Wicomico County Public Schools Case Study – Part 2 of 3
When Jim Urbanski, Energy Manager at Wicomico County Public Schools in Maryland, participated in an online demonstration of Events2HVAC in May 2014, he knew implementation would be easy.
“When I saw the [Events2HVAC] demonstration and the BACnet/IP interface,” Urbanski said, “it was so similar to if I was just going through and scheduling through BACnet to set this thing up. I said, this is going to be easy. I can do this in house.”
Wicomico was already using Dean Evans EMS District to schedule its 600-700 rooms in 30 buildings spread across the 400 square-mile county. But to save energy, Urbanski was scheduling HVAC for all after-school events manually, and many of the 17,000 events in the 2013-2014 school year required him to enter schedules for multiple pieces of HVAC equipment for just one event.
After implementing Events2HVAC over the summer of 2014, Urbanski went from spending 20 hours per week scheduling HVAC to spending 20 minutes to schedule two weeks of events, a 99% decrease in his time. Urbanski has 160 of the rooms most commonly used for after-school events setup in Events2HVAC, which pulls schedule data from Dean Evans EMS and sends commands via BACnet/IP to his Reliable Controls building automation system to turn equipment on and off.
“So many things automatically populate…I would think in 10-15 minutes someone who never looked at BACnet before could do this.’” (Jim Urbanski)
Urbanski admitted that his background in controls probably made the implementation easier. But he said that he could show someone in 10-15 minutes how to setup rooms and equipment in Events2HVAC.
“So many things automatically populate,” Urbanski said. “So once you figure out how to get your device numbers and how to get your variable numbers, it’s pretty simple. I would think in 10-15 minutes someone who never looked at BACnet before could do this.”
Urbanski did have some help, though. Nick Baga in the IT department at Wicomico set up a new server and moved Dean Evans EMS onto it, then installed Events2HVAC on the same server. Urbanski said Baga then came to his office and installed the Events2HVAC client on his computer and gave him the passwords. After about an hour of reviewing the BACnet/IP help files provided in the Events2HVAC software, Urbanski began setting up rooms and equipment.
“Once I got all of the IP addresses in there, everything showed up,” Urbanski said, “I just flew through in the next two days doing at least 160 different rooms and mapping them to the equipment. As soon as they went in, everything from EMS was just turning on without me doing anything.”
Urbanski said one stumbling block he faced during implementation was that some occupied points he needed to control were down in subnets within the school networks, inaccessible to Events2HVAC. So he had move those points up into a main controller, and then feed that down through the BUS on the network in the school. Now Urbanski instructs any technicians working on retrofits in his schools to make the necessary points available in the main controller so he can see them in Events2HVAC.
“It’s that easy with BACnet/IP. I was completely impressed.” (Jim Urbanski)
“They’ve just done a retrofit in a school over the summer in Pittsville,” Urbanski said. “It took me about, I wouldn’t even say 20 minutes to set that entire school up so it’s all automatically scheduled now. It’s that easy with BACnet/IP. I was completely impressed.”
Urbanski said schools do not need to wait for summer vacation or a long weekend to implement Events2HVAC. He said there is no interruption to the school, so it can easily be done while the school is up and running.
“I would do this in the middle of my busiest school year.” (Jim Urbanski)
“I would do this in the middle of my busiest school year,” Urbanski said. “It’s not affecting anything. If I can spend even 20 minutes setting up a few rooms, those few rooms automatically are being scheduled now, and I never have to schedule them again.”
In addition to its Reliable Controls building automation system, Wicomico also has a Tridium building automation system and a legacy Barber-Colman Network 8000 system. The Tridium system is BACnet/IP enabled, and the rooms served by that system will be added to Events2HVAC next. But the Barber-Colman system is not compatible with BACnet/IP. In fact, it is not even on a network. Urbanski is working to replace it with Reliable Controls equipment so that he can add those rooms to Events2HVAC for automatic scheduling.