February 2009

Babel Buster Network Gateways: Big Features. Small Price.
Control Solutions, Inc. - Minnesota

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Building Automation Sustainability

Whether you view the word “Building” as a noun or a verb the real goal is Sustainability

  Ken Sinclair, AutomatedBuildings.com

As published

February Issue 

The Noun

Reinvention of our Building Automation “BA” Industry is necessary not because we want to, but because we have to. The present financial times are rapidly redefining what is sustainable and what is not and Building Automation in its present form is not. BA is not achieving anywhere close to its potential. Typical heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems are 50% efficient compared to fully integrated systems.  Source:  U.S. Green Building Council, Cisco Systems, The Hartman Co.

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The functional creep of what is now included in the new BA definition of intelligent building solutions provides another real need for BA reinvention.  Intelligent building solutions integrate all the common building functions; environmental control, intrusion detection, access control, lighting and energy management with video.

The rapid metamorphosis to web-enabled automation has greatly enhanced our already powerful direct digital controls while allowing our buildings to become an interactive part of the Smart Electrical Grid.  Internet capabilities allow HVAC equipment connected to open BA standards to be viewed as a controllable load for GridWise and Demand Response thinking.

The Verb

For us to start Building Sustainability with Automation we must understand the opportunity in the smart grid and the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.

For smart grid to be effective, it must include deep integration with energy consuming systems such as the controlled systems which are part of HVAC and lighting in buildings. The future of smart energy operations in smart power grids and smart buildings has much in common with the running and management of the eCommerce enterprise. Each has similar needs for reliable, secure, and scalable infrastructure, and each requires embracing diversity to enable innovation. The power grid’s inability to negotiate and anticipate energy needs causes great inefficiencies in the generation and transmission of power.

The power of enterprise languages such as XML coupled with a movement to Open Source Software Solutions is fuelling our sustainable reinvention. Automation of everything is an evolving web service.

Open Source for Automation Building

One of the open source base initiatives applying to (BA) and the smart grid is OpenLynx. OpenLynx is an open source project based on pervasive computing oX framework and defines ontologies, components and strategies for building automation and energy management components and products.

Our new found automation connectivity allows more to be achieved with less human and natural resources. In our present economical situation we must use less while providing better services and still communicate our successes with digital signs in the lobby and with building centric web sites, both now part of BA.

Control Solutions, Inc One trend is to use the BA as a remote commissioning tool. This allows online web services to be connected to continually optimize and commission energy use throughout an enterprise, while maintaining acceptable comfort levels. Commissioning is essential to verify that any changes made to control systems are likely to work as intended with ongoing performance monitoring. The benefits of building commissioning will become greater as the smart grid evolves. Savvy building owners are saving money now while positioning their facilities to take advantage of future smart grid opportunities.

Net zero building designs depend heavily on BA’s and Grid’s connected interaction to orchestrate renewable energy sources such as solar and wind with or without the electrical grid interaction.

Day Lighting (substituting outside ambient light to replace internal electric light) requires a significant BA interaction with clients and ambient light sensors as well as motorized fenestration control.

Lighting controls really offer significant potential to deliver the key aspects of intelligent and sustainable buildings:

• Energy Efficiency: Use of lighting controls may typically yield up to 30% energy savings for lighting, and that translates into approximately 10% overall energy savings for a building. In addition, lighting controls may serve as a key element of a demand reduction program, further enabling energy savings.

 • Human Comfort and Productivity resulting in greater human comfort and increased productivity.

Low cost camera technology allows remote viewing of critical equipment. Many advances have been made in the development and deployment of video-based monitoring.  To optimize the true value of video systems they need to integrate directly with existing systems such as HVAC, energy management, lighting and security to create a new level of real-time visibility

Our buildings must be green, but present a financial blue bottom line of sustainable connected real estate. Our existing stock of large buildings in North America, which use more energy than they should, presents a huge opportunity for Building Automation Sustainability.


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