There are steps you can take to ensure your EMS installation runs smoothly. You can help get the job done on schedule or even ahead of schedule.
A little planning and communication with your EMS provider will pay off. Greg Woodliff, Director of Operations at Telkonet, recommends that all departments at the property be made aware of the installation. He suggests “adding the Telkonet project to the operations stand-up meeting the week before we show up.”
Choosing Your Installers
Make sure your installers are experienced and/or EMS Certified Installers. You want the seasoned veterans who can install quickly and efficiently and know how to handle the occasional guest interaction.
Installers typically have experience with HVACs and thermostats. However, we’ve found that many installers have little networking experience. Find out if your installers are network-proficient as early in the process as possible, so there is time for them to be trained or choose other, more experienced installers.
Energy management systems live in two worlds simultaneously: the IT/Networking world and the HVAC/Facilities world. A representative from your IT team should be involved in EMS planning from the beginning. Have an IT person on standby when the network is installed. It is a fairly automated process, but nevertheless, there should be a network person available in the event there are any questions. Plus, they have a vested interest in how the EcoSmart network is configured.
When the Installers Arrive
Guest Room Access (Make Enough Rooms Available)
Expect that when the installer arrives, and prior to beginning the installation process, they will want access to some guest rooms: one of every design, if possible (double queens, suite, penthouse, etc.). They will identify the specific location in the rooms where they will install the equipment. This was likely determined in advance based on occupancy sensor parameters.
Thermostat Location/Begin with One Room Mock Up
They may begin by installing in one of each room design, and confirming that you are aware of the planned thermostat locations.
Will you require the installers to have escorts? How many installers will there be? Will you want escorts with everyone?
It is important to determine well in advance if you will assign escorts because they can slow the installation process.
Average Installation Time Per Room
Ask in advance how long it will take them to install equipment in your average room. Sometimes installers complete a room installation more quickly than you realize. You don’t want the installers on the job with nothing to install because they’ve finished early, and there are no rooms available. Help them manage their time effectively.
Jacob Hittler is Telkonet’s Operations Manager and former Telkonet Installer/Trainer.
We asked Jacob what he, as an installer, wished properties knew.
His response: “We are not usually as loud as they think we will be. Because of the noise, some hotels don’t want work to begin in their guestrooms until 10 am, and then they want it to end by 4 in the afternoon. They’re afraid the guests will be disturbed. Once they realize we are quiet, they tell us, “If that’s all you’re going to do, and that’s how loud it is, then sure, start your day earlier than 10 am.”
So, we recommend you ask about how much noise will be made. It may not be louder than drilling small screws into the drywall for the thermostats. Of course, there might be more noise if door contacts are drilled into doors or windows, for example.
Jacob also explains, “We are typically faster than staff us to be. Other maintenance projects may take all day. For example, the bathroom being redone, including the plumbing and grout work. I’ve been on job sites where the property plans for us to install ten vacant, unrented rooms in a day. We can typically be in and out of a room in a half-hour at the most. In an eight-hour day, I can get 15 or 16 rooms done. So, ten rooms are only half a day’s worth of work.”
Before They Leave
Your staff will be shown how the thermostats and other in-room devices work and basic troubleshooting techniques. They will also be given hands-on EMS software training. The installation is not considered complete unless those using the technology are properly trained.
Installers don’t want to have to return once a job is done, any more than you want them to return. Therefore, be sure they leave you with the important information you will need in the future: locations of all devices, MAC IDs, where your cables have been run, etc.
You will likely be in contact with your project manager throughout the process.