Canadian Consulting Engineer

PRODUCT APPLICATION: Building Controls – Fairmont Hotel Vancouver Retrofit

The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver (formerly the Hotel Vancouver) on West Georgia Street was built between 1928 and 1939. Though a jewel on the surface, the hotel had a mechanical infrastructure that was lo...

August 1, 2002  Canadian Consulting Engineer

The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver (formerly the Hotel Vancouver) on West Georgia Street was built between 1928 and 1939. Though a jewel on the surface, the hotel had a mechanical infrastructure that was long overdue for an upgrade.

In 1998, the hotel selected Enbridge Integrated Building Technologies (Enbridge IBT) to carry out a comprehensive energy retrofit program that included upgrading the building’s outdated control system. Enbridge IBT, acting as both contractor and consulting engineer, used Echelon’s LonWorks open-systems protocol.

The new LonWorks-based integrated Building Automation System (iBAS) controls all major mechanical equipment, including 54 air handling units, the central heating and cooling systems, and the heat recovery system. Over 100 components help manage the system, including an Echelon router (RTR 202), six LonWorks Power Meters (four LON7300 and two Circon PM201), 18 variable speed drives (Circon VSD 200), 13 VAV controllers (Circon UHC 202), and 62 programmable unitary HVAC controllers (46 Circon UHC 200, 12 Circon UHC201P and 4 UHC 203P). In all, the control system was expanded from 400 to over 700 points. Enbridge IBT reused what they could from the old Birk control system — some wiring and a number of boxes, but little else.

The centrally controlled guestroom energy management system includes amenities such as a welcome light that turns on automatically as the guest enters the room. Doors left ajar set off an alarm for security. The combination of the occupancy sensor and door switch determine if the room is occupied or not and adjust the room temperature accordingly. The system is networked, and this information is fed into the iBAS, the backbone of the energy management system, to control the fan systems.

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When the hotel was designed, the ventilation for the convention floors was supplied from the sub-basement, while the entire building was exhausted by a collection of 18 exhaust fans on the 18th floor. The challenge was to recover energy from the over 80,000 cubic feet per minute of air being exhausted at this level. The answer was a heat recovery system, which provides 2MMBTU/hr of heat to the supply air. The supply air is ducted through the old building flue to corridor pressurization fans on the second floor.

At the outset of the project, half of the building’s utility costs were for district steam purchase. To reduce the steam load, two condensing hydronic heating loops were added. One heats the three pools plus the make-up air in the health club. The second loop supplies heat to the building.

Energy savings in the first year totaled $423,424, exceeding the target of $351,010 by 20 per cent. The hotel estimates the CO2 reduction realized is equivalent to planting 893 acres of trees or removing 356 cars off the road, demonstrating their commitment to Canada’s climate change program.

Article supplied by Steve Nguyen, Echelon

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