To meet a challenge handed down by the president of the University of Minnesota to become one of the top three publicly funded research institutions in the world, for nearly two decades the Facilities Management Department has worked to integrate building control systems, resulting in continued energy and operational efficiencies which support the University’s greater goal.
The University of Minnesota serves over 66,000 students across two campuses and 320 buildings. The controls upgrade began when the school wanted to integrate the building management systems on its Duluth and Twin Cities campuses, which are 150 miles apart. A multi-vendor head-end workstation was installed to integrate a number of legacy building automation systems, which controlled 28,000 physical points.
To continue the integration, the University began migrating to BACnet compatible equipment and replacing legacy control systems with Metasys building management system. The University has implemented stringent BACnet compatibility standards including intrinsic alarming. About 80 percent of the University’s building management systems operate on BACnet, which allows integration of equipment from a variety of vendors.
The BACnet implementation allows the University to centrally monitor and control all building systems using the Metasys system as a single-seat user interface. U of M’s Metasys system now controls nearly 60,000 physical points – the largest Metasys installation in North America, according to the company.
Building controls integration also facilitated another of the University’s goals: to reduce energy consumption by five percent over an 18 month period.
The University is divided into four districts from an operations standpoint with multiple personnel monitoring systems and equipment across campus on a 24/7 basis. Managing all of the data collected is a challenge for the University’s Energy Managment Group. The Metasys system’s reporting capabilities allows for such comparisons as how many hours fan have fun compared to how they were scheduled to run, making it easier to see if schedules were overridden.
The five percent energy savings goal was achieved in 3 month sooner than planned and resulted in an annual energy savings of over $2.4 million.
The University’s commitment to systems integration and energy management can be seen in its new construction as well as retrofits. The LEED Silver-certified TCF Bank stadium, the first Big Ten stadium constructed since 1960, uses more than 450 multi-vendor BACnet devices integrating equipment such as lighting, fire and security systems and an emergency generator.
The Bank of America Plaza anchors a city block at the north end of downtown Columbia, S.C. Since taking ownership of the building in 2006, Cooper Realty Investments has been increasing its energy efficiency and performance with the help of Johnson Controls Inc. and the building’s property-management company.
The plaza is a 17-story complex containing more than 300,000 square feet of commercial office space. The management team capitalized on its energy-efficiency and performance improvements by earning certification under the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for Existing Buildings (LEED-EB) rating system.
The plaza was the first facility in the state to achieve LEED Gold certification for existing buildings.
Johnson Controls has been servicing building controls at the plaza since it opened in 1989. After taking ownership in May 2006, Cooper challenged Johnson Controls to provide a solution for improving the building’s performance and energy efficiency, as well as help the organization achieve long-term savings.
Within six months, Johnson Controls initiated a retrocommissioning study to identify potential energy-conservation measures. Over the next 18 months, Johnson Controls implemented a range of approved energy-conservation measures that resulted in an annual utility-cost savings of more than $43,000.
Measures included: upgrading variable-air-volume controls from pneumatic to digital; installing variable-speed drives on all cooling equipment; completing lighting-control retrofits; and upgrading controls to a Johnson Controls Metasys building-management system.
The Metasys system communicates using standard web browsers and maximizes monitoring and control of the building’s mechanical and electrical systems. Johnson Controls completed control-sequencing enhancements on equipment throughout the building. New controls on water heaters and unit heaters allow for off-hour scheduling and control sequencing to reduce energy use. Power-monitoring initiatives include sub-metering of individual floors and specific equipment.
“In the past, our building’s HVAC and lights basically ran 24/7,” says property manager Amy Marthers. “We are now able to better program equipment based on when the building is actually in use. And we’re able to give tenants some control of their own space during off-hours, which they like.”
A keypad on each floor allows tenants to override preset schedules for HVAC and lighting systems. Because the facility can track and report those billable hours, Marthers can better manage energy costs and justify tenant charge-backs when appropriate.
Johnson Controls used Energy Star’s Portfolio Manager energy-management tool to benchmark building performance at the beginning and end of the retrocommissioning process.
During retrocommissioning, Johnson Controls also trained in-house technicians on the proper ways to update the Energy Star data and more effectively use the Metasys system.
Says Marthers, “From where I sit, Johnson Controls’ professionalism and willingness to clearly explain things helps us work efficiently, without a lot of back and forth on a day-to-day basis.”Manual key management, either digital or physical, is a daunting challenge on any campus. After undergoing significant capital projects to modernize and right-size the institution, Roger Williams University, an independent liberal arts university on 140 acres in Bristol, R.I., wanted to become more efficient with key management and security access assignments.
The new buildings, which included an academic building, a dormitory and an admissions and alumni center, were all designed with electronic access and presented an opportunity. By integrating existing but disparate systems, physical security access assignments were automated using a role-based policy engine deployed by Johnson Controls.
Previously, disparate systems required manual programming of access assignments. Now, the Quantum Secure SAFE product serves as an interface between the P2000 security management system and the enterprise resource planning system that houses all the information on where students need to be and when. The system automates approximately 40 percent of security operations at the university.
The P2000 system, installed in 2006, was expanded to the new facilities and now provides access monitoring and control for all 65 buildings on campus. Over 500 card readers and more than 50 surveillance cameras installed across campus are integrated with the system.
In addition to operational efficiency, the identity management solution helps the university maintain and improve internal policies and procedures related to the physical security of all personnel, property and assets. For example, with the new dormitory, the university implemented a five-swipe access policy. Students are required to swipe their card first to access the building, second their floor, third their wing, fourth their suite and finally their room.
"Managing this type of access scheme manually would be astronomical and any errors would quickly be compounded," says William Dallaire, master locksmith at Roger Williams.
Efficient and accurate access control is equally important in the academic buildings to manage assets like computer labs, video editing suites, a multimedia room and green-screen room. The university can also create authorized groups within the system for people such as contractors who will be on campus for a specific period of time.
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