May 2010

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Pneumatic Integration Wirelessly to IP
New product provides the most advanced pneumatic retrofit solution available on the market today.

Jill Fidler
Jill Fidler
National Sales Manager
Energy Controls Company

George Fincher, Engineer, a California Contractor and President of Energy Controls Co, had a dream in 2007 (patent pending) to utilize the proven pneumatic thermostat that has served the industry for over 50 years, and combine it with battery power and wireless communications. When he saw that the wireless industry was robust and dependable George decided it was time to start the development of a new product for advanced pneumatic retrofit called the ecWizard.

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The following is an impressive list of companies and products that make up the new product:

• Tridium realized the potential of wireless controls and teamed with Jennic Corporation to produce the top-of-the-line wireless module. Tridium’s Sedona framework and the Jennic send/receive radio combined with ZigBee and 6loWPAN protocol, provide the highest quality for this unique control.

• Solidyne's top engineers are working for Energy Controls Co. along with Tridium and Jennic putting their heads together for Energy Control’s development of the ecWizard.  Solidyne will be manufacturing product in the Chicago Illinois area. Solidyne established in 1969 is a manufacturer for a variety of quality controls in the industry today. Tridium is the global leader in open platforms, application software frameworks, automation infrastructure technology, energy management and devise-to-enterprise integration solutions. Jennic and ZigBee are proven wireless icons setting the standards throughout the industry. The 6loWPAN protocol provides seamless integration of low power wireless into existing IP networks

ProphetTouch• The Prophet line of products and dashboard technologies are aimed at filling the necessity for intelligent data visualization solutions within the building automation and energy management space. Through providing a simple to use WYSIWYG editor to enable the integrator and end user to create and save custom views and dashboards for their real-time and historic data, while retaining the capability for ad-hoc analysis of the same data, Prophet is flexible enough to accommodate all data visualization needs.

Prophet software coupled with the ecWizard controls provides for the most advanced pneumatic retrofit solution available on the market today. The Prophet Touch is an embedded computer which comes preloaded with Niagara AX Platform as well as Prophet Software for an easy out of the box plug & play installation.

The new product provides a mesh network of wireless communications back to the ecHost powered by Tridium’s Jace and software.

A typical 6LoWPAN system may include a number of wireless networks connected using a wired bus, such as an Ethernet bus, which is connected to the internet. This is illustrated in the figure below.

A typical 6LoWPAN system

The new product can be ordered in May for delivery in June, and will consist of four ecWizards and one ecHost. If you are not excited about the product then simply return it for your money back within 30 days.
The PESC-F100 (ecWizard) is a $500 alternative to costly (DDC) retrofits of pneumatic systems which can cost $2000 or more per thermostatic zone.

The installation is simple, cut a few pneumatic lines and it’s done. Optional supply air sensors, room air sensors, and CFM sensor add to the monitoring opportunities. We leave the existing thermostats and control system intact; they are simply turned off like a wireless light switch.
The wireless technology is the most exciting and potentially profitable opportunity in the controls industry today. Retrofits consist of 70% to 75% of the existing control sales. The expected market in 2010 for controls is estimated at $8 billion. Wireless controls and sensors will be the headliners of the controls industry.
This product is forecast to hit the market place with enormous force. In today's technology a device that is simple to install and with an average one-year payback and provides the building owner with valuable monitoring opportunities is truly a great financial opportunity for facility owners. The potential for retrofit is exciting because there are 60 million pneumatic installations in the world today.

You can't say no !

We interviewed building owners, chief engineers, and facility managers, who originally had some concerns, but now are very excited and are waiting for the demo kits. Their biggest concern was that there may not be enough money in the budget to spend on anything right now. When they heard that they could lease the our wireless system, and receive a positive cash flow while reaping the monitoring benefits, they were nodding their heads up and down and saying Yes

The building owners were not totally familiar with the energy-saving benefits of the existing DDC zone control systems. The VAV(DDC) control module has an established energy-saving record since the mid-80s. The product incorporates the same energy-saving attributes as the VAV(DDC) control modules. The VAV(DDC) module upgrade consists of replacing all the pneumatic controls and has an average payback of 3 to 5 years. This definitely enhances the ROI. Once they realized that the energy savings was an established industry standard, they said Yes.

Chief engineers seem to be very cautious about new technologies and the wireless industry. When they learned that they could try the demo kit for 30 days with a money back guarantee they said Yes.

A few facilities indicated that they were budgeted and ready to replace the pneumatic system with the state-of-the-art DDC control system. This potential customer already realized the energy-saving features of DDC zone controls. The proposed plan is to upgrade to a state-of-the-art DDC system and pay for the upgrades with energy savings and purge out the pneumatic system.

The five-year energy savings upgrade opportunity estimated an average building with 100 zones. Within the first year the retrofit product will be installed throughout the facility. Over the second year 25 all electric DDC zones can be installed from the previous year’s energy savings. The savings from year two will allow 25 + more installations. After five years you have a complete all electric DDC system completed and paid for from the energy savings.  Yes

5 Year Energy Savings

Control Solutions, Inc One of the major problems with old pneumatic systems is that they are sometimes contaminated with moisture and oil. When the product is installed each zone throughout the system will be purged of oil and moisture, allowing it to operate efficiently while your new zone control system is saving money. Yes

The retrofit is compatible to upgrade module that allows you to switch from pneumatic to an all electric state-of-the-art DDC system. An investment that will always be in your ceiling. Yes

Many building owners have complained about the temperature variations in their existing pneumatic system. However, it has been found the thermostats could actually control within a + or -1/2 degree Fahrenheit, if the system installations were done correctly. The monitoring capabilities will allow for excellent diagnostics providing possible remedy to the system problems. Yes

If a building is not totally occupied and finances don’t allow the installation, the retrofit can really help these situations. The new product utilizes an old established sequence of operation called: “Turn It Off”! There is no need to air-condition the empty area of the facility. This enhances the payback and cash flow after the system is leased. Yes

It's important that we all step up to the plate and do something to help to reduce our power consumption and preserve a cleaner, more efficient world for our children and grandchildren. Yes

To learn more about the ecWizard, ecHost, ecRooftop, ecDatacenter, ecSubmeter, ecVAV, ecAuditor and more please visit our website:

We feel the ecWizard is the most exciting control to be introduced in the last 20 years.

About the Author

Jill Fidler is the National Sales Manager of Energy Controls Company. Along with sales and marketing, she works as a project manager for control retrofit jobs and commercial energy audits.


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