Product Update: The New Functional Devices EnOcean Relay

Wireless is all the rage in todays building automation and smart buildings control systems. But to get the most out of your wireless system you need reliable wireless components like the EN3 EnOcean relay from Functional Devices. This is another innovative product from the company that brought you the RIB Relay. This video will give you the 411 on the EN3 relay, so check it out.

The EnOcean technology is an energy harvesting wireless technology used primarily in building automation systems; but is also applied to other applications in industry, transportation, logistics and smart homes. Modules based on EnOcean technology combine micro energy converters with ultra low power electronics and enable wireless communications between batteryless wireless sensors, switches, controllers and gateways. In March 2012, the EnOcean wireless standard was ratified as the international standard ISO/IEC 14543-3-10.[1] The standard covers the OSI (Open Systems Interconnection) layers 1-3 which are the physical, data link and networking layers. The energy harvesting wireless modules are manufactured and marketed by the company EnOcean which is based in Oberhaching, Germany.

The Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge, Pecha Kucha, and The Belimo Energy Valve

Here is a video of my Pecha Kucha at the Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge. Pecha Kucha is a presentation style that allows the speaker 20 slides and 20 seconds to explain each slide. The Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge is the vision of Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed. He challenges commercial buildings in Atlanta to reduce their energy consumption 20% by the year 2020.

ControlTrends at The Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge

I got a chance to hang out with the movers and shakers of the Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge last night. Atlanta’s mayor, Kasim Reed, gave us an update on the progress Atlanta Building owners are making towards reducing their energy spend by 20% by the year 2020.

Yours truly got to speak to the group using a very scary speaking format called Pecha Kucha, a powerpoint presentation format designed to keep long winded people like me from talking too long. The format is 20 slides in twenty seconds. YIKES!!! It was one of the most challenging things I have ever done. The slide presentation is set to update every twenty seconds with or without you. How did I do?? Well, that is reserved for another post.

I got to meet a lot of cool people, including Aaron Bastian. Aaron is the communications manager for the mayor’s office of Sustainability. Hear what Aaron has to say about the Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge and stay tuned to ControlTrends for all the latest Control and Smart Building News you can use.

What Makes a Company Great? It starts with their Philosophy

As we prepare for the nomination period for the 2015 ControlTrends Awards, I am reminded of how many great people, products and companies we have in our industry. It made me wonder what is at the core of these amazing players that make up the Building Automation Controls and HVAC Group.

I came across this video and post from Una de Boer, the director of marketing at Delta Controls. Una is one of the bright, hardworking, thoughtful people in our Industry and does a wonderful job of answering my question. So, with her permission, please check out the following video and Una’s words from one of her LinkedIn posts.

No one wakes up in the morning thinking, let me do a bad job.

One of the most important lessons I’ve learned in the last few years is that if you create an environment where people have the opportunity to do it right, we will. We will also be sticklers for detail, insist on creating the very best product available (rather than the minimum viable one), revise a brochure no fewer than 19 times, argue with each other vehemently at product management meetings (and then adjourn for a friendly group lunch). We will have really strong feelings about recycling and intense debates about whether or not our company should mail hard-copy Christmas cards (nope, not worth the negative environmental impact). We’ll organize the rescue of feral kittens from the abandoned lot next door, stay with the company forever, and take it really hard when things go wrong – even 22 years later.

One of my colleagues, Michelle, has worked at Delta Controls for 22 years. She started out in the production line and back in the day, the control boards were stamped and hand-signed by the assembler. Now Michelle works in Quality and Repair. Last year, a board came to her with a problem; a 20 year old board. That in itself was unusual: our industry has a life expectancy of approximately 10 years, and technology races forward at lightning speeds, so rather than sending a controller back for repair after 20 years, most building managers would probably just get a new one. In a way, this unusual occurrence was a high-quality problem, one we could even be proud of: our boards outlive the industry life expectancy…by a lot.

Michelle, however, was less than impressed. The board had her initials on it. As luck would have it, we were conducting a factory tour with some guests, so she had an audience and had to explain to them what she was working on. “I guess I didn’t do a good job on this one,” she said, about the control board she built 20 years ago that failed only after doubling its life expectancy. It’s like a 140 year old woman getting a cold, needing to see a doctor, and then saying “I guess I’m not as healthy as I thought.”

Michelle fixed the board and the owner is getting a few more years of productive use out of it. Plus all of us got some mileage out the story, too. You’ll hear us talk about Michelle’s board – and her disappointment in it – in the lunch room, in meetings, in presentations. We marvel at how hard one of our colleagues took it when something went wrong, two and a half decades later. We respect her unrelentingly high standards and we hold her up as a role model.

Because she cares. Because she wants to do it right. Because she does do it right.

Doing it right is more than an opportunity: it’s a mandate and it will change the way you work. It will create a culture of excellence and all the irritations that come with it. Because when people care, there will be debate. There will be high standards – personally and professionally. There will be friction. There will be fractious meetings. There will be disappointments (just ask Michelle). But there will be good design, products that last (almost) forever, and pride.

It’s a good thing to get up in the morning knowing you’re going to do a great job.

Written by
Una de Boer

CABA — Where the Pros go to get Big Data on Big Data

I got a chance to catch up with Ron Zimmer from CABA. If you need to get the facts and information on all things Smart Buildings, and Building Automation Controls, Ron and the team at CABA can hook you up. Watch Ron and learn more. The Continental Automated Buildings Association (CABA) is an international not-for-profit industry association dedicated to the advancement of integrated technologies for homes and buildings. The organization was founded in 1988 and is supported by an international membership of over 300 organizations involved in the design, manufacture, installation and retailing of products relating to home and building automation.

How to Make Beer with the EASY IO FG Controller

In episode 2 of Control Pub Talk with “Mad” Mike Marston, Mike shows us the EASY IO FG 32 Controller being used in several unique applications. Want to make beer? The powerful FG32 is the control solution of choice for micro brewers in the know. Could you control vending machines with the EASY IO Controller? Watch this video and find out!

ProLon: The Easy Way to do Zoning

Are you looking for an easy to use and configure zoning system — that has the capabilities of a much more complex zoning system? We caught up with Angie Jarvis and the team from ProLon at the 2015 CGNA Vendor Showcase and ProLon just might have the answer! Check this video out and see just how easy it is to set up a zoning system. Reach out to your local CGNA controls distributor and try ProLon on your next zoning job.

2015 ControlTrends Awards to be Held — January 24 at the Hard Rock Live!

ControlTrends is excited to announce that the 2015 ControlTrends Awards will be held January 24, 2016, from 6:30PM to 9:30PM, at Orlando’s Hard Rock Live, located at the door step to the amazing Universal Studios. Hard Rock Live is home to music history and a most befitting venue to celebrate the heroes and superstars of our HVAC and the Building Automation industries.

ControlTrends graciously thanks our sponsors for allowing us to make this special industry event possible. Platinum Sponsors and their invited guests will join ControlTrends in the John Lennon replicate #71 Dakota Suite reception area prior to the awards show. Special thanks to Zuleika Alvarez, Sales and Marketing Manager, for helping us take the ControlTrends Awards to the next level. Make your plans now to attend our industry’s exciting and prestigious event!

New Power Meter from Dent Instruments

It has been said that you can’t control or manage what you don’t measure, and this is especially true when it comes to Smart Buildings and controlling energy. I had a chance to catch up with Tim Van Slambrouck from Dent Instruments at the 2015 CGNA (Controls Group North America) vendors showcase. Tim is the VP of sales and marketing at Dent, and shows us a very cost effective way to monitor power consumption. Check it out!

Rob Allen’s 7 Minutes in Control with Honeywell’s Roger Rebennack

Young Gun, Rob Allen welcomes the incomparable Roger Rebennack to 7 Minutes in Control. Roger, one of the most knowledgeable experts in access and security systems, shares with Rob the 5 primary reasons building owners and facility managers need to integrate access and security controls to their Building Automation Control Systems now. But that’s not all, if you know Roger, sometimes known as the hardest working, most exciting man in building automation controls, you know that he will not be limited by any obstacles or time restrictions. Seven Minutes? I don’t think so! Be prepared to be educated and entertained by the one and only Roger Rebennack.