Scottish Fire & Rescue Service

Scottish Fire & Rescue Service

The challenge

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service has over 240 community fire stations that are heated by electric heating systems of various types and ages. Many stations run dated, inefficient storage and electric panel heaters with limited controls.

A community, or retained, fire station is typically unoccupied unless there is a callout – meaning they are only occupied for short periods at a time. The result of which is heating is often turned on late-September and remains on until March/April the following year. In other words, a lot of energy waste, in a largely unoccupied building, for much of the heating season.

Two of the biggest challenges faced by the service is the heating of large appliance bay spaces and drying rooms; both of which can be very energy intensive. The temperature in the appliance bays must be constant to prevent damage to the fire engines and the drying rooms must be warm to dry protective clothing quickly, in readiness for the next callout.

The solution

The SFRS required a system that would not only reduce their energy use and costs but could allow them to closely monitor and provide data on the carbon emissions of each individual fire station, and the zones within. The answer was Prioto.

The installation team removed the storage and convection heaters and replaced them with Far Infrared heaters. Besides providing almost-immediate heat, infrared (IR) heating:-

  • has lower running and installation costs, compared to convection heating;
  • results in fewer cold spots in a room;
  • allows for maximised floor space as heaters can be ceiling mounted;
  • doesn’t rely on air to circulate the heat and therefore eliminates movement of dust and other allergens around a room; and
  • increases blood circulation due to the way the body absorbs IR heat and results in many other health benefits.

Prioto allows for specific rooms, or zones, within a fire station to be set at a precise temperature. So, when the temperature drops, for example, Prioto will automatically turn on the heating in the zone affected. Prioto will then turn the heating off when the pre-set temperature has been achieved.

In order to save more energy, door contacts were installed. Should a door be left open, Prioto will turn off the heating. When the door is closed, the heating will turn on again.

A boost button was also installed in various zones, including the drying room. In the drying toom, it facilitates immediate heat for when firefighters return from a callout and their protective clothing can be dried quickly. The boost button automatically turns off when the pre-set time is reached (often a one- or two-hour boost setting).

The Result

The most significant result has been a 31% energy reduction in heating energy load, compared to the old heating system. This is consequently delivering substantial cost savings for the fire service also.

Energy intensity of heating system Kwh/M2/Yr   Carbon Footprint TCO2e/Yr
Before Prioto installation 132   Before Prioto installation 11.06
After Prioto installation 100   After Prioto installation 8.3

The Prioto system is a perfect complement to building-use patterns – the boost button at the front door can be pushed on entry (if required) and the IR heaters provide heat almost immediately within the various, pre-set zones, guaranteeing occupant comfort. For the firefighters, this compares far more favourably with the previous system that left the station either too hot or too cold.

The heating in the appliance bays is controlled to a low 12oC – which balances optimal operating temperature with a reduction in energy consumption. And in addition to the benefits offered by the timed boost function in the drying room, the IR heating is maintaining the fabric of the building, having eradicated condensation and mould in some stations where this was previously an issue.

Overall Prioto’s intelligent solutions are delivering savings in terms of energy, time, and money.

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