A 500-year-old royal residence enters a new era of automation, energy efficiency, and comfort

A 500-year-old royal residence enters a new era of automation, energy efficiency, and comfort

Abbey Strand, a property of the Royal Collection Trust near the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, has a rich and colorful history. Today, part of the building has been modernized into a luxury apartment complex, with ABB's InSite energy management system and ABB i-bus® KNX building automation an integral part of the high-end renovation.

Less than 50 meters from King Charles III’s official Edinburgh residence and boasting 500 years of history, Cheval Abbey Strand are redeveloped apartments within a historic building in the heart of the Scottish capital. UK-based property developer, Chris Stewart Group (CSG), restored part of the property to create nine luxury boutique apartments, offering guests exceptional levels of comfort in a building that is part of the Royal Collection, and whose extensive renovation had been overseen by the King before he ascended the throne in 2022.

CSG specialize in renovating old and often listed buildings, transforming them into modern, sustainable, smart buildings with ABB’s InSite energy management system and ABB i-bus® KNX as key elements at the heart of their redevelopment approach.

From a home for medieval monks and royal courtiers to a modern, sustainable, smart stay for upscale tourists

CSG was faced with the challenge of turning parts of an old tenement building, which at times during its varied history had once been a home for debtors and the impoverished as well as medieval monks and royal courtiers, into modern serviced apartments. Each of the apartments needed to be equipped with a centralized building management solution, able to control the lighting and heating through KNX, a global open standard for building automation, that enables interoperability of services and technology.

The chosen system had to be intuitive and easy to use for the international clientele staying in the apartments, but also have the ability to be monitored remotely. It was also important for the building owner to be able to view live data and receive notifications of any faults detected for each apartment, including mechanical services such as boilers and heat pumps.


With energy efficiency and cost management, a natural priority for CSG, the ability to monitor energy usage in detail in both the apartments and the communal areas was important. Therefore, data needed to be remotely accessible via a customizable and intuitive dashboard for both the finance and service teams at the developer's head office.

Vimal Mohanan, ABB Electrification Product Specialist, ABB said, “At ABB we are committed to reducing energy usage in buildings. The application of our products at Abbey Strand is an excellent example of how we can achieve this through retrofittable solutions without disrupting the essence of a building.”

Applying ABB i-bus® KNX, ABB ControlTouch® and InSite energy management system

With the ABB i-bus® KNX providing an open-protocol platform to combine lighting and heating at both room and building levels, this solution provided a seamless experience for residents and building owners alike.

The KNX building automation system was complemented by the sophisticated Millenium range of light switches and sockets, underlining the magnificent history of the premises. And with its smart inserts, such as KNX modules or the rotary thermostat for room temperature control, residents are able to conveniently customize their apartments to suit their needs.

  • Millenium range of wiring accessories
  • ABB i-bus® KNX

At the building level, the ABB i-bus® KNX system also reports faults to the ABB ControlTouch® app, allowing the facility manager to easily manage the maintenance of the building, including boilers and heat pumps.

To implement energy monitoring in the existing third-party distribution boards, ABB’s InSite energy management system was installed. Its open-core sensors, which can be attached to the cables, allow retrofitting with minimal impact on the existing installation, avoiding downtime and disruption to the building. The data collected by the sensors is sent to the central control unit, which is connected to the ABB Ability™ Energy Manager for remote visualization of monitoring data. Moreover, CSG can add future properties across the country to a central, customizable dashboard.

Fraser Campbell, Project Engineer said, “The InSite system was easy to install and allows us to monitor, at a detailed level, how energy in our building is consumed. With this data, CSG has been able to tailor its building management system to ensure it is optimizing its energy consumption and accurately forecasting costs against occupancy.”

  • ABB Ability™ Energy Manager for remote visualization of monitoring data.
  • CMS current sensors connected to the InSite energy management system

Significant reductions in energy usage and maintenance costs secured

This renovation project proved to be a major achievement – bringing a historic building in the heart of Edinburgh up to 21st-century luxury living standards while retaining its traditional character. The open-protocol ABB i-bus® KNX system’s built-in intuitive responsiveness within the room temperature control and lighting system ensures comfort and convenience in an energy- and cost-saving way. With the InSite energy management system and ABB AbilityTM CSG understands which devices or apartments are ‘high users’ and how to optimize energy consumption, supporting the finance department’s energy billing. 

Fraser Campbell, Project Engineer said, “Since deploying the system at our Abbey Strand property, CSG has installed ABB’s monitoring solution at two further properties and is looking to roll it out to more assets in 2023, with a target of lowering energy consumption across the estate by 20 percent.”


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