The Howard Centre


The Howard Centre in Welwyn Garden City has been proactively reducing its environmental impact since 2007. The Centre welcomes around 8 million visitors every year.

Shopping centres are large energy consumers and are good candidates for VPO® because of a high proportion of air conditioning and lighting loads. What is more, in a shopping centre, these loads are invariably operated for longer than standard office hours, which means heavier than average electrical use.

These two factors lead to good savings and an improved Return on Investment when installing powerPerfector’s VPO®.

The Problem

It can be a challenge to find projects which don’t have an impact during opening hours or, in the Howard Centre’s case, projects which will not impact the retail tenants. So, when it was considering VPO®, of particular concern were the 11 lifts used daily to move people and goods throughout the Centre, which covers two retail floors and a seven storey car park.

powerPerfector arranged an independent report prior to installation which helped to reassure the client that VPO® would be compatible with the centre’s plant. The Howard Centre agreed for the results to be made public.

In July 2011, Dunbar & Boardman was asked to visually inspect the Kone Plc lifts and ThyssenKrupp escalators, installed in 1990, to verify their compatibility with any voltage optimisation equipment installed at the centre.

Our Solution

Following the inspection, Dunbar & Boardman issued a report containing several recommendations.

With regard to each lift and escalator, the report stated that: “The likelihood is that these will function satisfactorily under voltage optimisation.” It went on: “The Centre may wish to consider the agreement of a programme of equipment pre-adjustments with its lift and escalator maintenance contractors, in order to alleviate any issues that may arise. The cost of such a programme should be relatively small and should, in the main, involve relatively simple adjustments to control equipment.”

Such an approach is very much standard practice for every powerPerfector installation. A benefit of working with powerPerfector is the wide ranging experience of our engineering department. With more installations in the UK than any other voltage optimisation supplier, we have encountered almost every possible type of equipment.

The report concluded: “In relation to the equipment design, our conclusion is that the majority of the equipment installed in the Centre is rated to operate on the original UK supply voltage of 415 V +/-6%. However, the likelihood is that the equipment may be adjusted to accommodate voltage optimisation, although a conservative approach is recommended in relation to the level of optimisation.”

The Results

By working with our clients throughout the installation process, by identifying and rectifying potential issues up front and by providing an in-depth engineering response to questions and concerns, we are able to ensure smooth installations and seamless integration of our voltage optimisation technology.

With an energy saving of 12 per cent, the Howard Centre is seeing a healthy reduction in energy costs and its carbon emissions.

The Overview

  • 12% kWh Saved
  • 99,900 CO2kg Saved
  • £13,090 Saved

“Not only are we seeing great savings, but all of our lifts and escalators continue to function without incident.”

“I was very impressed with the approach that powerPerfector took to resolve our concerns. Their team went above and beyond to ensure that when we reopened following the installation, all of our kit was functioning correctly.”

Peter Brooks, Centre Manager

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