Energy Valve Proves Air Coils are Batting a Thousand

When sports fans crave game highlights or need to check the latest stats and ranking for their favorite teams, they turn to this large sports entertainment complex. This cable channel has been providing sports news and programming for more than 30 years. What started as one cable channel three decades ago is now a multimedia giant, with several sports channels televised in more than 200 countries.

In July 2013, Belimo turned to this large sports entertainment complex when it needed to check some important stats, but these numbers had nothing to do with RBI’s or yards passing. The manufacturer brought its Belimo Energy Valves to see how they would perform on a 700 acre campus.

The sprawling campus is home to several buildings with sophisticated HVAC mechanical systems. The buildings, which house the offices, radio stations, and broadcast studios, served as the perfect location to install the Belimo Energy Valve. The Energy Valve is a complete package including characterized control valve, BTU meter, and intelligent actuator with patented Delta T Manager™, on-board data storage and network integration capabilities. The Energy Valve package is easily installed and the sensor data used for the Energy Valve process logic can be also used for data acquisition purposes. The data can be used live, or stored in the actuator for later use. The data can be used to provide important and meaningful insights into the operation of a hydronic system. The Energy Valves rich data array and storage capability complements and unburdens the typical DDC system. What Belimo was able to find was a home run for their flagship valve product. 

Keeping Score 

According to this sports entertainment complex, its 18 building main campus is the company’s “mother ship,” employing close to 4,000 people. It’s the job of these employees to keep this 24/7 sports channel running. The buildings on campus are also an important factor. They need the most efficient and reliable mechanical systems in order for the show to go on. That is why Belimo chose this facility to install its Energy Valves. “We thought this facility would be a great site to show the strength of the Energy Valve in multiple ways,” said Ayotunde Williams, Manager of Product Management (water products) for Belimo.

The goal of the project was to employ the Energy Valves at a building on campus and record the valve’s numerous data points. Those readings would later be compared to a similar building with no relation to the campus suspected of having a less than efficient mechanical system. “Belimo wants to show the strength of the communication you can get with the Energy Valve,” said Williams.

“The information transfer via BACnet and the points of data can be used to understand how well the system is performing. Overall, we can end up using the data to even predict how much money a system like this would use in operation.”

So what is the Belimo Energy Valve and what is it capable of recording? The valve is a two-way pressure independent control valve capable of monitoring a variety of data points, including Delta T. Low Delta T can be a major culprit when it comes to system inefficiencies. It puts a strain on HVAC systems and could cause cooling costs to skyrocket. If air-handling are oversized, demand too much water, or foul and degrade with age, low Delta T can occur. When cooling coils are not working up to their potential, the DDC requests more chilled water but the extra water has limited or no cooling effect. This negatively impacts the chiller. In some cases, buildings must install additional chillers to keep up with the water demand. The Belimo Energy Valve can monitor Delta T and maintain a predefined Delta T setpoint which ensures only the necessary amount of chilled water through the system.

The Energy Valve includes temperature sensors to monitor supply and return water for energy 
management. The valve can also document coil performance and prove that it is working to design specifications. A static IP address can be assigned to the valve, giving building operators the ability to log onto the internet with TCP/IP communication and see exactly how 
the valve and system is performing. The IP address can also be assigned to a DDC network with BACnet MS/TP or BACnet IP communication. A technician can check system parameters and make changes to flow rates by simply connecting to the valve with a PC. Tablet devices can also be used to check valve readings while in the field.

“One of the strengths of this valve is that it enables transparency of the heat exchange process – we can see how the cooling load is behaving,” said Williams. “It not only gives you the numbers, but allows you to analyze this data and to understand what these values mean and what has affected these values.”

The Game Plan Automated Building Systems Inc. (ABS), a Belimo Platinum Distributor for many years, was responsible for the installation. The building automation company operates three locations in Glastonbury, CT; Southborough, MA; and Braintree, RI. It has been providing service to southern New England for the past 25 years, and has a roster of high-profile customers, including the headquarters of this large sports complex. ABS was tapped by Belimo to install the Energy Valves, which would be used to record numerous points of data, including water temperature, water flow, and thermal power.

Bill Dauphinee, Project Manager at ABS, coordinated and contracted the individuals responsible for the installation at building no. 4. The building chosen for the project houses broadcasting studios and office spaces. It also shares the heating and cooling capabilities of a chiller plant with two other nearby structures. This chiller plant operates three chillers and has several mechanical redundancies. 

At the top of this main building are two penthouses storing air handlers and controlsBelimoEnergyValve resized 600 equipment. Two Energy Valves were installed in each of the penthouses so that four cooling air handling units were equipped with Energy Valves. This was done in order to impact enough of the capacity and to show the difference in the overall system. It would also help to understand the different effects of the chiller water temperature and cooling.

A total of four Energy Valves replaced older valves, which are now recording flow, temperature, power, energy, and position of the valve. Flow meters were added to measure the overall flow going into the buildings. The installation team also added meters to measure the actual current usage of the three chillers and added CFM meters to measure the velocity of air flowing across the specific air handlers. All of this was done to get the complete overview of what the Energy Valve was doing. Data from the controller was then used to validate that the Energy Valve was providing good comfort and useful data.

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