homenews and insights newcastle university cuts admin and saves money using the remote optimal tm

Newcastle University cuts admin and saves money using the Remote Optimal™ Global Change Tool

By Dr Andrew Eaton
26 February 2020

Product Marketing Manager

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Newcastle University

The Remote Optimal Global Change Tool (GCT) is an application that helps improve the management of time clocks and setpoints across a large estate. This provides the estate management team with a tool that maximises productivity by changing thousands of time clocks from the click of a button. This article shows how it was used across Newcastle University’s estate of over 70 buildings and campuses.

The application goes through a number of integrity checks to ensure the correct time parameters are being written to the correct target time clock or set point. When the task is completed a report is provided advising on the success of the update. This is a complete end-to-end, fully automated task, that improves the productivity of the end-user, improving energy efficiency, minimising control drift and ensuring changes across a large estate are completed quickly and efficiently.

The GCT remotely connects to all of the BeMS systems on a customer’s site and allows either the end user or the SSE Energy Management Centre to control or reset either the entire system, all, or a subset of the timings and/or set-points.

For example; scheduling the temperature in all of the rooms in a student accommodation building to be set to 21.5°C at 0:00 a.m.

New technology

No other product with this functionality is currently available. A previous generation of the GCT has been used to run a major retail estate and is used for making changes to the time settings on-demand, e.g. bank holiday switching, disabling plant that is not required for the period.

One of the new enhancements to the tool is the automated change tool for the management and compliance of data points to an agreed standard.

Agreed standard settings are added to the data point interface, and adjustable scheduled checks are completed. If the time settings are not at the agreed standard, the tool will automatically reset the time setting back to the agreed standard.

e.g. A time clock is set to Mon-Fri 08:00-16:00, after the weekly check the time setting has been changed by an end-user to Mon-Fri: 08:00-20:00, the application can either automatically put the time setting back or provide a report advising the end-user of the change required.

The Global Change Tool can also be used to implement some SFG20 routines.

End-User Benefits

  • Continual optimisation of time settings and parameters across the building.
  • Increased productivity for the end-user with automation managing time settings and parameters allowing the end-user to focus on other responsibilities.
  • Reduction in energy wastage, by use of the automated change where time settings and setpoints have moved away from an agreed building standard.
  • Minimising control drift, giving estate energy managers confidence that time settings and setpoints are at the agreed standard
  • A web interface with the use of Haystack tagging philosophy allowing data points to be easily normalised and identified within the tool regardless of the engineering naming conventions and standards used.
  • A number of site interface options that allows a variety of underlying control systems to be integrated and managed with the application.
  • A variety of communication protocols are supported.
  • The capability of writing and adding new drivers to the interface that allows future products or bespoke communication protocols to be integrated, added and supported by the product .i.e. a refrigeration driver was developed so that we could speak to a bespoke propriety product.


Here at the Newcastle University Estate Support Service, we manage 70+ buildings across our main campus and satellite sites, the vast majority of which are connected to our SSE-supported BeMS.

Due to the University’s scale and the energy intensiveness of a number of our buildings, we aim to maximise energy savings and reduce CO2 emissions where possible. The BMS is an effective tool for this whereby we ‘shut down’ all non-critical, non-24/7 areas over the Christmas break.

In previous years this has involved the manual programming of individual timeclocks within the software across most of our estate, which is a very timely process.

The utilisation of the Global Change Tool has vastly reduced the administrative burden of this exercise. Once references had been allocated to each of the BMS timeclocks, SSE was able to apply the exceptions automatically saving our team time on every occasion that it is utilised, and reducing the university’s consumption of electricity, gas and associated carbon emissions. This process will now be even more efficient given the groundwork that has been done in establishing our timeclock references template.

Sam Boot
MEnv | Energy Manager, Newcastle University Estate Support Service

For more information about the Global Change Tool, or any other Remote Optimal Services, call 0345 072 9529 or email us at info@sseenergyoptimisation.co.uk