We are considering using Schneider Electric’s C-Bus Whole Home Control system. Before making the decision to move forward, we wanted to visit Schneider’s Experience Center in LaVergne, Tennessee (Nashville). Schneider has a website dedicated to C-Bus Whole Home Control, which includes information on the Experience Center in LaVergne.
The Experience Center is located inside a building that received LEED Silver certification. It was good to see that Schneider Electric values third party certification and is truly committed to sustainable practices.
Our local Schneider contact, Neil Moodie, scheduled the visit and arranged for the appropriate people to be available. Neil came to our job site on November 29, 2010 and spent several hours with Bryan.
The day started with a tour of the Experience Center. Lauren Henslee showed Bryan the various control systems and how they worked. She demonstrated how lighting can enhance the artwork and other features of a room through various scenes and lighting controls.
Brad Wills, the Director of the Installation Systems & Control Group, opened up the cabinets and showed how the C-Bus system works. C-Bus is very compact and has a number of modules that are designed to go into the cabinets.
After the tour of the Experience Center, Keith Richardson took Bryan on a tour to review the manufacturing operations in the facility, which is where PowerLink cabinets are assembled. The PowerLink product line is for commercial applications, such as ‘big box stores’, drug store chains, parking garages, etc. where there are large electrical loads (lighting) that are controlled remotely and through dynamic programming. PowerLink cabinets house circuit breakers that are operated by relay switches so large loads can be turned on and off easily. The relays can be controlled by other means, including the C-Bus system.
It was interesting to see that each PowerLink cabinet is configured uniquely. After the unit is completed and tested, they photograph the cabinet to document the components that are included in each cabinet. Having photos of the completed cabinets makes it easier to establish the status of units that are shipped to customer sites and reduces any ambiguity of the configuration and condition of those units.
After touring the Experience Center and manufacturing operations, Bryan then settled into a conference room with Neil Moodie and Duke Dunsford. Duke is a Field Application Engineer and leads the training group for the C-Bus systems. As a trainer, Duke has extensive knowledge of the C-Bus product line and has extensive experience configuring complex, integrated whole-house systems for high end residences across the U.S.
The objective of the afternoon session with Duke and Neil was to review our requirements and go through the preliminary design of a system for our house. Bryan outlined certain details of our house, including the important requirements and integration points. For example, we would like our security system and pool systems to be integrated with the whole house automation system. As well, we have two windows and our three-panel sliding glass door that are controlled by electric motors. The whole house automation system must control these electric motors.
Importantly, we’d like to have our heating/cooling system, which will probably be an Uponor Climate Control System, integrate with our lighting controls and whole house automation system.
During the meeting, Duke had John Tabacsko, a product manager, join us to review the integration points and product development evolution for the C-Bus system as it related to security and swimming pool controls. It was excellent to have the resources available with deep knowledge to review our requirements and explain how the C-Bus system could meet our needs, today and in the future.
After reviewing our requirements in the conference room, Dan Loncar, drove both Bryan and Neil to the airport. Dan was going to Chicago, Neil to San Francisco, and Bryan to San Jose.
It was a very full 24 hours.