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Events2HVAC Beta Testing Underway at Minnesota State University Moorhead

Aug 6

Written by:
8/6/2010 8:30 PM  RssIcon

We are happy to announce that on-site beta testing of Events2HVAC officially began May 2, 2010.

Minnesota State University located in Moorhead, MN gets the honors for the first facility to test out the new software.  MSUM has been using Dean Evans EMS Enterprise for its campus scheduling of rooms.  They also have several building automation systems in place for controlling their HVAC systems and door access system.

Their HVAC systems include various legacy Honeywell systems, all integrated into a front-end integration product called Honeywell EBI.  All of the different types of HVAC controllers are brought back to the EBI, and the information is served out in the BACnet/IP protocol so that other systems like Events2HVAC can communicate with it over the campus network.  MSUM also has Johnson Controls HVAC controllers in a few of their buildings that communicate over BACnet/IP and web services (SOAP/XML).

Before Events2HVAC was installed in May, these systems did not talk to each other.  Coordination between room reservations was done in the Dean Evans EMS; and HVAC scheduling was done manually for critical events or simply turned on or off based on each building's occupied times. Classroom schedules are brought into the EMS system each academic year.  While rooms in buildings like the Student Union were constantly being manually booked for events.  This presented a challenge for facility operators trying to conserve energy on a tight budget with few resources to manage scheduling.

As MSUM experienced, it takes an tremendous effort to manually schedule HVAC systems down to the room level in order to save energy in a campus setting.  What ends up happening in a lot of cases is the room equipment is scheduled with a common building-occupied schedule.  So if the building opens at 7 am and closes at 8 pm, all of the rooms are commanded to occupied mode for 13 hrs each day.  A typical classroom may only have 3 hours of actual occupied time in that 15 hour period.

At MSUM today, Events2HVAC automatically schedules the equipment for each room that is entered in the system.  In most cases, the systems controlled in each of the rooms are VAV (Variable Air Volume) boxes.  By automatically controlling the VAV box modes to only provide conditioned air during the times when the classrooms are occupied, the building is saving electrical energy by reducing the speed of the supplying AHU fan and also reducing the cooling or reheating load.

In cases where a single HVAC fan system is serving a single room, energy savings are even more significant.

Now, since the academic schedules are available in the Dean Evans system, the classroom's HVAC systems that are added to the Events2HVAC system are automatically turned on and off according to the room schedules.  Faculty members can schedule their own offices and classrooms ahead of time to ensure the rooms are comfortable when they will be occupying their assigned space. 

MSUM has about 310 rooms in 17 buildings integrated into the software for automatic scheduling using Events2HVAC.  Based on the room occupancy rates for these rooms from the previous year of 12%, the energy savings should be significant.  Stay tuned for some projected energy savings as a result of the integration.

One of the other systems that MSUM has available for integration into Events2HVAC is the Johnson Controls P-2000 security system.  This system controls the key card access system for some of the buildings and rooms.  Streamside Solutions is currently developing a new device interface for this system to allow the doors of the rooms that are scheduled in EMS to be unlocked and locked automatically according to the event times.

The P2000 device interface is expected to be available for testing in the next few weeks.

Update 9/28/2010:

MSUM has continued to expand the reach of the device integration on their campus.  Using the built in capabilities of their Honeywell EBI integration server, existing Honeywell STAR® II door access controllers were integrated into their Honeywell BACnet server to allow Events2HVAC to automate the unlocking of classrooms for scheduled classes.

In addition, the latest Events2HVAC software release included the latest updates to the Johnson Controls P2000 Security interface which allows MSUM to connect their other door access controllers to Events2HVAC.

Automating the scheduling of door access, saves the time-consuming labor of managing time schedules on individual room door terminals.

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