Spelsberg is supplying IP66 TK enclosures to Watersavers for housing the electronic controls needed for the company's money-saving water shut-off valves.
Watersavers is using Spelsberg's tough IP66 TK enclosures to house the controls for its new SOV-100 automatic water-shut off system that has been designed with BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) guidelines in mind and is claimed to be capable of saving thousands of pounds every year in reduced water wastage. The Spelsberg enclosures satisfied a long list of requirements, from transparent lids for viewing status LEDs through to PCB mounts, extra wiring space and an aesthetic exterior that would suit smart commercial premises.
Watersavers' shut-off controls are designed to reduce costs and prevent water wastage in public and commercial buildings; for example, leaving one tap running overnight (12 hours) will use approximately 6480 litres of water (Environment Agency figures) at an average cost of £0.70/m3. In a worst-case scenario where a tap is left on in a building each night, a business will lose £1679 per annum. A simple dripping tap, which is far more likely, will use a staggering 10,940 litres per year.
The shut-off valves from Watersavers are designed to isolate the water supply to certain areas of buildings (eg toilets, shower blocks and commercial kitchens) when unoccupied at night, during weekends and holiday periods, thereby preventing water wastage and also protecting buildings from potential damage from running taps, burst or leaking pipes. An optional Building Management System interface also allows the units to be easily integrated into more sophisticated building automation systems, communicating their status and flagging up any operating issues immediately. Businesses that employ these units can make substantial savings on water bills.
At the top of the range is the SOV-100, a 240V fully-specified control with multiple PIR sensor and solenoid valve capability. The control components are PCB-mounted and therefore need to be housed in a suitable enclosure. A clear lid is required for visual inspection of LEDs and plenty of space is needed for easy wiring by electrical fitters and contractors. Spelsberg TK enclosures matched these requirements while also providing IP66 protection as standard; they are also manufactured from a plastic material that will not corrode, provides protection from UV and mechanical impacts, and looks good.
The SOV-100 is supplied with one or more PIR sensors (either mini-ceiling or single-gang style) to detect occupancy in the designated areas. Brass solenoid valves (in sizes from 1/2inch to 2inch BSP) are then controlled to shut off the water supply when the area has been unoccupied for a time period that can be set from 10-150 minutes. A test mode and status LEDs are provided to assist installation and to confirm operation. Wiring the enclosures requires IP66 cable glands to be pre-fitted, and Spelsberg offers precision NC drilling of enclosures and gland fitting as part of its service.
Stuart Richards of Watersavers comments: "We see this technology as a cost-effective alternative to the installation of multiple mechanical and electrical controls in buildings. Sales are growing rapidly and this would suggest there is a big market for the units; they tend to be specified by architects and building systems engineers who can see the benefits of using them in delivering a more efficient and environmentally-friendly facility. Using these items in new buildings also helps to achieve desirable BREEAM credits by eliminating unnecessary water wastage."
These valves are also being used in retrofit situations by facilities management departments, facilities contractors, local councils and utility organisations. In particular, in public conveniences where there is little care taken of water wastage and taps are frequently left on, a presence detector and a shut-off valve can save thousands of litres of water. A simplified battery-operated version, the SOV-50, is specially designed for use in remotely located buildings such as public toilets, camp site shower blocks and washrooms, village halls, etc.
All Watersavers controls are manufactured at the company's factory in Norwich. The products have a reputation for longevity and the company advocates a 'repair rather than replacement' policy for its products in the field; an extended life requirement also meant that quality was a crucial aspect to the decision over which enclosure to use to house the control components. This is a serious commitment and, when the products do reach the end of their service-life and cannot be repaired, Watersavers requests that customers return them for safe recycling.
Watersavers frequently works with architects and mechanical designers to produce custom engineered systems. The Spelsberg TK enclosures range includes hundreds of sizes and options; this provides the flexibility Watersavers needs to satisfy the bespoke side of the business. All design work including programming, printed circuit board layout and manufacture is carried out at the company's UK factory, and having a huge range to chose from means that variations can always be satisfied.