Facilities Management: School System SCADA Example

Manufacturing facility management can benefit from a highly customizable building management system to minimize energy costs and maintain efficiency, and examples can come from many places.

This Portuguese school system shows how to optimize and control HVAC and electrical systems for energy management and maintenance programs to provide maximum benefit.

Portugal is currently in the process of modernizing its school facilities and has established Parque Escolar as a government-backed corporation to perform the work. Everything from energy supplies and consumption to the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system needed to be monitored, and the application needed to monitor multiple schools within the network.

Parque Escolar turned to Dosapac S.A. (www.dosapac.com), a Portuguese firm specializing in building automation. According to Dosapac CEO José Mota, electrical control was an important aspect of the new project. The system had to monitor the energy supply and lighting controls, as well as include alarms to alert operators of any problems. Energy consumption had to be monitored to ensure that the building management and control systems were running efficiently. Additionally, the supervisory system needed to recognize failure alarms and send out alarm messages that could be viewed by remote thin clients online.

HVAC control was another one of the key issues important in the process. Chillers, boilers, fan coils and variable refrigerant volume (VRV) systems had been automated to adjust automatically based on external temperature, humidity and air quality. The school’s supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system had to recognize all these variables, record the adjustments and send out alarms if the proper adjustments were not made.

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Mota said InduSoft Web Studio from InduSoft (www.Indusoft.com) in Austin, Tex. was selected because it had the best capabilities for Web access and for communication with existing building automation platforms. Web Studio was also the lowest cost option, and featured easy deployment and configuration, said Mota. Web Studio’s 240 drivers made it the most versatile tool for integration with third-party building automation systems such as Mitsubishi VRV systems, MODBUS energy analyzers, M-BUS energy meters, and BACnet-enabled and CANopen-enabled equipment.

While the competitors’ solutions offered only lighting and temperature control, the Dosapac/InduSoft solution included all building automation components and systems. With access and control of systems such as power and HVAC, it’s now possible to manage scheduling and set points throughout all the schools, said Mota. For example, lighting, heat and electricity can be scheduled to remain off during times that a school is not in session. School maintenance staff can also consult alarms for systems not working properly in order to perform maintenance on critical systems before a failure occurs.

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