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Heat-Timer Upgrades Result in 10-15% Savings
For Campus Apartments, Inc.
 

PROBLEM: These days, there is no dirtier word than "reactionary" when it comes to boiler control. Thermostatic controls, which react for, more accurately, overreact) to a building's heat demand, are neither efficient nor comfortable. Still, a large number of older buildings use this as the only means of boiler control. Such was the case at several buildings owned by Campus Apartments, Inc., a privately owned company, which rents apartments to students attending Drexal University and the University of Pennsylvania.

The apartment buildings varied in size and boiler equipment. Some were as large as a city block with 75 or more units, and were heated by large steam or hydronic boilers. Others were duplex and triplex apartments with smaller hydronic boilers providing heat to the building. But regardless of size or boiler type, uncontrollable heat was a problem shared by all the properties, resulting in too many maintenance calls and inefficiency.

SOLUTION: "The boilers were running too much," remarked Bob Sanna, Director of Operations for Campus Apartments. "We wanted to control the heat in a more equal way and lower fuel bills."

It was a situation that Nick Cozzan, a Heat Timer Representative had encountered many times before. The open apartment windows in winter were evidence of a boiler system that was clearly out of hand.

Since the client had only used wall thermostats in the past, Cozzan's first job was to introduce the concept of weather actuated boiler controls. As opposed to reacting to indoor conditions, these controls reference outdoor temperatures and system temperature to ultimately determine a building's need for heat. Outdoor reset controls consistently provide better indoor comfort since outdoor temperature is a more direct indication of the heat loss of a building.

One Manufacturer- Many Different Controls
Even though Campus Apartments, Inc. had a variety of boiler equipment, Mr. Cozzan was able to recommend a single control manufacturer to provide outdoor reset capability for all of the buildings. Heat-Timer controls were selected for all of the control updates, including cycling and sequencing controls (MPCs & MPC-Qs) for the steam heated buildings, reset and sequencing controls (HWR-Q's) for the hydronic heated buildings, and indoor / outdoor reset controls (HWMs) for the numerous hydronic heated duplex and triplex buildings.

The MPCs cycle ran the boilers only long enough to heat, not overheat to maintain indoor comfort given the specific outdoor temperature. In addition, the MPC-Q provides boiler sequencing when there are 2 or more boilers in the system. The HWR-Q controls provide reset and sequencing capability for the hydronic boilers. The HWM controls provide on/off control of hydronic boilers fand, in some cases, rotation of stages) in approximately 25 duplex and triplex apartments. Some of these buildings take advantage of the HWM's Domestic Hot Water Priority feature. In buildings where a single boiler and an indirect heater are used to provide both heating and domestic hot water, this feature temporarily interrupts reset operation while a domestic hot water need is being met.

"The Heat-Timer controls anticipate what needs to happen in the system," remarked Mr. Cozzan, referring to each control's ability to examine the rate of change within the system and the outdoor temperature before activating a boiler stage. This solves the problem of overheating that is so often associated with thermostatically controlled systems.

The controls also provide an outdoor temperature cutoff function, so that if the outdoor temperature rises above a specific set point, the system will not run, each control gives adjustments to meet the individual building's heat loss characteristics. Once the appropriate set point is established, the control shouldn't have to be adjusted for the rest of the heating season.

 

 


 

 

Why Remote Communications Worked So Well
Mr. Cozzan had one other suggestion. Given the number of properties owned by Campus Apartments, Heat-Timer's Visual Gold® remote communications package offered many advantages to his client. Visual Gold®, which can be installed on any Heat-Timer Gold Series control, provides the user with direct access to the boiler system via computer and modem. Once the boiler control is upgraded for communications, the user can access the system to monitor boiler operation, space temperature, change set points, and even call up histories of system activity.

Best of all, Visual Gold® gives a large property owner the ability to provide almost immediate response to a system problem without having to travel to the site. This is especially ideal for handling problems at night when the maintenance staff has left for the day. Visual Gold® can be programmed to alarm an on-call maintenance person (by beeper) when there is a problem in the system. This person can then access the system by computer and make a decision to correct the problem by way of Visual Gold' or put the control in by-pass so that tenants can still get heat until the problem is solved.

Mr. Cozzan first introduced the concept of Visual Gold' to Campus Apartments' Director of Operations, Bob Sanna who was instantly impressed with the control's capability. Mr. Sanna made the decision to install Visual Gold' in one of his larger buildings, and has been pleased ever since. "It's great to be able to monitor a building from a remote location," said Mr. Sanna

The BIG Payoff
Better control, better comfort, and fewer headaches were the immediate payoffs for Campus Apartments once the Heat-Timer installations were complete. But it was the lowered fuel bills which really left an impression on Bob Sanna. Almost immediately he began noticing a 10-15% reduction in fuel expenditures - a significant amount considering the number of properties.

"This difference has been very noticeable," remarked Mr. Sanna, who inspects the bills each month. "Any building that we pay to heat, we'd use Heat-TImer."