What is a JACE you ask?
If you are intimately involved with your facilities HVAC system controls, you probably already know what a JACE is and whether or not your system includes this device or one very similar (as there are various names by different suppliers for this component)
To get started, let’s look at some terminology related to the building automation industry to set the table:
Niagara AX/4 – The Niagara Framework is a universal software infrastructure that allows organizations to easily build custom, Web-enabled applications for accessing, automating and controlling “smart” devices in real-time over the Internet.
BACnet (Building Automation and Control networks) – A Data Communication Protocol for Building Automation and Control Networks. A data communication protocol is a set of rules governing the exchange of data over a computer network. The rules take the form of a written specification that spells out what is required to conform to the protocol.
JACE (Java Application Control Engine) – In order to integrate diverse systems, a physical connection to a device’s network is required. A JACE is a mechanism/device that provides connectivity to systems (HVAC, electrical…even security in some instances) within a building via the Niagara framework. By connecting common network protocols such as LonWorks, BACnet, and Modbus, along with many proprietary networks a unified system without seams emerges.
Enough technical terms. Here is the long and short of the above.
The building automation industry…including HVAC, electrical, IT, security, etc… has developed several means, methods and protocols to increase the efficiency of building operations…thus saving money and time. The Niagara Framework is by far the most popular of the frameworks that we have encountered…and as such, BACnet protocol has become the most commonly used protocol…which in turn utilizes the JACE (think of it as the control module or “language” translator) as its access point to send the correct commands the various automation systems.
In the church world, the above is most commonly used in HVAC systems…but it is not limited to that. HOWEVER…we need to note that utilizing the above with systems such as electrical and security are more complex and require significant hardware and equipment upgrades at the facility level.
So what does this mean to you?
One of the challenges many churches have is getting their HVAC system (and others) to operate based on room and space utilization. If you do not have a JACE or other BAS (Building Automation System) to control your HVAC schedule, you are relegated to running around your facility turning units on and off at prescribed times…or merely turning them on in the AM and turning them off at night..which is highly INEFFICIENT. Others may have programmable stats…which is a good first step, but still rely on a ton of human interaction and are usually limited to one schedule per day meaning the units may turn on in the AM, but may stay on all day, even if the space is not in use.
If you do have a BAS, you will be able to set schedules within the system to determine when the system needs to come on and off based on your room utilization. The challenge we have seen with this approach is that if you also use a room/event scheduling software, you have to double enter all your events. In most cases, you enter your event in the room/event scheduling software…get it approved…then print out the list of daily or weekly events…give that stack of paper to a facility manager or other team member…and they sit for “X” amount of time (usually hours) and re-enter ALL that data again into the BAS. WOW…sure sounds tedious. What complicates this process is when an event is added or deleted in the room/event scheduler…but not communicated to the BAS. The possibility of incident, such as that, increases due to the reliance on human interaction.
That is where the JACE and COOL SPACE comes in.
If you have a JACE on site…and you want to interface your room/event scheduler to your HVAC systems, we have developed a pretty simple way to do that with our eSPACE and COOL SPACE applications. We have developer a JACE “driver” (small piece of software that is installed in a JACE) that communicates with our eSPACE Event Scheduler allowing the Event Scheduler to communicate with your HVAC systems. YEAH!
> Time and energy savings just increased.
> Efficiency increases.
> Facility occupants, facility staff and business administrator’s joy just increased.
If you have a JACE…or want to consider obtaining a JACE…drop an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 1-888-448-5664.