Located on seventy-three acres of land, two miles southwest of Nashville, Tennessee, Belmont University boasts more than 7,400 students from every state and more than twenty-five countries. Committed to being a leading university, Belmont brings together the best of liberal arts and professional education in a Christian community of learning and service, with more than eighty areas of undergraduate study, twentytwo master’s programs and five doctoral degrees.
With enrollment more than doubling in fifteen years, the Belmont University campus grew to a fifty building complex with four million sq. ft. of space, including historic buildingsand new facilities. As a result of its aggressive expansion, the university was utilizing a variety of HVAC systems including centrifugal and air cooled chillers, chilled water with thermal storage, geothermal water source heat pumps, utility submetering, controls and building automation systems (BAS). With varied suppliers, the systems lacked interconnectivity and had become difficult to operate efficiently. The university sought a single-platform, multifaceted solution to evaluate and control campus energy use and operational costs.
Belmont University established Trane as its sole-source supplier for the standardization of equipment, controls, and service. From the Trane® Building Advantage™ portfolio of solutions, they chose a Tracer ES™ enterprise control system upgrade and restructured the BAS operating interface. This allows Belmont to capture compiled global data, as well as discrete energy consumption, in support of their energy efficiency initiative, and to provide effective enterprise level systems management.
Improving efficiency and comfort
Trane® Tracer™ SC system controllers were installed in new construction and renovations to allow Belmont building operators to program and control facility climate. Tracer SC offers convenient access to manage system performance from most PCs, tablets and smart phones. Building managers use the web-based tool for scheduling, reporting and system application tasks, helping to increase efficiency and comfort.
Pinpointing energy use
A key component of the project was the addition of new smart sub-meters to monitor energy use. The metering system provides utility and energy profiles, and gives detailed data regarding the timing and location of energy use and demand. Using the data, Belmont facility managers are able to correlate operating parameters to energy cost, and focus on the major energy consumption areas on campus.
Gaining an enterprise view
The sub-meters were integrated, along with new and previously installed Trane controllers and third-party systems, through a Trane® Tracer™ ES system, allowing Belmont to manage all of its campus buildings as a single enterprise. The web-based system gives facility managers online access and control over all of their systems from any PC or mobile device on the network, providing visibility to energy use and allowing facility managers to proactively control costs.
Belmont uses the Tracer ES to analyze energy and operational data, and trending information from multiple sources. The analysis allows them to coordinate schedules, identify issues and make better decisions regarding building operations. Trane works hand-in-hand with Belmont, providing engineering support and training on control system operation. The Trane team is available to help analyze data, design graphics and consult with Belmont regarding operational strategies.
Performing daily operations, pre-diagnosing issues
With the Tracer ES, facility managers perform daily operations and status updates. Operators have the flexibility to quickly make scheduling adjustments across the entire campus for holidays and breaks when buildings are unoccupied, and to easily raise or lower temperature in a specific building during a special event. When an alarm is indicated or a hot/cold call is received, Tracer ES automatically locates the problem and displays the piece of equipment involved, allowing facility managers to troubleshoot the issue immediately from anywhere. If a service call is required, pre-diagnosis allows the operator to prepare the technician prior to arrival, saving time and increasing efficiency. With just one integrated system to learn, Belmont staff is able to operate more efficiently.
Belmont University utilizes the Tracer ES integrated control system across its campus to realize visibility to energy use, enable proactive cost management and make better operational decisions. While the university has increased its overall campus square footage by 70 percent, facility managers have observed just a 10 percent increase in electricity costs. “Our kilowatt per square foot has decreased from 16.8 to 11.3 in seven years,” said Mark Grones, Belmont University, Assistant Director of Facilities Management Services. “Trane’s energy management assistance is ongoing, helping us with programming sequences and operational strategies.”
Belmont University boasts two LEED-certified buildings, one Platinum and one Gold. In 2016, the institution received the Trane Energy Efficiency Leader Award, one of just two in the nation that year, for best practices in energy efficient and sustainable design and improvements.