November 2009

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David Bunzel EMAIL INTERVIEW - David Bunzel & Ken Sinclair

David Bunzel is the founder of the Energy Information Standards Alliance (EISA). EISA's objective is to develop a common exchange framework for buildings to facilitate communication of common energy data. David has been an industry analyst in the data storage market for more than 25 years. He has led standards efforts in the optical storage and physical security industries. David is the founder and managing director of Santa Clara Consulting Group and had previous management positions with Compuvision, FMC Corporation, and Hormel Foods. He has a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an MBA from Santa Clara University.

Energy Information Standards Alliance (EISA)

EISA is being developed for peer-to-peer needs of autonomous building systems and appliances.

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Sinclair:  What is the purpose of EISA?

Bunzel:  EISA was conceived because of the need for communication of energy load information across networks. The founding members recognized that energy is emerging as one of the most important variable costs in buildings and enterprises. Optimization of energy use is dependant on specific information that can be provided relating to systems within an enterprise and not just at the building level.

Sinclair:  What type of companies are involved?

Bunzel: Some of the larger companies involved in network products are involved because they have perspective in how data needs to be standardized in order to be efficiently used across the enterprise. Companies involved with building automation are involved because they recognize the value of being able to provide standards to allow better management of energy. The companies who work with data center management and make products in areas like HVAC, lighting, and appliances understand that they need to be involved in standards that provide their customers energy saving options.

Sinclair:  How does the EISA plan fit into the Smart Grid program?

Bunzel: The Smart Grid is administered by NIST. There is a growing consensus within NIST and some of the Smart Grid participants that there are two areas that need to be considered when looking at buildings: managed energy and collaborative energy. Managed is an area where the utilities may be well suited in order to manage loads on the grid. Collaborative energy can be best managed by enterprises that can make real-time decisions that match the needs of their operations. EISA is positioned to support the collaborative energy part of the Smart Grid initiative and have already received acknowledgement by some of the people at NIST of the value in pursuing this objective.

Sinclair:  How is EISA different than ZigBee?

Bunzel: ZigBee is both a communications network and an application platform. We are working on something quite different from the ZigBee Standard Energy Profiles (SEP). SEP was developed to support the direct control needs of the utilities to support managed energy models of demand response. While SEP is hierarchical, with the utility at the top of the hierarchy, EISA is being developed for peer-to-peer needs of autonomous building systems and appliances. These systems need to share live energy usage information with each other. In EISA, the meter is just another peer sharing the same information in the same format; the meter just happens to present aggregated energy information for the building, including a load that is not EISA compliant.

EISA protocols also share expected energy use. This leads to what we call autonomous load shaping, which is going to be quite important. Of course, there may be use cases where members choose to use ZigBee for their communications.

contemporary Sinclair:  You make reference to Autonomous Load Shaping. Why is this important?

Bunzel: Autonomous load shaping describes the ability of systems in a building to interact to create a more valuable load shape. Systems will be able to back off when they see another system using a lot of energy, say when a motor starts. This means that while each system uses energy intermittently, a series of peaks and valleys, no two systems will have peaks at the same time. Peaks and valleys will overlap creating a smoother, more predictable load shape. We think that such a load will be more valuable to the utilities. We also think that such a load will be easier to control for demand management purposes.

What is really interesting is thinking about load shaping in a distributed energy environment. Load shaping prepares a building to live within its local budget, whether that budget is based upon energy storage or upon site-based generation.

Sinclair:  Will EISA coordinate activities with standards groups like OASIS?

Bunzel:  For now, we just want to get the work done quickly. It probably makes sense for the results to end up in one of the traditional Standards Development Organizations, but we will make this decision when we determine this is important to advancing and proliferating the specifications.

We have had some conversations with OASIS. Several of our members have experience with oBIX, so alignment with that may make sense. But for now, though, it is really too early to judge.


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