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A Glance Inside the Belimo HVAC Valve Test Lab


Belimo Americas200,000 square foot facility enables expanded manufacturing capabilities; it also serves as a HVAC showcase to give visitors a firsthand experience of how Belimo technologies can improve controllability, comfort, and energy efficiency in structures. The new facility features a number of the company’s very own proprietary products and is on track to achieve LEED® Gold Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. The building includes a state-of-the-art HVAC control valve design and testing laboratory.

Over the years the Belimo test lab has grown to support the needs of Belimo and their customers.  It has grown from 600 square feet in 2001 to 15,000 square feet in 2015.  Testing capacity has also grown from 23 test positions in 2001 to 280 test positions in 2015.  The design of the new lab focused on safety and ergonomics.

Belimo’s performance testing verifies that their products comply with industry and trade association specifications.  The testing is performed with ISO 9000 traceability, and based on ANSI, EN, IEC, ISA, MSS, and VDI VDE standards

Performance testing provides a high level of assurance to their customers.  The Belimo test lab can perform flow testing on valve sizes ranging from ½” to 6” and includes: equal percentage curve, pressure independent curve and range ability.  Shell testing is performed for threaded and flanged valves up to 5,000 psi.  Automated systems for flow testing improve accuracy, precision, repeatability and efficiency.  The lab’s flow testing capacity is a combined flow of 6,000 GPM .

The durability testing involves subjecting ½ “ through 6” valves to 100,000 full cycles at worst case temperature and pressure conditions with a maximum temperature of 302 ⁰F (150 ⁰C).  With 12,000 GPM durability testing capacity, they could fill an Olympic size swimming pool every hour or one standard above-ground pool every minute.  Long life testing is also performed; where the valve is subjected to application conditions (including varying water quality) for months or even years at a time.

In the future, Belimo plans to increase test rig automation, further increasing accuracy and efficiency.  They plan to add end tester style characterization equipment, highly accelerated life testing (HALT) and high volume compact durability testers all of which will improve test throughput.  Conducting individual component testing will ensure each and every part of our valves continues to be robust and reliable.

The Belimo Valve Test Lab always continuously looks for ways to improve their testing methods and equipment.

Take a Tour and View the Belimo Valve Test Lab.


Belimo Highlights: National Conference on Building Commissioning


2015 National Conference on Building Commissioning (NCBC); “Gateway to the Future of Commissioning”; is designed by the Building Commissioning (Cx) Association (BCA) to advance state-of-the-art building commissioning and the professionals within a forum for sharing the cost-effective processes for optimizing building performance, reducing energy use, and improving indoor air quality, occupancy comfort, and productivity.

At this year’s national conference William ‘Bill’ McMullen, President, Business Unit Manager, Energy Solutions, Dewberry announces that the BCA will be launching a University. The university is in the development stages and more information will be released online when it comes available.

Big Data was a central theme of this year conference.  A highlight of a few of the sessions covered:

The Value of Submeter Data in Energy Information Systems Implementations: Andrea Salazar, Senior Engineer at EMI Consulting 

Our industry is evolving with the use of the internet to allow for Energy Information Systems (EIS) to develop instant access to information such as fuel cost, weather, and sub metered data to enable us to make smarter operating decisions for lower cost and more efficient building operation. 

Previous research into benefits of sub metering indicated:

  • Energy Reduction 5%-46%
  • Cost $0.02-$0.25 per sq. ft.
  • Simple Payback 10 Months – 3.5 years

A recent study was conducted by EMI Consulting referencing 27 commercial buildings with EIS.  The results indicate more sub metering (data) = more savings. When energy is metered at the building, system, and equipment level and integrated with sensors and building automation systems, the savings were measured up to 20% (Building + System + Equipment + Sensors + BAS Integration = 20%). Even more enlightening is that a higher level of integration resulted in lower incremental cost. However, technology and systems are new so cost/benefit is still evolving.

Lawrence Berkley National Lab (LBNL) hosts a site of EIS tools and research located at The LBNL has worked with the California Energy Commission and the Department of Energy to evaluate and improve performance monitoring tools for energy savings in commercial buildings.  This website covers all prior, recent and current LBNL work in energy information systems and types of performance monitoring and analysis technologies. The site also contains links to project-specific pages documenting DOE and CEC-funded work from 2008 to present, links to research publications, and presentations.

CX Mission Critical Facilities for Safety and Resiliency: Rachel Rueckert, PE, LEED-AP, QCxP and; Dave Guberud, QCxP, Ring & DuChateau, LLP

This presentation provided an in-depth understanding of resiliency including related threats and underlying principles. Commissioning of mission critical facilities for safety and resiliency is important in keeping the critical space at varying degrees of negative pressure. This requires not only a well-controlled and sealed air distribution system, but also envelopes that can pass a variety of tests.  The ability of measuring direction of flow, redundancy of systems, and quick and tight damper control are some of the important HVAC functions.

Data Analysis in the Cx Process: Ryan Stroupe, PG&E Pacific Energy Center; and William E. Koran, PE, Director of Energy Analytics, Northwrite, Inc.

We were introduced to two different but powerful tools that enhance the visualization of measured building data to enable identification of proper operating trends and areas for improvements that can save energy.  Both of these tools, ECAM and Universal Translator are free to download and use. 

ECAM is a Microsoft Excel®-based tool that facilitates the examination of energy information from buildings and reduces the time spent analyzing utility meter data and system operational data. Starting from time-series data, ECAM automates a wide array of charting and analysis functionality to provide the ability to complete pre and post energy efficiency project regression analyses of utility interval meter data against outdoor air temperature. ECAM offers additional applications that can be used independently: analysis of a building’s load profile, creating per-square-foot metrics of building energy use, and developing scatter charts based on occupancy or time of day. These applications can ultimately be used to better understand a building’s energy use patterns and inform the selection of energy efficiency measures with the highest potential for savings. Learn more online at

The Universal Translator (UT) is a tool that was developed for building energy maintenance professionals that allows a Cx agent to take measured data and normalize it and put it in nice graphical form. The program is for anyone who works with “real world” data. Problem data might be data that comes from different data loggers where the clocks are not synchronized or from data loggers that recorded at different intervals. Calibration errors might be another source. The UT also has additional analysis functions to help analyze data. It includes modules to analyze economizers, light and plug loads, equipment runtime and set point analysis. Spending hours with a spreadsheet trying to take problem data and make it into something usable is a real task. The UT could save hours of work.

"Big Data", Better Choices: Data Tools for EBCx Impact: Terry Bickham, CEM, LEED AP, CDSM,CSDP; Director, Energy Services and Solutions, TraneCost of Ownership

Continuing the topic of visualizing “Big Data”, Terry Bickham of Trane presented how visualization of data can communicate opportunities for optimization of operation to reduce building operating cost.  Data from the National Institute of Building Sciences(NIBS) indicate in the life cycle expenses of a building operating costs account for 60-85%  compared to 5-10% for construction. 

A study by LBNL indicates opportunity to save energy as the building gets older using retro commissioning, ongoing commissioning, operational optimization, and analytics of available data.  Available data displayed to building occupants can be used as behavior modification resulting in lower energy use.  LBNL scientists are also developing methods of applying Fault Detection and Diagnostics (FDD) to rapidly diagnose problems in buildings and inform human operators what needs to be fixed before they turn into bigger problems. The ultimate differentiator is in maintenance gains and setting building professionals up to further optimize performance. Many of the same visualization techniques can be applied to the ongoing operation. Combining visualization with automated analytics allows for ongoing commissioning at a glance – simple, sustainable, and with measurable impact.

NCBC chart

The Future in Fire Protection and Life Safety Cx: David LeBlanc, PE, SFPE, Vice President, Jensen Hughes

In this session, discussions on the development and relevance of two new NFPA standards (NFPA 3: Recommended Practice for Commissioning of Fire Protection and Life Safety Systems) and (NFPA 4: Standard for Integrated Fire Protection and Life Safety System Testing).  These standards were developed in response from a request from the NIBS for standardized methods to commissioning and test Fire Protection Systems to ensure performance in conformity with the design intent.

The NFPA 3 outlines the commissioning process and integrated testing of fire protection and life safety systems, to ensure systems perform in conformity with the design intent. NFPA 3 address the recommended practice which covers procedures, methods, and documentation, giving stakeholders a reliable way to verify that active and passive safety systems are optimized to function as intended. It also defines a commissioning team and spells out qualifications for team members. The next edition of this standard is now open for Public Input (formerly proposals).

The NFPA 4 standard provides the minimum requirements for testing of integrated fire protection and life safety systems where such testing is required by governing laws, codes, regulations, or standards. This standard would not provide requirements for the testing of individual systems. The standard would apply to new and existing systems. Free access to the 2015 edition of NFPA 4 (registration required).

Throughout the conference additional Cx advancement in building codes were mentioned.  Here is a highlight of changes forthcoming. The International Code Council (ICC) incorporated System Commissioning Requirements in the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC 2012 section 408).  Buildings with total cooling capacity greater than 480,000 BTUs and heating capacity greater than 600,000 BTUs (exception: simple unitary systems serving dwelling units in hotels, motels, and similar) will need to have a commissioning plan, testing adjusting and balancing (TAB) of air and hydronic systems, functional performance testing of equipment, controls, and economizers. The ICC is developing a standard for commissioning (ICC 1000) and completed its first public draft review this spring. ICC 1000 first draft is available for download.

Improving Chilled Beam Performance and Cost-Effectiveness


In recent years, sustainability and efficiency have made their way to the forefront of building design.  More so now than ever, owners and contractors are looking to take advantage of the most advanced climate control systems in an effort to lower energy costs, maximize space, and ensure the safe and comfortable use of their structure for many years to come.

The use of chilled beams, in particular, has become a highly popular method of achieving these goals. Originally built to take the place of passive radiant cooling ceiling systems, they provide designers and engineers with the ability to make the most out of their space by dramatically reducing bulky supply and return air ductwork to the minimum size required to meet your ventilation requirements. Heating and cooling loads are served with smaller water pipes and more efficient hydronic systems.

Chilled beams are an intelligent option for both new buildings and retrofits alike; and when used in conjunction with other state-of-the-art technologies like Belimo’s 6-way Characterized Control Valve (CCV), they help reduce life-cycle costs and improve climate-controlling capabilities in structures of nearly all shapes and sizes.

The Belimo 6-way CCV is designed specifically for chilled beams and radiant ceilings. It can perform change over and modulating control for a single coil in a 4-pipe system with functionality equivalent to that of up to four 2-way control valves. This represents significant savings in terms of space, material, and installation time.

Belimo CCV’s innovative ball design features hydraulically decoupled heating and cooling circuits, which means that each sequence is controlled individually by the rotary movement of a single actuator. As a result, one valve can support a coil with two different Cv values.

In addition to substantially reducing wiring requirements, the use of only one actuator6-way characterized control valve simplifies building management system controls and enhances the ability of operators to manage indoor conditions. The 6-way valve is also highly compact and offers a 0% leakage in the closed position, helping prevent energy losses and reducing operating costs.

Using a single 6-way control valve to support chilled beam applications results in reduced installation requirements and minimal labor costs, and in the building sector where lean construction is becoming increasingly important, this is highly advantageous.

Through all of its innovative features, the Belimo 6-way control valve can serve as a highly economical addition to chilled beam applications in a wide range of building designs, and as more and more owners and contractors look for new and effective ways to cut costs and improve the environmental-friendliness of their structure, technologies like it will become increasingly prominent.

Download 6-way Product Brochure or go online to learn more.




Belimo Discusses Buildings of the Future


On May 4, 2015 Marc Thuillard, Head of Research Belimo was a panelist for the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) workshop: High-Density Urban Environments and Buildings of the Future.  The objective of this workshop was to develop a vision for future buildings based on collective views of thought leaders. They explored technologies that could revolutionize the built environment across energy, water, environment, resilient design, health, security, and productivity.

Marc stated “We live in exciting times.” With the current evolution of electronics, a small microprocessor integrated into an actuator, has the capability that only previously was available in a computer.  He stated that currently, lifelong stability of building controls is difficult to achieve.  In the future building systems will be self-learning and more demand control oriented.  There will be more virtual sensors, such as information from wearable devices and smart phones, which will provide information through the internet of things to dynamically control systems.  He stated systems will also be self-healing and make adjustments when there are temporary or permanent changes, in order to operate at peak efficiency.  He reminded us clean air is a resource we must be vigilant to maintain.  That rapid expansion in parts of the world is resulting in bad air quality. 

Buildings of the Future Scoping Study

The Buildings of the Future Scoping Study will develop a vision for what U.S. mainstream commercial and residential buildings could become in 100 years. To learn more download the Building of the Future Discussion Guide.

For more information on DOE’s Buildings of the Future program download NYC full presentation or visit the Project website.

Marc Thuillard is Head of Research for Belimo a manufacturer of energy efficient products such as Energy Valve and the ZIP Economizer. Belimo is a world leader in the design and manufacture of damper actuators and control valves used in commercial HVAC systems. Known for its direct-coupled actuator and innovations in pressure independent control valve technology, Belimo has solutions to maintain an efficient building environment. For 40 years, Belimo has provided innovations in Comfort, Energy Efficiency and Safety Solutions to customers throughout the world.

SELECTPRO™ New and Improved – Sizing and Selectrion Made Simple


Belimo Americas, the leading producer of electronic valves and air damper actuators, announces enhancements to SelectPro™, the company’s unique and powerful sizing and selection software.  SelectPro is a quick and simple tool for accurately sizing and selecting valves, actuators, and replacement solutions. With the recent enhancements SelectPro now offers:Belimo SelectPro

  • Updated User Interface – Easy & Intuitive Navigation
  • Quick Quote Module – Create a schedule or quote in no time
  • Additional Media  – Now offering Images, Installation Instructions and 3D drawings
  • Media Download – Save a ZIP file of your entire schedule’s media
  • Manual Selection – Now offered in the Damper & Retrofit Modules

“The goal is to provide a tool that the customer could navigate with ease and be able to seamlessly move from selection to schedule to ordering”, states Danielle Breece, Product Specialist for Belimo’s Sales Tools. “I believe the Quick Quote Module will be a great asset to every user’s daily business.”

To download or learn more, visit the Belimo website at You can also e-mail or contact Customer Service 1-800-543-9038.

New Belimo ZoneTight™ Zone Valves - Efficient in Every Way

Belimo Americas is pleased to announce the release of their new ZoneTight zone valves which are designed for maximum efficiency in tight spaces. The Belimo’s ZoneTight zone valve product range sets new design and performance standards for both pressure dependent and pressure independent zoning applications. Belimo ZoneTight Zone Valves
  • Belimo’s zero leakage ball valve design  eliminates energy losses and is resistant to clogging.
  • Low power consumption - up to 95% less than conventional zone valves.
  • Field adjustable flow to meet your design requirements.
  • Smallest pressure independent characterized ball valve in the market.
  • 5-year warranty.
“The ZoneTight zone valves are unlike any other zone valve on the market today”, states Nigel Gallimore, Product Manager. “The PIQCV not only provides reliable, pressure independent control—it offers several advantages to those who design, install, and rely on flow control equipment.”

Learn more online at

Belimo Americas Makes Move to New Energy-Efficient Headquarters


Belimo Americas is pleased to announce that it has officially made the move to its brand new, energy-efficient headquarters in Danbury, Connecticut.Belimo Americas Headquarters

Located on 34 acres of hillside landscape near the city’s western border, the 200,000 square foot facility is more than twice the size of the company’s previous office and production site and will serve as a showcase for all of its valued customers.

Built to give visitors a firsthand experience of how Belimo technologies can improve controllability, comfort, and energy efficiency in structures, the new facility features a number of the company’s very own proprietary products and is on track to achieve LEED® Gold Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

In addition to expanded manufacturing capabilities, which will help ensure the production of high quality products with industry best lead times, the building also includes a state-of-the-art HVAC control valve design and testing laboratory, a hands-on training facility for Belimo University, improved ergonomic design to better accommodate employees from Ability Beyond, and a full-range of interactive product demonstrations for its customers.

All together, the building includes 126,000 square feet of manufacturing space, with the option of adding another 100,000 square feet if the need arises. It can also accommodate another 23,000 square feet of office space in the event that future operations require expansion.

Belimo OfficeOne of the most interesting design aspects of the new facility is its layout, which features cloud-based ceilings that allow visitors to view the company’s damper actuators and control valves at work. In the boiler room - which other facilities usually close off from the public - Belimo has also installed color-coded pipes to help customers see each system in operation.

When asked about the decision to implement the unique ceiling design, Belimo’s Vice President of Finance and Administration, John Coppola, said:

“The building layout allows for tours of the facility so that customers can see our products in action. The tour is called:  Belimo – Experience Efficiency. It’s a fabulous work environment; one where not only everyone can enjoy their day at work, but where we can teach our employees, sales managers, and customers the important role that our products have in sustainable buildings.”

Among the many Belimo products and technologies used to improve the energy efficiency of the building, some of the most notable include:

  • 44 Energy Valves that allow for precise energy measurement, control and optimization of chilled and hot water flow.
  • 94 6-Way Valves for changeover control of chilled beams and fan coil units, which helps reduce the overall number of valves, actuators, and integration points required to achieve the same result.
  • 188 Pressure Independent Characterized Control Valves for automatic balancing of chilled and hot water flow to each chilled beam branch.
  • More than 160 Active Chilled Beams in combination with Belimo air flow balancing actuators to target the delivery of outdoor air efficiently.
  • A roof top unit for delivering conditioned air to the retrofit actuator machine shop, RMA, and AB area.  The purpose of the unit is to demonstrate the effectiveness of the ZIP Economizer.

While the facility’s unique design will put on display Belimo’s prowess in the HVAC industry, other energy saving strategies and technologies will also help pave the way to its LEED® Gold Certification. Some of these strategies include water efficiency landscaping with bioswales to prevent water runoff and erosion, sub-metering of mechanical room devices so that energy consumption of systems can be closely monitored and recorded, occupancy and brightness sensors for efficient use of LED-lighting, evaporative coolers, dual flush toilets, and onsite waste management and recycling.

"Being an energy-solutions provider, it was important to us that the building reflects who we are," added Coppola. "We aren't just providing energy solution products; we are living it every day. We live who we are."

Visit the Belimo building photo gallery online or download the facilty guide book.


ZIP PACK - A New Quick Drop in Economizer Replacement Solution


Belimo Americas is pleased to announce the release of the new ZIP Packs. A packaged solution designed for a specific economizing strategy; providing what you need to retrofit current systems - the ZIP Economizer Base, sensors, Energy Module for Demand Control Ventilation (DCV) integration, and a spring return actuator, and retrofit brackets backed with 5 year warranty. Each retrofit kit meets utility incentive programs and is conveniently packaged in one box and can be ordered with a single part number.

“The ZIP Packs were designed as a quick drop in economizer replacement solution, saving you time and energy,” states Vanessa Castro Product Specialist, OEM/Custom Products & Economizer Applications. “Companies can get their systems back on track and meet the latest energy standards and building IAQ requirements.”

Learn more online at
Belimo ZIP Packs

Practical Tips to Achieve Excellence in Air and Water Control


When control loops are not properly tuned, actuators may fail prematurely, and the system can provide poor temperature or flow control.

Three conditions are usually caused by poor control loop tuning: oscillation, hunting, and dithering. Oscillation is constant changes in position. Hunting is wide, constant swings in control signal. Dithering is small, sometimes imperceptible changes in signal. For floating actuators, the time and frequency of the pulse, rather than signal voltage, is the control output but the result is the same.

Oscillating control loops caused by being over sensitive can result in more than a million actuator movements in just a few years and can cause actuator failures. In sluggish control loops, actuator movement does not occur or is too small to affect flow, resulting in extreme system overshoot and comfort problems.

There is an easy trade-off between tight control and a reasonable number, and size, of actuator movements. Space temperature changes occur slowly in a stable process. When a room fills with people, it takes about 5 minutes for a 1 degree temperature change to occur. It may take another 5 minutes for a wall sensor to register the change. Fast movements of the actuator are not necessary.

Mixed air control is also a very stable process. Rapid changes in outdoor air temperature or average return air temperatures are rare. On the other hand, discharge air temperature control with a hot water or chilled water valve is a fast process because the sensor is close to the coil.  A bare averaging thermistor sensor may respond in 30 seconds to a 1-degree change. Encapsulated sensors may take 2 minutes.

During start-up of a system, more actuator movements may be necessary to find the correct operating condition, but the space is not occupied and there is time to stabilize the system without fast actuator responses. In an ideal control loop, each actuator movement is productive.

Proportional constants (and also integral and derivative) should be set so that continuous oscillation of actuators does not occur. Actuator movement should not occur before the effects of previous movements have had time to affect the sensor. This may be 10 minutes for a space sensor or 1 minute for an air sensor. Movement of damper or valve actuator when air temperature is within .5 degrees of set point, or when mixed-air is within 1 degree of set point usually will yield stable control; attempts to achieve more precise control may result in unstable control and excessive actuator movement.

When 3-point floating control is used, the total run-time of the actuator should be entered into the program logic. When the actuator is at either the fully open or fully closed position, continual pulsing of actuator against end-stops (end-stop dithering) should not occur. The actuator should either stop and hold or drive continuously against the end-stop.

Each VAV box and actuator control loop should be individually tuned. Where high turbulence in the sensor flow control loop is causing dithering (rapid oscillation) of the actuator control loop, the sensor loop should be corrected mechanically or with software averaging. Where the control loop is not fully adjustable, it may be necessary to find a method unique to the individual controller.

If an actuator is “chasing” a process which occurs faster than the actuator movements are able to correct, as may occur in the situation described above, the result will be many more actuator movements than are necessary to affect flow. The average flow should be adjusted, but turbulence is normal and should be ignored.


Potential Problems:
  • Hunting: wide oscillations
  • Dithering: small, unproductive movements of the actuator
  • End-Stop Dithering: the actuator or damper is at the end of its rotation, but the control loop continues to pulse.
Possible Solutions:
  • Reduce the proportional or integral gain.
  • Use a deadband.
  • Add time delay.
  • Reset constants.
  • Shut down control when at end-stops.
  • Do not control process faster than components response.

A Stand Alone Handheld Tool for Field Programming of Actuators


The ZTH US is a simple diagnostics and testing tool used with Belimo actuators offering a series of powerful diagnostic functionalities: function test, position preset, test setpoint /actual value, test damper and valve position and verify flow. The ZTH tool eases system maintenance and achieves maximum operational reliability.

The ZTH directly connects to the Belimo Multi-Function Technology (MFT) series actuator offers you access to the MFT parameters. MFT is a programmable actuator that allows you to create HVAC Actuator Programmingcustom solutions for individual applications. If you need a particular control or feedback signal, or need to change running speeds, MFT is the answer.  It comes standard as a 2 to 10 VDC proportional control but can be reprogrammed on-site. You can modify voltage control, time proportional control, floating point, on/off and feedback signals too. In addition, MFT makes it easy to set parameters for running time, mechanical working range, address, status and diagnostics.

The ZTH also allows users to connect the actuator to their personal computer when using the Belimo PC-Tool software. Connecting to the PC-Tool software enables you to customize the actuator, conduct functional tests and provides the ability to chart trends and operations.

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