homenews and insights sse enterprise energy solutions shortlisted in 5 categories in the bcia

SSE Energy Solutions shortlisted in 5 categories in the BCIA Awards 2020

By Dr Andrew Eaton
27 February 2020

Product Marketing Manager

Meet our SSE Energy Solutions experts

BCIA Awards 2020

SSE Energy Solutions shortlisted in 5 categories in the BCIA Awards 2020.

The Building Controls Industry Association (BCIA) is the unified voice of the UK building controls industry. The BCIA is committed to supporting all of its members in their efforts to establish and maintain the highest standards in product and system development, application and service. The BCIA encourages skills development and training, it aims to influence the development of legislation on building efficiency and control and promote the use of building controls in all of its applications.

BCIA Awards

The BCIA Awards recognise innovation, product development, project delivery and great training in the building controls industry.

Building Controls & BEMS Installer of the Year

Nominated by our Customer, Wates, for our work on the York Hospital In-Patient’s Project.

Innovation was sought throughout the commissioning process, including the use of commissioning software which was inclusive of wireless headset compatibility to prove the functionality of the BEMS components. This proved to be particularly useful in the restricted area of the roof walkways where solenoid valves in the assisted bathrooms needed to be proven from a distance. Such innovation eliminated the requirement for our operatives to enter the confined space, as well as mitigating the risk of damaging the customer’s installed services by entering this restricted area and preventing rework.

The use of offsite manufacturing techniques in a strictly controlled environment, whilst not unique in the industry was, in this case deliberately chosen to reduce labour resource on what was a very congested site, thereby mitigating safety risks and maintaining high quality.

The effectiveness of SHE practices was conducted using external safety audits and provided insights to benefit the welfare of all on-site. SSE also takes environmental issues very seriously, for example, in the selection of re-usable safety covers over cheaper single-use plastics.

Throughout our work at York In-Patients Facility, by being meticulous with our attention to detail, we have surpassed customer expectations (see testimonial below), offering valuable technical input throughout the working process from first receiving the M&E services specification clarifying particulars to create a dynamic and efficient BEMS which as the client attests, truly incorporated the client’s requirements. By priding ourselves on delivering work ahead of the programme whilst not compromising on our work quality we have built upon our solid working relationship which has seen us secure additional works on site as we are perceived as a business capable of delivering the additional workload at the required high standards. On top of this our proactiveness in our pre-commissioning inspections and liaison with the package manager has surpassed the customer’s expectations as clarified in the below testimonial and has enabled our customer to ensure closeout activities are met to ensure timely completion to maintain programme compliance. To assist in raising the standards in the industry both SHE teams have worked collaboratively with regards to audits and implementation measures which has created a safer working environment for all those involved with on-site activities.

SSE go above and beyond to ensure customer satisfaction, delivering works ahead of programme and to the highest quality. Not only do SSE surpass the high standards expected but they also proactively engage in raising these standards with regular external SHE audits complemented by implementing innovation to increase efficiency and safety of their daily operations.
As well as ensuring the requirements of the principle contractor are met SSE are equally as thorough in ensuring the needs of the client are incorporated into their DESOPS seeking immediate clarification on ‘TBC’ variables in the M&E specification as well as inputting their knowledge and experience to deliver an energy efficient BEMS system incorporative of our client’s requirements.
SSE’s positive approach in putting the customer first combined with the exemplary quality of their site practices are without question industry leading. The attention to detail SSE provide is prominent and evident throughout the entire working process and as such without question; SSE have been the outstanding contractor on the York In Patient’s Project, as such they will be highly recommended for inclusion in our future workstreams.

Ryan Gagg
Wates Group Limited

Technical Innovation of the Year – Products

Nominated by the customer for our Remote Optimal™ global change tool which the EMC used to great effect at Newcastle University.

The Global Change Tool 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. 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 ensuring changes across a large estate are completed quickly and efficiently. This is a device that remotely connects to all of the BeMS systems on a customer’s site and allows the 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 all of the guest room temperatures in a hotel complex to be set to 21.5°C at 03:00 am.

No other product with this functionality is currently available. A previous generation of the tool has been used to run a major national retail estate and is used for making changes to the time settings on-demand, e.g. bank holiday switching, disabling off plant not required for the period. An enhancement to the application is the automated change tool for the management of data points to an agreed standard.

Standard settings are added to the data point interface, and weekly/monthly checks are completed. If the time settings are not at the agreed standard, the tool has the capability of changing the parameters back to the standard.

Benefits to the end-user:

  1. Continual optimisation of time settings and parameters across the building.
  2. Increased productivity for the end-user with automation managing time settings and parameters allowing the end-user to focus on other responsibilities.
  3. Reduction in energy wastage, by use of the automated change where time settings and setpoints have moved away from an agreed building standard.
  4. A web interface with the use of Haystack tagging philosophy allowing data points to be easily identified within the tool regardless of the engineering naming conventions and standards used.
  5. A number of site interface options that allows a variety of underlying control systems to be integrated and managed with the application.
  6. A variety of communication protocols supported.
  7. The capability of writing and adding new drivers to the interface that allows future products or bespoke control systems 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 BMS. 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 we had allocated references 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

Technical Innovation of the Year – Projects

Nominated for our City of Edinburgh Council, Desigo CC Distributed System Solution.

The City of Edinburgh Council (CEC) had a BEMS installed and located in a basement plant room in Waverley Court. The BEMS system was connected to around 100 remote sites and was used for technical support and energy management services. The objectives of the project were;

  1. To review the BEMS architecture and configuration and ensure it could successfully operate in the new state for a minimum of 2 years.
  2. To relocate the BEMS hardware into a secure virtual environment hosted by SSE Energy Solutions.
  3. To retain all current remote connections hosted in Waverley Court onto the new hosted virtual environment.
  4. To ensure the architecture had the capability of adding more buildings for remote monitoring.
  5. To provide other Siemens VAP’s with access to the system with engineering capability to add new buildings, remote connections, and graphics to the BEMS.

This BEMS was located on a single server and configured with multiple sites to a single driver instance. This had been problematic due to BACnet port clashes resulting from engineering processes not being followed diligently. New sites to be added were engineered onto a single driver instance, to remove this level of complexity for new sites.

SSE ES, Siemens, and the customer decided that the best course of action would be to configure the Desigo CC architecture as a distributed system, as this would ensure ease of engineering for all Siemens VAPS and maintain the project objective of over 200 remote buildings connected. The infrastructure was managed remotely by SSE ES Energy Management Centre

Below is a summary of the innovative Desigo CC distributed system:

  • A distributed system consists of a single system with multiple projects or several project servers connected together and providing a single system image to the user.
  • With applicable permissions, the functions available in a single system were also available in a distributed system, managed by SSE ES EMC in agreement with CEC approved person.
  • Distributed system configurations include Fully Meshed and Hierarchical as well as combinations of these two.
  • Secure communications between servers were achieved using a standard certificate deployment strategy.
  • The distribution manager acts as a buffer to prevent flooding of the event manager with information.

Energy-efficiency: Reduced electrical costs and cooling requirements relative to those from having a physical environment.

Hardware independence: There was no requirement to oversize the machines and increases could be made in the memory, storage, or processing power when needed, with no downtime. This resulted in a reduction in costs from physical hardware.

Time-saving: Provisioning any new server, in line with future project requirements, will be done in minutes rather than the days required with a physical infrastructure.

High availability: Virtual machines were configured via a SAN. In the event of a failure, it will launch another host device with minimal downtime.

Security: More secure power and broadband supplies

Eliminates hardware obsolescence: Physical Hardware would become dated in three years and would need to be replaced.

Minimal downtime: The physical solution required significant downtime when upgrading any hardware, whereas the virtual environment would result in significantly less downtime.

Tailored integrated backups: Integrated backups using VEEAM software were scheduled for deployment and tailored for the project needs, with monthly full backups and weekly/daily incremental back-ups.

Backup availability: Back-Ups for the virtual environment could be made available to another service provider within 1 week should the customer choose to move to another service provider.

Improved fault tolerance: Fault tolerance was improved due to the reduction of hardware from a physical environment

Contribution to Training Award

For our Annual Graduate Training Programme.

The objective of the programme is to provide a structured and time-bound programme of development for a selected group of Graduate Trainees that reflects the job description and associated competencies defined for the role of Project Sales Engineer.

The scope of the program will extend to include the learning and development necessary to provide those involved with the competencies necessary to function effectively as a Project Sales Engineer To include:-

  1. Experiential Learning in the workplace.
  2. A range of learning delivered using classroom, workshops and real case study action learning.
  3. The opportunity to be both mentored and coached.
  4. Access to other learning resources i.e. e-learning, self-study, CPD and professional bodies.

The timeline for programme delivery to completion is 24 months from the date of Induction.

The graduates would gain a collective understanding across the group of how the SSE Energy Solutions Group operates within its own segment and how the group can take advantage of other products and services within the wider SSE Organisation. To include the following:-

  1. The ability to efficiently interpret customer needs, build a proposal, design and develop technical solutions that provide added value to the customer.
  2. Provide an effective set of documents and information to enable the bid process to take place.
  3. Be able to effectively present the companies value proposition to a range of clients.
  4. Knowledge of the products and services provided by SSE.
  5. Knowledge of the sales process and in the way it impacts their job role.
  6. Skill in understanding and using a common sales language and processes.
  7. Able to confidently plan and carryout customer-facing visits.
  8. The ability to link SSE solutions to customer needs.
  9. The ability to elevate thinking from job level to account level.
  10. To commence a change in the sales culture that enables the individual to think strategically in the customer engagement process.

Graduate trainees were assigned a mentor at the Senior Manager or Director level. The mentor’s role is to offer valuable ongoing advice on their career goals and how best to achieve them. They are also assigned a ‘buddy’, typically someone who has already completed the programme and with whom they can share thoughts and ideas and receive support.

Smart Buildings Award

Nominated by our customer, a major investment banking corporation, for our innovative work on their new headquarters building in London.

The customer has leased a building on Cannon Street in London as their new UK headquarters. The design of the building brings a new and fresh image to their way of working and has been heavily influenced by agile work spaces, with connecting break‐out and social areas to encourage communication and flexible working. Three specific objectives were as follows: –

  1. Control the building’s climate and lighting to maximise the productivity of people/their general health & wellbeing.
  2. An environmentally friendly building.
  3. Reduce total OPEX cost and easy to maintain.

It was key that their Smart Building would undertake comprehensive analytics and be able to use the digital building data to perform specific outputs, based upon their objectives/requirements and allow users to interact with the building. For example;


Before the start of the cooling optimisation pre-cool period, the BMS will monitor the weather station/external solar radiation sensors and will modulate the atrium blinds to stop solar gain during optimiser cooling start. This action assists with cooling optimising algorithms and reduces plant start times before occupancy.


Before the start of the heating optimisation pre-heat period, the BMS monitors the weather station/external solar radiation sensors and will modulate the atrium blinds to harvest solar gain during optimiser heating start. This action assists with heating optimising algorithms and reduces plant start times before occupancy.

This is truly agile and flexible. Previous interactions will be learned and adaptation will take place.

The intelligent control system is fully integrated and installed as a complete BMS/Lighting package which includes all 3rd party integrations and makes this system different from standalone systems. Installation includes;

  • Individual VLAN’s for added security/ease of use.
  • DALI protocol for lighting ballasts and Siemens Total Room Automation (TRA) for the configuration and control of the KNX protocol for presence detectors, light sensors, blind control light switches, etc.
Specific features include:
  • Daylight harvesting from Solar Blinds is adjusted and positioned by way of a nexus to the roof weather station which determines the position of the sun and adjusts the blinds accordingly. The same principle is used to control external garden lights.
  • Catering/bar areas have a number of different scenes and will control to “Daylight”, “Evening”, “Event” (Pub/Club) and cleaning modes.
  • Office/meeting & quiet rooms, AV areas and Walkways all have their own individual scene control.
  • BMS integrates with the AV systems and mutes in the event the fire alarm sounds.
  • IT Rack monitoring to provide pre-set optimal levels of runtime ensuring the firm’s IT systems function safely/effectively and do not interrupt business-critical operations.
  • Meeting/Training rooms are adjusted with partition walls based on the need for that day. BMS seamlessly adapts the FCU control to adjust temperatures for the specific size of the room.

The BMS is helping the client achieve a WELL GOLD Certification (will be one of only a few in the UK!) by measuring Temperature, Humidity and Carbon Dioxide concentrations. Certification is attained through a scoring system for concepts like; air, water, light, fitness, comfort, and mind, to ensure the workplace environment is supporting staff to be happy and healthy. A key consideration for WELL is that it requires the data to be recorded, stored and shared. The BMS is doing this for levels of;

  1. Temperature and Humidity.
  2. Dust particles.
  3. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs).

As noted by BRE Group – “Creating good indoor environmental quality (IEQ) by improving factors such as indoor air quality and correct lighting levels is increasingly recognized as improving occupant health, comfort, and physical/ mental wellbeing”, The BMS thus has a direct correlation to the positive wellbeing of the occupants of the building.

They believe that this will allow them to attract the best talent and keep their workforce and worldwide partners happy and healthy. They promote this within the recruitment section of their corporate website.

The ubiquitous SMART lighting system represents a real move towards biodynamic lighting and the building can control and adapt the content, intensity, duration, and timing of lighting to match occupant’s circadian rhythms. As a result, this user experience has been proven to lift the “mood” and improve the wellbeing of occupants within the building.

Our recently inaugurated building in Canon Street opposite St Paul’s Cathedral is truly evolving the design and construction of efficient offices. Whilst the façade is fairly striking with floor to ceiling windows that bring the outside in, it’s what is going on behind the building’s façade that is really exciting as something extremely “SMART” is taking shape.

We wanted to create a space that improves workers’ experience while being environmentally friendly and have a building that would be easier to maintain. SSE explained how they could use building technology to transform our office building into a highly efficient, data-driven machine that would be focused on our people and their surroundings.

SSE quickly understood our value drivers and connected that to their solution. With a proven track record of designing/delivering SMART office solutions, we trusted them to partner with us and deliver our fully integrated SMART solution. Siemens TRA was used as it delivered on our key value drivers by really looking after and valuing the people within our building. It was also scalable and based on open protocol technology.

SSE’s Major Projects team delivered on our expectations and we were glad we had put our trust in them. We now have a people-centric building for our London and worldwide colleagues and stakeholders.

Thank you.