Posts Tagged ‘building automation’

Top Building Technologies For Schools

Friday, July 12th, 2024

School districts are always looking for new ways to improve the safety, security, and comfort of the buildings for students and staff. Building technology integration plays a crucial role in creating a safe and engaging learning environment. With new technologies and building automation upgrades, schools can plan ahead for the safety and quality of their building for students and staff for years to come. 


Fire alarm and life safety systems are essential for fire detection and life safety needs throughout school buildings. Auditing and reviewing these systems every 10 years or so is important to ensure they are meeting your facility’s needs and you are utilizing the latest technology available to keep your schools safe. Intelligent fire alarm control panels provide early warning capabilities, allowing for quick response and evacuation during emergencies. With features such as easy-to-use panels, mass notification systems, and graphical user interfaces, schools can ensure the highest level of safety for students and staff. 


Advanced security systems, including video surveillance, intrusion systems, and access control, can help monitor and control access to school premises. This building technology can integrate into existing systems, or schools can undergo complete security upgrades during the summer. Integrating these technologies can further improve the safety of schools by connecting to lockdown systems and access control technology for emergencies. Many schools are implementing additional access control measures, including badging, visitor management, mobile credentials, and building lockdown integration with these systems. Individual classrooms as well as entire wings of a campus can have access control measures, keeping every student safe wherever they may be. 


Effective communication is vital in schools. Robust communication systems, such as intercoms and public address systems, enable clear and efficient communication within the premises. Connecting these communication systems with electronic message boards, monitors, and other mass notification systems is an effective way to distribute messages throughout the school or campus, whether you’re trying to contact an individual classroom or the entire building at once. Moving from analog to digital communication systems can more effectively reach students and faculty during lockdowns, weather events, school announcements, and other communications needs. 


Building automation systems allow schools to have greater control and efficiency over their lighting and HVAC systems, leading to cost effective solutions and comfortable classroom environments all year round. A building automation system integrates smart technology to optimize the usage of lights, heating, and cooling systems throughout the entire school, including individual classrooms. Setting up these systems to operate based on occupancy in a room can reduce operating costs, improve the longevity of the equipment, and assist in your decarbonization initiatives. By utilizing a building automation system throughout each building, school districts can maximize the efficiency, cost, and comfort of running the building, whether it is during peak school hours or the downtime months during summer.  


As schools strive to create safe and conducive learning environments, building technology integration becomes increasingly more important. By integrating the latest technologies into buildings, school districts can enhance the safety, security, and overall functionality of educational institutions. Considering upgrades in the near future? Contact Egan Company’s Automation and Technology team to learn how you can benefit from new technologies.

The Leading Edge of Building Automation with IP-Based Controllers

Monday, May 9th, 2022

Speed. Processing power. Security. All of which are part of the future of IP-based building automation controllers. When it comes to the optimization of Building Automation Systems (BAS), many believe this is where the future is headed. 


To meet the needs of customers in the automated building universe, implementing IP-based solutions is the most logical path. While IP-based building systems haven’t always been widely spread, the recent IP adoption has greatly increased, providing the potential to make them run at the highest level of reliability—while remaining cost-effective. Extremely resilient, these IP-based networks provide unmatched operations, guaranteeing that business runs as usual. As for security, these solutions are encrypted, protecting the operations of the building. 

Using these secure IP-based configurations, the time and money that goes into managing a BAS system is significantly decreased.

The IP based product—both wired and unwired—provide a standard for integrating down to the device level, while allowing typical and advanced configurations that other media and systems can’t do without additional hardware, software, and time.

Egan Company Building Automation Group Manager, Kirk Wahlstrom


Solving problems regarding building performance needs to happen in real-time. Working on an IP-based network allows for much more bandwidth, allowing building owners, property managers, and engineers access to the data analytics they need, as fast as they need it. Egan Company Building Automation Account Manager, Michael Miller states, “IP is a faster, more secure smart building solution. It will be the technology all Building Automation Systems will migrate to in the future.”


One of Egan’s most recent modernization projects involves the Centennial Lakes Office Park in Edina, Minn. With consideration of the most relevant and impactful migration, Egan was able to provide a full IP-based network to move away from aging networks and controllers and invest in a sustainable and serviceable future. Seamless installation allowed for the new systems to be easily integrated within multiple buildings. Installing the network backbone has provided a migration path that allows the customer to dictate the timing and areas of greatest concern.

While implementing IP technology is still the newcomer on the Building Automation block, the future of simplifying, upgrading, and modernizing is here and it’s IP-based. 

Attention to Energy Efficiency and a Family-Like Bond

Thursday, December 17th, 2020

Below the 2.4 million square foot office tower and retail building sits a tight-knit team, focused on energy efficiency and continuous monitoring.

Located in the “center” of Minneapolis, the 33 Tower / City Center building is a Class A high-rise. At nearly 40 years old, its unique layout includes a retail mall, skyways, parking garage, and tower–the fourth tallest in Minneapolis. Prominent tenants include Target Corporation, Korn/Ferry International, and many other well-known organizations and retail stores.

In the corner of the lower-level space hangs a fitting sentiment: “Hail to the Chief”. Chief Engineer Tim Stefans has been with the building since 1980. He, along with his team of engineers, is committed to world-class building management procedures for energy efficiency and water efficiency standards.

There is not another building of this nature in the city of Minneapolis,” said Stefans, “and with this building, everything we do is about quality.

Best of the Best Energy Standards

Being in a class of its own, 33 Tower / City Center quietly boasts two impressive accolades: Certified LEED Platinum and an ENERGY STAR® Score of 97.

The Certified LEED Platinum distinction is the highest mark of quality and achievement in green buildings. According to The U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) program, “LEED certification means healthier, more productive places, reduced stress on the environment by encouraging energy and resource-efficient buildings, and savings from increased building value, higher lease rates and decreased utility costs.” 

Additionally, 33 Tower is an ENERGY STAR® certified building. The certification, backed by The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is described as, “certified buildings save energy, save money, and help protect the environment by generating fewer greenhouse gas emissions than typical buildings.” 

Twelve years ago, the engineering team began benchmarking energy performance to measure and track the building’s energy, water, and/or waste and materials usage. It uses the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager® tool, which has become the industry standard for rating a facility’s energy performance. 33 Tower’s 2020 ENERGY STAR score is 97, which means it’s more efficient than 97% of comparable buildings.

33 Tower has even received national recognition; two years ago, the building earned itself the title of “most energy efficient in the nation”.

Value of Team Longevity and Common Goals

33 Tower / City Center was ten years old when Egan Company (Building Control Group) was introduced to work on a small-scale project, in support of a desire to pay attention to energy and reinvest in the building.

Now locally managed by Ryan Companies, Inc, the building’s ownership went through a phase of rapid change. However, in the over 25 years working together, the building’s engineering team—along with the Egan team—has largely remained unchanged.

As long-standing partners, the teams at 33 Tower / City Center and Egan Company have a relationship built on trust and a shared goal: to improve the building’s sustainability and continuously evaluate building performance. Through this shared care about monitoring through the years, Egan trades have worked on systematic replacement of older systems and equipment, software/hardware updates, lighting upgrades, as well as technology design and function.

Among many who have worked with the team for nearly two decades, Egan Company Account Manager Brett Rasmussen started working onsite as a field technician in 2003. “Our long standing relationship has been built on understanding expectations and performing to them,” said Rasmussen. “Egan has a great working knowledge of this building and what is expected and needed for it to run efficiently. The building is not very forgiving, and a small error can translate to a big problem with such a large facility. But we also have some of the best field personnel in the industry. That, combined along with our experience and understanding of this building, whatever hurdle gets thrown at us, we make it disappear. Ultimately, we work hard to keep it running at a level that speaks for itself.”

The Egan team has become so much of an extension of the building team that at many times, there’s such a seamless level of work that Stefans and his team don’t experience disruption when Egan is working in the building. Referring to the latest project, Stefans adds:

I’ve got to tell you, we didn’t even know Egan was in the building. We didn’t even know—that’s how integrated this is. Now that’s phenomenal. I mean, if there’s a 10, these [Egan] guys are an 11. Rob LeMay, Ross Keane, Alex West, Aaron McDonough, Lawrence ‘Doc’ Bush, Jon Wall, and Dan Aberwald . . . they’re phenomenal. Ridiculously phenomenal.

Room to Improve Energy Efficiency

To further improve energy efficiency in 2020, the plan was set to migrate legacy technology to 21st century controls.

“For as long as I’ve ever been doing this, there’s never been a more complex job than what we’ve done in the last year. Really, nothing has ever been this complex and working through how to marry this new system,” Stefans shares, referring to the interactions between technology, building systems, the geometry of building, and the connected structures (skyways and newly-built hotel). 

As equipment moves toward obsolescence, Egan looks for opportunities to bring new technology and design to the table. As a result for 33 Tower / City Center, this year’s project was a large-scale retrofit representative of the need for modernization. And while projects like this provide a long term solution to a hardware problem, they also provide a means to improve efficiencies to positively impact the bottom line.

Read more about Egan’s recent project in upgrading the 33 Tower / City Center’s building automation system from I/Net controls to EcoStruxure >

Building Optimization with an Intelligent System

Saturday, July 25th, 2020

Internet of Things (IoT) is a concept of connecting the computing equipment and smart devices within one location with other locations and equipment across the world—providing a giant network of connected devices and objects into one centralized hub. It’s possible to connect something as small as a light bulb to something as big as an entire building’s operation. These concepts aren’t new, but have taken time to come to fruition. Due to advances in technologies, ease of implementation, and a higher return on investment, this is quickly changing.

Advanced Monitoring, Maintaining, and Reporting

Schneider Electric recently introduced EcoStruxure Building Advisor, an intelligence system for buildings. As an integrator, Egan Company implements this system and provides consultations to facility managers. Building Advisor can provide:

  • Monitoring of equipment failure
  • Insights into energy consumption and mechanical cost-saving initiatives
  • Improved building efficiency by working with an engineering team

In the past, it used to take an experienced facility manager years to understand and optimize building performance. Now, the introduction of this technology makes it possible to gain immediate insights into a building’s inefficiencies, drifts from optimal parameters, and potential equipment failure that can all be used to quickly improve the bottom line, enhance operations, and provide a better working environment.

Typically utilizing the current building automation system infrastructure of sensors and control equipment, EcoStruxure Building Advisor analyzes the operation of a facility and provides the facility manager with detailed information about equipment operation. In addition, this information is scored as to its impact on the energy, comfort, and maintenance of a diagnosed issue. Coupling this information with utility and equipment data, Building Advisor will estimate the current bottom line impact on a deficiency and the potential return on investment for system improvement.

Reducing Operating Expenses for Optimal Experience

Constant monitoring of building expenditures will also reduce costs through early identification of equipment failures or inefficiencies. Monitoring equipment abnormalities will predict likely failure (and provide solutions to fix it before it does). By being proactive in identifying equipment failure, facility managers will reduce downtime experienced by occupants and make for less expensive repair costs and reduced occupant impact.

This technology doesn’t just provide a list of failed equipment and temperatures outside of range, but ongoing access to an energy engineer, working with the facility team to address the issues found, recommend solutions, and provide accountability and support. Continual commissioning of a building is required to maintain peak operation.

Our customers are always looking for innovative ways to reduce operating costs, and if we can cut costs on their monthly utility bill without the expense of tenant comfort, I’d say that’s a win,” said Kirk Wahlstrom, Egan Company Building Automation Manager. “We’ve piloted EcoStruxure Building Advisor at our own facilities and have benefited from the insights. We’re excited about growing this technology to help our customers not only reduce downtime and cost but improve their building’s value.


As technology continues to grow and evolve, facility managers—like the rest of the world—will need to continue heavy investment into IoT. These trends and technologies are here to make our lives easier, comfortable, and more secure.

For more information about EcoStruxure Building Advisor, view this 3 minute introduction video >> or request a demo to explore more about how this technology might be implemented in your facility.

Exceptional Service is Recognized by JFCS

Thursday, May 17th, 2018

The Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Minneapolis (JFCS) has recognized Egan with an award for exceptional service for work on the JFCS office building that was completed in March. Egan was part of the project team that remodeled the interior and exterior of it’s existing building in Golden Valley, Minn.

Judy Halper, JFCS CEO, presented Egan with the award at the building’s ribbon cutting ceremony on May 8. “There are so many who were critical to bringing this vision of JFCS and The Stillman Family Foundation to life, including Egan. After so much hard work, we want to acknowledge Egan with an award for service.” – Judy Halper

The service award acknowledges the hard work of Egan teams: electrical and mechanical, technology systems, and building automation. Project managers include Carrie Thompson, Tom Buirge, Tim Johnson, and Dane Grunerud. Field leaders include Joe Baumgartner, Tom Rodrigues, Chris Nelson, Matt Snyder, and Eric Oja.

Find out more information about Egan’s role at JFCS here.

Onsite Training and Development

Tuesday, April 18th, 2017

With ever-evolving technology, it is essential for companies to provide employees the tools to improve and enhance skills. Egan Company has built a Technology Center to provide employees a way to grow skills and learn more about popular, and some new, systems used on Egan projects.

Used primarily by engineers and technicians, the Technology Center is a learning environment that includes lab materials for various systems: fire alarm, security, card access, video surveillance, networking, building automation, process controls, and concrete batching. The space is also used as a method for testing a system before installing it at a jobsite.

“The more our employees understand the products and systems we offer, the better they can be at installing and servicing them,” said Jeff Hawthorne, Egan Company Senior Vice President. “With the development of this space, Egan’s leadership team continues to make educating and developing our employees a priority.”


Email to schedule a time to visit the space

Gather. Input. Validate.

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2017

In an age where energy efficiency is standard, it’s important to always know how a building is performing. Working directly with utility companies, Egan Company’s energy management software can provide comprehensive reports that highlight major trends of a building’s mechanical equipment.

Learn more about Egan’s Building Technology Integration capabilities.

Tip for Building Efficiency

Monday, August 31st, 2015

Ventilation air can constitute a large portion of an overall energy bill. In some buildings, it can be as high as 30% of the cooling load and 60% of the heating load. Are you finding your energy bills to be too high?

One way Egan can help you reduce this cost is to employ Demand-Controlled Ventilation (DCV) through your building automation system. A DCV system can be retrofitted to a building or utilized in new construction.

A DCV system uses carbon-dioxide sensors located within the building. These sensors are used to estimate the minimum ventilation requirements needed for occupants. If carbon dioxide levels rise—and they will as more people enter the space—the ventilation system opens and allows fresh air to enter for proper ventilation.

Utilizing a DCV system yields a huge potential for energy savings, especially in building zones where occupancy levels vary widely. When occupancy levels are low, the outdoor ventilation rate can be reduced to minimal levels and eliminate the need to condition additional outdoor air. Building zones such as auditoriums and conference rooms are prime examples.

If you’re looking to lower your energy bills, contact your representative to see how Egan can help.

Valuing a Trusted Partnership

Wednesday, August 26th, 2015

DSC_0708_editAnoka-Hennepin School District #11 (A-H) is one of the largest in Minnesota, encompassing 45 schools and close to 39,000 students (or about 5% of total public school enrollment in the state). For the past 27 years, Egan Company has been the district’s sole integrator of building automation systems.

Building automation allows owners to control nearly all aspects of a building that regulate energy usage, affecting everything from operational costs to carbon footprint. As new technological features have evolved, Egan has worked with A-H to bring each school facility to the next level of energy management sophistication, dating back to when the technology first surfaced in the early 1980s.

But 27 years is a very long time to be in business with a single contractor. How can this kind of relationship endure for so long?

“There has always been a need to manage HVAC systems efficiently,” said Roger Wood, Anoka-Hennepin Schools Maintenance Supervisor. “Egan collaborates with us to help create a healthy classroom environment for students and staff, while at the same time managing our HVAC systems to be very energy conscious.”

Over the years, Egan has become tremendously hands-on and knowledgeable of A-H’s overall needs, and that reflects in the way we do business. Years of service calls, updates, and maintenance requests have required Egan personnel to look at the big picture to keep A-H’s facilities running smoothly.

“Trust is the key to how we maintain business relationships,” said Tom Addabbo, Egan Company Account Manager. “We continuously show that we are invested in helping the customer achieve his/her goals, and that leads to deep-seated trust over time.”

Deep-seated trust is not fostered overnight, and it can be especially hard to maintain in a public school system, where decisions are committee-led and opinions are subject to change as new members are elected. But it certainly is possible to achieve, so long as both parties recognize each other’s own vested interest in succeeding, which sometimes means going beyond expectations.

TomAddabboIII_082015It’s our responsibility to respond in a meaningful way when we get called upon to help.

– Tom Addabbo, Egan Company Account Manager

A few years ago, Rum River Elementary was experiencing issues with a converter valve sticking open (causing the building’s boilers to overheat). Gary Schultz, Egan Company Technician, received a call at about 4 p.m. the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. He was about to leave for a holiday dinner.

“Roger [Wood] called me and explained the situation,” said Schultz. “I could have gone home, but I felt it was not the type of problem you leave over a long weekend.”

Schultz pushed back his holiday plans and set out to Rum River Elementary to help fix the valve issue, which was eventually resolved later that night.

DSC_0710_editHis actions that Thanksgiving represent one of many moments where Egan technicians have delivered on a personal commitment to ensuring success for our customers.

“[Egan has] provided us with a high level of expertise and customer service,” said Wood. “Whenever there is an issue Egan responds promptly with technicians who are very knowledgeable and respectful.”

Whether that means working unconventional hours or even addressing issues that weren’t necessarily Egan’s to fix, the goal is to ultimately save the customer costs in energy usage and hassle. For partnerships like this one, there’s much more to performing the service than merely meeting a budget – there’s character, loyalty, flexibility, and reliability. Any construction-related project can turn south quickly if trust isn’t valued, and though you can’t add “trust” on a pricing sheet, it’s as real as any other line item.

Compressed Schedule Calls for Cross-Trade Coordination

Saturday, September 20th, 2014

lakes_internationalThe side-effects of the deluge of rain we received this last spring are still being felt today. On top of flooding and lake closures, there was a direct impact on construction projects that had to push back start dates because of wet soil.

New building construction for the Lakes International Language Academy (LILA) adopted an aggressive new timeline to combat this obstacle. The K-6 charter school looked to build upon the success of its tuition-free immersion program (Spanish or Chinese) that follows an accredited International Baccalaureate Primary Years curriculum in the form of a new facility.

The rain, while good for flowers, turned the work site into a challenge. The foundation’s soil turned to soft clay, making for a less-than-ideal work environment. In fact, a concrete composite had to be mixed into areas where soil integrity was most vulnerable, effectively turning the school’s new parking lot into a great big cinder block.

highres_lakes_smallerEgan’s Electrical, Mechanical, and Building Systems & Services groups partnered with general contractor Kraus-Anderson to find a way to get the job done on time.

Collaboration between Egan and Kraus-Anderson’s Project Manager Jake Boerboon and Superintendent Jesse Fiskewold were essential to project success. Even closer coordination was required than is customary for a project like this. Potentials for lost-time or further delays were addressed and resolved before the fact, creating an extremely well-organized work model.

Design/Build was also a huge factor in facilitating the accelerated timeline. Thanks to Egan doing the design and construction, many issues were resolved before they could reach the field. Without this, on-site problem solving would be a necessity and could have delayed the project further.

The construction team benefited greatly from prefabrication on this project. Circuits and feeders were crafted in-house and pre-assembly of the duct helped reduce installation time in the field. Close coordination between mechanical and electrical also minimized penetrations in the precast and allowed coordination of hanger systems, nearly cutting the initial estimate time in half.

Egan also supplied the academy’s building automation system. The weather delay shortened the installation timeframe significantly, requiring work to be completed in about a week.

The project finished on time, giving the school about two weeks to furnish and organize the building to be student-ready for the Fall.

The Lakes International Language Academy Project is a newly constructed, 43,000 square foot, two-story facility that included two parking lots and a gymnasium. The building’s automation system included integrating seven Lennox RTUs, installing controls on VAV boxes, and interlocking the kitchen make up unit with miscellaneous exhaust fans.

Core project team: LILA Building Co. and Kraus-Anderson Construction Company

Egan services performed: Design Build of Mechanical, Plumbing, Electrical Systems, and Building Automation Systems