At Compassion Christian Church in Savannah, GA, employees and church members are scheduling their own space using EMS software, and Events2HVAC is automatically controlling their HVAC systems so that air is conditioned appropriately only when rooms are in use. They are saving energy and labor, and the automation has freed the facility manager to focus on other responsibilities.
“When we have our big events, our weekend services, our mid-week services, we just go on and verify that everything turned out like it needed to be,” said Sean Moyer, Facilities Manager. “We don’t have to really do anything; it works kind of seamless.”
“If you use EMS, it’s a no-brainer to have this program.” (Sean Moyer)
Events2HVAC is a software product that was developed by Streamside Solutions to act as a bridge between Dean Evans EMS and various building automation systems. It is cross-platform and can communicate with HVAC equipment, door access controls, and lighting controls from a variety of manufacturers.
“If you use EMS, it’s a no-brainer to have this program,” Moyer said.
Moyer currently has the church’s main building and one additional building integrated with Events2HVAC and Dean Evans EMS for automatic scheduling and control of HVAC equipment. The system is handling 38 rooms, including 28 air handling units and 142,000 square feet of space.
“We have a good HVAC system and don’t need to change things out.” Moyer explained. “So I was trying to find a way that we wouldn’t have to redesign our whole system to make it more energy efficient.”
A Dean Evans & Associates representative told Moyer about Events2HVAC, and after investigating the Streamside Solutions website and talking with Brian Russell, the owner of the company, Moyer became excited about beta testing the software at Compassion Christian.
“Labor wise, I know it probably saves us at least 1 to 1½ man hours a week in trying to load in the things because when we upgraded it’s a little more efficient than the way it used to be,” Moyer said. “Energy wise, our energy fluctuations just vary so much because we have so much audio visual and lighting and things constantly on and being added it’s really hard in that sense.”
Compassion Christian Church uses Dean Evans EMS Professional for scheduling events. Their HVAC systems consist of mostly packaged air handling units with electric heating and chilled water cooling from a central plant. These units are dedicated to one or more rooms. Their building uses the Carrier I-VU+ building automation system which communicates to Events2HVAC using BACnet/IP.
Previously, employees at the church scheduled HVAC equipment manually. They created schedules for each of the air handlers in four-hour blocks of time. Then they looked over the event schedules for each room and scheduled the units to be on for a block of time if an event was taking place during that block. This was done to strike a balance between saving energy and the labor-intensive process of manually scheduling HVAC equipment down to the room level for each event.
“What this does is help us capitalize on being efficient with our resources and being efficient with the money that we have to spend as a non-profit organization.” (Sean Moyer)
“We had used a Carrier system that was good,” said Moyer, “but still it was manually entering the times for the rooms and scheduling them in blocks of time. And you have that human error that comes into effect if you forget to schedule a room, or not that they didn’t schedule, but we forgot to schedule the air conditioning…This took the middle man out, and it takes out that human error factor that we would occasionally have. And it’s real easy for us to say, ‘You need to reserve the room. Otherwise the air is not on, and don’t call us because we do have limited resources.’”
While the church’s previous method did reduce their energy use for HVAC units somewhat, additional savings are now being achieved. Fully automating the process with Events2HVAC maximizes the energy savings and minimizes the labor required.
“What this does is help us capitalize on being efficient with our resources and being efficient with the money that we have to spend as a non-profit organization,” Moyer explained. “Since we already make them use EMS for scheduling purposes, it’s kind of killing two birds with one stone.”
Moyer said that getting the software set up and running at the church was not difficult at all. “He [Brian Russell of Streamside Solutions] set it up to do one room so we could see how it went and make sure there were no issues, be it unforeseen, with the complexity of two systems,” Moyer said. “And I knew how to override that if need be. We went a couple weeks, had no issues at all, and I just went in and just programmed the entire system.”
After the system was running for a while, one of the two buildings experienced a power failure. Because Moyer set up Events2HVAC to e-mail him when scheduled equipment does not turn on, he knew about the problem immediately.
“It’s just nice to have that peace of mind, knowing it’s going to work. And if it doesn’t work, I’m going to get an e-mail saying, ‘Hey, this didn’t come on like it was supposed to,’” Moyer said. “It really does help to keep me proactive in events instead of reactive.”
Compassion Christian Church has four older buildings in the Savannah area that they are currently renovating. Moyer hopes to integrate as many of them as possible with Events2HVAC as money becomes available to update outdated HVAC equipment.
“I’m definitely planning it for the future,” Moyer said. “I’m planning to integrate the systems that need to be integrated, especially HVAC wise, to work with our existing systems and work with Events2HVAC. What I’ve really found is I find myself educating people. We work with mechanical engineers, we’re working with one now on a couple different projects, and explaining to him how our system works by reserving these rooms. And they’re just like, ‘Oh my gosh, that’s like, awesome.’”
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