Designing labs, research buildings: Building automation and controls

Labs and research facilities house sensitive equipment and must maintain very rigid standards. In this discussion, the engineers will discuss building automation and controls.

05/28/2013


Nedzib Biberic, PE, LEED BD+C, Mechanical Engineer, PAE Consulting Engineers, Portland, Ore. Courtesy: PAE Consulting EngineersMichael Chow, PE, CxA, LEED AP BD+C, Member/Owner, Metro CD Engineering LLC, Powell, Ohio. Courtesy: Metro CD EngineeringDavid S. Crutchfield, PE, LEED AP, Division Manager, RMF Engineering, Baltimore. Courtesy: RMF EngineeringDave Linamen, PE, LEED AP, CEM, Vice President, Stantec, Edmonton, Alberta. Courtesy: StantecJay Ramirez, Senior Vice President, ESD Global, Chicago. Courtesy: ESD Global

Participants:

Nedzib Biberic, PE, LEED BD+C, Mechanical Engineer, PAE Consulting Engineers, Portland, Ore. 

Michael Chow, PE, CxA, LEED AP BD+C, Member/Owner, Metro CD Engineering LLC, Powell, Ohio 

David S. Crutchfield, PE, LEED AP, Division Manager, RMF Engineering, Baltimore

Dave Linamen, PE, LEED AP, CEM, Vice President, Stantec, Edmonton, Alberta

Jay Ramirez, Senior Vice President, ESD Global, Chicago 


CSE: What are some common problems you encounter when working on such systems?

Ramirez: When working with science and institutional clients, particularly in manufacturing and R&D, it is important to know that these entities most often have their own internal facility management system (FMS). Most often these will be a programmable logic controller (PLC) that must interface with direct digital controls (DDC) or a building automation system (BAS). Often the FMS stores proprietary client information and is highly secured, which requires special consideration and networking to receive approval from the client. Understanding the level of communication interface and determining the proper integration methodology is absolutely critical to avoid system incompatibility and change order cost once the project is in construction.

Linamen: Lack of seamless interoperability. More components are achieving interoperability, but there are still a number that don’t, and some components have limited interoperability. Also, there are very few vendors who really have all of the components to control all HVAC systems and equipment in a lab building, so if competition is desired in the pricing of the controls, interoperability with multiple vendors is important.

Biberic: Most of the time the chosen laboratory control system is proprietary and locks the owner into one manufacturer. Also, the lack of the owner’s experience with selected lab control system is a problem; it is perceived as a “black box” and can lead to lower building efficiency or even failure of the building to perform. Most of the time, it is an independent, second control system in the building. Facilities need separate operations and maintenance (O&M) training on the system, and there is limited number of staff that interacts with the system. Integration with the BAS could be costly; mapping points from the lab control system into BAS could be time-consuming and sometimes challenging even with more experience control contractors.

CSE: What integrated systems have you specified into a recent project?

Crutchfield: The most common problem we see is that the building automation/controls systems seem to fall outside the normal preventive maintenance programs. When this happens, the tolerances that are designed into the system start to trend outside of appropriate limits slowly and over time. By the time the maintenance requests start to filter in to maintenance staff, it is often more than one control item that needs maintenance attention, so troubleshooting is necessary to track down all the problems.

Linamen: Besides sophisticated lab and fume hood controls, demand-based ventilation control that samples air quality in labs and adjusts the ventilation rate accordingly. This was for a biomedical research facility with numerous compartmentalized labs, and the demand-based control minimizes the ventilation rates in each lab by sampling the air individually in each lab and throttling the ventilation rate to maintain desired air quality. The demand-based ventilation controls can be integrated with almost any laboratory control system.

Biberic: We used Siemens and Phoenix Control on the Whitworth Science Building, a 70,000-sq-ft, three-story teaching/research laboratory facility, which consisted mostly of airflow dominated chemical laboratory spaces. The building also has a 2,000-sq-ft vivarium area, anatomy lab, and cadaver room. Laboratory spaces are served by a 100% outside air system with overhead air distribution. We installed Phoenix Controls venturi airflow valves control airflow in each lab space. In-duct mounted hydronic heating coils maintain the room temperature setpoints. We used American Auto-Matrix products in the Western Oregon University Science Building, a 20,000-sq-ft, two-story teaching laboratory facility consisting of chemical laboratory spaces. Laboratory spaces are served by a 100% outside air system with overhead air distribution. American Auto-Matrix airflow vales control exhaust airflow from laboratory equipment and fast acting actuators are used on supply VAV boxes and dampers controlling general lab exhaust.



No comments
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by...
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners.
Control Engineering Leaders Under 40 identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Learn more about methods used to ensure that the integration between the safety system and the process control...
Adding industrial toughness and reliability to Ethernet eGuide
Technological advances like multiple-in-multiple-out (MIMO) transmitting and receiving
Virtualization advice: 4 ways splitting servers can help manufacturing; Efficient motion controls; Fill the brain drain; Learn from the HART Plant of the Year
Two sides to process safety: Combining human and technical factors in your program; Preparing HMI graphics for migrations; Mechatronics and safety; Engineers' Choice Awards
Detecting security breaches: Forensic invenstigations depend on knowing your networks inside and out; Wireless workers; Opening robotic control; Product exclusive: Robust encoders
The Ask Control Engineering blog covers all aspects of automation, including motors, drives, sensors, motion control, machine control, and embedded systems.
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
News and comments from Control Engineering process industries editor, Peter Welander.
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
This is a blog from the trenches – written by engineers who are implementing and upgrading control systems every day across every industry.
Anthony Baker is a fictitious aggregation of experts from Callisto Integration, providing manufacturing consulting and systems integration.
Integrator Guide

Integrator Guide

Search the online Automation Integrator Guide
 

Create New Listing

Visit the System Integrators page to view past winners of Control Engineering's System Integrator of the Year Award and learn how to enter the competition. You will also find more information on system integrators and Control System Integrators Association.

Case Study Database

Case Study Database

Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Control Engineering case study database, where end-users can identify relevant solutions and explore what the experts are doing to effectively implement a variety of technology and productivity related projects.

These case studies provide examples of how knowledgeable solution providers have used technology, processes and people to create effective and successful implementations in real-world situations. Case studies can be completed by filling out a simple online form where you can outline the project title, abstract, and full story in 1500 words or less; upload photos, videos and a logo.

Click here to visit the Case Study Database and upload your case study.