The ground-breaking SonNet wireless sensing system from the market leader in control peripherals, Sontay, has enabled the speedy retrofit of HVAC controls at the New London Theatre in London, home to the critically-acclaimed War Horse production. 

Carried out with minimal disruption to the day to day running of the theatre, the new installation completed by Surrey-based controls company, Concise Controls, will help improve energy efficiency, reduce carbon emissions for the theatre’s owners, and also bring greater building use flexibility for many years to come.  

Located at the corner of Drury Land and Parker Street in Covent Garden, London, the New London Theatre officially opened its doors to the public in 1973. It has a seating capacity of 960 spread across two levels and has hosted some of the UK’s most notable productions including Cats, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Gone with the Wind.

“This is a prestigious building which currently houses the National Theatre’s world-renowned production of War Horse. It is also in constant use and required a control system that could be seamlessly installed without disrupting the running of the theatre or effect the fabric of the building. We were not allowed to run cables in the open spaces so decided wireless would be the best option. The sensors were painted brown to blend in and as the walls were covered in padded fabric for sound deadening we used Velcro on the back to attach them.”
Phil Peverley Managing Director Concise Controls

The original controls only afforded a single return temperature sensor but, with the new wireless sensors, Concise Controls was able to add multiple space sensors to get a greater understanding of the temperature stratification for the audience’s comfort. This was one of the main aims of the controls upgrade as the original system was obsolete.

Following a site survey, Concise Controls installed a number of temperature sensors on all levels of the stalls and circle, which are in line of sight with each other or as near as possible to assist the signal strength. The sensors relay the reading to the Trend Building Management System (BMS). 

The battery powered SonNet devices in the theatre are designed around a robust 2.4 GHz, 802.15.4 self-healing tree topology. This eliminates concerns with reception and reliability often associated with existing ‘point-to-point’ wireless systems. If a sensor detects a problem with the signal, it will automatically re-route to find the strongest available path to the receiver. Interference with other radio devices in the same frequency spectrum also been addressed through a proprietary algorithm which continually adapts to site conditions.

Specifying SonNet sensors eliminated the need for Concise Controls to run any structured cabling to the products making installation quick and easy. This ensured minimal disruption during installation and brought significant savings on installation time and cost too. As the sensors are wireless they can be easily and cost-effectively re-located, or new sensors added, should theatre layouts and the requirement for temperature measurement change over time. 

Sontay products and control solutions are designed to help improve building management system performance reduce energy and maintenance costs and increase occupant comfort levels.  For further information on the Sontay product range, contact