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This article by Optergy‘s Steve Guzelimian, President and Nicholas Heydon, Australasia Channel Manager reviews the methodologies to achieve maximum operational benefits and financial rewards of a truly integrated building — complete with details from a large-scale project that validates their propositions. Click here to read the original article (with illustration and graphs) as it appeared in the August, 2017 edition of AutomatedBuilding.com
Introduction: This article explores using energy management systems (EMS) combined with building automation systems (BMS) to expose opportunities for improved building performance in commercial, retail, educational, government, healthcare, and office sectors. Combining both EMS and BMS into the one platform breaks down barriers allowing smarter control strategies and contextual alarms to be generated for building operators. Sharing data between these systems removes a “blindfold” from operators and creates visibility and context enabling a continuous feedback loop not previously possible.
As a consequence of continuous feedback users are able to tune buildings and gain direct benefits including energy savings and reduced operating expenses. This approach replaces performance degradation with a more productive operator who is in control and driving increasing building performance.
The Indirect effects of improved building performance can yield far better economic outcomes than just direct benefits. Indirect benefits for a building owner including; longer plant life, less vacancy, faster lease-up periods, higher tenant retention, improved indoor environmental quality and workforce productivity. These indirect effects can also drive up asset values, further improving the investment economics for a building owner. (Australian Property Institute, 2012; Fisk, 2000; Fisk et. al, 1997).
The whole of energy and building automation is greater than the sum of both parts.
Problem: For years building systems have consumed energy to keep its occupants comfortable and productive. As a consequence of normal operation, facility managers have faced technical and financial challenges. Managing these challenges to get the right economic outcome has not always been obvious.
We know that buildings are designed to architectural and engineering specifications. However once the building is delivered and the occupants begin using their spaces, it’s not uncommon to find out that the buildings are operated in dynamic conditions. To fulfil the building’s intended purpose, facility management has to juggle numerous operating tasks, such as energy expenses and costs related to maintaining their connected systems.
Competing demands for attention often cause a slow but continued performance degradation. Heating, Ventilation and Air-conditioning systems (HVAC) are high consumers of the building’s energy resources. A HVAC system’s performance degradation can be likened to a slow leak in tire pressure causing premature wear, poor fuel economy and ultimately resulting in breakdown and unexpected costs.
Building Performance: We often see building systems such as EMS, BMS, lighting, security and more that operate as standalone systems, with each as “automated silos” of information. These automated silos result in a lack of insight into how buildings can be utilized at peak efficiency. For example, if a building is unoccupied, the HVAC system is scheduled on and the lighting is left on, we cannot observe the interoperation of systems without sharing information. The result is wasted energy and no information to provide management insight.
Systems: BMS systems are not always on the lookout for problems or inefficient operation. When control problems begin to appear they often manifest as poor energy performance. Troubleshooting is made more difficult when the data lacks context. For example, “Chilled water pump mismatch alarm” or “Chilled water pump increased energy consumption alarm” from siloed systems is not contextual or useful.
All too often BMS systems with frequent alarms become noise generators. With increased frequency of alarm conditions, technicians are often prone to use manual intervention to remediate symptoms rather than the root cause. Symptom remediation and manual intervention inevitably have a compounding effect over time and cause poor performance. Alarms that lack context exacerbate an already difficult situation for building managers as they are not sure which contractor to call for resolution.
The effect of poor visibility and siloed systems can manifest in a number of ways. Each is challenging the buildings economics, and could include but not limited to:
Increased operating expenses
Poor comfort conditions causing decreased productivity
Difficulty attracting premium tenants
Difficulty attracting investors
Building asset/Investment is not reaching full potential
To improve building performance, the connected systems need to be dynamic, provide visibility and context in order to drive performance forward. It could be said that operating a building is analogous to driving a car. If the driver has visibility of the road, feedback from gauges and a steering wheel, they will be in full control. Take away the driver’s road visibility or feedback from gauges; they will crash or run out of fuel. Remove the drivers steering wheel, and inevitably the car will crash on the first corner.
Why would anyone attempt to operate a building with a BMS system (steering wheel), without an integrated EMS (road visibility and gauges)?
This would be just like driving a car blindfolded…
Solution: In a building environment we need to make sure that our steering wheel, road visibility, and gauges can communicate with each other. Combining both EMS and BMS into the one platform breaks down barriers between previously siloed systems. Sharing data removes the blindfold and creates visibility and context, enabling a continuous feedback loop for building operators not previously possible.
This new-found visibility and context turn what was once darkness and noise, into easily digestible and manageable chunks of actionable information.
For example, what was previously “Chilled water pump mismatch alarm” or “Chilled water pump increased energy consumption alarm” from siloed systems, is now “Chilled water pump operating outside of normal hours without after-hours call from tenant. This has added an additional 30 kWh of energy consumption. The most likely cause is the pump overridden manually. Select Auto on pump or call building automation technician”.
Now an automation problem manifesting as poor energy performance has been made visible, has context, and is now actionable in real time. The operator is now empowered and can quickly self-remedy or call the correct contractor to resolve the issue saving energy and hours of wasted investigation time. With this approach, we have now replaced performance degradation with a more productive operator who is in control and driving increasing building performance.
With visibility and control combined, improving building performance is like pulling a car out of stop/start traffic onto the open highway. As the car comes up to a constant speed, fuel consumption improves, and there is less wear and tear on brakes and tires. Similarly, improving building performance is like breaking away from a stop/start unstable environment towards harmonious stability. As the building becomes more stable at a constant speed, only minor corrections from the operator are required. Downtime, energy costs, and operating costs begin to decrease as a result of more stable operations. Furthermore, reduced wear and tear on plant equipment increases usable life cycle and decreases capital expenditure on replacement plant equipment.
Less vacancy, faster lease-up periods, higher tenant retention, improved indoor environment quality and workforce productivity can be indirect benefits of increasing building performance. These indirect effects can also drive up asset values, making investment economics for a building owner much more favourable (Australian Property Institute, 2012; Fisk, 2000; Fisk et. al, 1997).
In Australia, the energy performance of office buildings is measured by an energy star rating scheme called NABERS (National Australian Built Environment Rating Scheme). A report published by the Australian Property Institute (2012) quantifies higher office building asset values, reduced vacancy, reduced operating expenses and increased rents due to increased energy efficiency star rating performance.
With this in mind, it can be said that the whole of energy and building automation is greater than the sum of both parts, making a strong case for the economics of a combined solution.
It is worth noting that taking a combined approach has another indirect benefit for both building owners and contractors. The building owner receives the benefits of a cheaper bundled solution through shared delivery resources. There becomes one contractor and one source of truth for the delivery of a combined EMS and BMS solution giving the owner a means to hold the contractor accountable for the delivery of a poor performing building.
For contractors, taking on more scope enables them to move up the ‘value chain,’ win more work directly with the building owners and ultimately, grow their businesses. To make this strategy work, there needs to be a way for contractors to easily take more scope and deliver it in-house at a lower price than competitors. Consolidating EMS and BMS tools into a single platform helps streamline project delivery and enables contractors to deliver an integrated high performing building to the end user.
Here’s how Optergy do it: Optergy is a technology company dedicated to improving the business of managing facilities and providing tools to improve efficiency, performance, and processes. From the simplest building to the largest enterprise, Optergy provide the steering wheel, visibility and gauges required to enable everyday building operators to drive high-performance buildings.
Optergy is a provider of brand agnostic software that can be installed in a new building or can coexist with legacy building systems including TRIDIUM, Honeywell, Alerton, Siemens, Delta, Trend, TRANE, Automated Logic, DEOS, Reliable, Schneider, Airtek, KMC, Beckhoff, ABB, Danfoss and most electricity, gas, water and thermal energy meter types available on the market.
The software is multi-vendor with a global partner network, has no subscription fees and free software updates with feature additions and improvements. Visit us now at http://optergy.com.
Optergy in practice – Top Ryde City shopping center
Top Ryde City is a retail shopping center in Sydney Australia. It was originally built in 1957 and was the second open air shopping center in Australia. Showing its age, the center underwent an $800m redevelopment and was reopened by the Prime Minister in November 2009. Due to weak consumer spending and the building’s poor performance causing high costs for tenants, many tenants chose to leave the center.
Subsequently, only 12 months after re-opening the previous owner was forced to sell the newly redeveloped shopping center for $341m ($459m loss) to the international property group Blackstone. Blackstone specializes in buying quality investments at discounts to replacement costs then improve the properties through hands-on management and targeted value-add initiatives.
Poor performance was identified as a significant cause of high operating expenses. This highlighted the need to tune up the BMS system and significantly reduce the amount of money spent on energy and maintenance. To enable building tuning and a constant feedback loop for building operators, over 160 sub-meters were connected to the building’s automation system. In this building the automation system controls over 70% of the energy loads, making it the most logical place to provide the operators visibility and gauges to put them firmly in the driver’s seat.
Combining both the EMS and BMS has enabled the operations and maintenance team to tune up the building and implement clever occupancy based strategies in conjunction with energy demand management.
Since implementation, through continuous feedback and tuning the center has seen direct benefits including a cumulative reduction of 4,296 MWh (12.91%) resulting in over $2.2 million of energy savings from the 2014 baseline. A staggering result delivered by an amazing team equipped with the right tools.
According to advisory firm McgrathNicol, annual net operating income increased from $18 million to $24 million over an 18-month period due to the attraction of premium tenants and increased asset performance. Blackstone now have their Australian portfolio for sale and expecting record profits.
Conclusion: Control Solutions, Inc It is essential to make sure the steering wheel, road visibility, and gauges can communicate with each other in the built environment. Combining both EMS and BMS into the one platform breaks down barriers between previously siloed systems. Sharing data removes the blindfold and creates visibility and context enabling a continuous feedback loop for building operators not previously possible.
Automation problems manifesting as poor energy performance can be made visible, be given context and are made actionable in real time. Empowering building operators to quickly self-remedy or call the correct contractor to resolve an issue, saves energy and hours of wasted investigation time. This approach replaces performance degradation with a more productive operator who is in control and driving increasing building performance.
Energy savings, longer plant life cycles, and less operational expense are direct benefits. Less vacancy, faster lease-up periods, higher tenant retention, improved indoor environment quality and workforce productivity can be indirect benefits of increasing building performance. These indirect effects can also drive up asset values making investment economics for a building owner much more favourable (Australian Property Institute, 2012; Fisk, 2000; Fisk et. al, 1997).
This combined approach provides a lower total installed cost and enables building owners to hold the contractor responsible for the delivery of a poor performing building.
The whole of energy and building automation is greater than the sum of both parts.
Bannister, P (2017). Metering: A practitioner’s perspective. [Powerpoint presentation]. Available at: http://www.cibse.org/getmedia/f82bf2ce-57d1-4fd1-ae37-94d0051828cf/CIBSE-Seminar-Paul-Bannister-pptx.pdf.aspx. [Accessed 10th July 2017].
Blackstone, (2017). Who we are [Online] Available at: https://www.blackstone.com/the-firm/asset-management/real-estate. [Accessed 18th July 2017].
Darby, S. (2006). The effectiveness of feedback on energy consumption. Environmental Change Institute University of Oxford.
Darby, S. (2006). Making it obvious: designing feedback into energy consumption. Environmental Change Institute University of Oxford.
Fisk, W. (2000). Health and productivity gains from better indoor environments and their relationship with building energy efficiency. Energy Environ, 25:537–66.
Fisk, W. et al (1997). Estimates of improved productivity and health from better indoor environments. Indoor Air, 7:158-172.
IPD Australia Green Investment Property Index (2013). Headline Results.
McGrathNicol, (2017). Top Ryde Shopping center [Online] Available at : http://www.mcgrathnicol.com/case-studies/top-ryde-city-shopping-center-2/. [Accessed 19th July 2017].
Newell, G. et al (2012). Building better returns. Australian Property Institute. [Online] Available at: http://www.api.org.au/assets/media_library/000/000/219/original.pdf. [Accessed 20th July 2017].
Roth, K et. al (2005). Energy impact of commercial building controls and performance diagnostics: market characterization, energy impact of building faults and energy savings potential. TIAX LLC, Cambridge, [Online] Available at: http://s3.amazonaws.com/zanran_storage/www.tiaxllc.com/ContentPages/42428345.pdf. [Accessed 20th July 2017].
The Property Council/IPD Australia Green Investment Property Index (2015). Green Snapshot Flyer.
Vanda, C (2012). Top Ryde City shopping center sold for rock-bottom price. The Daily Telegraph. [Online] Available at: http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/realestate/top-ryde-center-sold-for-rock-bottom-price/news-story/3a4515114d3fe0140aa97394a149bbfc?sv=4e5e26230d5986bd9da0f4d6ee247b76. [Accessed 18th July 2017].
ControlTalk Now The Smart Buildings Podcast enjoys a summer hiatus — as Eric and family attend a wedding in Birmingham (Detroit) MI. ControlTrends still offers a great interview with Bueno Systems’ Leon Wurfel; an overview of ANT Technologies’ paperless solutions; JCI’s video “Tomorrow Needs You;” and Therese Sullivan’s insights into contextualization. Next week, ControlTalk NOW will be back on track — with two very special guests, along with Ken Sinclair’s August edition of AutomatedBuildings.Com, as well as the latest on our industry’s products, solutions, and most importantly, the men and women superstars of HVAC and Building Automation.
Using Data to Create Optimized Buildings: Catching up with Bueno Systems. I had a chance to catch up with Leon Wurfel managing director, Bueno Systems, at the 2017 RealComm/IBcon conference. Leon and his team are masters at gathering and using data to optimize smart buildings performance. In this video Leon shares his knowledge about smart building control and Bueno’s approach to making data actionable.
ANT Technologies — Manage Projects • Service Facilities • Tenant Energy Billing — Look Mom, No Paper. ANT Technologies — Paperless, cloud-based, operational technology for HVAC & Control Contractors. A Project Status Report you can trust! As an integrator or contractor, you’ve probably received unreliable progression reports on your company’s projects. Project Tracker™ eliminates the guess work and provides managers with real-time accurate data that ensures you make the best decisions possible.
Johnson Controls — Tomorrow Needs You. At Johnson Controls, we’re shaping the future to create a world that’s safe, comfortable and sustainable. Our global team creates innovative, integrated solutions to make cities more connected, buildings more intelligent and vehicles more efficient. We are passionate about improving the way the world lives, works and plays. The future requires bold ideas, an entrepreneurial mind-set and collaboration across boundaries.
Therese Sullivan: Back to the Future of Contextualization. Our ControlTalk NOW chief technologist from Silicon Valley, Therese Sullivan, owner and editor of BuildingContext.me, recently brought the ControlTrends Community on-line with the concept of contextualization. This is a re-posting of Therese’s December 2013, prescient article foreshadowing the driving forces and impact of contextualization. Last month I felt secure in describing Nest as a company comfortably traveling along in Apple’s orbit. I even linked to Matt Turck’s November TechCrunch article “Battle for the Connected Home”, wherein he suggests that Nest — a Lilliputian among Gullivers — needed to be acquired by Apple before it was crushed. Today we see that he was off by a few Silicon Valley miles. Why Google? Why now? Why $3.2B?
Episode 221: ControlTalk NOW — Smart Buildings VideoCast|PodCast for week ending Apr 16, 2017 features an interview with one of the most venerated experts in the Building Automation Industry, Leroy Walden, President and Chief Consultant Highrose Consultants, LLC. Updated Ken’s Calendar details upcoming training, webinars, and major industry events; more 2016 ControlTrends Awards video highlights; new DLP pressure sensor from ACI; EasyIO’s Mike Marston and Lim Hoon Chiat discuss new product release and the upcoming EasyIO Global Conference.
2016 ControlTrends Awards Highlight: The PID Award. Join all the excitement, and I do mean EXCITEMENT, as the most exciting man in the smart buildings controls industry Roger Rebennack and Mike Marston from EasyIO (both former recipients of the PID Award) light up the crowd and announce this year’s PID Award winners.
ControlTrends Keeps an Eye on 2017 Events with Ken’s Calendar. While it has been an amazingly busy and productive year so far, many more events are on the horizon. ControlTrends will continue to post the event information as we receive notice or become aware of the event. Please note that the information is gathered from various sources, and the times, dates, and locations may have changed. Be sure to visit the appropriate website or contact the event coordinator to ensure the most up-to-date information.
Our interview this week is with Leroy Walden, LEED AP, President and Chief Consultant Highrose Consultants, who has worked in the Building Controls and Automation industry since 1978, beginning with Robertshaw Controls as an Applications Engineer. Leroy recently retired from a leading systems integration firm to pursue his passion for tracking the growing uses of technology in sustainable building operations. Listen in, as Leroy brings specific insights to smart devices and equipment and how open-source integration platforms will transform building maintenance in the coming decades. Contact Leroy ASAP (firstname.lastname@example.org) — to take advantage of Leroy’s $100.00 discount for the 2017 Realcomm|IBcon Conference June 13th-15th in San Diego, CA.
ACI’s Differential Low Pressure Sensor has Arrived — The DLP is Available Now! ACI is combining all the best features from multiple products to create an all-encompassing differential pressure option that should make a huge impact! Every aspect of this product was analyzed and designed to maximize the value it will present to you!
Connexx Energy to Participate in US Department of Commerce International Trade Administration Smart Technologies Mission to Hong Kong and Taiwan. Lee’s Summit, Missouri, April 5, 2017: Connexx Energy (www.connexxenergy.com), a recognized developer and implementer of smart building, energy and IoT data management and visualization solutions, announced today that it will be participating in the Smart Technologies Business Development Mission to Hong Kong and Taiwan being organized by the United States Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration.
2016 ControlTrends Awards Highlight: The Light Commercial Control System of the Year. Light Commercial Solution of the Year Winners: KMC Commander and Proton, Optergy. KMC’s mission is to “provide innovative, intuitive building automation and Smart Buildings Controls solutions from responsive and supportive people,” and the KMC Commander delivers as an open building automation and Smart Buildings control system that is “open, secure, and scaleable.” “Proton by Optergy became the first true open supervisor and controller that can interoperate with any BACnet unitary controller and is 100% web based. It has all the needed tools to setup, operate and maintain the system, and has all of this at economical price points.”
EasyIO’s Mike Marston and Lim Hoon Chiat Discuss the FW Wireless Controller “That Will Change the World!” This is the first video of a series from EasyIO’s Mike Marston and Lim Hoon Chiat, who share their visions of the FW Series wireless controllers — that they believe will change the world of Building Automation. Lim cites how WiFi, the defacto protocol for wireless networking, has been around for over 20 years, and because it’s so pervasive and each generation is inherently compatible, it’s ideally suited for the HVAC and Building Automation industry.
EasyIO’s Mike and Lim Preview Next-Gen Smart Sensors and Introduce the Early Guns Education & Learning Program. EasyIO’s Mike Marston and Lim Hoon Chiat continue their discussion on the differences and nuances between M2M and IOT, smart sensors and edge devices, and the impact that wireless will have on the future of HVAC and Building Automation. Also, Lim’s amazing insight into programming starter kits and educational programs to kick start our next generation of system integrators and HVAC technicians.
Let’s Go to England: Last Chance for Discount to EASY IO. Manchester (UK) May 21–23, 2017. This EasyIO Global Partner Event will unveil and officially release awesome new EasyIO products and features to further enhance building and energy solutions for all types of buildings. We’re gonna reveal all the secrets of our five(!) new controllers that are coming up: the WiFi controllers FW-14 and FW-8, the WiFi VAV controller FW-8V, the powerful FS-32 and the FR-02. Register Here!
Haystack Connect 2017 Update! Keynote Speakers & Technical Program & The IBB is Getting Back Together! Make your reservations for Haystack Connect 2017! There are, technically, a lot of reasons to attend Haystack Connect 2017. Now, we added some fun ones! See below. Register Today! 3-Day Technical Conference at the Saddlebrook Resort Tampa: See the very latest software and hardware solutions for the Building Industry exhibited in the Vendor Showcase. Meet and network with leading experts in our industry that are implementing real solutions that combine diverse devices, systems, data and protocols.
LIGHTFAIR 2017 PHILADELPHIA — PRE-CONFERENCE MAY 7-8, TRADE SHOW & CONFERENCE MAY 9-11. Trade Show + Conference + Networking = See It All. LIGHTFAIR 2017. The world’s leading manufacturers will be showcasing their latest products in IoT (Internet of Things), intelligent lighting, LEDs, decorative lighting, daylighting, exterior lighting and more. Experts from around the world will be leading courses on the forward thinking topics in lighting design and technology.
DDC Training with the BAScontrol22: For Colleges and Training Centers Interested in Providing Direct Digital Control (DDC) System Training. April 2017 – For colleges and training centers interested in providing Direct Digital Control (DDC) system training, Contemporary Controls recommends using the BAScontrol22 unitary controller and the free Sedona Application Editor (SAE). The BAScontrol22 is an ideal controller for training technicians on programming DDCs and use of unitary building automation controllers.
Increasing Efficiency for Better Business — New Siemens Website Launches Next Week! Mark your calendar for next week. That’s when the new Siemens partner’s website will launch! The new site will replace the Vantage, Beacon and Infolink sites which you may have used in the past. By the end of next week, all links will take you directly to the new site. What can you expect? A product-centric site that is organized around the products you sell and the information you need to succeed; Updated content and a systematic approach to managing important assets; and Account registration that has self-service capabilities.
Automation Components, Inc. (ACI) creates, manufactures, and distributes building automation sensors for the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) Industry. ACI began as a small company in 1991, but has grown by leaps and bounds over the years, establishing itself as an industry leader of quality automation sensors, employing over 160 talented individuals in over 78,000 square feet of state of the art facilities. ACI’s product lines include Temperature Sensors, Relative Humidity Sensors, Current Sensors, Pressure Sensors, Gas Sensors and Wireless Sensors. The staff takes pride in the products they make, while living up to established standards of quality and value. ACI prioritizes its top employees and substantially invests in a competitive benefits package, leading to an incredibly low turnover rate. ACI helps our employees thrive by pairing their individual skill-sets with corresponding job duties.
BACnet International: Connecting the Dots in Building Automation
BACnet International is an industry association that facilitates the successful use of the BACnet protocol in building automation and control systems through interoperability testing, educational programs and promotional activities. BACnet International oversees operation of the BACnet Testing Labs (BTL) and maintains a global listing of tested products. The BACnet standard was developed by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) and has been made publicly available so that manufacturers can create interoperable systems of products. BACnet International complements the work of the ASHRAE standards committee and BACnet-related interest groups around the world.
BACnet International members include building owners, consulting engineers and facility managers, as well as companies involved in the design, manufacturing, installation, commissioning and maintenance of control equipment that uses BACnet for communication.
We work with existing organizations to promote and improve BACnet. These include:
ASHRAE BACnet® Committee (SSPC 135)
BACnet® Interest Group – Europe (BIG-EU)
BACnet® Interest Group – China & Asia (BIG-CA)
BACnet® Interest Group – Russia (BIG-RU)
BACnet® Interest Group – Australia Asia (BIG-AA)
BACnet® Interest Group – Middle East (BIG-ME)
BACnet® Interest Group – Sweden (BIG-SE)
Who should belong to BACnet® International?
Manufacturers of building automation equipment
HVAC products and controls
Fire/life safety systems
Security and access control systems
Lighting control systems
Elevator/vertical transport equipment
Systems integrators and installers of building automation equipment
Consulting engineers and end users that have a significant interest in BACnet®
Independent software vendors that are developing BACnet® products
Anyone with a passion for open systems protocols
Join a Committee
BACnet® International invites you to join in our mission to encourage the use of BACnet® technology in building automation and control systems through interoperability testing, education programs, and promotional activities. BACnet® International committees welcome the participation of new members looking for ways to contribute to the organization. Opportunities exist in several areas. Click here for more information.
Award winning KMC Controls is proud to be a partner with Dell as the building automation industry leaps into the 21st century. The introduction of IoT to building automation systems is changing the way that occupants interact with their environment, their level of comfort, and the efficiency of buildings. Go ahead, we don’t mind if you call us building geniuses.
KMC Commander is a complete IoT platform for building automation that forms an end-to-end solution, from sensors and controllers (edge devices) to cloud-based remote management applications. Remote visualization and control are enabled via a cloud-hosted, mobile application based architecture with secure data access. The solution features embedded processing and security technology from Intel®, engineering and design collaboration with Dell OEM, and tagging and visualization software framework from J2 Innovations.
As if the tale of disruptive technology couldn’t become any more difficult for the HVAC old guard to cope with (or ignore), AutomatedBuildings.com owner/editor, Ken Sinclair, has placed next-gen petri dishes under his December microscope, and examined outloud, both the potence of the virual strain and its carrier, now poised at the periphery of the host HVAC industry body, and their inevitable impact. Ken may be very close to yelling Eureka and I told you so! Yet, we’ve barely got the gist of the 3/30/300 metric and enhancing the User Experience. By now, everybody has added “UX” to their customer satisfaction surveys, right? But hold on a minute, as Paul Oswald, Managing Director, CBRE|ESI, very appropriately mentions, this is still a horse and cart scenario. If you’re not going to fix the buildings or replace the bad equipment, what’s the point of making bad buildings and bad stuff, smart — and paying to analyze that data? Perhaps, the first focus should remain on the cake, not the IoT icing. Lots of smart information in this December edition of AutomatedBuildings!
Thanks Ken, for such a succinct summary: “Future automation will be a full embrace of IoT. Systems will be smarter, self learning, edgy, innovative, and sophisticated. They will automatically configure and integrate new equipment so they can optimize themselves, self-manage and self-heal while reinventing purposeful, productive, desirable buildings and accommodations.”
Excerpt from Ken’s editorial: “It has been an amazing year of change. I am overwhelmed by the number of balls I have thrown in the air. AutomatedBuildings does not create change but is a catalysis and harbinger of change. It has been a time when the industry has wanted to shoot us as the messenger but is now coming to the realization and confirmation that IoT is for sure the future of Building Automation.” Cllck here for rest of editorial.
More Great Reads: December Articles
Smart Buildings Enter a New Year, Therese Sullivan, BuildingContext Ltd
Ready for the Future of IoT in Buildings? Don Kasper, Ecorithm
Big Building Data Brings New Opportunities, Will Coleman, Lucid
Analytics – What Problem Are We Trying To Solve? Paul Oswald, CBRE|ESI
Is the Cloud Safe? Kevin Binnie, CopperTree Analytics
Pump Your Project Haystack Tags and Data Up, Travis Reno, Lynxspring
Haystack Connect 2017, John Petze, Project-Haystack.org
The “Swiss Army Knife” For Building Automation, Nils-Gunnar Fritz, MBS GmbH
Energy Efficiency Education Dashboards® (EEED), Jessica Johnson, QA Graphics
The Age of Perfect Information, Glen Allmendinger, Harbor Research, Inc.
BMS And IP Converge For Smart Buildings, James McHale, Memoori
Maximizing Human Comfort, Brad White, SES Consulting Inc.
What Building Owners Want, Jim Sinopoli, Smart Buildings LLC
Accessing data from existing building automation systems is critical to any smart building project. We have gone from the challenge of equipment and system connectivity (now a given) to one where it is about data collection and processing and the integration of data from diverse systems and devices. Add to this, the techniques for managing, presenting, analyzing and deriving value from this data.
Building automation architecture is continuing to flatten as more devices directly connect to networks and edge devices are becoming more intelligent. These devices are performing data aggregation, data integration, and routing directly to other operational devices. Today’s devices are equipped with faster processors, more memory, a selection of connectivity and capacity options to support a variety of applications with the ability to go beyond simple connectivity to include configuration, management, data storage and device-level application enablement.
With our ability to access data from building and operational systems we have moved from connected devices to connected intelligence and are redistributing and processing data independently at the edge device level. We have moved from vertical, single purpose devices to ones that are multi-purpose and function in a collaborative environment within the building.
With the increasing number and variety of equipment, sensors, devices and building systems available to connect to and the amount of data that is available from them, we have seen many data projects stall or never reach their potential because companies struggle with the complexity of the data. While data is technically available, the challenge lies in working with it across multiple applications, managing it and getting useful information out of it especially as data sets come with various formats, different naming conventions, and syntaxes. It’s one thing to have access to data; it’s another to make it actionable.
Today data is not connectivity issue or a cost one. We need ways to gather and analyze data effectively as well as efficiently. If there are any obstacles there is the lack of planning, lack of naming convention use and data validation.
When it comes to planning, most building operations do not have a unified data management plan. What passes for a “data management plan” consists of a database associated with the Building Management System. With that approach the information is limited to just those systems monitored or managed by the building management system.
Data planning takes a look at all the operational data and information required in order to manage a building’s performance. Identify the data and information that different people and groups involved with the building’s performance need to perform their work. Much of the data will be monitoring points on building systems but some data may be needed is in business systems or other systems outside of facility management or even outside the organization. Identify where the data exists; how it must be accessed, collected, how it will be exchanged and estimate the volume. Decide on a format—use naming conventions and modeling.
When it comes to the data, it is one thing to have access to it; it’s another to make it actionable. With more data available than ever before the industry is presented with a new challenge. Device data is stored and communicated in many different formats. It has inconsistent, non-standard naming conventions, and provides very limited descriptors to enable us to understand its meaning. Simply put, the operational data from smart devices and equipment systems lacks information to describe its own meaning.
Without meaning, a time consuming manual effort is required before that data can be used effectively to generate value. The result is that the data from today’s devices, while technically “available”, is hard to use, thus limiting the ability for building operators to fully benefit from the value contained in the data.
Standardize what you call things. A multi-building campus with buildings built at different times with different contractors is likely to have multiple names and tags for similar pieces of equipment. You don’t want to end up with ten different names for air handlers or pumps. Multiple naming conventions in an existing building or portfolio of existing buildings is the largest and most time consuming issue involved with implementing an integrated building management system.
One naming convention to look at is Project Haystack (www.project-haystack.org).Project Haystack is open-source community utilizing tags and semantic data models to define and describe the meaning of data from smart devices of all types and enables software applications to automatically consume, analyze and present data from devices and equipment systems.
There’s no point in collecting inaccurate data. To get the most accurate information you’ll need to ‘tune-up” the building systems and check the calibration of sensors and meters. The building systems themselves should be regularly re-commissioned.
Data is a corporate asset and empowering companies to seek and make good fact-based decisions that drive better outcomes. Connecting to it; collecting it, storing it, insuring its integrity; analyzing it, and using it to make business decisions and develop strategy. Determining who controls and who owns the data and what is done with it will lead us down some interesting paths. Furthermore, as data velocity is on the rise, companies must be able to rapidly analyze it and get actionable advice instantaneously. It is not about more data, but rather asking the right questions to get the right data, understand it and help solve specific problems and address specific issues.
Marc Petock is Vice President, Marketing at Lynxspring and Connexx Energy where he leads corporate and product marketing strategy and execution, brand management, public relations and communications to support both companies strategic and growth initiatives. Marc is a contributing author, noted speaker and recognized industry leader having earned several industry accolades. Marc serves on the board of directors of Connexx Energy and Project Haystack; is an advisor to the Realcomm Organization and a Contributing Editor to Automatedbuildings.com.
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Ken Sinclair’s editorial in May’s Automated Buildings has a few Paul Revere like messages in the first two paragraphs. The first being that four relatively large control companies were bought recently, and the efficacious assimilation of their technologies will allow for much larger and more successful market penetration in the Building Automation arena from non-traditional directions. The synergy spotlight is on lighting industry powerhouses Acuity and GE — to see if they can get their multi-IoT wheels rolling. The second warning is the sheer speed in which LED lighting is being deployed with open, cheap, and sexy offerings. Like Ken suggests, we better get on board this IoT Centric solution train… before it runs us over.
From Ken Sinclair’s editorial “Our Open IoT Centric Future.”
“The times they are a changing with the transfer of ownership of our two largest Canadian independent control companies Delta Controls & DISTECH plus European LOYTEC Electronics GmbH and Australian Daintree Networks. That is a lot of global change happening in the last few months. All the companies have strong presences and are leaders using open protocols while working towards IoT Centric solutions see the linked press releases.
The purchase of our advertiser Distech by Acuity Brands, a North American market leader and one of the world’s leading providers of lighting solutions, and the purchase of networked building startup Daintree Networks by GE shows the powerful directional shift to the lighting industry with new financial clout. The times they are a changing rapidly, I have seen the light, rendered in controllable color connected to Open and IoT is the direction of our future.
We just returned from the San Diego Light Fair and CABA Intelligent Buildings & Digital Home Forum, both events were great eye openers depicting our need to adapt to Our Open IoT Centric Future now. I have written a quick review of the Light Fair event but you will be reading about the observed changes for months to come in our online magazine. Amazing control of the new source LED lighting is evolving rapidly, and equals and in some areas even exceeds what our open BACnet industry has achieved. The new ability of color control is sexy and provides a strong link to personal preferences and increased productivity and an amazing ability to display products and all our interfacing tasks.” Click here to continue reading.
To Be A System Integrator, Paul Oswald, CBRE|ESI
Buildings Industry Workforce, Brian Turner, Controlco
Business Optimization, Hector Hernandez, CUBE-USA
What’s Up with the Internet of Things? Derek Schou, Contemporary Controls
Open Source is the New Marketing- Part 2, Therese Sullivan, BuildingContext Ltd
Harmonization Smart Grid and Smart Building, Allan McHale, Memoori
Advanced IoT Systems, Morgan Lang, SWEENEY
Plug-and-Play LED Lighting, Tom Quinn, Lunera
The Last 100 Feet Wirelessly, Gary Sorkin, Pacific Communication Group
Business Side to Cyber Security, Marc Petock, Lynxspring & Connexx Energy
A Legoland for the IoT Maker, Therese Sullivan, BuildingContext Ltd
Overly Alarmed by Alarm Management? Jim Sinopoli, Smart Buildings LLC