Events2HVAC Blog

Automate HVAC Schedules with Google or Microsoft Calendars

Jan 25

Written by:
1/25/2016 11:08 AM  RssIcon

To make event automation more available to all, Events2HVAC now supports Google Calendar, Microsoft Exchange, and Microsoft Office 365 as room scheduling systems. These low-cost options work well for corporate conference rooms, government buildings, K-12 schools, and nonprofit organizations. One or more of these might be used to schedule rooms in your building right now.

If you've ever tried to schedule events in a typical commercial HVAC system, you know it's tedious and limited. Most only support a fixed weekly schedule, ad-hoc dated event schedules, and holiday schedules. Wouldn't it be great to have the ability to create repeating schedules with various patterns, drag and drop events to different days and times, and use an intuitive web or Outlook calendar interface?

Depending on the specific plan you choose, these calendars may be free for schools, non-profits, and government agencies - eliminating one of the cost factors of event automation. Please check current prices and offerings for your specific type of organization. Non-profits may be required to go through a qualification process.

MS Office365

Google Calendar

Google Apps for Work Calendar

Starts at $5/month or $60/year

(free or discounted for non-profit and education users)

Free

Per User: $5/month or $50/year

(free or discounted for non-profits and education users)

1 user, on 5 devices

1 user

Unlimited users

24/7 phone and web support

No support

24/7 phone and email support

Create “room resource” for each room/zone. To schedule events, “invite” room resources to “meetings.”

Create a calendar for each room/zone. To schedule events, edit calendar directly or “invite” to “meetings” using calendar email address.

Create room resource for each room/zone. To schedule events, “invite” the room when scheduling “meetings” or invite the room email address.

Events2HVAC will pull schedules from these systems, queue up “occupied” and “unoccupied” commands, and send commands to the appropriate HVAC equipment to ensure that rooms are comfortable when in use, but energy is not wasted heating and cooling empty rooms. Events2HVAC eliminates the need to coordinate room schedules with your facilities department while minimizing energy use.

These calendar systems do not have native parameters for event setup and teardown times, but you can add metadata to the event description when you create a calendar event to tell Events2HVAC that the event has a setup and/or teardown time.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these calendar options.

Microsoft Exchange Server or Office 365

If your organization uses on-premise Microsoft Exchange Server or Office 365 for email and other office tasks, you can use it to send schedules to Events2HVAC. Simply create a “room resource” in Outlook for each room or zone, and then “invite” that room resource when meetings or events are scheduled. Events2HVAC will pull schedules for each room or zone set up in the software, line up 24 hours of commands, and send “occupied” or “unoccupied” commands to BAS or HVAC controls at the appropriate times.

If your organization is not using Microsoft Exchange Server or Office 365, you may still be able to use Office 365 for this purpose. It is an cloud solution and very inexpensive. Check Office 365 Education, Office 365 Nonprofit, or Office 365 Government options if they apply to your organization. Otherwise see Office 365 Business options.

Google Calendar or Google Apps for Work

If just one person will be handling all of the scheduling, the free Google Calendar is an option. This is intended to be a personal calendar, but it can be shared so that others can see – but not edit – the schedules. Using this option, a single user would create a calendar for each room or zone, and enter schedules using the Google Calendar interface. For rooms or zones setup in Events2HVAC, the software will pull schedules, line up 24 hours of commands, and send “occupied” or “unoccupied” commands to BAS or HVAC controls at the appropriate times.

Google Apps for Work offers a business version of the free calendar. The subscription is per user, so you can pay for more than one user to setup and maintain calendars if needed. In addition, the Apps calendar includes the ability to define room resources much like MS Exchange room resources. These resources can be invited to the meetings to automatically book the space. Other than that, it works just like the free version of the calendar when integrating with Events2HVAC. For details, check current Google Apps for Work options. There are also Google for Education, Google for Nonprofits, and Google Apps for Government calendars that function the same way for other types of organizations.

A Note on Scalability and Reliability

These low-cost options are best suited for smaller organizations scheduling fewer than 100 spaces with Events2HVAC. If you need to schedule setup and teardown times, catering, or other extras, or if you have a lot of spaces to schedule, consider using a more robust scheduling option from our list of compatible Event Providers.

Remember that cloud-based calendar systems are dependent on Internet access. If your Internet access is not reliable, cloud calendars might not be a good option. However, Events2HVAC stores 24 hours of schedules each time it pulls data and once a day it backups up 7 days of schedules. So your site would have 7 days to re-establish Internet access before you would begin missing previously scheduled events.

To discuss your facilities needs or request an Events2HVAC quote, please contact sales@events2hvac.com.

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