I recently joined this forum as I have started developing great interest for HVAC Control.
Unfortunately I am not able to go for training courses, and my school's control class is mainly theory and I would like to learn a more hands-on approach.

I found out the best way to learn is by doing it yourself.
I was wondering if there was any relatively cheap way (Under 500$) to get some control modules and try to integrate my old home appliances into something like Bacnet where I could control them webbased?
I know for learning FPGAS, Xilinx offers self-training products in order to learn the basics. I was wondering if anyone might know some cheap PLC/modules and maybe open source software I could start playing with?

I am looking to start by controlling 2 old heaters and 3 Air Conditioning Units plus my garage door. I have done some PLC lab work at school but it is also a superficial look and not such a hands on approach.

Any wild ideas are greatly appreciated.