Denmark’s Embassy in Beijing cuts energy use in half with HVAC upgrade

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Energy efficiency


Beijing, China


The Royal Danish Embassy

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With the help of Grundfos HVAC system pumps, the Royal Danish Embassy in Beijing, China, is attempting to reduce its overall energy consumption by around 40 percent and CO2 emissions by 25,000 tonnes.

The Danish Embassy has installed Grundfos circulator pumps for its heating, cooling and hot water circulation, resulting in a halving of the compound’s energy use. 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 recycling and slowly becoming self-sufficient,” says Friis Arne Petersen, Denmark’s ambassador to China.

“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.”


The situation

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.

At 475 kilowatt-hours per square metre annually, the energy consumption for the embassy was high. The current Danish regulation for a new similar building is 71 kilowatt-hours per square metre. A priority list of areas in which energy could be saved in the embassy was made, and topping that list was upgrading the old, over-dimensioned water circulation pumps.

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 heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (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 Grundfos solution

COWI suggested Grundfos pumps and solutions, based on the company’s track record for reliability and energy efficiency. Grundfos was then selected by the Embassy to develop an energy-saving solution that utilised a reliable operating system.

The new Grundfos pumps have built-in controls for optimised 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 AUTOAdapt™, which 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.

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.


The outcome

In addition to meeting the set targets, the newly-installed pumps are very easy to operate, are silent in operation and do not take up too much space. The automatic functions such as temperature and pressure control keep operation simple, saving time.

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-subsidised, making prices relatively low, raising the question of whether there are financial benefits to “going green”.

But Friis Arne 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,” he says, and concludes:

“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.”


About the Danish Embassy:

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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