Case Studies

Sofa so Good


When DFS took on the sizable challenge of dramatically reducing the environmental impact of its 170 sites, including stores, offices, factories and warehouses, the leading furniture retailer turned to global associates to help radically reduce overall energy usage.

The challenge 

With a requirement to implement energy efficient controls that could guarantee a timely return on investment, global associates aimed to demonstrate tangible gains within one year, all whilst gathering enough data about how DFS plant was run to move the sofa retailer towards a more proactive maintenance regime. This would result in planned 15% savings in maintenance spend without negatively affecting store, warehouse or factory opening hours. 

The solution

global spaces provided the operating system for the DFS built environment; delivering assured control within a secure and scalable distributed rollout programme - local control, centrally managed.

global spaces integrated a variety of sensors, actuators and mechanical and electrical plant to deliver a unified data and control layer. The optimisation to lower the energy usage and the overall carbon reduction was achieved dynamically, specific to a given site’s actual occupancy and usage. Delivering a unified data and control layer, all managed at the API level within the cloud, meant that integration with third party systems such as CAFM was straightforward and painless.

global associates brought together Edge computing, Cloud enablement, the latest LoRaWan wireless sensors and an N4 powered control platform to create a hybrid IoT BMS solution that was cost-effective while delivering a huge amount of data, power and control.

This system allowed global associates to cost effectively install sensors and run APIs that captured the following key metrics:

  • CO2 levels – To manage fresh air supplies.
  • Temperature – To manage heating and cooling supplies.
  • Vibration – To understand how and when plant is running.
  • Weather forecast information – To ensure the site is up to (or down to) temperature in time for opening, without risking over heating on cool spring mornings.
  • Amps – Clamp-on Current Transducers wirelessly report energy usage to a Smart-Server for analysis and fine-tuning of the control system. 
  • VOC / PM2.5 – Air quality measurement in the factories to provide information on how much ventilation is required and to allow DFS to prioritise investment. 

With a unified data layer and API in the Cloud, and integrating with downstream systems, DFS now benefits from a real-time digital twin landscape.

The result

DFS now has an operationally focussed digital twin solution that is lowering the energy usage and carbon output by 38%, resulting in savings of hundreds of thousands of pounds per annum. The focus on delivering a unified data and control layer, driven by an API architecture, means that DFS can look forward to many more years of savings and cost-effective future initiatives.

Integrated Solution

The diagram featured summarises the high-level solution, around which wireless sensors, the N4 platform, air conditioning systems, boilers, pumps, fans, and lighting circuits are integrated.

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