Magnolia Church in Riverside, CA, recently made a switch that could have caused nightmares. They changed their church management system (ChMS), and were faced with losing their integration to HVAC controls as a result.
That’s when Associate Pastor Mike Lovato turned to Google. He found Events2HVAC, and after vetting the software, decided to commit to the development of an Events2HVAC interface for their new ChMS, ShelbyNext, and serve as a beta test site.
Though it could have been a nightmare, Lovato describes the switch as painless.
“I was expecting a month to a month and a half of delay to get the interface written. But wow! It seemed like it was no time before it was done.” (Mike Eitelgeorge)
“It was really pretty painless to do the switch,” Lovato said. “With our previous provider, even with trouble-shooting things, it was always interesting and it was not painless. Painless is not the way I would describe it. But this was a pretty seamless, painless transition – even with beta testing and trying it out.”
Mike Eitelgeorge, Building Superintendent said, “It seemed like to me that the interface went extremely quick. I was expecting a month to a month and a half of delay to get the interface written. But wow! It seemed like it was no time before it was done.”
Magnolia Church opened in 1955 and is 61 years old. The church has four buildings, totaling 80,000 square feet. There are five or six people who schedule rooms on campus.
“We needed something because we had already invested in all the physical infrastructure of the thermostats, and we didn’t really want to go backwards.” (Mike Lovato)
They were using ServiceU for scheduling, and decided to install 46 NetX Thermostats throughout the church about 8 years ago in order to integrate schedules with EventUGreen, an integration solution offered by ServiceU. But this year, the decision was made to switch to ShelbyNext for scheduling, so Lovato had to find a new solution.
“We needed something because we had already invested in all the physical infrastructure of the thermostats, and we didn’t really want to go backwards,” Mike Lovato explained.
Koko Sisco, Administrative Assistant to Adults and Facilities, said the switch has been easy on the scheduling side.
“It’s working really well,” Sisco said. “It’s just training the staff who enters calendar information so that they know that HVAC is connected straight to the calendar. But it’s been fabulous. I’ve enjoyed it. It’s been easy.”
Magnolia Church did not track energy savings with this implementation. Since they had a similar integration previously, the energy savings difference would not have been significant.
“We are saving because it’s not running when it doesn’t need to be,” Eitelgeorge said. “Going back to before the NetX solution at all, I was air conditioning rooms in 4-hour blocks. Now we don’t do that. Half an hour before or an hour before and a half an hour afterwards – that’s just in case somebody is long-winded.”
Savings in other areas have been significant, however.
Lovato explained, “When we have an issue, we’ve found it much easier to troubleshoot what’s going on because of the built-in [Events2HVAC] features of being able to verify what’s going on with that thermostat. Everything ties together nice, and we can test start it, test stop it. That’s been really nice to be able to do because we run into issues where a thermostat doesn’t seem to be talking right, but 9 times out of 10 we’re able to resolve it ourselves with just a little bit of testing.”
“In the past, it seemed like I never knew whether it was a hardware or software problem. It’s reliable enough now to where I don’t think if it’s a software problem, I start looking for hardware.” (Mike Eitelgeorge)
Eitelgeorge agreed that Events2HVAC has saved time related to troubleshooting. “I’ve saved quite a bit of shoe leather,” he said.
“It’s probably greatly simplified my ability to diagnose,” Eitelgeorge said. “In the past, it seemed like I never knew whether it was a hardware or software problem. It’s reliable enough now to where I don’t think if it’s a software problem, I start looking for hardware.”
The other feature of Events2HVAC both Lovato and Eitelgeorge have enjoyed is the automatic email notifications the software sends out when a command is missed for any reason.
Eitelgeorge explained, “I think one of the nice features is the fact that if we do have an error, it notifies you rather than having to wait for three days for someone to say, “Oh, by the way…”. Lots of times I know about it when I walk into the office in the morning that there was an error the evening before, and I’ve got a chance to fix it before anybody gets here.”
“We know about problems before they are actually problems now,” Lovato added.
The switch also resulted in an improvement in customer service.
“Compared to the previous owner, and waiting three days to get an answer while people swelter, that just doesn’t happen anymore,” Eitelgeorge said.
“I highly recommend Events2HVAC. It’s been a time saver. It saves money. It’s easy to use. ” (Mike Lovato)
Lovato said he would recommend Events2HVAC to other churches – both for the software and the customer service.
“I highly recommend Events2HVAC,” Lovato said. “It’s been a time saver. It saves money. It’s easy to use. We really have nothing but good things to say about it. And customer service – gosh, you guys are fantastic! If there is a support issue, it’s responded to quickly and the support won’t stop until it’s solved. That’s been huge.”
Events2HVAC Integrated Systems:
Network Thermostats (NetX Strongmesh WiFi and NetX X-Bus)