BG helps Vue cinemas reduce energy Bill by 20% in 18 months

BG Energy Solutions has helped more than 70 cinemas in the Vue multiplex chain achieve energy savings in excess of 20%.

BG Energy Solutions, a specialist in energy management for businesses and large organisations, has helped more than 70 cinemas in the Vue multiplex chain achieve energy savings in excess of 20%. The work, which has seen the latest voltage optimisation (VO) and variable speed drive (VSD) technologies installed, will see an impressive return on investment of between 24-36 months.


Vue Entertainment is one of the UK's leading developers and operators of multiplex cinemas. The Vue brand and company was launched in the UK market in 2003 with 38 cinemas. Since then, Vue's UK & Ireland circuit has grown to in excess of 80 cinemas and 755 screens, serving over 37 million film lovers every year.

Needless to say, in such a large network of venues, where customers demand temperature comfort, it can be easy for energy consumption to get out of hand. However, although acutely aware of its customers' requirements, Vue is also keen to demonstrate its environmental credentials and save costs by avoiding the unnecessary waste of energy.

Energy expert

BG Energy has extensive experience in the leisure industry; indeed, its relationship with Vue is long standing. This means the company was a natural fit when the cinema operator wanted to kick-start its latest energy reduction initiative.

BG can boast a proven track record in the provision of a range of building and lighting controls that are supported by its remote energy control service. These services aim to create and maintain sustainable, energy efficient buildings.

"The smart thinking with Vue pointed toward the adoption of Voltage Optimisation plus regulation and VSD technology," explains Duncan Biggins, Managing Director at BG Energy Solutions. "We look after more than 70 Vue sites and each one now has VO on the incoming mains, along with VSDs on all air handling plant – more than 1200 in total."

VO is a way of reducing incoming mains voltage without affecting the performance of electrical equipment, while VSDs adjust a motor's speed to closely match output requirements, rather than simply running at full speed all the time.

Turnkey installation

Of course, installing such major equipment at a series of cinemas is far from straightforward without impairing ongoing business. Most Vue cinemas are open by late morning and run through close to midnight, which only leaves a small window of opportunity for plant upgrades and maintenance. However, BG Energy was able to provide a turnkey installation of the necessary equipment out of normal opening hours. The company was also able to address different issues regarding site liaison and any special health and safety requirements. Ultimately, BG Energy micro-managed each Vue site individually to guarantee the optimum solution.

The VO equipment specified by BG were E-VO+R™ units supplied by e-fficient Energy Systems Ltd, we selected the E-VO+R system as they are the most technically advanced VOR product available in the market place, while with regard to the VSDs, the same supplier provided its eVSD models. However, specifying the equipment is just a small part of the solution.

"Across the 70+ Vue sites we must have encountered up to 10 different control systems," says Mr Biggins. "With this in mind we have to take into account how each site operates so that the VSDs are correctly integrated with the controls and the operation of the plant. It's imperative to understand this fully to ensure a successful installation."

Monitoring and targeting

Each VO required two to three days to install (including preparatory work completed off-site beforehand), while two days were needed for each VSD project. Upon completion, BG Energy undertook a monitoring and targeting exercise to prove the savings. This delivers valuable management information to help determine a successful energy strategy moving forward.

Vue also uses the maintenance bureau services of BG Energy to ensure the ongoing, problem-free operation of its cinemas.

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