Moody County Courthouse

Challenge

The HVAC systems in the Moody County Courthouse were more than 30 years old, failing, and in need of replacement.  Stand-alone unit controls were outdated and time consuming to adjust. Moody County sought to replace its HVAC systems to improve reliability and comfort, and to replace the controls with a web-based central controls system to improve efficiency and ease of use. The facility manager faced the added challenge of replacing the systems without compromising the integrity of the historical building.

Solution

Moody County Courthouse called on its engineering consultant for a solution. With the previous HVAC setup provided by Trane, the engineering consultant and the courthouse facility manager enlisted the assistance of Trane for the upgrade. After evaluating several options, the project scope was outlined to include a Trane split system air-cooled condensing unit with a remote heat exchanger, a high efficiency boiler, variable frequency drives to reduce energy use and improve comfort, and forty-five Trane™ UniTrane™ fan-coil units. In order to preserve the beauty of the historical courthouse building, Trane also proposed the use of a wireless controls system.

Providing efficiency and comfort
With low operating sound levels, Trane UniTrane™ fan-coil units were installed to improve indoor air quality and provide a comfortable environment for courthouse employees and visitors. The units feature durable heavy gauge steel construction, EC motors for energy efficiency using variable speed, and attractive styling so as not to detract from the aesthetics of the historical building. With factory-installed piping packages with valves and unit-mounted controls, the fan-coil units were easy to install, lowering installation time and labor cost. Each fan coil unit is set up for single-zone variable-air-volume (VAV) for flexibility to handle the individual needs and varied occupancy levels in different areas of the building, and to reduce energy use.

Maintaining reliability, preserving history
Wanting to preserve the integrity of the historical building, adding wired moldings for the new controls system was not an option. Trane proposed the use of Trane® Air-Fi™ wireless technology, which eliminates communication wires between system controllers, unit controllers and zone sensors, providing a more cost-effective controls upgrade, without compromising the building’s beautiful wall murals and architectural design. Placed in discrete locations so as not to detract from the décor, the zone sensors help ensure a strong, reliable signal through the concrete walls. The redundant, self-repairing mesh technology of Air-Fi maintains wireless communication, even when signals are obstructed. Disrupted signals automatically and immediately reroute around obstacles, helping eliminate the risk of disconnection.

Maximizing flexibility and efficiency
A Trane Tracer™ SC building automation system, tied to the wireless controllers and sensors, provides system-wide monitoring, control, and diagnostic capabilities from a single location. The web-based system allows facility managers to access systems remotely using a laptop or mobile device to adjust scheduling to keep staff comfortable when working late; put systems on unoccupied mode during holiday breaks; raise or lower temperature for the purpose of comfort or energy savings; or check alarms. The BAS helps to maximize efficiency, providing reports on system performance to help manage operating costs, simplify preventive maintenance, and conduct troubleshooting to reduce equipment downtime.

Results

HVAC upgrades at Moody County Courthouse have improved reliability, enhanced comfort for employees and visitors, and increased energy efficiency. Using a Trane Tracer™ SC building automation system, courthouse facility managers have flexible, remote access to all systems to efficiently manage and improve building operations. Trane Air-Fi wireless technology helps maintain a reliable controls communication signal, while keeping the beauty of the historical building intact.

“We could have gone with wired controls, but it would have been difficult and would have added some time to the installation,” said Scott Lewis, facilities manager, Moody County Courthouse. “The wireless installation came together so seamlessly. We got a signal, it works and it works well.

“Before when I was away from work, I didn’t know what was going on in the building. Now I use an app on my iPhone to access, monitor and control the systems when I’m not there. I can keep an eye on the facility, even on weekends, and alarm notifications come right to my phone.”

“I didn’t have experience with automation before, but it was very easy to pick up,” Lewis added. “I love it. The Tracer SC makes my life a lot easier, it’s way more efficient and I would recommend it to any facility.”

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