July 2014

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Open Standards Ease the Way for Smart Buildings

The open standard allows the manager to have bargaining power and the ability to mix and match their preferred fixtures with the wireless control network that meets their needs.

Mandeep Khera
Mandeep Khera,
VP Marketing and Channels,
Daintree Networks

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Organizations are increasingly realizing that energy and sustainability initiatives are integrated with a building’s performance.  It’s estimated that buildings currently consume 41% of all energy worldwide and produce 21% of the world’s carbon emissions. Moreover, energy consumption represents 32% of an individual building’s total lifecycle cost.

The reality is that simple software and wireless technology can help save 70 percent or more in building energy costs AND eliminate millions of metric tons in carbon emissions. Building controls and energy management is also the most critical piece of the Enterprise Internet of Things (E-IoT). So, using the right open standards-driven technology, not only can organizations start saving energy, they can also get a jump start on their E-IoT initiatives to manage all machine-to-machine (M2M) communications.

Using technology to manage energy in buildings can also provide operational efficiencies that help reduce business risk through fault detection and proactive maintenance. Moreover, using open standards-driven software and networked wireless systems makes it easier than ever to control and manage most energy devices in a building.

So, how does the owner or manager of an existing facility go about assessing what they need in order to put an automated energy control system in place? The first step is to conduct an audit of the current infrastructure. This includes looking at the lighting, HVAC, fans, and other energy-consuming devices that are already in place.

The next step is to define the goals for having an energy control and management system in place, such as savings in utility bills, operational efficiencies, occupant comfort, code compliance, and then decide whether to start with just lighting control or other energy measures should be addressed at the same time.  The process for a new construction or renovation is slightly different in that energy controls can be designed at the time of the overall project design. But, other issues relating to types of energy measures, type of technology to select, budgeting, and others are similar to a retrofit project.

Once the goals for the project are established – energy usage reduction, lower energy bills, operational efficiencies, occupant comfort, and others – it’s important to put in place a team responsible for moving the project forward. A clear budget needs to be established and approved by the management team, and the project manager must manage it closely, as such projects typically involve upfront investment, with a payback period of one to three years.  Selecting a wireless system makes installation and commissioning much easier than with a wired system. Similarly some systems are lighting-centric only, while others can provide functionality beyond lighting, including thermostat, plug-load and carbon dioxide (CO2) sensors.

Open standards have greatly facilitated integrating devices from different vendors into a building’s overall energy scheme. Eliminating wiring and using open standards such as ZigBee allows broader and more granular control, reduces costs, simplifies commissioning, and extends the benefits of control to retrofits and other new markets.

Leading companies are now embedding wireless modules into LED drivers and fixtures. This reduces both manufacturing and installation costs.  As a result, LED lighting can have wireless control capabilities right out of the box. And using an open-standard for the wireless connection provides building owners and managers leverage when negotiating price compared to single-company proprietary systems. The open standard allows the manager to have bargaining power and the ability to mix and match their preferred fixtures with the wireless control network that meets their needs.

Proprietary systems for managing and monitoring lighting, thermostats, plug loads and other energy-related functions are technologically isolated from each other, using separate, non-interoperable networks and user interfaces. This process is not only costly and complex, but sometimes difficult to accomplish at all. Moreover, customers using a single-source supplier cannot easily incorporate software technology and devices from other companies, and find themselves locked in to a single company’s system – one that can be very difficult to install, commission, and maintain over time.

Open-standards-based interoperability, on the other hand, gives customers a choice of devices and at the same time drives competition between manufacturers to keep costs down, and provides the ability to manage lights, sensors, thermostats, and plug loads that all come from different vendors.

Daintree ControlScope™ is an open standards-driven architecture that provides a simple, easy-to-use technology for controlling lighting, thermostats, plug-loads, fans and many more functions with data analytics. Commercial and industrial facilities that use ControlScope have realized considerable energy savings, which improve over the life of the building. United Stationers, a wholesale business-products distributor, achieved monthly lighting savings of 94 percent after it installed an intelligent lighting system consisting of LED fixtures and Daintree ControlScope in the office and break rooms at its Sacramento, Calif., site.

On the opposite coast, Mack Technologies, a leading provider of complex electronic manufacturing services, implemented ControlScope and LED fixtures in retrofitting its 108,000-square-foot Westford, Mass., manufacturing facility. As the largest retrofit deployment to date of LED lighting and lighting control in any New England manufacturing space, this initiative not only saved Mack Technologies over $50,000, or 40 percent, of its annual energy costs, but Mack also received $130,000 in federal and state tax credits and incentives from the utility supplier.

[an error occurred while processing this directive] As these examples indicate, Daintree’s ControlScope solution helps keep building energy management smart and simple by enabling significant energy savings and incentives.  Further benefits include occupant comfort and productivity – good lighting can increase productivity by nearly 10 percent, while employees make 44 percent more mistakes in too-cold office environments – and reduced business risk. Retail and food service chains depend on outdoor signage and lighting to denote when stores are open or closed. When signs and lights unexpectedly go out, an otherwise open restaurant may look closed to potential customers, leading to loss of revenue.

Daintree Networks is helping commercial facilities achieve their energy usage goals by offering a simple solution that serves as the foundation for creating a smart-building roadmap that can achieve dramatic savings for building energy management and conservation, while ensuring true vendor-independence, and providing the foundation for Enterprise Internet of Things. 

About the Author

Mandeep Khera joined Daintree’s management team in late 2013. Khera brings to his role as VP of marketing and channels more than two decades of experience in marketing and sales functions in enterprise software, software-as-a-service/cloud, and managed services across various industries, including Big Data analytics, security, log management, and mobile application development.


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