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Posts Tagged ‘HVAC’

How to follow the recommendations and get kids back in school

The nationwide community is split on its opinions as to whether or not to send kids back to school right now. Some say we’re better waiting it out as numbers continue to grow in some communities. Others say the kids need school and their parents need school so they can go to work and school is necessary, now.

What we can all agree on is IF schools are to reopen in-person, the list of recommendations must be followed for the safety of everyone – students, teachers, faculty, administrators and all those who work in the school.

ASHRAE, The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers is an American professional association seeking to advance heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration systems design and construction. They have weighed in, specifically, on the recommendations around HVAC systems in buildings such as schools. ASHRAE’s Epidemic Task Force’s position on the subject is as follows:

Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 through the air is sufficiently likely that airborne exposure to the virus should be controlled. Changes to building operations, including the operation of heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning [HVAC] systems, can reduce airborne exposures.

In July of 2020 the task force published its recommendations and guidance. In that document, they clearly state:

This guidance has been formulated to help designers retrofit and plan for the improvement of indoor air quality and to slow the transmission of viruses via the HVAC systems. The underlying effort of the designer should be to increase outside air to the spaces and treat return air. The designer should also be concerned with mechanical filtration of the supply air and maintaining indoor comfort as defined by the design temperature and relative humidity.

Recommendations include:

  1. Create a committee for the district or campus, focused on health and safety. The committee should have recommendations from environmental health and safety, administration, education staff, operations staff, local healthcare providers, and all stakeholders with a responsibility to the campus and its community.
  2. Develop PPE regulations.
  3. Where semi-annual / annual scheduled maintenance on the equipment can be performed safely, do not defer this maintenance cycle.
  4. If workers will be in an unsafe situation, defer maintenance if possible.
  5. Review Checklist No. 1 provided by ASHRAE to be handled during the summer months.
  6. Operate all HVAC in occupied mode for a minimum of one week prior to occupancy.
  7. During the week prior to occupancy perform Checklist No. 2 Startup Checklist for HVAC Systems Prior to Occupancy – provided by ASHRAE.

For more information regarding these checklists or other recommendations published by ASHRAE, please feel free to reach out to us at (800) 567-1180 or via the contact form on our website. We will be more than happy to help get your school ready to go, no matter where you are located.

This is no time to let your guard down.

With so many companies closed and employees not in the buildings, it’s important that systems are checked regularly.

When people are able to return to work, they will want to step right back in where they left things – and have all systems “go.”

This is especially important for your HVAC, temperature controls and security systems. With the weather changing rapidly and spring trying really hard to come alive, temperature control systems must be checked and serviced, even while people aren’t in the building.

Security systems are also critical right now. Empty buildings can be a temptation to anyone looking to snag a few free computer monitors or office supplies. So having your systems checked and running properly is critical right now. You want to be sure that the systems protect your building and that only those who should be going in to check things are the people going in. So much of this can be done remotely, and we are more than happy to help.

Our service personnel is available and ready. Click here to read how we are able to support our customers through this pandemic. Our emergency service line is running and “operators are standing by.” To schedule a service appointment, please click here.

ECT is still here for your building needs through COVID19

Here at ECT, like all companies, we are paying close attention to the CDC recommendations as well as the Governor of Kentucky’s rules and regulations as we continue to move through this pandemic.

Our business is still open, though we’ve made necessary updates to our workflow.

For employee safety, when we are interacting with our own team, we are giving space, staying 6 feet apart. 

For some of our customers, their everyday rules and regulations mandate we must have two people on any part of a job at any time, for safety and liability. We are following this rule and staying apart from each other as best we can.

Our team is using latex gloves on all projects, and, of course, is not shaking hands.

A lot of what we are doing right now is servicing buildings while they are closed. We follow all guidelines set forth by those buildings. We have several projects for JCPS we are working on now, while there are no people in the buildings and this will insure that when school reopens, all systems are “go.” We’re doing all scheduled service calls, checking systems and updating where necessary. Rest assured, we use disinfectant on all devices before and after touching them. Because we are dealing with biometrics in many cases (such as fingerprints) we are especially careful.

We view all of this as necessary work, and safer while there are no students or employees in these buildings. We want to keep our customers up and running. 

Most interaction with our customers has gone virtual and we are happy to meet via video chat with any facilities managers out there having issues. You want to be sure your HVAC and security systems are running as they should, protecting your building and company from all sides.

If you need sales or service, our people are remote and available. For more information:

For sales, please call (800) 567-1180 or email sales@ectservices.com

For service, please call (800) 567-1180 or email service@ectservices.com

Stay healthy, everyone!

What makes a good service partner?

Purchasing a major system typically involves a great deal of preparation and research. When preparing for the purchase of a new HVAC or security system, you might spend weeks or even months identifying your needs, surveying the market for solutions, pricing options and reviewing bids from top vendors.

Most of the focus during the research phase is on products and installation.


But service after the sale is at least as important. Reliable service is key to keeping your new system up to date and fully utilized.

But how do you shop for service? What do you look for in a service partner? Here are some questions to ask:

1. Communication skills. Does the service provider have strong listening skills? Do they document all conversations and actions consistently, accurately and thoroughly? Do communicate well verbally and in writing?
2. Capacity. Does the service provider have the right people with the right skills available to address your needs efficiently? Do they guarantee response times? Do they do what they say they will do, when they say they will do it?
3. Flexibility. Is the service provider rigid in their response? Do they look for reasons to say no, or reasons to say yes?
4. Partnership. Does your service provider consider themselves an extended member of your team? Do they invest in coaching and teaching your internal teams so their skills can be enhanced, and they can troubleshoot and get the most value out of the system?
A few more words of advice: ask for references, but also check for reviews on Google, Facebook and Yelp. Ask for certifications, if applicable, and follow up with accrediting agencies to verify.
ECT Services offers around the clock service support for environmental controls, security and monitoring systems, as well as preventative maintenance packages and remote support.

Interested in learning more? Call ECT Services at (800) 567-1180.

Proposed ordinance could make green improvements more attractive for business owners

If you’ve been putting off energy and conservation improvements because of cost, the Louisville Metro Government may be on the verge of putting those improvements within reach, according to a recent story in the Louisville Courier-Journal.

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Metro Government is considering a proposal which would enable owners of commercial, industrial and larger multi-unit residential buildings to make energy efficient upgrades to their buildings and pay for them through tax assessments. The ordinance was proposed by Bill Hollander, D-9th District.

Such improvements as HVAC upgrades, chillers, boilers, and furnaces, water heating systems, energy management systems and controls, mechanical system modernizations, lighting upgrades, and solar, wind turbines and geothermal heating and cooling, as well as water efficiency measures such as water management systems and controls would be qualified under the measure.

The ordinance requires no taxpayer dollars. It would create an Energy Project Assessment District, or EPAD, allowing property owners to acquire private financing to make their improvements and then repay the loans via an assessment collected by the Jefferson County Sheriff’s office over a term of up to 20 years, according to the story. The loan attaches to the property rather than the borrower, and transfer upon sale of the property.

The proposed ordinance was assigned to the Labor and Economic Development Committee at the Metro Council’s meeting on April 14, and was placed on the agenda for the committee’s April 19 meeting. Members of the committee include Chair Person Cheri Bryant Hamilton (D-5), Vice Chair Stuart Benson (R-20), Pat Mulvihill (D-10), Marianne Butler (D-15) and Robin Engel (R-22).

According to the Kentucky Conservation Committee, thirty other states have already passed legislation enabling the creation of EPAD. Several cities in Kentucky have created EPADs, and one project in Northern Kentucky has been funded.

Check out more facts about EPAD here.

New product releases signal innovation for building integration

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Steve Jobs once said, “Innovation is the difference between a leader and a follower.” Several ECT Services partners have been busy lately, leading their industries with important innovations. Here’s a round-up:

The relay of critical information in active shooter situations just picked up a whole lot of speed, thanks to a new project between Active Shooter Systems and Desktop Alerts.

The two companies recently announced new integrations which accurately pinpoint an active shooter as soon as the first shot is fired, then issue alerts via social media, speaker systems, computer monitors, telephones, mobile devices and fire alarms.

HID has released new transponders and tags specially designed for on metal applications. The new tags support NFC-V standards, expanding the possibilities for use in industrial, Internet of Things applications.

Axis Communications has launched a new tool aimed at streamlining security system design. AXIS Site Designer works online and offline to recommend cameras and recording solutions for small and mid-sized systems. Site Designer includes templates for a variety of security requirements and gives interactive guidance on the selection of cameras, recording products and accessories needed for a complete surveillance solution.

For updates on the latest building integration products available, contact ECT Services.

The bell is ringing – back to school!

Photo by beholdereye.

Photo by beholdereye.

By now, most kids are back (or almost back) to school and parents are breathing a sigh of relief that the flurry of shopping, enrolling, orienting, and scheduling is finally over. During the summer, we worked with several area schools to install or upgrade their HVAC systems in time for school to start, and we’re proud to say you can send your kids back knowing that they’ll be comfortable all year long with our reliable equipment and ongoing service standards. Just a couple of tips to help you get off to a good start:

Send a sweater. Like the schools we partner with, most schools will have had their temperature control systems calibrated or replaced during the summer break, which means they’ll be running at top frosty capacity when your little ones settle into class. Send a sweater or jacket with your child even if the weather outside is still blazing, so he or she can stay comfortable and focused on the teacher if the classroom is just a little too chilly.

And a water bottle. Make sure your little ones have a reusable water bottle clearly labeled with their name. Gym and recess in the summer heat means kids need to stay hydrated during the day, and a short stop at the water fountain might not do the trick. Even into the winter months, kids need to stay hydrated, and having water available will help them focus on the task at hand rather than running to the water fountain.

Schedule an Eye Exam. Especially if your child complained of headaches or trouble seeing during the summer, making sure they can see what the teacher is doing is critical to their success. If you suspect your child may have trouble seeing the whiteboard from the back of the room, speak with his or her teacher to request a seat closer to the front, and let them know that your child may be having vision trouble.

Teach Proper Backpack Use. More and more, kids of all ages arrive home at the end of the day with a seemingly impossible mountain of homework and a backpack loaded down with heavy books and notepads. Carrying a backpack improperly can cause your child to suffer back pain, joint problems, and muscle aches. Teach your child to always use both straps of his or her backpack to evenly distribute the weight and reduce muscle strain. If necessary, check with your school’s administration to see if they allow rolling backpacks.

Stay safe and comfortable with these easy tips, and have a healthy and happy school year!

Benefits of System Integration

When individual systems are not integrated, facilities staff has to learn how to operate each element separately. These systems can consist of: fire alarm system, HVAC system, access control system, elevator system, lighting system, and even utility metering. Many of the elements associated with these separate systems have to be manually adjusted at different times and through different front-ends. When it comes to better facilities management and truly efficient methods, system integration needs to be established. The following benefits of system integration can make facilities management more efficient:

Single Work Station

System integration allows facilities managers to work from a single work station. Problems can be solved and changes can be made with a few clicks rather than visiting multiple computer systems. It simplifies the process and makes it easy to manage.

Energy Savings

Integration can reduce energy consumption and bring significant energy savings. Tying together and monitoring temperature fluctuations as well as making necessary adjustments or repairs to equipment can produce energy savings almost immediately.

Lower Labor Costs and Improve Operations

Reduced energy consumption isn’t the only benefit, companies see reduced labor costs through streamlined operations.

Improve Response Time

When integration is done properly, real-time alerts (Alarms) will be sent and can potential generate work orders (if the proper systems are in place). Many software companies now offer mobile capabilities, so management can get alerts through their mobile phone or other device.

Performance

Integrated systems perform well and should be easy to use.  A good partnership with your system integrator is crucial to maintain and keep your system in tune with the dynamic changes of your facility.

Data Collection

The wealth of data that is collected by systems integration will lead to better decision making. Data ranges from the temperature fluctuation, routine maintenance, to power outages and underperforming facilities.

Software and Device Compatibility

Most modern vendors make software products that are compatible with each other. Communication protocols also aid in integration of systems and products (ie. BACnet, LON, MODbus).

 Multiple Sites

Integration can include multiple buildings on multiple sites, and is not limited to one individual building.

Work with your system integrators on a plan to help bring your building systems together.  ECT Services can help!

 

…Dave Stumler

What’s going on with your valve pressure drop?

You go outside to wash your car, connect the hose to the hose bib, and crack open the valve just a bit. A thin stream of water exits the hose. You open the valve a bit more, and more water flows. After about a half-turn of the handle, you have about as much water coming out of the hose as you’re going to get.
But wait! You turn the handle another full rotation, but no increase in water flow is available! What happened?

What is happening is that at full flow (one-half turn of the handle, in this case) the pressure drop across the valve is about the same as the pressure drop through the hose. The valve can move much more water than the hose can.

Now imagine that you are sizing modulating control valves for heating & cooling coils. The contractor wants to install line-size valves without those pesky reducers, and the engineer wants plenty of safety factor in heating or cooling capacity. If I size valves this way, I will never get good control from my valves. Only a fraction of the valve stroke (on globe valves) or valve rotation (on characterized ball valves) will produce full flow through the coil. The remainder of the valve stroke will be wasted, just like the extra handle turn on your hose bib. In addition, the programmers and technicians have to tune their control loops to better utilize the reduced useful stroke. And then, the owner wonders why he is at full heat with his valves only 25% open; or why the system struggles to control at light loads.

By properly sizing a modulating control valve, the customer receives a better operating HVAC system. Although nearly impossible to get perfection, 0% to 100% valve position has a much better chance of producing 0% to 100% heat. The control system is less likely to hunt, and control in lighter loads becomes much more manageable.

It’s amazing what happens when you show up!

It’s amazing what happens when you show up!

This is one of our favorite sayings at ECT Services, Inc. It expresses our belief that when we show up to meet with customers or new potential clients, great things happen for them and for us!
There are lots of ways to “show up”, such as an introduction meeting, a networking event, a service call, a project meeting, and even social media is a way in which we “show up”.
We are excited to provide this blog space to bring meaningful discussions and thoughts about the customers and industries we serve. Our hope is by “showing up” in this manner, it brings value to the readers and sparks some interesting thoughts and even conjure up new ideas.
At ECT Services we design, develop, install and integrate technology systems, such as temperature controls, energy management, lighting, security, intrusion, and intercom.
We are an independent technology provider, in the business of making buildings sustainable, maintainable, energy efficient and safe.

Why is being “independent” important?

Did you know that only fifteen (15) cents of every dollar spent by national providers goes to support the local economy, while fifty-five (55) cents of every dollar spent with local independent providers goes to support the local economy. This is a huge variance and impactful when you think about how it impacts your organization.
Our vision is to be the premier independent provider of building technology solutions in the Ohio Valley.
Our mission is two-fold:
“To be the lifelong technology partner with our customers by exploring new and innovative technology solutions from implementation and continued service with integrity and confidence.”

“Our desire is for our customers to have an excellent experience while helping them make their buildings sustainable, maintainable, energy efficient and safe.“

We look forward to providing many interesting topics and discussions in the coming days. If you have not done so, please check out our website at www.ectservices.com
Regards,
Jeff Murphy
President and CEO
ECT Services, Inc.