BIM:SAM solves riddle of high energy bills in Manchester building

EVORA EDGE’s innovative BIM:SAM approach (building information modelling for strategic asset management)has helped reduce gas spend by 21% in a building, resulting in savings of more than £20,000 per year.

It has also opened up the potential to achieve a ‘design for performance’ approach relatively quickly and cost-effectively across portfolios of buildings using existing EPC models.


What is BIM:SAM and ‘designing for performance’

BIM:SAM is a decision making tool that helps avoid expensive and time consuming mistakes when managing large and complex buildings.

It starts with a sophisticated computer simulation of a building that reflects its real-world usage and operation. This digital model is then used to test out future scenarios such as extreme weather conditions or different energy management options.

EVORA EDGE’s approach is highly unusual in the UK, where modelling is done only to ensure compliance (such as for energy performance certificates), rather than to demonstrate the real-world operation of a building.

However, it is more common in Australia through the NABERS scheme and is now being championed by the Better Buildings Partnership in its ‘design for performance’ project, currently being tested in the UK.


EVORA EDGE was asked to investigate the high energy spend in a modern office block building in the centre of Manchester. The building had been difficult to benchmark because of its unusual heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system (HVAC) which was described as a ‘ground source heat pump’ in the site’s technical literature. However, the client reasonably expected efficiency savings with this type of installation and was confused as to why this was not happening.

There did not appear to be any obvious fault with the system so EVORA EDGE decided to build a dynamic simulation model (DSM) of the building to try and pinpoint any discrepancies.

There was no time nor the budget to create a DSM from scratch so instead, the EDGE team looked to see if the simple SBEM model, created by another company for energy performance certification, could be converted into a DSM.

This is very rarely done. EPC models are designed to achieve legislative compliance and often contain fundamental gaps compared to the real-world use of a building.

The conversion process was challenging and required an in depth understanding of the modelling software as well as extensive mechanical and electrical engineering knowledge to match it to what was happening on the ground.

However, once done, the DSM model was able to highlight a number of inconsistencies in the data which helped target the on-site investigations.

These revealed that the BMS had been set up incorrectly and was not reflecting the operation of the closed ground water loop system and condenser water circuits.

The solution was remarkably simple and required just a few adjustments to the BMS system.

As a result, there has already been an 8% decrease in costs and a saving of £21,579.70. This equates to a 21% reduction in overall kWh over the comparative period and more than 100 tonnes of CO2 saved.

But what is really exciting is that, although difficult, it is possible for a simple EPC model to be used to develop a highly accurate, digital model of an existing building which can be put to a variety of uses.

For example, the DSM model in this building has already been used again to support a photovoltaic (PV) study. It confirmed that installing PV solar panels would reap an estimated 6% return on investment before the application of predicted energy price inflation. As a result, a 50 kWp PV system has now been installed – further adding to the already impressive sustainable credentials of this building.

The case demonstrates that BIM:SAM is a powerful and flexible tool for asset managers both in day-to-day decision-making as well as for longer-term planning.

If you’d like to know more about EVORA EDGE’s unique BIM:SAM offer please get in touch with Andrew Cooper or Neil Dady on info@evoraedge.com or phone on +44 (0)1743 341903

Rugby goals: EVORA EDGE appointed by Wasps to improve energy efficiency

EVORA EDGE has been appointed to provide energy and sustainability consultancy services to Wasps Rugby Club. The remit covers a wide portfolio of buildings from the iconic 32,609 seater Ricoh Arena stadium to a large exhibition hall, hotel and casino.

This is an exciting opportunity as Wasps are looking to set ambitious targets in terms of their energy consumption.

EVORA EDGE will also be advising them on a range of strategic actions to ensure energy management is at the forefront of their operational and day-to-day decision making. They have already committed to a combined heat and power generation scheme for the stadium.

Combined heat and power (CHP) systems are highly efficient because they capture and utilise the heat that is a by-product of the electricity generation process. By generating heat and power simultaneously, CHP can reduce carbon emissions by up to 30% compared to the separate means of conventional generation via a boiler and power station.

Wasps Managing Director Stuart Cain says the rugby club is committed to reducing its carbon footprint year on year.

“We’d like it to  see a 10% reduction in energy usage over the next year and are looking to set an ambitious carbon footprint reduction target of 30% by 2030, we’re really pleased to be working with EVORA on this strategy and are investigating a range of other measures to increase our overall sustainability as a business.”

The Wasps Rugby Club is one of the largest in Europe and has turned the Ricoh Arena into an award-winning venue visited by over 1 million people each year and hosting global artists such as the Spice Girls, Bon Jovi, Coldplay and Rihanna.

If you are interested in understanding how a CHP system could reduce your energy costs contact EVORA EDGE on info@evoraedge.com or phone on +44 (0)1743 341903.

Chillers and record breaking heat

It seems appropriate that EVORA EDGE spent the hottest day of the year so far (the hottest day on record in some parts of the country) co-ordinating the replacement of a chiller on the roof of a multi-storey office in Birmingham.

Chillers are guaranteed to cause facilities managers problems during heatwaves. This is because they are complex pieces of equipment which are difficult to maintain properly, expensive to replace and run and, unlike heating, usually only needed for a small amount of time each year in the UK. The temptation is always to push chillers down the priority list in any planned preventative maintenance schedule.

Yet in those weeks when the mercury soars, chillers become the only piece of equipment in a building that matters. If they are old, or poorly maintained, they will not cope with such sudden spikes in temperatures as we saw last week.

It is not unheard of for large office buildings to have to be evacuated because chillers have buckled under the pressure when temperatures hit 30°C. Such incidents are not popular amongst tenants.

In the building in Birmingham, the air-cooled chiller had failed repeatedly over the course of the year.

The decision to replace it had already been made but it takes months to co-ordinate chiller replacements. It requires the preparation of detailed specifications, designs and the running of tender processes. It also needs careful project management to ensure equipment delivery times, permissions and road closures for crane lifts are all co-ordinated so they seamlessly fit together and keep disruption to a minimum. Schedules cannot be changed to fit weather forecasts.

EVORA EDGE’s Operations Director, Neil Dady explains: “Although we still had one operational chiller serving the building we knew that any high temperatures would cause problems and potential failures in the air-conditioning.

“The replacement was scheduled for July. As we watched the temperature soaring in mid-July the project team had to swiftly come up with a contingency plan. We provided temporary cooling and used the fresh air handling units to deliver cooler air overnight while extending plant operating times.”

The pressure was on the appointed contractor S&G Air Conditioning Contracts to ensure the replacement did not overrun and the new chiller was able to be commissioned swiftly.

In the end it all worked like clockwork and the new chiller was quickly in operation. The facilities manager and all those working inside the building can now watch future summer weather forecasts with calm equanimity.

Do heat waves cause problems in your building? Contact EVORA EDGE for detailed audits and risk assessments of equipment as well as project management of chiller replacements on info@evoraedge.com or phone on +44 (0)1743 341903.