Building Automation Services and Solutions
Mechanical Wiring, Heat Tracing
Empire Controls has been doing electrical installations for over 20 years. Although we do not offer engineering services to the public, we also have Professional Engineers and E.I.T.s at Empire that as contractors can help with your electrical and mechanical needs.
Empire Controls does a considerable amount of work each year for owners, general contractors, and mechanical contractors in the field of installation and or service of electrical and mechanical equipment. Our contracts will range from controls, mechanical wiring, electrical or assistance in design and or service.
Building Automation Systems
Building Automation Systems are accelerating in popularity, despite competition from increasingly capable standalone electronic controllers.
The popularity has been driven by several factors including
- Increased affordability
- Popularity of LEEDs, and the resulting requirements for more complicated sequences
- Popularization of Variable Speed Drives
- Increased popularity of more complicated sequences of operations
- Need to provide productive tools for operators, especially in large facilities
- Need for remote access and emailing of alarms driven by an inability to staff individual building with competent building operators
- Operator interfaces that work like a website
- Ability of a BAS to generate email alarms
- Increased computer literacy in the general population
All Empire Controls full BAS installations have a very user-friendly website-like operator interface that can be easily viewed and navigated through a browser This also allows the client to utilize a facilities existing LAN or network, to be able to view graphics in real time whether; hardwired or wireless over the Internet.
The systems are capable of remote off-site multiple connections, and have the ability to connect through firewalls via a VPN, or similar
The systems can be configured to email critical alarms to one or more email addresses.
BAS systems have a monitoring capability that is increasingly important as on site operating staff are spread thinner each year. Imagine being able to check the temperatures of occupied space and the status of the systems from three buildings or half a province away!
Modern BAS systems are actually made up of multiple controllers, typically one per major mechanical component, networked together by a twisted pair of wires. Each controller is itself a computer, with its own intelligence. We call these systems distributed DDC BAS systems, as the intelligence is distributed to the individual controllers.
Larger Empire systems usually have user interfaces on the network, based on a Windows workstation. These “front ends” allow the user to view floor plans of the buildings and schematics of each system, with the status of each system shown in real time. However, a front end is optional, and smaller systems are adequately served by a simple and inexpensive keypad interface with Liquid Crystal Display.
The cost of BAS systems, adjusted for inflation, has dropped about 80% during the past twenty years. Once reserved for monumental office and institutional buildings with mega budgets, digital controls are now cost justified in schools, shopping centers’, and stores with multiple rooftop units and condominiums with more than 300 suites. Single processor systems can deliver similar, affordable benefits in commercial buildings with single HVAC systems. Somewhat larger systems can deliver energy savings paybacks on the most humble old apartment building or the flashiest condominium complex. The systems themselves have improved, becoming more reliable, cheaper to install and more user-friendly.
Hybrid Systems – HVAC Controls, Hydronic Air Units
In many recent cases, we have had to implement complicated sequences of operations for HVAC systems where a BAS was not contemplated by the owner. Examples include variable volume heat pump loops, including ground source type. We found it cost effective to implement the required sequences using a standalone programmable controller intended for use in a BAS.
Another example is the control of hydronic makeup air units. In these cases, a cold weather startup sequence is essential to prevent nuisance tripping of the freezestat. A standalone programmable controller combined with a hard wired safety circuit is an ideal solution. In all cases, the controllers are provided with four line Liquid Crystal Displays to provide information and adjustability.
If several such controllers justified, then upgrading to a full Building Automation System can be surprisingly affordable. A Guide Specification for AFFORDABLE BAS is available to consultants. Contact email@example.com.
Nevertheless, not every project is a BAS project. Empire Controls offers consultants a Guide Specification for Non BAS projects, and for standalone system controllers with BACnet communications for future use. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Controls for Energy Conservation
Good control systems save money on utilities while improving occupant comfort. A good system does this by giving you better control of energy spending, and by implementing accepted energy saving strategies. In some cases, there are other automated methods of implementing the strategies, but none are as precise and reliable as a good electronic controller.
A good electronic Proportional + Integral controller can provide closer control of temperatures and other controlled variables than conventional controls. The energy otherwise spent on “overshooting” temperature is saved.
Controls provide for responsible use of energy by implementing energy management strategies such as
- Coordinating adjacent systems so that they do not work against each other ie. rad/fan controller.
- Turning off lighting, fans, pumps, boilers and hot water tanks when not really needed.
- Resetting temperature of supply air and hot or chilled water used for heating and cooling to the temperatures actually needed to meet current load.
- Controlling amount of outside air to match actual ventilation requirement, as determined by a Carbon Dioxide sensor.
- Demand limiting, i.e. turning off non essential loads to avoid incurring additional electrical demand charges.
- Coordinating overhead doors with local heating systems, i.e. locking out a unit heater if the adjacent overhead door is open.
- Eliminating thermostat tampering.
- Sequencing of boiler and cooling tower systems.
- Controlling variable speed, variable volume systems.
Other Services Include:
- Gas Detection Systems
- Heat Tracing, Self Regulating (supplied and installed)
- Control Valve Assemblies
- Dampers and Actuators
- Variable Speed Drives
- Pool Heating Controllers
- Heat Pump Loop Controllers
- Custom Standalone Controllers
- Energy Metering