February 2005

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Jack Mc GowanEMAIL INTERVIEW -  Jack Mc Gowan & Ken Sinclair

Jack Mc Gowan, President of Energy Control Inc

Mc Gowan is President of Energy Control Inc., an Energy Service Company and System Integrator.  He is the author of 5 books including “Direct Digital Control” on Fairmont Press.  The Association of Energy Engineers named him 1997 “International Energy Professional of the Year and Admitted him to the “International Energy Managers Hall of Fame” in 2003.  Mc Gowan is a Contributing Editor with www.automatedbuildings and sits on the Technical Advisory Boards of Energy User News and Engineered Systems.


BuilConn participants will learn how to position themselves for the opportunity to deliver technology that enables a more effective U.S. Electric System and integrates building consumption on a completely new level.

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Sinclair:  What was the most exciting development in 2004?

Mc Gowan:  Great question, my highlight for the year was being asked by the Department of Energy (DOE) to sit on the GridWise Architecture Council.

Sinclair:  Really, what is GridWise and how will it impact buildings in 2005?

Mc Gowan:  GridWise is a national effort under the DOE Office of Electricity Transmission and Distribution (DOE OETD) and it will impact buildings on a massive scale. The driver for this effort was a major east coast electric blackout on August 14, 2003. The blackout has motivated extensive discussion in the media and on Capital Hill about the need for electricity reliability. GridWise is an effort to respond to that need by creating a new Internet-based infrastructure, but it has implications that go far beyond reliability. I believe it will be a tremendous catalyst for integration and interoperability for energy systems in buildings. Widespread focus on energy issues can do more than address reliability it can also spur implementation of systems that could create the kind of savings that were achieved in the 1970’s and 1980’s. GridWise holds just that type of potential but more, just as the Internet has had an unprecedented impact on home and work life, GridWise could transform the energy and buildings business, as we know it today.

Sinclair:  Will we hear more about this at BuilConn?

Mc Gowan:  Absolutely, BuilConn is the premier event dealing with integration and interoperability, and is the ideal place to talk about GridWise. This year BuilConn will include a Keynote from one of the national leaders of this effort from Pacific Northwest National Labs. The Labs have taken the lead and acted on behalf of DOE to select a team of national experts for the GridWise Architecture Council. I am a member of this council and will be chairing a full track of panels addressing Energy Distribution and Utility / Building Convergence. These discussions will define “GridWise” as the future of energy and buildings and outline how integration of building systems will converge with the national electricity system architecture. This presents an Enterprise integration opportunity for building automation, information technology, networking and the Internet. BuilConn participants will learn how to position themselves for the opportunity to deliver technology that enables a more effective U.S. Electric System and integrates building consumption on a completely new level.

Sinclair:  How will this really impact the Integration business?

[an error occurred while processing this directive] Mc Gowan:  It could be the most significant market driver for Integration of the next decade. GridWise broadens the topic of integration from the building level to the enterprise and ultimately the Grid. At any point in time today the U.S. only has demand for about 75% of its generating capacity, and yet utilities have near-term plans to spend $450 billion building new power plants. Clearly some new power plants are necessary to address local electric transmission and distribution, but another option is to use smart building systems to reduce demand. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory discussed such a project at last year's XML Symposium. Automated demand response was achieved by sending XML-based electric price signals to building servers and control systems. Systems at each site implemented a range of strategies like unloading chillers and enabling day lighting to reduce electrical demand. Strategies executed when an Internet-based price signal message was received were so successful that up to 50 KW in demand was shed at each building during test periods. GridWise envisions that this type of functionality is just the beginning of an integrated, intelligent Grid, and System Integrators are in the best position to deliver the necessary technology.

Sinclair:  Do you think Integrators will go after this opportunity in 2005?

Mc Gowan:  I do, and in fact my company hopes to use our Buildy Award winning Summit building as a test bed for GridWise. At Summit we hope to use GridWise to move our local electricity Grid into the information age. Information technologies and newly created market efficiencies can optimize the Grid, minimize the need for new infrastructure locally, lower costs and make the system more secure. I believe that combining Buildy quality technology with a smart grid will create a completely new Web-based industry in the buildings space. In fact I predict that this technology will transform every aspect of the energy and buildings industry, and pave the way for facilities that are far more intelligent than anyone could have imagined possible.

Interested in learning more about this track at BuilConn?  Click here.


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