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Monitoring energy usage in a large building complex


Boots UK Limited is the UK’s largest pharmacy-led health and beauty retailer, with close to 2,500 stores across the country. Alongside its line of shops, the company also manufactures its own range of health and beauty products and pharmaceuticals.


Based in Nottinghamshire, Boots UK headquarters occupies a 300 acre site. Along with its main support centre for its retail operations, the complex is home to research and development centres and Boots Contract Manufacturing (BCM), a specialist in the production of its own range and third party health and beauty products and pharmaceuticals.

The Thane Road site is home to more than 3,000 employees who use extensive amenities such as a newsagent, coffee shops, restaurants, gym and a Boots branch. The suite of buildings also consists of Grade Listed buildings and a landscaped Millennium Garden.

Large sites consisting of offices, employee facilities, manufacturing plants and communal gardens need considerable power to run and maintain. To power and manage this efficiently and in an environmentally friendly way, Boots UK set up a four kilometre squared Combined Heat and Power (CHP) energy centre. Traditionally the generation of electricity produces large quantities of ‘waste’ heat that is discarded; CHP captures the escaped heat and recycles it to increase efficiency and reduce costs.

With a sprawling network of buildings to power and control, Boots required a monitoring system to oversee energy usage on the site that did not involve a disruptive and unsuitable cabling system. The company approached Wood & Douglas to install a wireless radio network that fed this data back to a central control room based at the CHP energy centre.


With more than 60 energy points to monitor around the building complex, Wood & Douglas deployed individual 300T radio sensors. Featuring a low maintenance design, these compact ‘fit and forget’ units boast a battery life of up to 10 years and a robust die-cast aluminium housing to withstand the vagaries of everyday life in a busy work environment, as well as extreme temperatures.

With a range of up to 1000 metres, the 300T radio sensors wirelessly communicate with an OpenNET 3000 UHF base station and transceiver system centrally installed in the Energy Centre. Capable of handling up to 250 simultaneous connections, this flexible system was easily integrated into Boots UK’s existing bespoke monitoring software, seamlessly handling the data sent from the 300T radio transmitters.

Providing the necessary radio links, Wood & Douglas’ system provided Boots UK with a reliable wireless communication network to handle numerous streams of data. The fast delivery of data from different areas of its expansive headquarters allowed Boots to monitor and measure the company’s energy usage more efficiently.

  • Reliable and fast radio links allows remote delivery of measurement data from more than 60 points across a large building complex to a central location
  • The robust 300T ‘fit and forget’ radio transmitter sensors require low maintenance

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