Can a Trane BMS System Be Upgraded to Tridium?

November 21, 2022 By Mid-Atlantic Controls 5 minute read

A Trane BMS control panel.A major financial institution wanted to upgrade its existing Trane legacy control system.

 MACC offered them an option to upgrade their Trane system to current technology levels. 

The solution would also provide a clear path toward an open systems framework moving to the future.

MACC used the Tridium JACE product line to upgrade the existing Trane BMS at significant savings well below Trane’s offer to perform a proprietary upgrade. 

The process involved installing nine Tridium JACEs to replace nine existing Trane BCUs acting as the BMS 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 BCUs.



Is It Possible to Upgrade Trane to Tridium BMS?


Learn More About Tridium


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 BCUs. This allows the customer to retain a significant portion of their control system investment in terminal unit controllers, RTU controllers, and chiller interfaces.

Distech Provides More Robust Interface

While the existing AHU controllers could have been utilized, the client decided to upgrade 15 existing Trane AHU controllers from Trane to Distech. This is because the Distech controllers allowed the end user a more robust local interface and an enhanced programming interface. 

The replacement of the Trane controllers with Distech was all that was required. We reused all existing sensors, control devices, and wiring. That allowed this project to take advantage of existing infrastructure, lower installation costs, and maximize the long-term ROI of the initial control system investment.

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

The Biggest Challenge of The Project: A Chilled Water Plant

One of the most challenging aspects of this BMS upgrade project was taking an existing chilled water plant and performing a Distech controller upgrade in a single weekend—all without losing operational control at any time. 

As we changed each component over, we transferred all alarming and control functions to the new system so that the customer never lost control or remote monitoring capability of this critical portion of their system.

A BMS HVAC systemThe Cost

The cost of this project was roughly $0.37 per square foot or $18K per BCU. 

The cost per BCU is skewed slightly toward the high side because the customer chose to utilize the JACE 7 product. However, a JACE 6 could have easily done the job because two significant Modbus integrations slightly distorted the pricing. 

Generally speaking, you can upgrade BCU to Tridium in the $12k-$16K price range. Even if Trane were even to match this price (which they generally don't), the Tridium upgrade would be a better choice.

This is because of its open systems advantage over Trane's proprietary building automation system. It’s also because 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 and the end result. They were also happy that the BMS project upgrade only took three months from the time of award to the final turnover. 

MACC always strives to provide a superior customer experience that is second to none—and we delivered precisely that under extremely challenging project operational and security requirements. We’re proud to be able to provide non-proprietary, custom BMS solutions based on client needs and budget. 

Benefits of Upgrading to Tridium

When you upgrade a legacy BMS to a more modern, open one, you’ll get to take advantage of a wide range of benefits, such as:

  • Security updates—If your existing BMS manufacturer no longer supports your system, you’re also no longer receiving security updates. Hackers and other bad actors can enter your system through backdoors and unpatched security holes.
  • Improved tenant comfort—Upgrading to Tridium will allow you to take granular control over your BMS system and fine-tune each room for increased tenant comfort.
  • Energy efficiency—Having more control over your BMS system will allow you to optimize for improved energy efficiency.
  • Manufacturer agnostic—An open BMS system like Tridium will allow you to choose the right equipment that will enable you to meet your building’s goals—regardless of who manufactures it.
  • Advanced reporting functionality—Upgrading to Tridium will provide powerful real-time reporting and analytic features that will allow you to uncover hidden insights.

Let MACC Upgrade Your Legacy Trane BMS System

At MACC, we’ve helped countless businesses and organizations upgrade their legacy system to more open and modern ones. Contact us below to learn more about upgrading your existing BMS system.


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