Through all the change and evolution that Chelmsford has seen over recent years, alongside its promotion to city status in 2012, one thing has remained largely unchanged over the past century. This is the fact that Chelmsford city centre is, and always has been, one of the busiest commercial and retail centres in all of Essex, and that people come from all over the county to fill its streets and shops every weekend.
A Short Retail History Of Chelmsford
While the High Street itself forms the traditional nucleus of the city centre, it does not have the historical significance that you might expect for a city that dates back more than a thousand years. The reason for this is that significant redevelopment took place in the 1960s, with many of the existing high street buildings deemed unfit for purpose and demolished.
Thus, we are faced with what some see as the jarring incompatibility of the few remaining ancient buildings, such as the Shire Hall and Cathedral, surrounded by the best, or worst, of more modern architecture from the 1960s and beyond.
Yet in many ways, this is what Chelmsford is all about – a town that became a city, built on a history of pioneers, innovators, and modernisers.
Flanking the high street on either side are two major indoor shopping centers. High Chelmer was built in the early 1980s, and underwent a significant refurbishment programme in 2009, while The Meadows opened in the 1990s, and had its own revamp in 2014.
In 2016, these were joined by the new Bond Street centre, built around a flagship John Lewis department store, just to the northeast of the high street.
As far as electrical needs and infrastructure are concerned, when we consider the fact that the requirements of a small business on the high street will be quite different to the electrical demands in Meadows shopping centre, Chelmsford is not so different to any other town or city that has a wide range of businesses and is in a constant state of change and evolution.
The Meadows Shopping Centre
With around 40 businesses operating under the same roof, addressing the electrical demands in Meadows shopping centre, Chelmsford is a complex matter. There is a diverse range of business types, each with its own unique needs and consumption habits. These range from a travel agent and currency exchange with relatively low consumption of restaurants and coffee shops, which have professional cooking equipment in constant use.
There is also the question of shared resources – the centre itself has shared space, washrooms and the like, all of which have their own lighting and heating needs.
Power is delivered to the centre by a single three-phase supply with a main isolator in the central power room. This is then sent to a distribution box and distributed throughout the centre to each store. The individual business units then have their own consumer units, fuse boxes, and meters, and are free to manage their own power supply needs in the way that suits them best.
This means they have the freedom to choose the supplier, tariff and so on that is the best fit for their individual business needs.
As part of this general distribution, there is also a dedicated supply for the overall centre, servicing the shared space needs. This is operated by the Meadows management and administration company that oversees the overall running of the shopping centre.
Due to the symbiotic relationship between the Meadows as a whole and the individual retailers who operate within it, the management of electrical demands in Meadows Shopping Centre, Chelmsford is not an entirely straightforward case of every business looking after itself.
The Meadows has a well-publicised environmental and sustainability policy, and is accredited to ISO 14001, the international standard for environmental management systems. It recently replaced its existing lighting system with energy efficient LED lights, and installed movement sensors to its back-of-house lights. These are just two examples of the way its electricity consumption and lighting strategies are constantly monitored and reviewed, and this cannot be done effectively without the commitment and buy-in of every business tenant.
Individual Commercial Units In Chelmsford
As well as catering for the electrical demands in Meadows Shopping Centre, Chelmsford also has a large number of individual commercial properties in the traditional city centre locations around the High Street, Duke Street, and Moulsham.
These each has their own electrical needs, but for individual properties, the question of supply is far less complicated. Indeed, it is very similar to that of a domestic supply system, although there are some additional points that business owners need to consider in ensuring they meet their electricity needs.
One important question is whether they need a single or triple phase power supply. While single phase used to be considered adequate for the requirements of a small shop, today’s IT gadgetry presents greater power demands than ever. Also, any café that runs a commercial kitchen is almost certain to need a three phase supply.
As experienced electrical engineers operating throughout Chelmsford, Essex we strongly recommend you contact us with any queries related to commercial electrical requirements – Bryden Electrical Ltd.
Managing The Electrical Power Usage
A common factor is that the electrical demands in Meadows Shopping Centre, Chelmsford and on the high street place increasing pressure on every commercial business. Electricity prices have almost doubled over the past ten years, meaning that every business needs to dig deeper than ever before to manage its electricity usage, both from the angle of corporate social responsibility, and to effectively manage this increasingly expensive overhead from a costs perspective.
The lessons learned from the measures implemented to reduce the electrical demands in Meadows Shopping Centre, Chelmsford, through the use of more energy-efficient lighting and other technologies show just what can be done to mitigate both the costs and the overall carbon footprint of a retail outlet.
These are certainly strategies that can be both adopted and built upon by shops and commercial properties throughout Chelmsford looking to reduce their electrical footprint, and indeed beyond.
For more information about how you can reduce your Power consumption, contact Bryden Electrical Ltd Today!