Intelligent Buildings’ Tom Shircliff at IBCON 2014: The Technology is Here, Let’s Get Started!

Intelligent Buildings is a well-known and leading-edge consultancy company in the smart building business. Veteran Tom Shircliff elegantly brings to light that the technology, all of the smart technology pieces needed for New Buildings, for Building Retrofits, for Building Analytics, and for Building System Cyber Security are here, but the challenge is how to scale this available technology into starting points — where building owners can get under-whelmed and start faster, with less risks, and all the while, make enlightened decisions quicker through Intelligent Building’s organizational alignment approach and the creation of a common language that all the stakeholders can understand. To ease and accelerate that sometimes arduous process, Intelligent Buildings has created their Advisory Starter Kits, which allow building owners to implement immediately, specific best practices and establish vital vendor standards, that will ultimately ensure a complete and successful future project solution.

Chiller on the Fritz — Call the Champions of Chill — The Mobile Air Force

mobile air forceMarvel Comics has nothing on the marvelous folks at Mobile Air Force, the champions of chill, as they fight for truth, justice, and mobile air conditioning! There’s nothing like a little comic animation to convey a lot of information about superhero-like fast emergency service. Mobile Air, Inc. is a specialty HVAC company dealing exclusively in portable air conditioning, heating, filtration, and dehumidification systems, for both temporary and long term solutions.

Mobile Air has been providing portable rental air conditioning, heating, dehumidification and structural drying services to our customers for over 20 years. Since Mobile Air’s beginning back in 1989 we have been redefining the industry with products and innovative approaches for temporary indoor and outdoor heating, air conditioning, and dehumidification.

Mobile Air has the equipment, personnel, and know-how to solve your temporary air conditioning needs quickly from one of our fully-stocked warehouses. Mobile Air has the equipment you need, right where you need it.

Siemens Releases New QXA2601 and QXA2602 Condensation Monitors — Great for Chilled Beams/Chilled Ceilings

QXA2601 Siemens releases two new products for use on surfaces where condensation must be avoided. Both the QXA2601 and QXA2602 are designed to prevent condensation from forming in chilled beam and chilled ceiling applications. Both devices operate identically via an SPDT relay that changes state when humidity level near the surface of the chilled water piping approaches 92%. The unit will automatically reset when the humidity level drops to approximately 87%.

The key difference is that the QXA2601 is a completely self-contained unit that attaches directly to the chilled water piping, while the QXA2602 features a remote sensing element that is easier to locate in small spaces. The QXA2602 includes 5’ of cable for connecting the remote element to the relay housing.

Product Description: The QXA2601 and QXA2602 Condensation Monitors are used to avoid damage due to condensation on chilled ceilings and in HVAC installations. They are equipped with an SPDT dry contact capable of switching 1 amp @ 24 Vac or 0.5 amp @ 24 Vdc. A two-color LED provides visual status indication. The QXA2601 includes hardware for installation on pipes with outside diameters from 0.39 to 3.94 inches (10 to 100 mm). The QXA2602 includes hardware for surface mounting on walls or ceilings.

Product Use: For monitoring condensation in buildings that utilize chilled beam or chilled ceilings or in HVAC installations. In general, the condensation monitor is for use on surfaces where condensation must be avoided and used in following applications:

• to prevent condensation on chilled ceilings.
• to prevent condensation at critical spots of HVAC installations or buildings (in air ducts, near fans, and so on).
• as a condensation switch.

Equipment Combinations: The QXA2601 and QXA2602 can be used in any 24V AC/DC control circuit and can be wired NO or NC to provide indication of pending condensation.

Mode of Operation: With its sensing element, the condensation monitor acquires the relative humidity close to the dew point (= 100% rh). The resistance of the sensing element rises sharply in the range of 90 to 100% rh. Before the dew point is reached, the electronics energize the relay. When, as in the case of chilled ceiling applications, the relay contact switches over and may be used to trigger a condensation avoidance sequence such as:

1. Cooling will be shut down via the valve or by a controller until the condensation signal is no longer present.
2. The water flow temperature will immediately be raised by an adjustable value (typically ≈ 2˚F) and slowly reduced again after the signal has disappeared. This application requires a specific function in the controller.

How KMC Makes VAV Control Simple

Simple to set up, with no software needed, this controller is powerful and functions equally as well as a stand-alone solution or the VAV controller of choice on a BACnet full-blown control system.

The SimplyVAV series of controllers are an easy and unique approach to operating a wide variety of VAV terminal units. The integrated actuators, internal airflow sensors, and wide variety of application programs make these BACnet Application Specific controllers ideal for either new or retrofit installations.

The controllers feature simple, menu driven setup choices when used with a SimplyVAV digital sensor. No special programming skills or software tools are required to choose applications, enter setpoints, set network addressing,and balance airflow. All options can be set by using only an STE-8001 sensor, which can be installed as the permanent room sensor or temporarily connected as a technician’s service tool.

All models are BACnet Application Specific Controllers that are ready to connect to a BACnet MS/TP network. Device instance, MAC address, and baud rate are set from an STE-8001 without special software.

The KMC Simply VAV Controller is sure to be in the hunt for an Award at the 2014 ControlTrends Awards.

Therese Sullivan Asks — How do You Spell IoT Smart Building Analytics?

Therese_Face1 For more from Therese Sullivan go to Building Context.

All the Big IT companies are running campaigns touting their role in the coming Internet of Things (IoT) computing era. A common vision is that software, particularly mobile apps, will reign supreme over embedded systems-on-a-chip, sensors, wireless communications and other components making more of the physical world digitally addressable. But, it is building automation and control firms – sometimes called OT, or operations technology companies – that have had to slog through decades of navigating relationships with big equipment makers to tap silo-ed data and do the necessary integration. All this work deserves its rightful recognition. But, as long as all the IoT marketing leads to substantive progress in building energy efficiency, does it really matter who takes credit?

I’ve been thinking about this in light of the US General Services Administration’s (GSA’s) Smart Buildings Analytics project. This project might be as close to a ‘No Spin Zone’ for building operational analytics at portfolio-wide scale as exists in the United States today. In May 2012, IBM was awarded the GSA fulfillment contract and it brought in partner ESI — one of these OT pioneers. The scope of the first phase of the project was to bring 55 GSA buildings around the country under better control through data analytics. At the 2014 Building Energy Summit in April, IBM and ESI presented a status report on the project, and this presentation has just been posted on youtube with accompanying slides available from the Summit’s organizer, CoR Advisors. So we can all see for ourselves how the project is balancing its Big IT and OT components. I’ll say that if you do an IT vs. OT analysis of this content – glancing slide-by-slide or frame-by-frame in the video – it’s more OT than IT. But, again – not the point.

Notably, in late 2011, IBM did a lot of marketing about its own Intelligent Building Management Software. Despite this marketing blitz, for the GSA project, ESI took the operational analytics lead deploying the SkySpark’s analytics engine from SkyFoundry. The architecture called for the information about equipment maintenance needs and energy usage trend data to be streamed to the IBM Workplace Management suite for further decision making. Familiar to CTO’s and CFO’s, the Integrated Workplace Management software category is a flavor of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software with custom-tailoring for facilities/real estate managers that want support in making financial decisions that relate to building and equipment assets, utility costs and carbon management reporting. IBM acquired TRIRIGA in 2011 to improve its offering and competitive position in this category.

The presentation gives a snapshot of the GSA project about 18 months in. IBM and ESI have proved the case for their Big Data approach to building energy efficiency, finding and correcting typical energy and money wasters like stuck dampers on air handlers and cases of simultaneous heating and cooling. More than that, the GSA project has revealed the real delimiting factor in continuing the data-driven approach. It’s not about IT or about OT – or about technology at all. Rather it’s about people and skills. Current facilities and building operations personal need retraining, or new digital natives need to be attracted into the profession. If the glossy and pervasive IoT awareness campaign can do this, everybody wins. Cheerios didn’t invent oats, but a great marketing campaign did get more kids to eat them. John Petze of SkyFoundry offers some great insight into the necessary mindset in his article “Considering Analytics? Start By Assessing Your Data Maturity Level.” Like other OT experts, he offers the message: Be inspired. There’s a great future in Buildings IoT. But be realistic too.


ControlTrends Awards Highlight: The 2013 HVAC Controls Vendor Of The Year

Congratulations to Johnson Controls winner of the 2013 ControlTrends HVAC Controls Vendor of The Year. Johnson Controls was selected by the world wide ControlTrends Community to receive this honor.

2013 HVAC Vendor of The Year from Eric Stromquist on Vimeo.

Stromquist Atlanta Upcoming Classes – Updated

The following classes are held at Stromquist at 4620 Atlanta Rd, Atlanta, GA and begin at 7:30 a.m. unless otherwise noted. Prices include training material and certificate of completion, plus continental breakfast and full lunch.  For more information contact  To register, click the Class Registration tab at the top of the page.

Basic Pneumatics – September 9 – $200

You will work hands-on with pneumatic equipment to learn fundamentals of pneumatic controls. The class will cover limit controls, P.E. switches, solenoid valves, relays, valve and damper operations, and thermostats.

VAV and PIU Fundamentals – September 10 – $200

In this class you will learn the fundamentals of VAV and PIU boxes. You will get to practice on equipment and troubleshoot given hypothetical problems. Instruction covers velocity formulas, CFMs, and static pressures.

Boiler Basics – October 7 — $200

This class will explain different types of boilers and boiler operations. Topics will include flame safeguard, proper piping and gas trains.

Chiller Workshop – October 8-9 — $350

This class focuses on basic operations, maintenance and troubleshooting of chilled water systems. Topics will include basic refrigeration cycle of water chillers; design and overall op-eration of chilled water systems; refrigerant types, handling and record keeping; pumps and piping systems; chiller plant optimization; chiller math and log analysis.

Intro to DDC and Bldg Automation – October 23 — Free

This is a half day class (8:00-12:00) with a thorough overview of the basics of DDC. Topics will include Comm Protocols, Field Controllers, Supervisory Controllers, Wiring, Building Automation Theory, Intro to Niagara AX, and Proprietary vs Open Systems. You will also get an intro to Programming, AX Workbench, Configurable vs Fully Programmable controllers, and Field Controller Programming basics.

Meet Your Device Companion for Any Job — ACI’s JOB KIT

ACI_JOB_KITThe ACI JOB KIT is a comprehensive A-Z peripheral tool chest, which equates to an assortment of the most common component parts that seem to be the most elusive and inexpensive set of thermistor probes and sensors, power supplies, relays, current switches, and basic rescaling and analog to relay interface devices that can rescue most of the BMS service calls, and save the enormous expense and operational disruption of a return trip to the site for a relatively low cost item — that should always be readily available (But somehow, isn’t).

ACI JOB KITS are available now! — from your local ACI distributor and ACI. Give your service team the confidence in the tools they need to get the job done the first service call.


The Easy Way To Replace a Globe Valve Actuator

Do you want to always have a replacement globe valve actuator in stock or on your truck? Not just any actuator but one of the best valve actuators in the world? An actuator that will work on 98% of the HVAC control globe valves on the planet.

You might be thinking that would be great but the investment is way to high, I can’t afford to keep 20 different actuators and linkage kits just in case I need a replacement valve actuator.

What if you could stock one or two actuators and a handful of low cost linkages that would easily adapt a high quality Belimo Actuator to virtually any commercial globe valve? Life would be good ! You could save time and money by not having to inventory and learn multiple valve actuators.

Check out this video from the innovative team at Belimo to see how easy it is to replace a globe valve actuator.

Additionally,the Belimo New Generation Globe Valve Actuators and Retrofit Linkages offer greater power and flexibility. Engineered to suit a broad range of HVAC applications, both the New Generation Actuators and Retrofit Linkages are highly adaptable making selection, installation, and long-term service worry-free. New force ranges from 112 lbf to 337 lbf and broader travel ranges from .6″ (15 mm) to 2″ (50 mm).