Renovation of the Montgomery Civic Center is ongoing, but a new BAS was deemed so essential that it was completed before anything else. The new system had to accommodate constant schedule changes, better control over zone temperatures, and cost-effective energy management measures, as well as the need for future flexibility and expansion.
Widely known as a landmark of both the Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement, Montgomery, AL has preserved much of its history through a variety of museums, memorials, and attractions. Included in these attractions are concerts, statewide events, and local celebrations held at the Montgomery Civic Center, all of which help showcase a southern heritage and civil rights history unique to this city.

When the city government, the Montgomery Riverfront Foundation, and the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce formed an alliance with the civic center to capitalize on the tremendous economic development potential of Alabama's Capital City Riverfront, the city realized the growing demand on the civic center would have to be met with expansions to the 1975 facility now - even before other renovations officially begin next year.

Rolling On The River

The game plan for the riverfront renaissance includes turning the existing civic center into a new convention center, and adding an adjacent four-star hotel in the heart of the Riverfront District on the civic center's site. The present civic center will undergo a $29 million transformation into a state-of-the art convention center with expanded meeting, exhibition and ballroom space, as well as a world-class performing arts center. A new $53 million hotel, 16-story, 250-room hotel overlooking the river will be located directly in front of the civic center.

Thus, a world-class BAS system was needed to support the planned expansions, as well as to implement cost-saving measures in the existing facility in preparation for the 2005 renovations. The civic center accommodates both large and small events on a nearly year-round basis. In many cases the system must meet the needs of multiple events simultaneously. The new system would have to meet constant schedule changes, better control over zone temperatures, and cost-effective energy management measures, as well as the need for future flexibility and expansion. Alabama Industrial Services, a Teletrol Systems integrator, knew that the Teletrol eBuilding Internet-powered automation system would be the perfect fit and contacted the civic center to discuss the project.

According to Bobby Mills, vice-president of Alabama Industrial, the city selected the system for several reasons: "Our relationship with the city of Montgomery over the past twenty years gave us a good idea of how the new system should run and deliver value for them. During discussions, it became apparent that the civic center required the ability to monitor the facility through many city locations because the civic center shares maintenance personnel with various other city buildings." The eBuilding system, which was installed and completed in September 2003, was well suited to work with the existing Ethernet network covering the 60,000-sq-ft facility and gave personnel the ease of access to needed information whether on or off-site.

Breaking The Bottleneck

Another issue addressed by the new system was the high energy costs associated with inadequate facility control and monitoring with the existing system. In addition, the new system lowered costs by eliminating the bottleneck of a single workstation in the operations manager's office. Maintenance staff can now make adjustments from any department's authorized computer via their internal network or an Internet connection. E-mail alarms allow city personnel to contact the proper maintenance staff to correct problems, thereby avoiding down time and providing better overall performance. "So," said Mills, "the system was able to provide cost-effectiveness by meeting project requirements and by coming in within city budgets."

Because of the center's high-volume use and the ability to have up 25 separate meetings scheduled in the same day, updating the building's BAS mandated that each area be controlled for each specified time and event. Schedule demand became the second absolute system requirement because of the high costs associated with the time it took to schedule and manage the existing system.

The strategy was to schedule only those areas occupied during any given day and time, based on occupancy. Since the civic center can be compartmentalized while maintaining full operation, special programming could be put into place to adopt over 25 different schedules to provide complete flexibility. With these schedules, the system now controls 55 various eBuilding TSC unitary controllers, 10 iVAV controllers, and one eBuilding Network Controller with site server software, all interfaced with a Trane IntelliPak rooftop unit. Thirty-five split systems, ranging from 10 to 100 tons, are all controlled by the new eBuilding system with time of day schedules monitoring zone temperature, fire alarms, and fan, compressor, and filter status.

According to Leonard Hall, operations manager for the civic center, city personnel have been pleased with the positive energy management results, as well as with its ease of use and the flexible features that the system offers for future expansion.ES