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Cost Comparison: Events2HVAC v. Occupancy Sensors

Nov 3

Written by:
11/3/2014 2:27 PM  RssIcon

Facility managers everywhere are looking for ways to cut expenses. Some of them are considering using occupancy sensors to turn off heat, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) in empty rooms. But there is a more effective and less expensive solution – one born of the KISS principle.

Events2HVAC is a simple and elegant solution, requiring no hardware to mount or wire.

Events2HVAC is a software solution that pulls data from room scheduling software and sends commands to HVAC systems to automatically control HVAC based on schedules. It is a simple and elegant solution, requiring no hardware to mount or wire. In most cases it can be installed on an existing server on site.

We have compared the benefits of Events2HVAC and occupancy sensors in other articles (see links at the bottom of this post). So let's take a look at the comparative costs.

Scenario

For this comparison, let’s use a building or set of buildings with 100 rooms or zones. A building automation system (BAS) is already in use, and events are scheduled with a room scheduling software. However, the facility manager does not have the time or manpower to manually schedule the BAS to the room level for every single event, so the building is run all day from 7 am to 7 pm, and set back to unoccupied settings only at night. Due to pressure to reduce expenses, the manager decides to consider both occupancy sensors and Events2HVAC to turn off HVAC between scheduled events.

Analysis

This table summarizes our analysis, which is explained in more detail below.

Solution

Purchase Price

Installation &
BAS Programming

Total Cost

Events2HVAC

$9,000

$0 - $5,000

$9,000 - $14,000

Occupancy Sensors

Included

$40,000

$40,000

Events2HVAC

The pricing for an Events2HVAC license to automatically pull room schedules and send commands to control HVAC in 100 rooms or zones is $9,000. This price includes a perpetual license, software updates for one year, plus four support incidents within the first year.

For an additional $2,000-$4,000, a Streamside Solutions representative will travel to the site, install the software on an existing server at the site, assist with getting all systems communicating, and train Events2HVAC users. However, this is only recommended for implementations larger than 300 rooms.

For most implementations, such as the 100-room scenario in this analysis, IT personnel already on site can install and setup Events2HVAC on their own with remote support from our engineers. However, in some cases, HVAC representatives will need to expose BACnet points or make other adjustments to the BAS. Fees for this type of work vary, and some systems may not need adjustments at all. For our scenario of 100 rooms, fees could range from $0 - $5,000 for an HVAC representative to make changes to the system to accept the commands sent by Events2HVAC.

Taking the highest estimate by adding the $9,000 purchase price and $5,000 estimated cost for changes to the BAS during implementation, the total cost to get Events2HVAC running and start saving energy in 100 rooms is $14,000 – or $140 per room. Because our pricing structure includes breaks at 150 and 500 rooms, larger implementations will be less expensive per room.

Occupancy Sensors

The pricing for occupancy sensors is not quite as straightforward. There are more variables involved, such as the cost of the specific type of occupancy sensor selected, the electrician’s fees for installing and wiring the sensors, and the fees for programming the BAS to respond to sensor data.

To help us make a fair comparison, we contacted a Sales Engineer who does this type of work to ask for an estimate. He told us they charge $300-$600 per occupancy sensor for a complete purchase and setup, including all installation, wiring, and programming. He said the biggest variable is the cost of wiring, which depends on how far sensors are placed from the controller, the type of conduit used, and how difficult it is to run the wire. He said $400 per occupancy sensor is a fair average.

Assuming one occupancy sensor in each of our 100 rooms, and multiplying $400 by the 100 occupancy sensors needed for our scenario, gives us a total implementation cost of $40,000. However, keep in mind that if you have very large auditoriums or other spaces, you might need more than one occupancy sensor to cover those areas.

The University of Colorado at Denver is currently installing both occupancy sensors and Events2HVAC on their two campus in Aurora, CO and downtown Denver. The facility manager, Dave Thorson, said that the bulk of the expense of the project is due to the occupancy sensors. In fact, without Events2HVAC included in the project, the return on investment (ROI) of the occupancy sensors would have been out of range for approval by the university. It is the low cost and big savings of Events2HVAC that made the entire project possible. Stay tuned to our blog for a case study once the project is completed.

Conclusion

If you don’t believe the reasonable estimates provided above, please contact your own HVAC engineer for an estimate. You may be able to beat our estimate, but your cost will certainly still be much higher than the cost of Events2HVAC.

Events2HVAC is less than half the cost of implementing occupancy sensors and provides better control of HVAC systems.

Though it is less expensive, Events2HVAC is much more effective for HVAC control than occupancy sensors. Sensors can only react to stimulus, they cannot predict when a room will be occupied and prepare the environment accordingly. With Events2HVAC, you can set a pre-start time for each piece of equipment so that each time a room served by that equipment is booked, the equipment will be turned on in advance to get the room to the desired temperature before the event begins. You can’t do that with occupancy sensors. To read more about the functional differences between the two solutions, see Is Your HVAC System Proactive or Reactive?

To learn more about Events2HVAC, request a quote, or begin a free 60-day trial for up to 50 rooms, please contact sales@events2hvac.com or call (888) 320-4277.

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Founded in 1998, Streamside Solutions provides software products, solutions and services for the building automation industry.


Phone: (888) 320-4277

        

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