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Solving the Conundrum of Open Protocols in Building Automation Control Systems

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Even with widely available product flexibility for today’s building automation control systems, building owners and facility directors can struggle with the complexity in communications between automation control systems. Effective building automation requires complex communication between all kinds of different building systems—lights, mechanical equipment, security systems—the list seemingly goes on and on.

Historically, proprietary control systems limited product flexibility, and subjected building owners to potentially increased costs by limiting competition. While reliance on strictly proprietary systems is declining (mainly driven by web based solutions), truly open systems can still be challenging.

What Exactly Are Protocols in Building Automation Control Systems?

Protocols are simply communication and data sharing rules and standards related to building automation equipment that are developed and maintained by independent organizations.

Solving the Conundrum of Open Protocols in Building Automation Control Systems

Service Matters: 10 Tips for Extending Compressor Life

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Compressor failures are one of the most costly repairs to an air conditioning system. It is rare for the compressor to fail simply due to the compressor itself. Usually a compressor failure is symptomatic of another problem with the AC system (more on this in a later Service Matters). Read More...

A Fresh Look at VFDs

Thursday, June 22, 2017

A variable frequency drive (VFD) is a type of motor controller that drives an electric motor by varying the frequency and voltage supplied to the motor. VFDs have been in use since the 1980s, and today, the combination of energy awareness, energy regulations, and new VFD technologies are driving an increasing demand for these energy-saving products.

The concept of a VFD is fairly straightforward. Frequency (hertz) is directly related to a motor’s speed (RPMs). The faster the frequency is, the faster the RPMs go. If an application does not require an electric motor to run at full speed, a VFD can be used to ramp down the frequency and voltage to meet the requirements of the electric motor’s load. As the application’s motor speed requirements change, the VFD can turn the motor speed up or down to meet the speed requirement.


Service Matters: Mechanical System Maintenance and Indoor Air Quality Team Up

Friday, April 28, 2017

Some things just naturally go together. Consider:

• Peanut butter and jelly
• The 4th of July and fireworks
• Fred & Ginger
• A cold beer at the ballpark

Good indoor air quality (IAQ) and effective mechanical system maintenance are two more. Good indoor air quality is complex, and your mechanical system plays a critical role in its two most important components, adequate ventilation and moisture control. Adequate ventilation includes both the proper utilization of outside air and the assurance of proper airflow into occupied spaces. Read More...

Indoor Air Quality and Energy Conservation—Working Together For Healthier, More Efficient Buildings

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Sometimes it seems that many energy conservation measures related to HVAC systems are incompatible with providing good indoor air quality (IAQ). However, with a little forethought and proper maintenance, significant energy savings from HVAC-system use can be achieved while still providing good IAQ. Follow these simple guidelines and see how you can improve air quality and maximize energy conservation for your building.

At a base level, take care to provide adequate ventilation and always meet the standards of ASHRAE 62.1-2016.

A good starting point is to understand the basic HVAC energy conservation or retrofit measures that are compatible with IAQ, including:

  • Tightening the building shell, as long as adequate ventilation is provided
  • Reducing internal loads with lighting or office equipment upgrades (if these measures reduce air flow requirements, be sure to consider the increased outdoor air necessary to maintain ventilation requirements)
  • Upgrading fans, motors and drives
  • Upgrading chillers and boilers
  • Installing energy recovery ventilation systems (ERV)
  • Equipment downsizing

Service Matters: Combustion Analysis—An Essential Part of Boiler Maintenance

Friday, February 03, 2017

A boiler is a complex piece of equipment. While some diagnostics can be done by observation, a detailed understanding of a boiler’s operation can be diagnosed through a combustion analysis, similar to your family doctor ordering “a complete blood-workup” with your annual physical. Read More...

House Bill 264 — A 30 Year Update on Energy Conservation in K–12 Schools

Monday, October 24, 2016

Ohio House Bill 264 was enacted in 1985 to allow school districts in Ohio to make energy efficiency improvements to their buildings and use the cost savings to pay for those improvements. Generally speaking, the cost of the energy conservation improvements must pay for themselves out of the energy savings within 15 years. Read More...

Service Matters: How to Avoid R-22 Pitfalls

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

In 2009, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) enacted rules to enforce a phased elimination of hydrochlorofluorocarbon refrigerants (R-22) through 2020. Since that time the EPA has passed additional rules that have accelerated the phase-out by further reducing the allowed production of R-22 from the original 2009 production levels by up to 47%. These reductions may result in a significant shortfall between R-22 demand and available supply. Read More...

Service Matters: HVAC Maintenance Tips for Severe Weather

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Condenser coils are the most delicate components on air-cooled HVAC systems and one of the components most exposed to the elements. Severe weather, pollen, dust, dirt and debris can negatively impact your HVAC system and result in higher energy consumption and lower heating or cooling efficiency for your building. Read More...

Tax Deductions for Energy Efficiency Upgrades

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

In 2005, President Bush signed the Energy Policy Act (EPACT), which provided for Federal tax incentives for businesses that enact energy efficiency and savings projects in commercial buildings. This law has been renewed several times, the latest in 2015, extending the tax benefits through year-end 2016. In general, commercial building owners and tenants who purchase and install products in their buildings that save energy may qualify for tax deductions up to a maximum of $1.80 per square of the affected space. Read More...

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