Smart Solutions

Brandt Finds and Fixes Problems During Installation with Connect from KEY2ACT

With data from KEY2ACT’s Connect cloud-based solution, Brandt can validate a building’s entire system at once, not just the 10 percent of equipment that is normally commissioned during new construction, so they know everything is working the way it should when the job is complete.

Using KEY2ACT’s Connect technology to gather building data during a year-long retrofit project, Brandt found glitches in the products it was installing and was able to fix them before completing the work—without going over schedule. Brandt also uses Connect during commissioning to validate a building’s entire system at one time, which has proven invaluable.

The largest MEP services contractor in Texas, Brandt is dedicated to helping customers lower operating costs and increase efficiency by designing, building, servicing, and retrofitting energy-efficient building systems. To keep their competitive edge, they aim to make themselves so valuable that their customers would not think of leaving. Brandt actively seeks out advanced technological tools to provide the best customer service possible.

The Power of Data

Connect is a cloud-based solution that pulls data from a building automation system to identify trends and pinpoint potential problems before they happen. The solution works with all industry building automation systems and requires only one easy-to-install unit per building. Brandt first started using Connect around 2012.

On a recent job, Brandt was contracted to upgrade a 25-year-old Trane control system. The project included fan-powered box (FPB) replacements and the retrofit of VAV boxes with new air dampers and controls. About 250 VAV retrofits were required, and the entire project was scheduled to take one year.

As the new controllers were being installed, Joe Spry, Brandt’s commissioning
controls supervisor, started evaluating the boxes’ performance using Connect. About a month into the changeout, Connect’s data revealed sporadic CFM power and pressure readings in most of the retrofitted VAV boxes and some of the
new FPBs.

Gary Coulson, a senior HVAC technician for Brandt, uses a clamp meter to check electrical circuits. Connect from KEY2ACT lets Brandt turn data from buildings and equipment into action, pinpointing potential problems before they occur.

After trying a few different things, the team found a different brand of pressure sensor that provided a more stable reading. Even though almost 50 percent of the boxes had already been installed, Spry and his team were able to install the new pressure sensors in all the boxes before the project’s scheduled end time.

Brandt also found two other glitches
during the project. First, control of
the electric reheat in the FPBs was
not performing per the sequences,
but thanks to Connect, the issue was
identified and the team was able to
make the proper changes early in
the project. Second, Connect helped
Brandt find several overcooled areas
in the building, which led to the decision
to change out a handful of VAV
boxes to smaller boxes. Quickly identifying and correcting issues within the project’s original timeframe created a better experience for the customer and
a smoother project for Brandt.

“Finding these issues during the project made the fixes easier, because we were still mobilized in the install mode,” Spry said. “It also reduced the number of comfort complaints as the project progressed.”

100-Percent Commissioning

With Connect, Brandt can validate a building’s entire system at once, not just the 10 percent of equipment that is normally commissioned during new construction. Spry described the value of 100-percent commissioning as
“unbelievable.” He noted, “We come off a job with more confidence that
there’s no issues with the way things operate, the way they’re sequenced to

With Connect, Brandt also has more independence when it comes to data
acquisition and it can better partner with controls vendors. “I don’t have to rely now on the controls contractor,” said Spry. “If I can tell him he doesn’t have to create all his trends to take up all his memory, that I’ve got it, then we’re in a partnership. Some of the major controls vendors in our area, now when I come onsite, they understand exactly what I’m doing and how I’m going to be there to utilize my software to help them finish their checkouts.”

Stellar Tech Support

Brandt has been using Connect for several years now, and during that time Spry has been impressed not only with the product but also with the team behind it. Response times are quick, and suggestions for product improvements are often implemented. If Brandt comes across an issue that they cannot quite solve on their own, KEY2ACT is quick to help, Spry said. “I’ve had solutions within 30 minutes,” he continued. “It’s the best tech support I’ve been associated with.

“For me, KEY2ACT is the most powerful tool I have for what I do in my job.”

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