WHITE BEAR LAKE, Minn. — A look back and a look forward is how Trane is celebrating a century in the HVAC business this year. In addition to multiple employee-celebration events across the country, Trane invited members of the trade press to tour its facilities in White Bear Lake, Minn., recently.

“We have 100 years of making buildings better. The industry has changed a lot over the years,” said Mark Weldy, vice president of EarthWise™ Systems, Trane.

Establishing its Roots

In 1864, a young James Trane emigrated from Norway to LaCrosse, Wis. In 1885, he opened a plumbing and heating shop and in 1913, he incorporated The Trane Co., with his son, Reuben, as a manufacturer of steam valve traps, which James had invented in connection with a vapor heating system.

A plethora of innovations followed over the next 100 years, including the use of copper instead of cast iron radiators, the launch of Turbovac, and building automation systems. “We started in heating, but we are definitely not just heating anymore,” said Weldy. “It is about efficiency, comfort, cooling, healthy indoor environments, and so much more.”

Energy Management

Matt Gates, vice president of energy management services and solutions for Trane, looked forward while addressing the energy management services that Trane offers.

“The combination of HVAC and lighting make up almost 70 percent of a commercial building’s energy usage. It is one of the largest costs a building owner will have over the lifecycle of the building,” Gates said. “With our customers, a 20-40 percent savings is not uncommon. There are both demand- and supply-side opportunities. Everybody knows the earth doesn’t have unlimited resources.”

Trane featured new wireless controls and mobile access solutions for building automation systems (BAS) that enable customers to optimize building design and operations.

Trane now provides two new offerings, the Trane Tracer™ Building Automation System (BAS) Operator Suite mobile app for remote access to the Tracer™ SC System controller and the new Trane Wireless Comm System, which replaces typical wired communication lines to facilitate on-time, on-budget project completion. This system, which is available now, will also be available as a factory-mounted option on Trane HVAC solutions.

“Trane controls and remote-access solutions allow users to manage and monitor data wirelessly and on the go — wherever they are,” said Gene Shedivy, controls product leader for Trane. “Users can now operate building systems from virtually anywhere using solutions that provide the technology platform for the next generation of data-driven, technology-enabled services that are creating high-performance buildings. Trane Wireless Comm offers increased reliability and performance with no wires.”

Honoring Efficiency

Trane also used this event to present Country Financial with the Energy Efficiency Leader award.

Recent systems and services upgrades at the five-story, suburban St. Paul, Minn., office of Country Financial have reduced energy costs and increased energy and operational efficiency. The company provides financial products and services, serving about 1 million households and businesses throughout the U.S.

The retrofits are part of an ongoing plan to reduce energy costs while improving facility operations. Country Financial leaders expect the upgrades completed so far to save the company more than 8 percent in annual energy costs. Launched in September 2010, the improvements have also delivered expected operational efficiencies, reducing the number of HVAC service calls by 25 percent.

The phased-in approach undertaken by the company enabled it to optimize building performance, including functions at its critical 24/7 data center, even while reducing facilities staff. Improvements in earlier phases delivered some savings, while providing tools and data to drive later initiatives.

Initial improvements included a Trane Tracer™ building control system, designed to capture key building operating parameters. The control system has become a communications hub used to implement intelligent building services that allow maintenance staff to optimize building performance by obtaining automated real-time reporting on systems performance. The Tracer enables alarm monitoring for their 24/7 data center. Data generated enables staff to more easily maintain building performance and address any minor challenges before they become larger issues.

Publication date: 6/17/2013 

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