There is a New "Trend" in Building Automations

ThermostatOur schools have won numerous awards for our energy conservation efforts. Renovated buildings with high efficiency design coupled with staff support and enthusiasm play a large part in these national recognitions. However the quiet hero is our comprehensive building automation system. This complex array of networked electronic devices controls all of the schools mechanical systems. To the teachers and staff the most noticeable part is the iconic room thermostat with the (+, -) dial and button. However behind the scenes, there are micro-computers that manipulate thousands of pieces of equipment, ranging from boilers and chillers, to air handlers and heat pumps, and even exhaust fans and lights.

Over the last twenty years, York County School Division had standardized on Novar brand automation controls. Purchased recently by Honeywell, Novar is a national brand that can be found in numerous Wal-Mart, Sam's Club, Lowes and Babies R Us stores, just to name a few. Honeywell made the decision to market the Novar brand controls only to national chains starting in the summer of 2010 and they will no longer be available to York County Schools. On the bright side Trend, another brand of building automation equipment, will take its place.

Trend was developed in the UK and has been around for over fifteen years. It comprises forty percent of the marketplace in the UK alone and only recently has it been made available in the US. Flexible and highly programmable, the Trend micro-computers will interface directly with the thousands of Novar components already installed in the schools.

Due to the phase out of Novar, the division has chosen Mount Vernon Elementary School to pilot the new Trend equipment. This project has already started and will be completed over the summer. It is one aspect of the new addition at the school. Teachers and staff will not notice anything different except for the very attractive new room thermostats. No more dial, these new thermostats are all digital, but will operate in a manner very similar to the Novar thermostat so that the operation stays simple. Other installations of Trend will follow as buildings are renovated or retrofitted with new mechanical systems.

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