, investigate the potential for reductions in energy consumption, carbon footprint and provide a solution that gives a consistent working environment for all of the building’s occupants.

Advance(s) Sought

Achieving the overall advances sought through combining optimum performance with significant energy and cost savings whilst working around COVID-19.

Development of an extensive control strategy to provide an integrated and sustainable design approach will further a remote working approach and assist in minimising virus transmission.

Technical and/or Scientific Challenges

Integration of the proprietary Air source heat pump & associated heat recovery ventilation controls within the main plantrooms and across the 3 floors required bespoke software drivers to be developed which would allow the two systems to adequately communicate and provide the users with a deep view of the operation of the building. This would also allow ATS’s software to encompass a seasonally adjusted proportional control based on internal temperature and CO2 levels which has before now, not been possible with the type of legacy Air source heat pump solution that is installed at the site.

At the time of tender and initial design the COVID pandemic was not part of our lives and as such was not factored into our solution or delivery plan. However, once the project came to fruition it was apparent that a new way of working would be required as the company was to implement the new system in an occupied “live” environment. Furthermore, noting that there is a strong correlation between air quality and the survival of the COVID-19 virus, the building user wanted to encourage the management of air quality and de-risk all stakeholders as much as possible with air quality data being readily available once the project was completed.

Resolution of Challenges, Project Outcomes and Future

Although information published by CIBSE (Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers) & REHVA (Federation of European Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Associations) indicates that Covid-19 is resistant to environmental changes and is susceptible only to a very high relative humidity (RH) above 80% and a temperature above 30°C. This is not acceptable for reasons of thermal comfort for Oxygen House. The company therefore had to devise a suitable regime to maximise air quality whilst minimising energy usage. Whilst this is technically possible, in practice it has not been implemented before and therefore it is unclear how the Primary HVAC plant would react after being enabled to work at an increased level under different parameters.

Considerable testing of the above procedures was required to replicate an occupied building under several outside ambient conditions.

Comprehensive Interfacing of all the separate services and systems was necessary to ensure that energy consumption was kept as low as possible whilst ensuring that all requirements were upheld, the office environmental conditions remained comfortable at all times and COVID-19 guidelines were also upheld.

The companies initial expectation of how the system would be designed and delivered was to allocate a large team to implement the project as quickly as possible. However, as the company had to minimise the number of operatives it was necessary to change this strategy and work remotely as much as possible. Due to the obsolescence of the legacy systems, a straight forward VPN connection was not possible and the companies software designers had to re-engineer a “gateway” controller so that access could be obtained.