May 2004
  
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If Buildings Were Built Like Cars
The Potential for Information and Control Systems Technology in New Buildings

Barney L. Capehart, University of Florida
Harry Indig, KDS Energy
Lynne C. Capehart, Consultant

This paper was origjnally presented at the 2002 World Energy Engineering Congress, Atlanta, GA, and is used with permission of the author and Fairmont Press, Atlanta, GA. This paper will also appear in its entirety in the journal Strategic Planning for Energy and the Environment, Fairmont Press, in the Fall of 2004.

ABSTRACT 
The purpose of this paper is to compare the technology used in new cars with the technology used in new buildings, and to identify the potential for applying additional technology in new buildings. The authors draw on their knowledge of both new cars and new buildings to present a list of sensors, computers, controls and displays used in new cars that can provide similar and significant opportunities for our new buildings. Some thoughts on how this new technology could be integrated into new buildings are also discussed. The authors hope that calling attention to using new car technology as a model for new building technology will stimulate recognition of the potential for new buildings, and ultimately lead to the implementation of similar technological improvements in new buildings.

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INTRODUCTION 
A great deal of new technology is available for buildings. Smart Buildings and Intelligent Buildings are labels that have been around for years. But this paper will show that although this wealth of new technology for buildings exists in pieces and as products from many different companies, virtually no newly constructed building utilizes a significant amount of this new technology. Most buildings constructed today are almost identical to the buildings of the 1970's. Even though new materials, design and construction methods, and new ASHRAE building codes have made major improvements in new buildings, these buildings still look and operate much like they did twenty years ago. While it is true that most new buildings have new technology in the form of new equipment and insulation, there is little new technology for the building occupants to see and use.

In contrast, every new automobile - regardless of its price - is filled with new technology compared to the automobile of the 1970's. A new car typically comes with eleven separate computers, has around thirty seven sensors, and provides about twenty electronic display and control functions. It does this for as little as $20,000, and the new car information and control system commonly requires little or no maintenance or repair for a period of three to five years. This technology is often visible, it can be used by the driver and passengers, it is generally STANDARD on new cars, and it is inexpensive and reliable. There is much fancier technology available if you want to pay for it, but the main point is that the majority of the new automotive technology is found on every new car.

Even with all this new technology, today's cars are much more reliable and have significantly reduced maintenance requirements. In the 1970s, an automobile needed a tune up every 10,000 miles. Today, a typical new car does not need a tune up for 100,000 miles. Older cars needed new brakes about every 20,000 miles. Now it's every 50,000 miles. One of the authors bought a new mini van in 1998, and did not need to take it back to the dealer for any service for 40,000 miles! The vehicle did get several oil changes in that period, but no mechanical or electrical work had to be performed.

In comparison, our buildings need maintenance people from the moment we start using them. We're not talking about janitorial work, but about real maintenance of lights, air conditioners, switches, controls, doors and windows. This is like the old days with our cars, when we started making a list of things to be fixed as soon as we drove the car off the dealer's lot. Why can't a new building operate for six months, a year, or even several years without needing any maintenance? Our cars do.

What is the potential for using reliable, comprehensive, integrated, and inexpensive components in our new buildings to create a transparent and efficient information and control system? And what should we do in terms of buying new buildings? It is clear that progress in adapting and implementing technology for new buildings has a long way to go. Nonetheless, we should demand more technology - a lot more. Technological improvements should be standard features that come with every new building without question rather than options that add significant cost to the building. The only question should be where do we draw the line between standard features and additional new, super high tech technology that we will pay extra for?

FEATURES OF AUTOMOBILES THAT WE COULD USE IN BUILDINGS 
Individual Control Systems: One of the most noticeable features of new automobile technology is how it provides the driver and often the passengers with individual control systems. Compared to a building, a new car has far more sensors, controls and displays for a much smaller space. There are individually controllable air supplies for the driver and the front passenger. Large vehicles often have air controls for the rear seat passengers too. Temperature ranges for heating or air conditioning are individually controllable, often for the front passenger as well as the driver. The air velocity is controllable with a multispeed fan. The outlet vents are movable and can direct the airflow onto or away from the person. The amount of ventilation air can be controlled by selecting fresh air or recirculation. Some lights such as headlights and interior dome lights are automatic with their sensors. Other lights are individually controllable. The driver or the passenger can turn on selected interior lights, can often dim these lights, and can direct the light to the area where it is needed. The moon roof can be opened or closed by the driver or front passenger. Both front seats are individually adjustable for horizontal position, height, tilt, and back support; and many are heated, too. In addition, in some cars, these individually settings or preferences for functions like HVAC and seat positions are provided through a memory setting tied to an electronic key.

CatNet Systems Compare this technology to the control systems currently available in a common new building. A typical room in a new building may have a thermostat with a control setpoint and a temperature display at that location. It also usually has an unseen VAV control function, and in a few instances a humidistat with a setpoint control and a display of the relative humidity at that location. Lighting is controlled with a single light switch or possibly a single occupancy sensor for lighting. Otherwise, the occupants most likely have no other sensors, controls or displays in that room.

In addition to these personal comfort controls, the new car also a large number of automatic control systems to optimize and control its own operation. Engine control systems insure fuel efficiency and reduce air pollutants from the combustion process. Sensors for inlet air temperature and relative humidity allow optimum fuel flow control and optimum combustion. System computer modules also control the ABS, transmission, cruise control, and body controller.

Display Systems: In terms of maintenance and repair needs, new cars tell the owner much of what needs to be done, and certainly notify us whenever one of our major systems is in need of attention. The new car has sensors that report tire pressure, unclosed doors, lights or other controls left on, unfastened seatbelts, brake fluid status, and many other operational features related to the safety of the car and the occupants. Even a cursory comparison shows that our new buildings lag very far behind the existing use of technology in new cars.

Much of the information on car maintenance and safety is aimed at the driver. What comparable information does a building operator get about maintenance needs of the building or the various rooms in a building? Things that would be helpful to know include whether the air handling system filters were dirty, whether the refrigerant was at the proper level, whether sensors were working properly, whether lights were burned out, or whether the doors were left open.

The present system in buildings is essentially a manual system. Filters are checked manually on a time schedule. Maintenance workers often depend on "human" sensors to notify them of burned-out lights, improperly functioning photosensors, or temperature problems in individual rooms.

Options: New cars have options, and new buildings have options-but these mean very different things. An option available for a new car means that the item or function can be installed on the car at extra cost-but it does not need any additional design engineering, integration or testing. For a building, an option is an item or function that an owner wants to add at extra cost, but most often requires expensive additional design, engineering integration and testing work before it can be installed and operated.

Table 1 below summarizes many of the sensor control and display functions of new cars, and provides a model for desired technology in new buildings.

TABLE 1:  SENSOR, CONTROL AND DISPLAY COMPARISON FOR CARS AND BUILDINGS
S=Sensor               C=Control                                 DI=Display                
D=Driver                  FP=Front Passenger              RP=Rear Passengers
CBO=Controllable by Occupant                             NCBO=Not CBO

Function

Cars

Buildings

 

All

Mid-cost

Luxury

All

Some

I.      Comfort and convenience

 

 

 

 

 

A.      Climate Control (HVAC)

 

 

 

Yes

 

1.   Zone of Control

 

 

 

 

 

Single Zone

D

D

D

Few

 

Dual Zone

 

D, FP

D, FP

Very Few

 

Multi-Zone

 

 

D, FP, RP

Most

Individual Zone, CBO

2.   Temperature

 

 

 

Yes

 

Lever setting (C, DI)

D

D, FP

D, FP

Some

 

Thermostat (S, C, DI)

-

D, FP

D, FP

1 per zone

Individual Zone, CBO

3.   Air Supply

 

 

 

 

 

Directional Vents (C, DI)

D, FP

D, FP, RP

D, FP, RP

Partial

 

Multi-Speed Fan (C, DI)

D

D, FP

D, FP, RP

No

 

Ventilation (S, C, DI)

D

D, FP

D, FP

Yes, NCBO

 

Recirculation (C, DI)

D

D

D

Yes, NCBO

 

4.   Humidity (S, C)

-

-

Yes

Some, NCBO

Yes, CBO

5.   Air Quality (S, C)
 (CO, NO2)

-

-

Yes

Yes, NCBO

Yes, On/Off

6.   Advanced Features

 

 

 

 

 

Reheat Operation

 

 

Some

Most, NCBO

Yes, CBO

Window Fog Control

 

 

Some

No

 

Air Filters

 

 

Some

Yes

 

Sun Sensors

 

 

Some

No

 

B.       Seating     BT=Back Tilt

 

 

 

 

 

1.   Basic Mech or Elec (C)

D, FP

D, FP

D, FP, RP (BT)

Yes

-

2.   Horiz Position + Back Tilt (BT)

 

 

 

 

 

3.   Six-Way (C)

-

D, FP

D, FP

 

Yes

4.   Back Support (C)

-

D, FP

D, FP

 

Yes

5.   Heated (C)

-

D

D, FP

 

No

6.   Memory Function (C)

 

D

D, FP

No

No

C.       Visual (Inside Lighting)

 

 

 

 

 

1.   Dome Light (C)

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

 

With Occupancy Sensor (S,C)

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Delayed Dimming (S, C)

No

Yes

Yes

No

No

2.   Overhead/Task (C)

No

Yes

Yes

Some

Yes

Directional (C)

 

 

 

Few

Yes

3.   General

 

 

 

 

 

Door, Glove Box (S, C)

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

?

Visor, Map (C)

No

Yes

Yes

No

?

D.       Windows

 

 

 

 

 

Power Windows

No

Yes

Yes

No

 

Power Sunroof

No

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

II.    Normal Operation

 

 

 

 

 

A.       Speedometer (S, D)

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

*

Cruise Control (S, C, DI)

No

Yes

Yes

No

*

B.       Odometer (S, C, DI)

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

*

C.       Tachometer (S, DI)

No

Yes

Yes

No

*

D.       Fuel (S, DI)

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

*

III.  Safety and Maintenance

 

 

 

 

 

A.       Engine

 

 

 

 

 

1.   Engine Control Module (S, C)

Yes

Yes

Yes

 

 

Temperature, Oil Pressure, Check Engine

 

 

 

 

 

Status Light (S, DI)

Yes

Yes

Yes

 

 

Gauges (S, DI)

No

Yes

Yes

 

 

B.         Auxiliary Systems

 

 

 

 

 

1.     Electrical

 

 

 

 

 

  Generator (Charge)

 

 

 

 

 

Status Light (S, DI)

Yes

Yes

Yes

 

 

Voltage Gauge (S, DI)

No

Yes

Yes

 

 

  Lights

 

 

 

 

 

Headlights (C)

Yes

Yes

Yes

 

 

Backup Lights

Yes

Yes

Yes

 

 

2.      Brakes

 

 

 

 

 

ABS (S,C)

No

Yes

Yes

 

 

Status Light (S, DI)

Yes

Yes

Yes

 

 

Brake Light Out (S, DI)

No

No

Yes

 

 

3.      Others

 

 

 

 

 

Seat Belt (S, DI)

Yes

Yes

Yes

 

 

Turn Signals On (S, DI)

No

Yes

Yes

 

 

Headlights On (S, DI)

No

Yes

Yes

 

 

Low WW Fluid (S, DI)

No

Yes

Yes

 

 

Door Not Closed (S, DI)

No

Yes

Yes

 

 

Exterior Temp (S, DI)

No

Yes

Yes

 

 

IV.    Pleasure & Entertainment

 

 

 

 

 

A.         Audio System

 

 

 

 

 

   Radio

Yes

Yes

Yes

 

 

   Satellite Radio

 

 

YES

   

   CD Player

No

Yes

Yes

   

B.         Video System

 

 

 

   

   TV

No

No

Yes

   

   VCR, DVD

No

No

Yes

   

C.        Computer

No

No

Some

   

  Internet

No

No

Option

   

D.        Communications

 

 

 

   

  Cell phone

No

Yes

Yes

   

  Internet

No

No

Option

   

V.    Advanced Systems

 

 

     

A.      Navigation Systems

No

No

Yes

   

B.      Collision Avoidance Systems

No

No

Option

   

C.      Rain Sensing Wipers

No

No

Option

   

D.      DewPoint & Glass Temp Sensors

No

No

Option

   

E.      Voice Commands

No

No

Option

   

HOW DID THE AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY DO THIS? 
To see how to utilize similar innovations in the building industry, we must understand what allows new automobiles to have so much new technology at such a low cost, and why they are so reliable?

Engineering Analysis and Design - A significant amount of engineering analysis and design goes into both the structural and operational features of a new car. In addition, significant engineering analysis and design also goes into the manufacturing and production processes for assembling the new cars. One of the main benefits of this approach is that not only are each of the car's components engineered, the entire system and subsystems are carefully engineered. For example, the electrical power consumption of the components and systems in a new car are carefully analyzed, built and selected to make sure that the total power demand is not greater than the capacity of the electrical power supply system, i.e., the 12-volt battery. Thus, with cars, there is a built in need for energy efficient electrical systems right from the start.

When a building is designed, the electrical load is specified first, and then a power supply system is specified that is big enough to handle the load of the building. Little or no thought is given to minimizing the electrical load itself because there are generally no constraints on the amount of power the utility will supply to the building. Furthermore, utility bills are not part of the first cost of a building, so they are not of concern to the designer.

PlantPROCOREOverall Quality Control Programs - The reliability of the new car is the result of the significant amount of engineering that goes into the car design, as well as the manufacturing process. Quality and quality control start with the engineering design, and are strongly emphasized during the manufacturing and assembly of the car. Individual components are designed and made with quality and reliability as major goals. Next, subsystems are similarly produced, and finally, systems -including the entire car - are similarly produced. Ordinary and accelerated life testing are conducted on the car's components, subsystems and systems. Effects of temperature, moisture, mechanical and thermal stress, and other factors are included in these extensive tests. The result is that most of the car's components and systems will last at least three years or 36,000 miles. Warranties on new cars are now available for seven years or 70,000 miles.

Quality control and warranties in building design and construction are very different. Unlike automobiles where the auto manufacturer provides the warranty for the entire vehicle (with the possible exception of the tires), the systems in new buildings are likely to be under several different warranties. The HVAC manufacturer covers the HVAC system; the flooring manufacturer guarantees the carpet/flooring; the plumbing manufacturer guarantees the plumbing fixtures; etc. There is usually no centralized quality control or warranties for a new building in the sense of what we have with cars.

Widespread Use of Microprocessors and Computers - Much of the technology and operational features of our new cars comes from the use of microprocessors and microcomputers. A new car may have as many as 50 separate microprocessors and 11 major computer-based systems. Some new luxury cars have up to 90 microprocessors. A frequently heard statement is that a new car has more computer power in it than our first manned space capsule. The computer-based systems are found in the System Modules for new cars, and account for much of the engine performance, the reduced emissions, the sophisticated diagnostics, and many of our comfort and convenience features. The ECU or Engine Control Unit is the most powerful computer in the car, and it has the demanding job of controlling the fuel economy, the emissions from the engine and the catalytic converter, and determining the optimum ignition timing and fuel injection parameters. These computers, microprocessors and system modules greatly simplify the diagnostic job of finding problems with the car, and providing information on what kind of repair or replacement work is needed.

While a large new buildings with a sophisticated BAS or Building Automation System may well have 50 or more microprocessors attached to it, it doesn't match the new car in terms of having any kind of equal computing power per room or per group of rooms with 2 to 4 occupants. The rooms and offices in our buildings don't have monitoring and self-diagnostic features. They could, because the technology, equipment and systems exist, but they are not supplied as a standard item, and they are not available in the sense that options are available on new cars.

System Modules - As discussed above, the System Modules are where the computer-based systems reside in new cars. These System Modules are highly complex, and highly important systems in new cars. Many of our highly desirable performance and comfort features are provided by these System Modules. Typical System Modules in a new car are: the Engine Control Unit, the Instrument Panel Module, the Climate Control Module, the Transmission Control Module, the Power Distribution Box Module, the Airbag Module, the Driver's Door Module, the ABS Module, the Body Controller Module, and the Cruise Control Module. These are just the System Modules that we expect to see on every basic car. They do not include the additional System Modules that we find as options for lower priced cars, or as standard features of higher priced cars. These include Navigation Control Modules, Entertainment System Modules, Advanced Comfort Control Modules and Communication Control Modules for our computers, cell phones and internet access.

Communication Buses -The use of standardized communications buses along with these System Modules makes both designing and building new cars much easier than it was in the old days. Two major services must be accessible to every area of a new car - electric power, and the communications bus. All of the System Modules on a car must be able to communicate with each other, and must be able to receive signals from most of the sensors in the car, and must be able to send signals to the control components, systems and actuators. Without the communications bus, the job of wiring up a car during the assembly operation would simply be too labor and time consuming to have a reasonable cost product. Using a communications bus greatly simplifies the wiring, reduces the number of data sensors, and implements additional features at very little additional cost. Also, the speed of communications is so important now that only a digital bus has the speed and capacity to handle the data collection and data transfer load for a new car.

The communication bus and the System Modules work together to make the design and building of the car much easier. Information is sent over the communication bus in a standard communications protocol - usually the SAE J1850 standard, or the Controller-Area Network ( CAN) standard. Recent emphasis has been on using FlexRay, which is a faster and more sophisticated communication bus Data is sent in packets with a standard structure - a label and some data, such as Speed for the label and 52.5 for the speed in MPH. This information packet is picked up by the Instrument Control Module and it can refresh the indication on the speedometer with this new data. With this standard communications bus, the design of the various System Modules becomes much more straightforward. In addition, the sensors in the car now need only to send packets of data out to the communications bus, and it is not necessary for the car maker to deal with the problem of a particular sensor putting out a strange voltage or current signal that must be converted somewhere into a true physical parameter of the car's operation. For example, it might otherwise have been necessary to have told the Instrument Panel Module maker that the signal for speed was going to be a 4 - 20 mA current loop value, and that 10 mA was equivalent to 40 MPH.

Control Solutions, Inc The use of the standardized communication bus also greatly increases the ability to use outside suppliers and sources for many of the components and systems in a new car. The carmaker does not have to worry about how a specific sensor or module works internally; they only need to know that the data will be transmitted in a known, standardized manner, and that it will have a known, standardized structure. Much of the success with using modern technology in cars, and much of the reliability of that technology comes from using this simplified approach with a standardized communications bus.

We basically know how to do this in our new buildings. We have BACnet, LONWorks, and TCP/IP as our most common standard communication protocols. TCP/IP may be the ultimate answer, but we will also need another level of standardization to insure that the data that comes across TCP/IP means the same thing to each different piece of equipment in our facility. Most of our buildings are being wired for a Local Area Network (LAN) with either co-axial cable or fiber optic cable. We have the hardware, we have the software, but we don't have the organizational structure in place to require and enforce the standardized interconnection of all of our building components, subsystems and systems like carmakers do. Without this standardized communication bus running through our entire facility - together with accessible electric power - we will never have the kind of technology that cars have, and we will never have the cost benefit or the reliability that this kind of technology can bring to our buildings.

Smart Sensors - Most of the basic sensors that cars have used in the past to read continuous physical parameters such as temperatures, pressures, flows and levels operated on the principle of producing a voltage or current output proportional to the real value of the parameter. The output of these sensors was almost always nonlinear, and also varied with the temperature or other physical parameters. This resulted in poor measurements, or required the use of more equipment and processing power to correct the sensor reading for the nonlinearity and to provided temperature compensation curves to get accurate readings. Today, smart sensors are used to provide these functions initially with the sensor, and output data to a microprocessor or System Module. The sensor output is read as an input to the microprocessor, and the sensor reading is digitized, corrected, temperature compensated and sent out over the standardized communications bus.

These smart sensors interface directly to the communications bus, and provide fast and accurate measurements. Since the sensor package contains a microprocessor, much of the load is taken off of the System Module that the smart sensor is supporting. Designed and built as an integrated package, the smart sensor fulfills its mission reliably with a low initial cost.

In our buildings, the sensors are expensive, and many of them are not very reliable. They are certainly not reliable in comparison to those in cars. In particular, the relative humidity sensors and CO2 sensors are notoriously unreliable, and require frequent cleaning, calibration and general maintenance. That level of performance would be unacceptable for the sensors in a car. Why shouldn't the sensors in buildings work reliably for a period of three to five years before they need any significant attention?

Wiring Harnesses and Standard Connectors - The use of pre-assembled wiring harnesses and standard connectors has made the task of wiring up a new car much easier. It is important to use stranded, not solid, wire cable. Each length of stranded wire consists of a twisted bundle of very thin thread-like wires. Solid wire, on the other hand, is a single thick wire segment. The advantage of stranded wire is that it is much more flexible than solid wire, and also less susceptible to breakage. One thread of a stranded wire can break without affecting the performance of the connection, but if a solid wire breaks the connection is lost. Also, if there is one weak link in the reliable performance of any electrical or electronic system, it is the connectors. With this in mind, the importance of carefully and correctly built standardized connectors cannot be overemphasized.

Use of Skilled Assembly Workers - The auto industry has succeeded in recent years by having a large supply of skilled workers at its design, engineering and assembly operations. These skilled workers receive training in their specific jobs as well as training in quality control and process improvement techniques. Many of the manufacturing and design improvements in new cars have come from the production workers themselves. In addition, the skilled workers have made a great improvement in the overall reliability and quality of the new cars. Autoworkers are usually highly paid compared to those working in other industries or services.

The problems we have with the construction of new buildings often come from the use of workers with minimal or insufficient skills for the job. Finding skilled workers may be difficult, and is certainly expensive. The transient nature of much building construction also impedes the retention of skilled workers. As a result there may not be a large pool of highly qualified building construction workers available when a particular building is being built.

One of the most common problems in building structures is the roof, which is the subject of the greatest number of lawsuits in building construction. Most roofs leak, and leak from the day the building is occupied. Roof leaks are the result of poor installation and construction rather than problems with roofing technology and materials. When a roof leaks, water leaks into the walls and is not noticed until mildew and rot are visible; by then the building may be significantly damaged. Mold, mildew and IAQ problems in the building will require more time and money to fix. Using sensors in new buildings to identify roof and wall leaks when they occur is a critical application of automotive type technology in our new buildings. New cars use infrared reflectance sensors to identify rainfall on windshields, and automatically start up the windshield wipers. These sensors, or other types of moisture sensors, if installed throughout our new buildings, would quickly identify leaks and moisture buildup and alert building operational people to this serious problem.

Poor workmanship can cause many other problems in buildings. Even the HVAC system can be affected since random testing has shown that many air conditioning systems are installed with an improper charge of refrigerant. In economic terms, the problem of workers with insufficient skills and quality concerns results in the need to commission buildings to check and see if the building components and systems work as they should. (See discussion on Commissioning below.) This expense is clearly attributable to lack of adequate engineering, lack of quality control measures, and especially lack of highly trained workers.

WHY DOESN'T NEW BUILDING CONSTRUCTION INCLUDE MORE NEW TECHNOLOGY AS STANDARD EQUIPMENT AND SYSTEMS?
Automobiles are built according to a standard plan; building architects on the other hand reinvent the wheel each time they design another building. This lack of standardization in buildings impedes the introduction of new technology in new building construction. Other factors also influence this difference in approach.

Reliable Controls Unlike new cars, most new buildings are site built, and are built to "cookie cutter" specifications that emphasize lowest first cost of construction. Even "custom built" buildings are held hostage to the lowest first cost syndrome. Thousands of different construction companies build residential and commercial buildings. Hundreds of different companies build fairly large commercial buildings. These companies range in size from small businesses to major architectural and engineering firms and major construction firms. It is extremely difficult to implement standards of technology when this many individual companies are involved. It is not impossible by any means - it is just not easy!

The fact that most buildings are site built impedes the assembly line and systems approach to installing new technology that is used in the auto business. One area of building construction that is immediately amenable to the assembly line approach of the carmakers is in the construction of prefabricated or modular buildings. This manufacturing sector is in a perfect position to use the knowledge from the automotive assembly sector to produce buildings with the same level of technology and reliability that we see in new cars. The engineering and the quality control functions are much more cost effective in this sector. The use of more computers, more microprocessors, more System Modules, more Smart Sensors, and definitely a standardized communications bus, would be relatively easy for this sector to provide.

Cars are constructed in a factory assembly line and moved to their ultimate market and user. The factory environment makes it easier to train workers in installing the equipment in new cars as well as training them in quality control procedures. Buildings are constructed at the point of use. Construction workers may work for a long time on a single building doing all types of work. Their training is not likely to be technology specific. Auto assembly workers typically specialize in some part of the assembly process, and therefore can be trained on this more limited work task. In addition, they become quite knowledgeable on this part of the assembly operation, and soon become able to add value to the company by suggesting improved methods of designing and constructing components and systems that they assemble. Quality control is more easily stressed in this environment, and many of the workers actually see the final result of their work drive off the assembly line, which serves to positively reinforce the need for a high skill level and the need to perform high quality work. In fact, these workers often own and drive cars produced by the company they work for. Few of these workers will willingly accept poor quality parts, components, systems and assembly procedures as a result of their skill and training level.

More new cars are sold each year than new buildings, so there is a larger market for the technology and the price can be reduced due to bulk purchase of the equipment. This is certainly true at face value, but when the scale of use of technology for buildings is considered, the numerical superiority of the cars goes away. If we consider that the unit of interest in buildings is rooms, and that we are interested in having the same technology level in each room that we have in a car, we now have a very different prospective. There may very well be more rooms than cars built each year. Thus, the comparison of a room to the car, rather than a building to a car, will lead to a much greater economy of scale for new building construction, and should provide a strong economic incentive to move in this direction for buildings.

Cars have a shorter lifetime than buildings, so new technology can be introduced faster, and the customers can develop a faster appreciation for what it does. Cars certainly do have a shorter lifetime than buildings, but on the other hand, most buildings end up being refurbished, or equipment and systems retrofitted, so there is still a lot of opportunity to use new technology in older buildings. Sensors, controls, System Modules and many of the other features of new car technology can be added to our older buildings when they are needed. In general, the most cost effective way to build an energy-efficient and functionally superior building is to do it right the first time, rather than retrofit it later. However, there is new equipment, and especially new information technology that can be added to rooms and to the entire building. It is not always easy to install co-axial or fiber optic cable in an older building, but most of us have experienced just that. It would have been easier and cheaper to put it in when the building was built, but we still have managed to find a way to get the LAN cable and connections into our rooms and offices so we could network our PCs.

Purchasers of new cars are influenced by features they have seen on other cars. Therefore, consumer demand is important in increasing the marketability of new technology options. This is one of the reasons we need to start getting some of this new technology in our buildings. Once building owners, managers and occupants start seeing what can be done in our buildings, and how much more enjoyable and productive it is to work in buildings with this advanced technology, they will start to demand more technology as a result. It is somewhat amazing that the people who drive cars with all this new technology will go happily to work in buildings that do not come close to providing similar comfort and operational features of technology!

WHAT DOES THE BUILDING CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY NEED TO DO?
Establish an integrated design and build engineering and management structure.
The amount of engineering work that goes into a new building needs to increase significantly. The building structure needs to be designed with high technology use in mind, and needs to utilize new technology to deliver the performance and comfort features that we want in our new buildings. In addition, quality control and reliability need to be designed and engineered into the building from the start of the project. Then, quality management techniques need to be employed so that the building is actually constructed to provide the quality and reliability features that we expect.

Build more modular buildings. The solutions to providing greater use of technology in new buildings and providing quality and reliable buildings are much easier when the buildings are a modular type with significant pre-site construction performed in a factory or controlled environment. High-tech components and equipment can be installed more easily in prefabricated and modular buildings within a controlled environment and with highly skilled and quality control trained workers.

Impose standards on equipment and system suppliers. Most major construction companies are already in a position to do this. They have the financial leverage to specify components and equipment that meet their exact requirements. The residential manufactured housing sector in particular could do this quite easily. The Federal Sector, States and large companies also have excellent opportunities to set these standards. One of the most important standards is to require a standardized communications bus in a building with all sensors and controls interfacing directly with that standardized communications bus.

Use equipment and system modules. This approach has facilitated the use of so much new technology in new cars at a reasonable cost, and with extremely good reliability. However, as stated above, the standardized communications bus has mode the most dramatic difference. With the standardized communication bus and the system modules, car technology could be transferred to buildings relatively easily. Individual HVAC modules for occupants, individual lighting modules, other comfort modules such as for seating, and building operation and maintenance modules can all be used to greatly increase the performance and reliability of our buildings and yet allow us to build them at reasonable costs. Again, certain sectors such as the residential manufactured housing sector, the hotel/motel sector, and many office buildings could easily adopt this approach.

Are Codes, Standards or Legislation Required To Increase the Use of New Technology in Buildings?
There is no question that building codes and standards have been responsible for much of the improvements in standard buildings. With minimum equipment efficiencies, minimum thermal transfer levels, and minimum structural standards in place, companies that construct buildings must meet these minimum standards - regardless of whether it increases the first cost of the building. Without minimum standards such as the ASHRAE 90.1 standard, many of our buildings would still have inferior equipment and poor insulation, because it was cheaper to put in initially. The standards for utilizing new technology could be set voluntarily by large companies and big purchasers of buildings like the Federal Sector, the States, schools, and the hotel/ motel sector. Certainly the auto industry has incorporated many of the new technological features without needing government intervention.

CatNet Systems Integrate new building technology with the desktop computers and BAS (Building automation systems) that are already being installed in new buildings. In truth, the types of smart sensors, system modules and standardized communication buses that the authors have been recommending for use in new buildings should be considered an integral part of our overall Building Automation System. All of these components, systems and equipment must work together seamlessly to provide the expected level of performance and comfort and all the desktop computers should be tied in to these systems through a Local Area Network.

The desktop computer can be the equivalent of the car dashboard or instrument panel, and it should be our personal interface to an expanded BAS. It could tell us what the space temperature is and how much ventilation is being provided. It should allow us to set our personal preferences for lighting levels, seat positions, window or skylight openings, etc. It should also let us enter our new desired values of these space parameters.

BENEFITS OF STANDARDIZED COMMISSIONING OF BUILDINGS
Commissioning a building is defined in ASHRAE Guideline 1 - 1996 as: The processes of ensuring that building systems are designed, installed, functionally tested over a full range, and capable of being operated and maintained to perform in conformity with the design intent (meaning the design requirements of the building). Commissioning starts with planning, and includes design, construction, start-up, acceptance and training, and can be applied throughout the life of the building.

Commissioning a building involves inspection, testing, measurement, and verification of all building functions and operations. It is an expensive and time consuming activity, but it is necessary to insure that all building systems and functions operate according to the original design intent of the building. Commissioning studies on new buildings routinely find problems such as: control switches wired backwards, valves installed backwards, control setpoints incorrectly entered, time schedules entered incorrectly, bypass valves permanently open, ventilation fans wired permanently on, simultaneous heating and cooling occurring, building pressurization actually negative, incorrect lighting ballasts installed, pumps running backwards, variable speed drives bypassed, hot and cold water lines connected backwards, and control dampers permanently fully open. And this is just a short list!

The process of commissioning a building constructed in the manner of a new car, and using the new car-like technology would be far quicker and simpler, as well as being much less expensive. The use of standardized components, subsystems and systems could actually eliminate the need to check and test these items each time they are used in a new building. A factory or laboratory, standardized commissioning test could well determine their acceptability with a one-time procedure. The use of a standardized communication bus would dramatically shorten the time and effort of on-site testing of the building components, subsystems and systems. Data from all sensors and controls would be accessible on the communications bus, and would allow a significant amount of automated testing of basic functions and complex control actions and responses in the building. A Commissioning Module could also be added to the building systems, and would even further automate and speed up the Commissioning process. This Commissioning Module would remain as a permanent building system, and would not only aid in the initial Commissioning process, but also the Re-Commissioning process, and the Continuous Commissioning process.

Presently, the cost of Commissioning a new building is around 2 to 5 percent of the original cost of construction. The use of Standardized Commissioning tests, and the use of a Commissioning Module, would greatly reduce this cost. Although Commissioning has been shown to be a cost effective process - usually having a payback time of one to two years - many building owners do not want to spend the additional money upfront for the Commissioning effort. A prevailing attitude is "I have already paid to have the job done correctly. Why should I have to be the one to pay to check to see that it has actually been done correctly?" This is a difficult attitude to overcome, and it is often a hard sell to convince new building owners that they will actually come out ahead by paying this cost to verify that their building does work as it was designed to work.

One final note on Commissioning is that from one of the author's energy audit experience, many problems found in conducting audits of existing buildings are clearly ones where the problem has been there since the building was constructed. For example, in the audit of a newspaper publishing company it was found that the cost of air conditioning was excessive. Further checking showed that the heating coil and the cooling coil of the major air handling unit were both active during the hottest part of the summer. Even further checking showed that the control specifications specifically called for that simultaneous heating and then cooling! Once that original problem was corrected, not only did the air conditioning bill go down dramatically, but the reports from the building occupants stated how much better they thought the air conditioning system was working since they were much more comfortable.

DO NEW BUILDINGS NEED "DASHBOARDS?"
The dashboard and instrument panel is the heart of the driver - car interface. Status information on the car's operation is presented in easily understood form here. Why wouldn't it make sense to have a similar feature in a new building? Not the complex HMI or GUI from a BAS, but a simplified display for average building occupants, and maybe even one for the building engineer or maintenance supervisor. Why not a "dashboard" type of display for each floor of a building? This could be located in a visible place, and occupants could see the status of energy use in terms of peak cost or off-peak cost, daily use of kWh and therms of gas, could see temperature and RH conditions at a glance, and could get red light/green light indicators for energy use and maintenance actions. These "dashboards" could be provided on each floor of the building, and several could be provided to the operation and maintenance staff. These simplified "dashboard" type of displays could also be available on the PCs of the occupants and operating personnel. Cars provide a powerful model for us to use in many building technology applications.

ADDITIONAL CONSIDERATIONS
The increasing sophistication of information technology coupled with its rapidly falling costs are making possible ever "smarter" buildings with increased capabilities for customizing the workplace to the needs of the workers and their employers. Smarter buildings cannot happen without extensive use of the basic building blocks of sensors, actuators and controllers. Many more are needed in new buildings. The economics of replacing existing structures with wholly new ones is daunting, and so new technologies are especially desirable if they can be retrofitted into existing spaces, replacing existing infrastructures to support change.

Research opportunities exist at the interface of how people work, where people work, and how they can be made more effective in buildings as they have become in their cars. Much of the research agenda needs to develop a more quantitative evaluation of productivity gains brought about by innovations in information and control technologies in new buildings. We not only need to focus on general purpose commercial buildings, but consider special purpose buildings, such as schools or hospitals. They are significantly affected by the new information technologies; including cable TV and computers. These research needs in commercial buildings are certainly worthy of further investigation and continued development and application of new sensors, actuators and controllers.

PlantPROCORECONCLUSION 
New buildings have not kept up with technological advances, especially when compared to automobiles. All we need to do is to make one trip in a new car, and then make one visit to a new building to see this for ourselves. Comfort level, safety levels, reliability levels, quality control levels and automation levels are all much higher in new cars than in buildings. The imagination and creativity that goes into new car technology and manufacture should be harnessed for our new buildings as well. We really do need to start building our new buildings like we build our new cars.

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES OF AUTHORS
Barney L. Capehart, PhD, CEM is a Professor Emeritus of Industrial and Systems Engineering at the University of Florida in Gainesville, FL. He has broad experience in the commercial/industrial sector having served as the Founding Director of the University of Florida Energy Analysis and Diagnostic Center /Industrial Assessment Center from 1990 to 1999. He personally conducted over one hundred audits of industrial and manufacturing facilities, and has helped students conduct audits of hundreds of office buildings, small businesses, government facilities, and apartment complexes. He regularly taught a University of Florida course on Energy Management, and currently teaches Energy Management Seminars around the country for the Association of Energy Engineers (AEE). He is a Fellow of IEEE, IIE and AAAS, and a member of the Hall of Fame of AEE. He is the co-author of Guide to Energy Management, author of the chapter on Energy Management for the Handbook of Industrial Engineering, and wrote the chapter on Energy Auditing for the Energy Management Handbook.  Plus his latest book Information Technology for Energy Managers as outlined in an article by Barney. Barney also has a new book in the works for this fall entitled Web Based System Case Studies and Applications. Capehart@ise.ufl.edu 

Harry Indig, BSME, MSME, has worked in the automotive industry for over twenty-five years. During this time he became involved in energy and alternate fuels. He specializes in testing, systems development, and project management, and has completed numerous challenging positions in product development at Ford Motor Company in testing as a technician, technologist and product engineer. General Motors Corporation sponsored Harry's Master Thesis in the fabrication of an inwardly opposed engine and Harry worked in the engineering laboratories and in Design and Release for GM Trucks. Harry worked on projects designed for development several years in the future. As Energy Engineering became intertwined with the automotive industry, Harry became more interested in the applications and needs for energy alternatives in the United States. He has joined the Association of Energy Engineers and has started a company, KDS Energy Alternatives, LLC which is working on anaerobic digestion energy process. Harry is an active member in the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and a member of the Society of Automotive Engineers. He is the author of several SAE papers. HIndig@Comcast.net 

Lynne C. Capehart, BS, JD is a consultant in energy policy and energy efficiency, and resides in Gainesville, FL. She received a B. S. with High Honors in Mathematics from the University of Oklahoma, and a JD with Honors from the University of Florida College of Law. She is co-author of Florida's Electric Future: Building Plentiful Supplies on Conservation; the co-author of numerous papers on PURPA and Cogeneration Policies; and the co-author of numerous papers on commercial and industrial energy efficiency. She was Project Coordinator for the University of Florida Industrial Assessment Center from 1992 to 1999. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Alpha Pi Mu, and Sigma Pi Sigma. Lynneinfla@aol.com 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Argonne National Laboratory program on sensor development, www.transportation.anl.gov/ttrdc/sensors/gassensors.html 

Automated Buildings website, www.automatedbuildings.com 

Automotive Electrics and Electronics, Third Edition, 1999, Robert Bosch, GmbH, Stuttgart, Germany, in association with the Society of Automotive Engineers, Warrendale, PA.

Court Manager's Information Display System, www.ncsc.dni.us/bulletin/V09n01.htm 

Delphi Automotive Electronics Website, www.delphi.com/automotive/electronics 

How Car Computers Work, www.howstuffworks.com/car-computer.htm 

New car features, www.autoweb.com.au 

Smart Energy Distribution and Consumption in Buildings, CITRIS - Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society, www.citris.berkeley.edu/SmartEnergy/SmartEnergy.html 

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