AntrumX solves the maintenance and accessibility issues associated with standard DCV systems, extending equipment life, and optimizing energy without sacrificing IAQ.

6% of the sensors required

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Single point of service

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IAQ monitoring

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No moving parts

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AntrumEYE reporting

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Mixed Signals

Back in 2010, Grand Valley State University facilities engineers were troubleshooting a new building’s Demand Control Ventilation System (DCV). Their occupancy sensors sent a binary signal to the building management system (BMS), meaning that if a given room had a maximum occupancy of 30 people, but only one person in the room, the BMS ventilated the space as if 30 people were there. When occupants subsequently got cold, they’d try to adjust the thermostat, which reheated the 55F degree air the BMS was constantly sending into the space, amounting to significant energy waste.

Everyone Was Cold

Facilities staff spent a lot of time fielding phone calls and checking HVAC systems to address comfort issues. Meanwhile, they were also having to replace fan belts and motors because units were running at 100% capacity way more often than necessary.

There Has to Be a Better Way

On their way back from The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) yearly conference in Chicago, two GVSU engineers, Tom [last name] and Leo [last name] started brainstorming solutions. They’d had a “lab-grade” system and knew it wasn’t economical between up-front installation and annual maintenance expense, but they saw how more precise CO2 monitoring could help a BMS better understand how many people are in a given space. They took their lightbulb moment to their boss and used the potential energy and maintenance cost savings to justify moving ahead with product development.

Building a Better Mousetrap

Prototype I was installed on the 1st floor of GVSU’s Cook Devos Center for Health Sciences. It worked, but it was a highly mechanical solution and therefore slow.

The team then:

  • bought CO2 and strategically introduced it to test how quickly the sensor responded
  • tried several different pumps – lots of noise, lots of maintenance and failures
  • spent lots of time and effort trying to get the front-end BMS to get data to make decisions

Prototype II was a more elegant solution that optimized sample time, but still had pump and BMS issues.

Prototype III eliminated the mechanical pump, and Prototype IV incorporated a PLC controller to expose CO2 measurement and streamline communication to BMS.

After the team realized the expected energy savings on their first installation of Prototype IV, they prioritized the next installations based on the number of “cold calls,” which correlated with older, highly over-ventilated buildings.

AntrumX Was Born

They’ve been honing it ever since. Over a decade later, as Grand Valley continues to construct new buildings, AntrumX is a standard part of their HVAC specifications because it does what it’s designed to do: Simplifies Demand Control Ventilation, improving air quality while saving on energy costs.