In China, Danish embassy cuts energy in half with HVAC upgrade

Pumps help embassy with carbon neutral workThe Royal Danish Embassy in Beijing, China, has installed Grundfos circulator pumps for its heating, cooling and hot water circulation, part of the Grundfos iSolutions system approach. The result: a cut in half of the compound’s energy use.
Commercial Buildings case story
PHOTO: Friis Arne Petersen, Danish ambassador to the Royal Danish Embassy in Beijing, China.

The Danish embassy is one of the first embassies in Beijing to find innovative ways to improve the energy efficiency of the buildings in its compound. The embassy is working to achieve carbon neutral status, while improving its recycling and slowly becoming self-sufficient, says Friis Arne Petersen, Denmark’s ambassador to China.

To assist in this green transition, the embassy has installed Grundfos’ new-technology circulator pumps for heating, cooling and hot water circulation (HVAC).

“It’s a matter of credibility in general, but also in terms of our host society, China, and other Danish and foreign companies and institutions, that we do all we can do as a government office to be at the forefront of environmentally friendly technology,” Petersen says. “We want to walk the talk.”

"We do all we can to be at the forefront of environmentally friendly technology. We want to walk the talk."

Friis Arne Petersen, Denmark’s ambassador to China

PHOTO: Friis Arne Petersen, Denmark’s ambassador to China, in the embassy’s mechanical room.

Upgrading old pumps
Last year, the international consulting group COWI conducted an energy audit at the Danish embassy in Beijing. It showed that there was huge potential for energy savings by upgrading the old pumps. The embassy was constructed and built in many stages, all according to Danish building regulations, starting in the 1970s.

“The energy consumption for the embassy was high – at 475 kilowatt-hours per square metre annually – and the current Danish regulation for a new similar building is 71 kilowatt-hours per square metre,” says Gitte Svantemann, project manager at COWI.

“We made a priority list of areas in which energy could be saved in the embassy, and the main priority was upgrading the old water-circulation pumps. We found that the old pumps were too big and that replacing them was key to reducing the overall energy consumption.

“We suggested Grundfos and its pump solutions, which we believe are among the best in the world, for the embassy,” Svantemann adds. “They supply durable equipment and are famous for being highly efficient.”

Kristian Dalestedt Jakobsen, head of administration at the Danish embassy, comments: “Our request to Grundfos was to develop an energy-saving solution that utilized a reliable operating system. Grundfos came up with a proposal, and as they are among the market leaders in this area, it was natural for the embassy to choose the Danish company.” 

PHOTO: Embassy electrician Wang Yiqun says the Grundfos pumps “have a lot of automatic functions, such as temperature and pressure control, which can’t be compared with the previous pumps we used.”

40 percent reduction
The embassy’s target was to reduce hot- and cold-water energy consumption by 35 to 40 percent. It wanted a highly efficient heating system in which the temperature did not constantly need to be adjusted. In the past the Danish embassy needed a HVAC expert to visit twice a year, in spring and autumn, to adjust the thermostatic regulator. Some of the previous pumps were more than a decade old.

The new Grundfos pumps have built-in controls for optimized delivery of heating, cooling and hot water. They can regulate operating speed, and when full operating speed is unnecessary, the pumps adapt to the actual system requirements with a function called AUTOAdapt™. This ensures that the pumps automatically adjust to the system and any variations in the system over the year with higher comfort and reduced energy consumption.

Easy operation
The embassy’s electrician, Wang Yiqun, agrees that the pumps are very easy to operate. “I’ve been working for the embassy for almost 13 years and have never seen pumps like these,” he says. “They don’t make any noise or take up too much space. They are very practical since they have a lot of automatic functions, such as temperature and pressure control, which can’t be compared with the previous pumps we used.”

To document electricity consumption, Grundfos has kWh meters on all 34 units (some have a built-in kWh function) that now monitor consumption month by month. Even though the pumps were installed quite recently and the system has been running for just a short time, initial readings suggest that the energy savings are likely to meet the targets set by Grundfos and the embassy.

“If the system fulfils all our expectations, we will reduce CO2 emissions by approximately 25 tonnes annually,” Jakobsen says. “We will save 40 percent of the energy previously used for circulation of hot and cold water. This results in a large savings for the embassy and contributes to a better environment as well, which benefits both the embassy and China.”

"I’ve been working for the embassy for almost 13 years and have never seen pumps like these."

Wang Yiqun, electrician at the Royal Danish Embassy in China

PHOTO: The mechanical room at the Royal Danish Embassy in Beijing, China.

Not just about saving money
The Danish embassy says it wants to encourage Danish, and especially Chinese, companies to follow its lead. However, water and electricity in China are government-subsidized, making prices relatively low, raising the question of whether there are financial benefits to “going green”.

But Petersen says that is not the most important point.

“The most important issue in developing green solutions is to demonstrate the importance of being responsible towards the environment – not just saving money,” Petersen says. “We are determined to invest in green innovation, to care about the world’s climate today and in the future. 

Other embassies are very interested in this project, but we also want to encourage Chinese companies to change their mind-sets and explore energy-saving solutions and develop a better understanding of investing in green technology, and Grundfos pumps bring a greater return on investment in the future. Purchasing an inferior product is a quick fix that over the long term becomes a very costly problem.

“Pollution in China has a huge personal and financial impact in many first-tier cities,” Petersen adds, “including flight delays, congestion and increased medical costs, to name a few. We might not be Beijing’s leading institution but we are changing behaviours with the aim of creating a greener China, and we will continue to embrace green solutions like Grundfos pumps. We have an almost-Chinese saying in Denmark: ‘Many small brooks make a strong river.’”

Three types of circulators

These are the Grundfos products installed at the Danish embassy in Beijing for better indoor comfort:
18 Alpha 2 circulators for heating and cooling circulation
12 Magna 3 circulators for heating and cooling circulation and hot sanitary water circulation
4 NBGE circulators for primary heating and cooling circulation.

About Grundfos iSOLUTIONS
Grundfos iSOLUTIONS is a system approach. Grundfos iSOLUTIONS combine the full spectrum of the Grundfos offering, including standard and integrated pumps with controls, sensors and variable frequency drives to create the intelligent solution covering your system demands. This drives down the total cost of ownership of your pump system, while raising the bar in efficient performance.
Read more about Grundfos iSOLUTIONS

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About the Danish Embassy: A workplace for 65 people
The Royal Danish Embassy compound is located in the Chaoyang District of Beijing. About 65 people work at the embassy, and the ambassador’s residence is also located in the compound.

The embassy compound consists of nine buildings, with a total built area of 5,368 square metres, of which approximately 2,026 square metres are heated. The compound was originally constructed in 1973, but a wing was added to the office building in 1999, and in 2009 the officer quarters and garages were renovated and converted into a dining hall and conference room. The embassy consists of six departments and also houses a small Nordic police department, comprising two police officers from Denmark and Finland, plus a local assistant.

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