Can a Trane BAS System Be Upgraded to Tridium?

August 12, 2019 By Mid-Atlantic Controls 3 minute read

Illuminated light bulb in a row of dim ones concept for creativiWhen a major financial institution wanted an option to upgrade their existing Trane legacy control system MACC presented them with an option that would both upgrade the Trane system to current technology levels but would allow them a clear path toward an open systems framework moving to the future.

MACC used the Tridium JACE product line to upgrade the existing Trane BAS at a significant savings below the offer from Trane to perform their proprietary upgrade. The upgrade involved the installation of 9 Tridium JACE's to replace 9 existing Trane BCU's currently acting as the BAS level 2 integration platform. A single Tridium Web Supervisor was used to replace the Level 1 Summit software managing the database and coordination level activities between the BCU's.

Is It Possible to Upgrade Trane to Tridium?


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Keep More of Your Original Control System

Each Tridium JACE was provided with communications drivers that replaced the existing Trane Comm 3, 4, and 5 communications drivers in the respective BCU's. This allows the customer to retain the major portion of their control system investment in terminal unit controllers, RTU controllers, and chiller interfaces.

Distech Provides More Robust Interface

And while the existing AHU controllers could have been utilized as well, an option was offered to upgrade 15 existing Trane AHU controllers from Trane to Distech because the Distech controllers allowed the end user a more robust local interface as well as an enhanced programming interface. The replacement of the Trane controllers with Distech was all that was required. All of the existing sensors, control devices, and wiring was re-used to take advantage of existing infrastructure, lower installed costs, and maximize the long-term ROI of the initial control system investment.

The Tridium system was also connected to existing communications interfaces to a data center Liebert SiteLink interface via a Modbus RTU interface and the buildings existing electrical switchgear and standby power generation equipment was also integrated via a Modbus TCP/IP integration.

The Biggest Challenge of The Project: A Chilled Water Plant

One of the most challenging aspects of the project was taking an existing Chilled water plant and performing a Distech controller upgrade to the operating plant in a single weekend without losing operational control of the chilled water plant at any time. As each component was changed over, all alarming and control was transferred to the new system so that the customer never lost control or remote monitoring capability of this critical portion of their system at any time.

Dollar shaped building (vector illustration)The Cost

The cost of this project was roughly $0.37 per square foot or $18K per BCU. The cost per BCU is skewed a little toward the high side because the customer chose to utilize the JACE 7 product when a JACE 6 could have easily done the job and because there were two significant Modbus integrations that distort the pricing slightly. Generally a BCU can be upgraded to Tridium in the 12-16K price range and even if Trane were to even match this price (which they generally don't), the Tridium upgrade is a better choice because of its open systems advantage over Trane's proprietary system and the fact that Tridium's product features are better, can be upgraded without replacement, and continue to evolve as technology improves.

The Results

At the conclusion of the project, the customer and their local staff were extremely pleased with the entire process, as well as the end result, and were also pleased that the project upgrade only took 3 months from the time of award to final turnover to the customer. MACC always strives to provide a “customer experience” that is second to none and we provided this under very difficult operational and security requirements on this project as well.

MACC is proud be able to provide non-proprietary, custom BAS solutions based on client needs and budget. Contact us if you'd like to learn more about upgrading an existing BAS system or have questions related to a legacy upgrade.

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