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BUILDING INTEGRATION

Posts Tagged ‘facilities management’

Keeping Halloween safe at your facility

Halloween used to be a strictly neighborhood affair. On October 31, kids raced home after school, donned their costumes, then headed out with sacks in hand for trick or treating.

Today it’s blossomed into a community-wide affair. In the weeks leading up to Halloween, schools, churches and even businesses get in on the fun by hosting festivals or trunk or treat events.

These extracurricular activities are a great way opportunities for community and employee relations, but they do pose some safety risks. Here’s how to mitigate those risks and enjoy your event:

Bring safety to the table. While safety should be everyone’s job, at least one person on your planning team should be tasked with reviewing all plans. Responsibility should include identifying trip and fall hazards, cordoning off equipment and areas that are unsafe for non-employees, and traffic planning.

Get security involved early, too. The planning team should also include a leader tasked with security. Security might focus on how to prevent children or dependent adults and their adult guardians from getting separated from each other, how to handle disruptions and loss prevention.

Change perspective. If you event is planned for outside of your normal operating hours, and in particular for after dark, be sure to do a thorough walk-through in and around your facility at that time of the day. Traffic patterns change considerably throughout the day, and might look quite different during your event than they do during normal operating hours. The parking lot and facility look different, too. Scope out those differences by doing a thorough walk through in advance.

Include contingency plans and safety drills. Guests at your facility won’t know what to do in the event of sudden inclement weather, a fire, or some other emergency. Make sure staff and volunteers are fully prepared to respond. Staff and volunteers should know their responsibilities in an emergency and should be prepared to guide guests to safety.

Review security and access controls. Now is a good time to ensure that your facility’s video and access control systems are performing well. Cameras may need to be adjusted to accommodate different traffic patterns. Access control may need to be modified to lock down certain areas while opening up others. It’s a good time to review the flexibility and configurability of your system.

VR Tenant solves HVAC challenges in historic multi-tenant redesigns

Cincinnati. Louisville. Saint Louis.

What do all of these cities have in common?

They all grew on the banks of mighty rivers. These cities are among the oldest in the United States, and sprang up because rivers are important highways for transporting goods and people.

A portion of The Ohio River

Along these cities, you’ll find massive, historic old warehouses. While some of these buildings are still being used the way the were originally intended, more still are finding new life as office, retail and living spaces. The buildings are being renovated and reimagined in exciting new ways.

For almost all, that means adding in modern requirements while maintaining the original character. In the Ohio Valley, heat and humidity are a significant issue much of the year, and good cooling options are a must.

Contractors are increasingly turning to variable refrigerant (VR) systems as a solution when retrofitting old buildings. Why? These systems don’t require bulky ductwork, saving valuable space in design and construction. Instead of ductwork that moves cooled air, VR systems rely on smaller pipes that move coolant through buildings.

The challenge in multi-tenant arrangements is in determining usage by each tenant. When Hitachi encountered this problem, they turned to ECT Services account manager Mike Fisher for an innovative solution. Within weeks, Mike had created VR Tenant, a solution for monitoring energy usage on a unit by unit basis.

Mike’s solution includes both hardware and software that ties into the variable refrigerant system to gather data and calculate data. A “head end” gathers all data and performs the detailed calculations, and energy measurement devices in each unit of the building measures and monitors usage. Units are determined by the building owner/manager, and the configuration is flexible.

Installation is flexible and fairly simple. Mechanical engineers can install the hardware, and ECT services handles set up and configuration of the software.

If you are renovating a historic building and are considering VRF as a solution, call (800) 567-1180 today for a consultation.

JACE: the ‘conference room’ for building systems integration

Are you getting the most out of your building systems?

If you are not integrating your systems using a JACE controller, or if your JACE controller is not properly configured to take maximize efficiency, you might be missing out on some powerful opportunities to save resources.

A JACE is a control box that pulls together all of your facility’s systems – HVAC, security, electrical and more – and gets them to communicate with each other. Imagine it as a conference room with all the key stakeholders at the table. The JACE gives these key “stakeholders” a place to get together and an agenda to follow.

Keeping the conference room image in mind, here’s what ECT Services can do:

Set up your “conference room.” If you don’t have a JACE controller set up, we can do that for you. That doesn’t mean installing a new HVAC or other building system; a JACE controller works with your existing systems. If you already have a JACE set up, we can work with that, too.

Get all the “key stakeholders” to the table. ECT Services can bring all of your building systems into the JACE controller and get them connected. Getting the systems to the table and getting them to talk to one another is key – most systems are programmable and can be automated or controlled remotely, but the real power comes from getting systems to talk to one another. Just as with human interaction, communication is key. We can help you review all of the tools you use to run your business and determine which systems must talk to one another to accomplish your goals.

We help you “set the agenda” get all the key stakeholders engaged to accomplish it. Once systems are all in one place and have a way to talk to one another, we tune them for maximum efficiency to your specifications. We help you establish key performance indicators that will help you determine whether or not building systems are meeting your goals.

Need help getting all your systems fully integrated? Call us for a consultation today at (800) 567-1180.