Building Automation Alliance

Perfecting the Inside Working Environment

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InsideIQ Member Firm Produces Energy Savings for Bushnell Center
Wednesday - July 6, 2016     A+ | a-
The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts, Hartford, Conn.
The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts, Hartford, Conn.

A 13 year program to conserve energy has saved The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts in Hartford more than $6 million in utility costs. SNE Building Systems, a member of the InsideIQ Building Automation Alliance, partnered with The Bushnell to provide changes to equipment, improvements to control strategies and continual refinement of preventative maintenance protocols to reduce energy consumption at the historic theater complex.

The Bushnell project focused on improving the structural envelope, lighting technology, and heating and cooling systems to reduce the energy loads, contain the utility costs and upgrade technologies. Major projects included:

  • Converting the original 1928 gas fired boiler that was only 42 percent efficient to a rapid exchange gas heater that delivers 92 percent efficiency.
  • Replacing 1,620 proscenium lights with a custom-designed LED lasting 20 times longer and using 62 percent less electricity.
  • Replacing 600 light bulbs in the theater’s dressing rooms with compact fluorescent bulbs lasting 13 times longer and burning four times less energy.

The Bushnell complex includes the historic Mortensen Hall built in 1928 and the 2001 Belding Theater addition, which seat 3,000 and 900 people respectively. Operators are challenged to support a variety of different activities in varied spaces throughout the year. In addition to being the premier performance space in Connecticut for leading touring Broadway shows, The Bushnell hosts a variety of other activities, such as corporate meetings and events as well as personal celebrations such as weddings, parties and anniversaries. Further complicating the situation, the complex contained a larger number of varied mechanical systems, and some of them were very old.

“SNE works closely with our operations staff to devise creative and intelligent solutions to lower energy consumption and save money at the theater. They understand how to maximize systems to continue to improve efficiency,” said Ernie Mendenhall, director of energy services at The Bushnell. Without the commitment and dedication of the professional, competent and intuitive service team at SNE a large portion of the energy savings would not have been possible.

One example of a solution SNE provided is the automation of the air handlers at The Bushnell. Previously, staff had to monitor conditions and program the equipment. Now, the building automation system (BAS) determines when an air handler should run, the amount of outside air to supply and whether to use the economizer or not. The system makes decisions based on conditions in the facility and provides precise cooling to maintain optimum conditions. The results are obvious: while the air handler used to run for eight hours to cool the larger theater before a show, now in three hours the theater is cool and ready for the audience.

“Our long partnership with The Bushnell enables SNE to build on each successful project to maximize ROI for the performing arts center,” said Byron Bailey, president SNE Building Systems. By working together, SNE and The Bushnell team have extended facility life and equipment reliability, which lowers the total cost of ownership, while improving operational efficiency and effectiveness.

SNE Building Systems, based in East Granby, provides advanced control system solutions to commercial customers in Connecticut and Western Massachusetts. As a member of the InsideIQ Building Automation Alliance, an international alliance of independent building automation contractors, SNE shares best practices with systems integrators nationwide.

InsideIQ firms are leading local companies that work in partnership with their customers to devise the best solutions to address the unique needs of each facility. Because every firm is manufacturer neutral, we can select the best technology to match the customer’s need,” said Leroy Walden, president of the InsideIQ Building Automation Alliance and vice president of Atlanta-based McKenney’s Inc. “SNE’s collaboration with The Bushnell is an excellent example of how InsideIQ firms work over the long-term to provide remedies to facility challenges in order to save energy or add operational efficiency to a building.”

“The technology improvements implemented by SNE have streamlined our operations,” said Mendenhall. “We can keep the building running comfortably and efficiently with fewer staff because the BAS operates independently without constant staff monitoring. Alerts let us know when there are issues we must address before they become major problems.” 

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