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Watson Clinic partnered with its HVAC contractor to continually upgrade its building systems.

Photo courtesy of Watson Clinic

Watson Clinic, Lakeland Fla., includes a network of general and specialized medical facilities in Central Florida that care for patients with a range of physical, emotional and behavioral needs. Dating to 1941, the clinic is dedicated to providing excellent care. 

That same commitment extends to the operation of the more than a dozen facilities that comprise the entire system. To help achieve that goal, the facility staff decided several years ago to make efficient building management system (BMS) performance a priority to meet regulatory compliance and ensure patient safety and satisfaction.

The longtime partnership between Watson Clinic’s facility staff and HVAC contractor Future Controls, Fort Myers, Fla., has proven invaluable in maintaining ambitious building management standards through the years. 

Over time, upgrades were made on virtually every aspect of building controls, including panels to control the lighting, power metering, chilled water controls, boiler systems, variable-fan drives, surge protection and monitoring of the clean room where Future Controls develops logs and archives data for the clinic. 

“We work closely with Watson Clinic to maintain a regular program of building automation upgrades and improvements for more than a dozen buildings,” says Bryan Scarborough, business development manager, Future Controls. 

“As new buildings or major renovations come along, we upgrade controls and software. In addition, we perform smaller upgrades based on a yearlong plan that we work out together with Watson Clinic,” Scarborough says.  

Watson Clinic’s latest upgrade is a gradual transition from its legacy building management system to Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure Building Operation solution. The HVAC contractor’s 15-year relationship with Watson and its standing as a certified member of the Schneider BMS EcoXpert Partner Program made the transition to the new technology seamless.

The Cloud-based EcoStruxure system is an integrated solution that facilitates the exchange and analysis of data from energy, lighting, fire safety and HVAC systems. It also offers wireless communication and can be customized for any building network.

In addition, the new building automation solution monitors the humidity sensors, air handling units and temperature sensors to precise tolerances in critical areas. It also documents the data for regulatory compliance. With the upgrade, there is an expected energy and operational savings of 30 percent combined.

The first building with this upgraded technology is in place at a new Watson Clinic facility that recently opened. More of the medical provider’s facilities will be upgraded over time.

“There are many regulatory agencies that we have to comply with, and we have to document everything. Schneider Electric’s integrated solution lets us do that effectively,” says Gary Picklesimer, Watson Clinic’s director of facilities.   

“The system is extremely reliable, even through electrical storms,” Picklesimer says. “The software is user friendly and very powerful.

What’s more, Watson Clinic’s relationship with its local HVAC contractor has helped the health system to focus on its mission of caring for patients. 

“Future Controls is able to keep the system running optimally and has been able to offer us innovative, expert solutions to fulfill our building automation and control needs,” he adds. “Their help has proven to be immeasurable.” 

Watson started its building management upgrade program with Future Controls in 2011 when the HVAC contractor installed a system that integrated building operation, reporting and monitoring, while ensuring air quality and HVAC performance. 

“The great thing is, Watson Clinic is able to keep its legacy TAC I/NET technology while adding the building operation solution gradually,” Scarborough says. “Schneider has one seamless environment, one system, one screen to control everything. It’s a real advantage to be able to help our customers protect their investments this way.”

Jeff Ferenc is senior editor of Health Facilities Management.