Load monitoring and fire hazards

Electrical load monitoring is the analysis of electrical consumption measured from the mains intake in any building or sub loads from a main intake. This is done by measuring the current, voltage and frequency of electricity flowing into your building. Lots of information can be gathered through doing this, such as type of load, details of energy consumption and the efficiency of your appliances.  

 

This information is useful to the occupiers and managers of the building by allowing them to understand their energy utilisation and make changes where necessary. By monitoring your electrical load and making changes based on the results, there’s a lower risk of possible overloads, energy anomalies, operational issues, and in some cases, fires.

 

Without measuring your electrical load, you could be susceptible to frequent replacement of fuses and electrical appliances and a huge fire risk. The data that can be collated from load monitoring will help you to determine whether your building is energy efficient and if an action plan needs to be put into place to reduce this from happening and lowering your fire risk.  

 

If your building is more than fifteen years old, it’s likely that its electrical design doesn’t match the demands of modern high-power equipment which increases your risk of overloads and fire, so we recommend you consider load monitoring to ensure your electrical system isn’t causing problems and failures that can be harmful to your equipment, data and your building in general.  

 

If you’re not sure about whether you have a load imbalance in your building, some indicators may be:  

  1. Flickering lights 
  2. Frequently tripped circuits 
  3. Small shocks from switches or appliances 
  4. Sizzling or buzzing noises from circuit protective devices
  5. Discoloured plug sockets 

 

Whether these are happening or not, it might be worth testing for other reasons too, such as monitoring your energy usage and making note of any over-pricing on your energy bills.  

 

Get in touch with eco Electrical to prevent any electrical mishaps in your building.  

Read More

Mental Health in Construction: We’re behind the times

Once again, the construction industry is miles behind the times.

We can just about deal with skills shortages, increasing material costs and the battle of tendering. What we can’t handle is the overworking, unrealistic expectations and impossibly high demands that put an unbelievable amount of pressure on our workforce.

The construction industry is notorious for pushing back deadlines and running behind schedule. It’s almost laughable, really, that more time isn’t assigned as a buffer for every contractor to make amends and fix any complications that may have come up. No project runs perfectly smoothly. If you’ve heard any differently, you’ve been lied to.

Like any other plan that you make, there’s always a risk that something will interfere and postpone things. Just like planning a picnic in Spring, the rain is always a possibility. We know that issues are going to arise, so why do we act so surprised and disappointed when they crop up?

We need to change the way we look at construction projects. Rather than stressing every person to their maximum, isn’t it better to plan for issues and have a more accurate time frame that allows for change, controversy and complications?

The immense pressure of LADs can feel like a bomb strapped to our backs, terrifying us into overworking and stressing about the elephant in the room that’s inevitably going to explode. The question is, who will explode first? The worker who is one step away from suicide, or the client because you pushed back the handover date by a week? I know what scenario I’d rather play out.

Maybe if construction workers weren’t under pressure every second of every day, less mistakes would be made, snagging lists would be shorter, and standards would be higher. Maybe if we change the way we see construction, as human beings pulling together to create something amazing, rather than robots who must do their jobs on time, without fail, we’d see less illness, better morale and more job satisfaction.

Not only is construction literally behind the times, but individual companies are doing the bear minimum to support those with mental health issues. Not enough businesses have mental health policies. And of those that do, how many of these were implemented retrospectively? We need to make proactive changes to reduce stress levels that can cause poor mental health, not just support our workers once they’re at breaking point!

You may be proud of the fact that you have 6 mental health trained first aiders? But what are they doing? Sitting there waiting for someone to come to them with a problem, that’s what.

Why aren’t we acting on the problems that are right in front of us every single day? Any other industry’s employers would be torn apart for improper treatment if they enforced the pressure of deadlines on their workforce like we do. But it’s not the companies’ fault; it’s the construction industry’s. It’s stuck in its ways.

It’s not just ‘time to talk’. It’s time to change.

Read More

Lighting that makes sense

Passive infrared motion (PIR) sensors have been an innovative invention for the construction world. As more of our industry looks for sustainable and economical methods and materials, we’re quite deliberately drawn to these sensors for energy saving and ecological benefits.

PIR lighting works by sensing the heat from infrared light bouncing off an object or person moving in its field of view. The light then switches on and stays on while it senses movement. This technology can have a variety of uses throughout many, if not all, sectors of construction – whether that’s for security, convenience, cost or energy saving purposes.

PIR sensors can reduce energy consumption levels by 30% in commercial buildings when compared with normal light switches, so this is a great way to make buildings more sustainable and energy efficient.

This all sounds great, doesn’t it? So, why aren’t they used everywhere?

Because PIR sensors detect infrared light from heat, lights placed outdoors can be triggered by passing animals, cars and other similar objects. This can unnecessarily activate the light and use unwanted energy. Similarly, the sensors’ range may not be suitable for certain areas which means, again, they are used incorrectly.

They also still turn on in daylight or inside when there is already a substantial amount of light which can run up electricity bills and waste a lot of energy. This is because some PIR sensors, especially the ones designed for indoors, aren’t connected to other technology that can help to adjust the needs for light.

One option to help reduce the wasted energy of PIR sensors is photocells. They work by detecting the changing light levels to determine whether more light is needed. This can be useful for security lights outside that aren’t necessarily needed in the daytime or rooms that have lots of natural light through the day.

Alternatively, some high-end PIR sensors can have adjustable modifications for you to manually change the time of day which it can be activated and how long the light is left on once it has been activated. You can also combine a normal switch with a PIR sensor to turn on only when the automatic detection is needed.

In theory, PIR sensors can be used in many ways for different needs to enhance the build’s abilities. The technology, however, needs to be operated in an appropriate way to see the benefits without causing further issues and putting sustainable builds on the backfoot.

Speak to us for recommendations and guidance on the best energy efficient lighting option for your building.

Read More

The next generation of Electrical Engineers

eco Electrical are working towards building better futures in electrical engineering by offering apprenticeships within our company to progress the industry.

 

To grow our employees’ skills and abilities is one of our most important objectives and a company value. As we look to recruit further, we’re taking the opportunity to nurture aspiring electrical engineers and offer training in a hands-on approach. Our apprentices are guided by highly qualified engineers which gives them an insight to our methods of delivering quality workmanship.

 

Another of eco’s core values, promoting energy efficiency, gives a unique opportunity to learn about sustainability in the future of construction, and how this is applied within electrical engineering. We provide invaluable knowledge on the job to accelerate the learning experience, mentorship and support, and pay a salary whilst learning. In return, we request our team have a strong drive to complete their qualifications and put the relevant skills into practice with us.

 

We take pride in expanding our company and want every employee to feel like the valued team members they are. We want to smash through the huge gender disparity in engineering and encourage anyone to join us in understanding the future of construction and guide keen engineers to success.

 

We are continuously adapting to the changing industry, building relationships, developing skills and looking towards the future, and we want more apprentices to become a part of who we are, and watch them grow with us.


If what we do interests you, get in touch for an informal chat. 

Read More

Charging forward with Part S

You’d struggle to find someone who won’t agree with the fact that we need to reduce the number of petrol and diesel vehicles on our roads. The government’s goals to reach net zero are being supported by various grants and initiatives to encourage us all buying electric vehicles.

Most recently a new building regulation known as Part S which came in on 15th June 2022, applies to all new builds and buildings undergoing major renovation.

In simplest terms, any building with more than ten associated parking spaces will need at least one parking space with access to an electric vehicle charging point; and cable routes installed to a minimum of 20% of the remaining spaces (to allow for EV charging points at a later date).

There are few exceptions, but even if you are able to avoid the required installations, you’ll only be delaying the inevitable. Forecasted EV growth is rapid. Won’t your next vehicle be electric, or at least hybrid?

For advice on navigating the changes and implications of Part S, just give us a call.

Read More

Oh hello, Part O

We’ve all endured a summer night where it’s so hot we can’t sleep. With climate change bringing hotter summers whilst we strive to build better insulated homes, it’s a problem that’s only going to get worse. Enter Part O!

The principle of Part O is to reduce excessive heat from the sun entering a building, and therefore avoiding internal temperatures rising to uncomfortable levels. A secondary but very important issue it addresses, is the need to reduce our use of (energy guzzling) mechanical cooling (aka air conditioning).

Part O is a brand-new addition to UK Building Regs, which came into effect on 15th June 2022. It affects only newly built residential and institutional residential buildings (such as care homes, hospitals, student accommodation etc.) and is another step towards the Government’s targets to reduce the UK’s carbon emissions. Because what’s the point of saving energy through not needing to heat our well insulated homes in the winter, when we then have to use energy to mechanically cool them in the summer?

Part O promotes limiting the amount of sun and therefore heat, that enters a ‘dwelling’ (an individual home or apartment) through its design, orientation and amount of glazing, and it encourages natural ventilation and passive methods of lowering internal temperatures before considering mechanical (or active) cooling systems as a last resort.

However, there are and always will be instances, in built up areas for example, where despite best efforts, mechanical cooling of some kind will be necessary to keep the building occupants from overheating.

It will need to be demonstrated to the building control body that all practicable passive means of limiting unwanted solar gains and removing excess heat have been used first, before adopting mechanical cooling.

The focus then, should be on low carbon technologies such as Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery (MVHR), they could be with summer bypass modes, or automated and manual purge ventilation could be connected with BMS or more simply, with local controls.

At eco our product knowledge and relationships with our trusted supply chain ensure we can recommend the best products at the most competitive prices, as well as installing and commissioning.

Read More

Changes to Part L of the Building Regs – Conservation of Fuel and Power

The clue’s in our name, eco. We’re all about energy efficiency, so the revisions to Part L of the Building Regulations are a welcome change.

The revisions to the UK’s Building Regulations which came into effect on 15th June 2022 affect both domestic and non-domestic buildings and are a step towards the Government’s targets to reduce the UK’s carbon emissions.

The construction industry must now comply with increased energy efficiency standards which include requirements for the performance of the building fabric and thermal elements like windows and doors, as well as its primary energy.

In order to prove compliance, the relevant parties will be required to take and submit photographs as evidence, which will form part of the new Building Regulation England Part L (BREL) report.

The change in energy specific requirements, in short?

In terms of primary energy, the focus will be on low carbon heating and low temperature emitters, for example, the move away from more traditional heating systems such as gas boilers and traditional heat emitters being radiators.

All space heating and domestic hot water boiler installations in existing non-domestic buildings must now include controls to improve the effective efficiency of the system.

In new non-domestic buildings, the minimum efficacy of lighting installations has been increased to 95 luminaire lumens per circuit watt for general lighting and 80 luminaire lumens per circuit watt for display lighting. Lower efficacies in some rooms can be offset by higher efficacies in others.

New non-domestic buildings also now require a building automation and control system if they include a heating or air-conditioning system of 180kW or over. 

All wet space heating systems in new buildings must now operate with a maximum flow temperature of 55°C.

Clear as mud?

If you want an electrical contractor who knows the legal requirements to ensure you comply with building regs give us a call.

Read More

UK Wiring Regulations Updated

The IET and BSI have allowed a six-month transition period for all electrical contractors to understand and apply the changes of Amendment 2 to the 18th Edition of the Wiring Regulations which were published on 28th March 2022.

The eco team attended the Electrical Contractors Association’s Roadshow on the topic to ensure we’re familiar with the updates and ready to comply with the new national standard for all installations, additions, and alterations to existing, with a focus on improving safety and also, efficiency.

The significant changes BS 7671:2018+A2:2022 include:

  • A requirement for Arc Fault Detection Devices (AFDDs) in some types of higher risk residential buildings
  • Fire safety design of buildings are to be documented where specific conditions of external influence exist, such as protected escape routes and fire risk locations
  • Requirement to provide overvoltage protection
  • Changes to identification, labels and notices for the user of the electrical installation
  • A new Low Voltage Electrical Installations chapter

At eco, our focus when designing an electrical system is the end user’s safety, and second most, we ensure the safety of those on site whilst we carry out the installation.

Read More

Countdown to the LED switchover

There are no big secrets to be revealed here. The information we’re about to share is publicly available on the internet and in fact, is posted on the UK government’s website here.  

I’d guess that almost everyone knows that LED lighting is hugely more energy efficient than traditional incandescent, fluorescent and halogen options?

However, what you may not be aware of is the fact there’s been a gradual phasing out of the traditional lighting options, which started with the removal of incandescent back in 2009. Halogen was then banned in 2021 and finally, in September 2023 the end of the fluorescent lightbulb is planned. Yes, that’s less than 18 months before you’ll probably struggle to purchase new fluorescent lightbulbs, which are still so common in offices, here in the UK.

So, we really need to be switching to LEDs, and quickly.

Don’t get me wrong, we welcome the UK government’s next step towards sustainability and a net zero future. But why hasn’t it been publicised better? In fact, why wasn’t there a big government campaign promoting the benefits and significant cost savings which LED lighting provides, years ago?

It would seem too little, too late now that we’re in an energy price crisis!

Replacing traditional lamps with LEDs will reduce your building’s energy consumption through lighting, by up to 60%. With better lighting control and management, the savings are even bigger.

Speak to us today to review your lighting system and start making savings.  

Source – https://www.gov.uk/government/news/end-of-halogen-light-bulbs-spells-brighter-and-cleaner-future

The sale of mains voltage halogen non-directional lamps were banned in the UK on 1 September 2018, meaning low voltage non-directional halogen lamps could continue, as long as they comply with eco-design requirements. The new regulations would phase out most remaining halogen lamps from September 2021 and the traditional fluorescent tube lighting, which are common in offices, from September 2023 onwards.

HL R7 halogens will remain available on the market, and some fluorescents such as T5s.

 Exemptions will be in place for lamps designed and marketed specifically for scene-lighting use in film studios, TV studios, and photographic studios, or for stage-lighting use in theatres or other entertainment events.

Read More

Lighting design in architecture

Lighting has the ability to create stunning effects, highlighting and illuminating, and using a combination of light and shadow to enhance the architecture of a building or space.

Light can be applied to emphasise volume, promote a feature, and assist with flow through a building. It can be manipulated to create balance between disparate spaces, to differentiate between materials and to create artistic elements. It is a collaborative effort to deliver the vision of the architect through lighting design.

Lighting should add an extra dimension to make the very best of the space, creating depth and height, inviting corners, bright areas and sometimes shadows and contrasts. It’s about the balance of light and shade and bringing new energy to a space.

Today, LEDs are the light source of choice, offering brilliant scope for lighting designs. The first LED light sources offered only a cool colour temperature with poor colour rendition. LED technology has now caught up, to provide a better spectrum of colour and light quality, and lenses to direct light.

At eco we apply the three main elements of lighting to our designs: ambient, task and accent, meaning we consider and balance these in every space. Lighting solutions may be repeated in rooms, but the interpretation of the lit space will alter; understanding the effects is the skill. Knowing how many millimetres from a wall a linear LED should sit, and how to conceal it, how to diffuse it and how to balance it with other lighting is all part of our job.

Commissioning eco as your electrical contractor at concept stage, will mean a harmonious and less costly build. Our experience and knowledge is applied through all stages in construction, from the safest and most efficient power supply, to the design of a lighting system which highlights the architecture and uses natural light alongside artificial light to create layers of light for effect and for the intangible benefits of wellbeing.

Read More