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7 October 2011

Breakthrough wireless sensing technology from the market leader in control peripherals, Sontay, has enabled the speedy retrofit of HVAC controls at the Head Office of the Bedford Pilgrims Housing Association (BPHA) in Bedford.

Carried out with minimal disruption to the day to day running of the building, the new installation completed by Northampton-based systems integrator AES Control Systems will help improve energy efficiency, reducing carbon emissions for the housing association, and also bring greater building use flexibility for many years to come.

The BPHA administrative base is a 4 storey office block, dating back to the 1980s, with a prominent glass facade. A controls upgrade was identified as capable of bringing significant improvements to comfort levels for the building’s [insert number] occupants. In turn, this would minimise fuel consumption of the HVAC services. 

“Temperature regulation in our office block, with its large windows all round, had been a huge issue for us” says Matthew Hunt, BPHA’s Facilities Manager. “We needed to improve efficiency but minimise installation cost and disruption.”

AES Control Systems specified Sontay’s SonNet wireless sensor system as the perfect solution for the project.

“We would have faced difficulty in installing cables to sensors across an occupied 4 story office block, due to the size of the building and the amount of disruption this would present to the office staff in a highly populated call centre-type environment”, explains Dave Redmond from AES Control Systems. “The wireless option helped us overcome these problems”.

Following a detailed site survey, fully supported by Sontay’s field representative, AES were able to prove that the equipment would work correctly, prior to installation. One SonNet receiver runs a network of sensors alongside one router on each floor of the building. These sensors measure internal temperature and solar gain of the building, helping to regulate the HVAC services for optimum efficiency.

Installation was quick and easy. Since sensor operation is based on the latest 2.4 GHz licence free radio technology, specifying SonNet sensors eliminated the need for AES to run any structured cabling to the products. This ensured minimal disruption during installation and brought significant savings on installation time and cost too. As the sensors are wireless they can be easily and cost-effectively re-located, or new sensors added, should office layouts and the requirement for temperature measurement change over time.

“The savings made on the cost of materials and labour are impressive” adds Dave Redmond. “We’re also impressed with the robustness of the system and had only positive feedback from the customer.

Operationally, the SonNet radio receiver converts transmitted data from the sensors to analogue outputs (compatible with most control systems). The receiver is available with 20 channels, as standard, and up to 40, with the addition of an optional 20 way Daughter Board. For maximum reliability, operation and battery life, the sensors run a self healing tree application. This ensures robust ‘fit and forget’ communications with lower installed project costs. The sensors themselves feature a battery lifetime of up to 5 years and are available in a number of variants, catering for space, immersion, duct and outside air monitoring. The project was completed in November 2010.

Sontay products and control solutions are designed to help improve building management system performance reduce energy and maintenance costs and increase occupant comfort levels. For further information on the Sontay product range, contact Web: are not responsible for the content of submitted or externally produced articles and images.
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