Convenience, technology convene at Boston convention center
November 1, 2006
When the time came for the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority (MCCA) to build a new convention facility in Boston, the goal was to create not only a dynamic building but also one that announced that Boston was a 21st-century city facing the future. The agency envisioned a high-tech convention center that would attract major meetings and trade shows to Boston and serve as the crowning achievement of the city's waterfront revitalization efforts.
To accomplish its goals, the MCCA proposed a 1.7-million-sq-ft building that included 516,000 sq ft of contiguous exhibition space as well as 86 meeting rooms. With air circulation a critical factor in a facility of this size, plans called for installation of 29 AHUs. The new convention center was also designed as a totally wired facility to provide visitors with immediate access to the Internet and a cell phone-friendly environment. Blueprints specified placement of under-the-floor boxes throughout the exhibition space to provide everything from electricity and water to connectivity, giving exhibitors easy access to all utilities and communications.
Because the convention center was a publicly funded project with high visibility, the prospective bidders had to be able to deliver the project on time and on budget. After reviewing bids from several contractors for systems integration and building controls, the MCCA tapped TAC's Systems Integration group in Boston.
TAC leveraged the facility's Ethernet backbone network to develop the BAS. The solution called for installing TAC's Andover Continuum™ products to handle building controls and integrating an Allen Bradley programmable logic control (PLC) system to address central plant requirements. Because Andover Continuum uses an open BACnet® platform, the BAS allows six third-party systems to interoperate and be controlled through a single front-end system, one of the MCCA's requirements.
With more than 5,000 control points, the BAS gives the convention center's staff the flexibility to monitor and manage a wide range of operations and systems both centrally and remotely. They can manage everything from HVAC equipment - including all the AHUs, fire alarm interface, and carbon monoxide/carbon dioxide levels - to the interfaces for fuel oil and refrigerants, data transfer and generators, all from the same front-end. In the event of a problem with any of these systems, the BAS automatically sends alarms to alert convention center staff.
A graphical user interface makes it easy for facilities staff to quickly monitor multiple zones within the convention center. TAC also trained the convention center's staff to manage and maintain the facility throughout the year to meet specific needs.
"One of MCCA's primary objectives when designing this new facility was to introduce and maintain the highest possible level of technology," said Jack Haley, director of engineering and maintenance for MCCA. "TAC's BAS helped tremendously toward attaining that objective."
Although this public works project was many years in the making, TAC's Systems Integration group had just 18 months to complete its work on the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. Using its flexible, interoperable solution, TAC easily delivered the building controls project on time and on budget.
The Boston Convention and Exhibition Center is the largest building in New England and has the capacity and services to host tens of thousands of people under one roof. Even so, it was also designed with expansion in mind (for example, cabling or fiber can be added without ripping ceilings or walls apart). The TAC BAS is fully expandable and able to grow right along with the facility as it evolves to meet 21st-century demands.