Dan Flaherty, Distech’s Vice President, Sales & Energy Services, takes the ControlTrends Community on a tour of Acuity Brands’ Disney-like technology center, a new mecca for young engineering talent. Join in as Dan shows us some of the really cool ways lighting technology has significantly enhanced the user experience within the Hospital, K-12, and Retail spaces. With the acquisition of Distech and DGLogik, Acuity has re-engineered the way lighting and sensors are deployed and how lighting sensor data and the Distech Eclypse Building Automation Systems are driving the next-gen smarter buildings. Gone are the days of the 72 degree thermostat… for sure. For more insight on how Acutiy is changing the concept of lighting, be sure to check out my interview with Ryan Sen, Distech’s Director of Sales Support.
In this August edition of Automated Buildings, owner and editor, Ken Sinclair, comments on how data will be alternating some its direction from the cloud to edge devices — where the data might be better served and for faster and greater effect. Ken sums it up best in his opening editorial remarks, “My five decades in the building automation industry have made it crystal clear that we are always moving towards or away from centralization and I love this month’s theme that sees us moving in both direction at the same time. This is important because the success of our industry and all other industries is embedded in the balance of cloud, edge and self learning devices.”
Lots of great August Articles!
The Era of Hybrid Edge Controllers, Alper Üzmezler, BASSG LLC. & Therese Sullivan, BuildingContext Ltd
The Revival of DC Power, Jim Sinopoli, Smart Buildings LLC
Another Look at IoT, Marc Petock, Lynxspring & Connexx Energy
Shiny Object Syndrome, Pook-Ping Yao, Optigo Networks
Bridging the Gap BACnet and OPC UA, Frank Schubert, Beckhoff Automation
What the $3-$30-$300 Shift Means, Charles Knuffke, Wattstopper/Legrand
Target Breach Revisited… Again…, Keith Bishop, Hepta Control Systems
The 8-Step Integration Model that will Rock your World, Phil Zito, Building Automation Monthly
ControlTrends had the opportunity to interview James M. Burtch, a young, up-and-coming Energy Sustainability Consultant. Actually, it’s James M. Burtch, C.R.M., C.D.S.M., C.B.C.P., C.L.E.P., C.E.M., and Honeywell EEO Certified. As evidenced by the host of certification designations following his name, Jim has dedicated much of his professional career pursuing and obtaining the professional expertise that enables him to write enlightened building automation systems specifications that ensure owners gets what they want and that the contractors meet the specification. Jim believes that data analytics will continue to grow in significance and value as it becomes easier to access and filter for effect. As principal and owner of Interactive Energy, LLC, Jim specializes in new and retrofit building automation system projects with emphasis on energy sustainability. Located in Marion, Ohio, Interactive Energy, LLC services several national accounts.
The man, the myth, the legend, Ken Smyers and I are constantly talking about the need for a new breed of consulting engineer for the Smart Buildings Controls industry. Cut and paste specifications are no longer acceptable. This new breed of engineer can be found at smart building conferences like the Niagara Summit and Realcomm/IBcon. They know that open is not just something you do to a can of beer on a hot summer’s day. The enlightened engineer understands the different levels of openness and seeks to provide complete and seamless solutions to their clients that take advantage of the latest IoT technologies. The enlightened engineer creates new dimensions of value by giving their clients more and better choices. The enlightened engineer belongs to no vendor, product, or idea. If better is possible, good is not enough. The smart buildings they design are more energy and operationally efficient.
Their numbers are growing and they are making a difference. Ken and I recognize them as the Enlightened Engineers that will help lead us through the Smart Buildings Controls Renaissance. Engineers like Donny Walker from Newcomb and Boyd in Atlanta get it. As their numbers grow, and we meet and learn of these enlightened engineers, ControlTrends will acknowledge and present them to the ControlTrends Community.
In our first installment of Enlightened Engineers, meet Tim Howell from Page Southerland out of Austin, Texas. We met Tim at the 2016 Niagara Summit and we were very impressed with what he had to say about smart building controls. Tim, keep up the great work and welcome to the Smart Buildings Controls Renaissance and the alliance of Enlightened Engineers
So what are you going to do with all that data that you can pump out of Niagara N4? How are you going to get it in a format that is easy to see, easy to understand, easy to normalize, easy to install, and easy to customize, at a cost that is easy on the budget? The “Men in Black” aka the DGLogik team have the products and answers to these questions, and they were out in full force at the 2016 Niagara Product Showcase. They were kind enough to show us their updated Project Assist 2.0.
Project Assist 2.0 for Facilities is a drag and drop facility application builder that allows users to easily create custom HTML5 interfaces in order to quickly gain complete insight into building performance and energy consumption. It delivers a fast, simple and intuitive user experience, offering full flexibility and customization without writing any code nor diving into the full design and development environment of their flagship product, DGLux5.
As you can see in the video Project Assist 2.0 allows you to reduce the number of hours it takes to provide visual solutions for your Niagara users. So if you want to connect it, build it, or deploy it the team at DGLogik has a solution for you.
We had a chance to catch up with Biagio Delorenzio and Luis Melgares from Neptronic at the 2016 Niagara Summit. Great stuff from our innovative friends in Canada. As you can see in the video, the TUCB is a very flexible universal wall mount controller with built-in temperature sensor and scheduler. The unit is designed for simple and accurate control of a heat pump or other heating/cooling equipment. Its field configurable algorithms enable versatile implementation of required control sequences. but what is even more impressive is the new TRLG 24. The TRLG 24 takes all that is good about the TUCB and adds an on board humidity and CO2 sensor. This gives you the flexibility of using the controller as stand alone, or using 2 digital outputs from a master control to gain more I/O and control at the edge.
Even better, Biagio is offering free samples through ControlTrends. Check back soon, as this order form should be on ControlTrends sometime next week!
Building Automation Systems Integrators, meet your new BAS partner — Cisco. That’s right, Cisco. Cisco just might be your new front end, and the ceiling in the building you are working in, right now, might be your new junction box to the future. The lighting world is evolving from the analog world to the digital world and soon, those lights connected to the network, not just for a data path, but also for power, will have temperature, occupancy, and daylight harvesting sensors in them — that will finally bridge the gap between building automation and connected lighting control. Check this video out to see how your world is getting ready to change.
Click here to see John Parello’s discussion on how Cisco Digital Ceiling systems are designed and implemented using new protocols like CoaP and will integrate with BAS control systems.
The $3/$30/$300 sq ft rule was the predominant theme in the June, 2016 edition of Ken Sinclair’s Automated Buildings. Brad White, SES Consulting, offers yet another compelling economic case for directing more of our efforts to the $300 variable in the equation. A 5% improvement in productivity represents a tremendous savings, while making employees more comfortable and our buildings better. Truly, an emerging trend as IoT delivers more relevant contextualization into the Building Renaissance and the Smart, Connected, and Intelligent Building formula.
From Brad White: If you had $3-$5 million to invest into a 50,000 sq ft office building could you significantly reduce energy consumption, improve space utilization, and increase worker productivity?
It recently occurred to me that buildings play an outsized role in our economy. In developed countries, a majority of economic activity happens entirely within the walls of commercial and institutional buildings. The fact that I’ve been working in the building sector for my entire professional career and this only recently occurred to me is slightly embarrassing. Another fact that most of us know all too well is that most buildings don’t operate nearly as well as they could, and that this has very real impacts on everything from energy use to occupant comfort. Put these two things together and you start to realize that there is a huge economic opportunity in making existing buildings better.
How much opportunity you ask? I find it is useful to use a tangible example to get a sense of the scale of the opportunity. If we took a typical 50,000 sq ft office building and apply the trusty 3 – 30 – 300 rule (which corresponds approximately to energy – rent – payroll in $/sq ft/year) you end up with a total expenditure of just over $16.5 million/year. If we could reduce energy consumption by 50%, improve space utilization by 10%, and improve worker productivity by 5% that represents an economic benefit equal to $1 million/year. If you’re willing to accept a payback in the 3 – 5 year range, that gives you $3 – $5 million to work with. This is a far cry from the slice of $3/sq ft that we’re often trying to use to justify investments in building upgrades, with the benefits to occupants considered at best a bonus or side benefit, rather than the main driver.
If you scale this example up to cover all of the commercial buildings in the US and Canada, you end up with a number around $1 Trillion. A trillion dollars is a hard number to get your head around. Usually we only consider numbers that large in the context of the GDP of major economies and financial system bailouts. In this case, a trillion dollars investment in our buildings buys you a happier, healthier, more productive workforce while achieving a significant reduction in environmental impact and greenhouse gas emissions. Certainly, much more money than this has been spent with much fewer positive outcomes to show for it.
To bring this back to a more manageable context and reframe it a little bit, if you had $3-$5 million to invest into a 50,000 sq ft office building could you significantly reduce energy consumption, improve space utilization, and increase worker productivity? I certainly believe this is possible and I hope to use the rest of this article to convince you that the opportunity is real and achievable today, or at least that it’s not entirely hogwash. The path to these outcomes is certainly not straightforward and requires pulling together many different components like deploying IOT and other smart building technologies, lighting upgrades, space planning, renewable energy, training and occupant engagement while also overcoming significant institutional obstacles.
When people say that we are living in the post-PC era they mean that the personal computer is being eclipsed as the center of the IT universe by the smartphone. With the advent of the Smart Buildings Controls Renaissance, operations technology is experiencing a similar reordering. In this new era of the Internet of Things (IoT), compute resources equivalent to a PC or smartphone are being integrated into all sorts of equipment and devices. For commercial buildings, a new category of IoT device is emerging -— the Energy Analytics Controller (EAC). Smart building applications development may soon revolve around the enormous possibilities of these edge devices.
Anyone designing an IoT architecture must decide which tasks are best performed locally by a device at the network’s edge versus remotely by a cloud-hosted application. Within the IT world, an edge device is defined as a gateway or global controller. Within the building automation world, a direct digital controller (DDC) can be considered an edge controller. Likewise, a global controller is an edge controller.
One of the most revolutionary aspects of having robust compute resources at the DDC level is that these edge devices can do analytics processing of large data sets. Application developers are challenged to make the most of this new capability. The Buildings-IoT represents an opportunity to radically rethink the software architectures that define core workflows such as detecting and diagnosing faults in equipment, responding to occupant hot/cold calls, shifting energy loads to participate in demand response programs, and performing other building operations management tasks. Energy Analytics Controllers are capable of high-speed handling of the work involved in trending data, adding semantic tagging and generating analytics. Doing these tasks locally and sharing the results among other edge devices, opens the path to a host of new applications
To obtain more information about BASSG’s Edge Analytics Controller or to schedule a webinar meeting and get a demonstration, contact Alper Uzmezler at your earliest opportunity. Read more about the Edge Analytics Controller in this Automated Buildings article.
BASSG | Managing Partner
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