Situated on an 18-acre site about seven miles from the main Montana State University-Billings campus, the MSU-Billings College of Technology includes more than 110,000 sq ft of classroom, laboratory, and shop space. The college annually serves more than 500 full-time and part-time students. Additionally, professional training and continuing education classes are provided to 1,000 individuals annually from many different industries.

More than 20 years old, the school's rooftop units were in dire need of replacement. Also, the school wanted to replace all of the controls in the facility with open technology LonWorks(r) controls, to better manage energy costs. The College of Technology's maintenance supervisor, Ray Carl, wanted to be able to control all the devices via the Internet, but he also had to meet stringent state budgetary guidelines.

A Control Solution

When administrators decided to automate the school's facilities control system, they selected the Vykon(tm) Building Automation Suite by Tridium Inc. to be an integral part of that upgrade. With a system that incorporated Vykon, the school now has the ability to access and control, from any standard Web browser, the LonWorks controls in the building, as well as the new hvac system on the roof, which uses BACnet(r).

"I am tickled pink," Carl says. "Because Vykon can integrate diverse control systems, we saved a lot of money." The school slashed its energy costs by more than 20% each month since the installation.

Systems integrator, Electro Controls, was awarded the Montana State building automation system (bas) contract. The company's general manager, Jonathan Fry, says that when his company was awarded the contract, college officials wanted to replace all of the building's control devices with devices that used the LonWorks communications protocol, allowing the maintenance staff to access and control those devices.

The maintenance staff also wanted to have access to the control devices at anytime and from anywhere via any standard Web browser, which is why Fry recommended that Tridium's Vykon be a part of the bas.

"The college never really considered the integration of the four rooftop Trane hvac units, which have BACnet controls with the controls in the rest of the building that used LonWorks communication protocol. They were considering that a separate issue," he says. "But with just one extra day of work, we were able to integrate both systems easily. Vykon made it so easy and so simple to connect these two systems."

Other Benefits

One of the features that impressed Carl about Vykon is the systems' alarming capability. When there was a severe problem with the school's hvac system one weekend during subzero degree weather, he received an alarm from the system at home. "I have the system set up where I receive an e-mail, a fax, and a beeper alert when there is a problem. Because I can use my password and access and control the system from any standard Web browser, I was able to assess the problem from home," he says. "Without this system, I wouldn't have known there was problem until Monday morning."