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Control Solutions, Inc. - Minnesota

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A Lightweight Yet Informative HTML5 User Experience

 Using a standard naming convention defined by the haystack tags7. These tags are also referred to as semantic tags or metadata tags and were developed and agreed upon by the Project Haystack8 community, where Conserve It is a founding member9
Pravesh Badjoonauth

Pravesh Badjoonauth,
Product Support Manager,
Conserve It
 

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Control Solutions, Inc

Introduction to HVAC Systems

In commercial buildings, HVAC is by far the most energy intensive system, accounting for close to half1 of the total energy consumption. HVAC systems, however, are vast and typically consist of several smaller subsystems that are intended to be integrated all together and work in a synergistic manner. These subsystems are categorised into Air Side systems (E.g. AHUs, FCUs) and Water Side Systems (E.g. Chiller Plants).

A Chiller Plant comprises equipment such as Chillers, Pumps, and Cooling Towers and is an integral part of a building’s HVAC system being responsible for maintaining the indoor building space conditioned at an appropriate temperature. Consequently, chiller plants account for a sizeable chunk or around 65% of the building’s HVAC system electrical energy consumption.

For this reason, every efficiency improvement in HVAC performance, including Chiller Plant performance, can significantly reduce the energy profile of the building, turning HVAC optimisation into a value generating opportunity. Typically hidden away in plant rooms, HVAC systems can be complex, challenging and are frequently overlooked. Energy saving opportunities are often missed in this complex technical arena. This is where Conserve It2 comes into the picture and helps unlock the energy saving potential of a building’s HVAC system through state-of-the-art IoT solutions developed in-house.

Introducing Conserve It and PlantPRO

Conserve It, an organisation headquartered in Melbourne, Australia identified the need for a solution that will not only provide better visibility into how the energy inside a plant room is being consumed but also take full control of the chiller plant equipment and operate the most efficient equipment at their optimum operating efficiency. This solution was baptised as PlantPRO3. Created with an in-depth understanding of all thermodynamic variables involved in managing plant room HVAC equipment, PlantPRO enables complete and optimum control of every device and its integration into a single synergistic system, with added functionality for Measurement & Verification, Maintenance & Diagnostics and Reporting and Charting.

PlantPRO - Global Installations by Industry

Global Installations by Industry

PlantPRO – Global Footprint

Global Footprint

Cost Matters

As with any product, quality comes at a price, and the PlantPRO solution is no different. PlantPRO is a specialised solution developed by engineers and software developers in conjunction with HVAC specialists with over 30 years of experience in the trade and the effort put in to develop the PlantPRO solution does translate into a high investment cost by Conserve It and a justified product price tag as a result. Despite its price, however, PlantPRO has been well received globally and as a testament to this has been deployed in over 200 locations worldwide and has received multiple industry awards and nominations. With its numerous built-in optimisation strategies, PlantPRO has achieved energy consumption and cost reduction of over 30% which generally covers the cost of the PlantPRO solution within a short payback period. Nevertheless, it cannot be denied that for anyone looking at acquiring the PlantPRO optimisation solution will be looking at a sizeable upfront investment, and this upfront cost can be a hindrance for cost-sensitive projects such as those with smaller footprints or projects in emerging markets. This is why Conserve It developed and released PlantPRO CORE4 – a low cost, high feature chiller plant control system that retains many of the good bits of the full PlantPRO solution.

PlantPro Core

PlantPRO CORE – Low Cost, High Feature

PlantPRO CORE incorporates the trusted and proven control algorithms of PlantPRO with a lightweight yet informative HTML5 user experience. As with PlantPRO, PlantPRO CORE includes the ability to control chillers, pumps and cooling towers in a very wide array of plant configurations. Users are able to monitor current plant operating conditions in PlantPRO core via a responsive HTML5 user interface on either desktop, mobile or tablet without the need for JAVA or similar supporting software. Included in PlantPRO CORE are the reliable charting and alarming features which allow end users to chart historical data effortlessly and be informed of any anomalies in their system.

PlantPRO CORE – Deployment

PlantPRO CORE has been developed on Tridium’s5 Niagara Framework and is deployed on Conserve it’s highly reliable edge IoT controller - the CI-5346 series hardware. The CI-534 provides 34 points of onboard IO and is expandable allowing for up to a grand total of 306 points of IO. The CI-534 controller supports all standard IP Protocols such as BACnet IP, Modbus TCP and LON over IP and as such facilitates integration with most BMS systems in the HVAC industry.

CI-534

PlantPRO CORE VS BMS/BAS

PlantPRO CORE is intended to operate in the same sphere as Building Management Systems (BMS) or Building Automation Systems (BAS) and inevitably the question that gets asked is why to opt for PlantPRO CORE when the BMS system can complete similar functions. Whilst this is a fair question, there are actually many factors that differentiate PlantPRO CORE over a typical BMS/BAS. These can be broken down into distinct categories as described in the table below.

Distinct Categories Table

PlantPRO CORE – Haystack Compatibility

As outlined before, PlantPRO CORE is fully Haystack compatible which means that all sensor data points within PlantPRO CORE are tagged using a Haystack tag. Tagging is a methodology for defining the meaning of smart device data or put simply it allows the vast amount of information coming from sensors into PlantPRO CORE to easily be identified using a standard naming convention defined by the haystack tags7 . These tags are also referred to as semantic tags or metadata tags and were developed and agreed upon by the Project Haystack8 community, where Conserve It is a founding member9 alongside companies such as SkyFoundry and Lynxpring and Board Members such as Intel and Siemens.

J2 InnovationsReferences

1. https://www.energy.gov.au/publications/hvac-factsheet-energy-breakdown

2. https://www.conserveit.com.au/

3. https://www.conserveit.com.au/plantpro

4. https://www.conserveit.com.au/plantprocore

5. https://www.tridium.com/

6. https://www.conserveit.com.au/edge

7. https://project-haystack.org/tag

8. https://project-haystack.org/

9. https://project-haystack.org/about



About the Author

Conserve It Product Support Manager, Pravesh Badjoonauth, graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering (Electrical) from RMIT University. He joined Conserve It in 2012 and has been promoted a number of times over the years before taking on his current role in July this year. Conserve It provides a wide range of products and services including monitoring, reporting and controlling air conditioning and boiler plants to minimise energy consumption. Today the company has diversified into complete HVACR plant management. Since joining Conserve It Badjoonauth has continued to hone and refine his skills at a rapid pace and today is a certified global product trainer, system design advisor, commissioning specialist and technical team leader.

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