Companies are always seeking ways to reduce costs and gain better economic advantages. Reducing energy consumption for heating, cooling and ventilation (HVAC) can save a lot, but what do you do if your building has a pneumatic ally controlled HVAC system?
The conventional wisdom is that full conversion from pneumatics to DDC is the only path. Clearly DDC enables better control and optimization, but in most cases the existing pneumatic systems themselves are still functioning properly. This conversion path is too expensive and disruptive to existing tenants to be followed by most building owners. Their focus on financial performance and limited capital make it nearly impossible to entertain the 5 to 10 year payback estimated for such a conversion. One public school official described a 15 year plan to replace the pneumatic controls in 30 school buildings as untenable.
The ideal solution in this scenario is Millennial Net’s wireless pneumatic thermostat, the Wi-Stat IIIp – a middle ground solution where the existing pneumatic infrastructure is utilized with a DDC system, without having to install network wiring. Installation is as easy as replacing your old pneumatic thermostats with Wi-Stat IIIp devices and installing a few routers to relay wireless signals to the gateway for centralized controls. Such a solution is a fraction of the cost of a full DDC system conversion and can easily save up to 50% on energy – read how GE Capital Real Estate is already benefiting.
Sound too simple? Don’t be alarmed. I assure you that we did not just add an electric motor and a radio to a conventional pneumatic thermostat. In fact, we completely rethought how to address the challenges of pneumatically controlled systems. Unlike conventional bi-metal pneumatic (mechanical) thermostats, the Wi-Stat IIIp uses solid state valve technology, operating without mechanical parts. It does not utilize the maintenance-intensive control mechanisms of the conventional pneumatic thermostat. The solid state valve works in conjunction with a branch line pressure sensor which continuously monitors pressure and modulates branch line pressure according to actual sensor readings rather than conventional diaphragm calibration. Combining wireless with solid state valve technology, the Wi-Stat IIIp can easily transform pneumatically controlled buildings into smart facilities.
Additionally, with Wi-Stat IIIp, the time and cost of installation are significantly reduced as there are no wires, no adjustment screws and no need for calibration. Wi-Stat IIIp is equipped with an 802.15.4 wireless radio, the network forms itself and data communications enable remote monitoring, adjustment and trending to ensure long term performance. Devices are immediately accessible bi-directionally to manage temperature set points, schedule setbacks, receive alarm conditions, etc. Also, Wi-Stat IIIp thermostats can be integrated with Building Management Systems via BACnet or Modbus.
In addition, demand response, smart climate control, and preventative maintenance – yes all of this and much more can be achieved with Wi-Stat IIIp.
Read more about it next week.