Category Archives: Industry Educational Resources

Why the time is right for integration

By becoming a building systems integrator, engineers can ensure successful buildings—and a successful future.

Technology to monitor electrical systems from a computer-based graphical user interface, or front end, has existed for decades. But the cost to monitor these systems used to be high—often prohibitively so—while the features and benefits provided by the solution were often slim. Purchasing a single-vendor packaged solution was often required, creating lifecycle cost problems and owner frustrations. During the past decade, however, a number of factors have converged to remove the traditional barriers to integration.

Changes made by electrical product manufacturers include:

  • Lower cost of embedding microprocessors with communication ports into equipment
  • Lower cost and complexity of application development
  • Continual increase in microprocessor power
  • Open, standards-based communication protocols that reduce development costs and increase immediate market demand for individual products.

The combined result is that virtually any manufactured electrical product with a microprocessor can now be purchased with a standards-based open protocol network connection for a small additional cost and quite often includes a standard network connection. Furthermore, to differentiate their products, manufacturers are enhancing the application layer features provided by the software in their microprocessors. For example, it is nearly impossible to purchase a 3-phase power meter without a Modbus connection, and advanced features such as web-based user interfaces, onboard trend collection, alarm e-mails, and alternate protocols are available for small additional costs.

BAS system changes include:

  • The demand for standards-based open communication protocols has pushed all vendors to readily support them.
  • Modern BAS system architecture relies heavily on standard Ethernet networks and many BAS systems are implemented on owner Ethernet networks.
  • BAS software configuration/development environments now commonly provide tools to speed integration of third-party open protocols and non-HVAC equipment, such as meters and lighting controls.
  • Third-party enterprise applications that operate on top of a modern BAS are now more prevalent and can offer powerful specialty enhancements to a standard BAS.
  • As single-vendor proprietary BAS implementations become obsolete, BAS integration personnel have become better trained and have developed deep experience in integrating electrical systems.

The result of these changes means that any modern BAS can easily be expanded to integrate with electrical and mechanical systems. Vendors and integrators are integrating these systems regularly. The applications that are available can deliver powerful new value from additional data.

Owners and engineers may have been burned in the past by the cost, complexity, and disappointing results of electrical system integration attempts, and may now be reluctant to repeat a lesson learned the hard way. But progress by both electrical equipment and BAS systems has now passed the point where the cost/benefit is more strongly in favor of integration.

To learn more about integrating your building or facility contact an account manager at Setpoint Systems Corproation

Article By:

Anil Ahuja has 30 years of experience in building systems design, design management, construction management, commissioning, and operations and maintenance. He has project experience including commercial, institutional, educational, residential, industrial, and airports. He is a member of the Consulting-Specifying Engineer editorial advisory board.

Selecting chillers, chilled water systems

Selecting the right chiller is generally dictated by capacity, and there are many philosophies on the best way to control, operate, and calculate system operational costs.

Learning objectives

  1. Understand the variety of chiller options based on load requirements.
  2. Learn to calculate a simplified cost/ton estimate for estimating chiller initial investment costs.
  3. Know the appropriate calculations for determining chiller plant operational costs.

Continue reading

Intelligent Building Management Emerges As Big Opportunity

IT partners have identified IBMS as a big opportunity because of a strong trend to integrate once-separate systems like access control, fire safety, video surveillance, rodent control and incident response.

According to MarketsandMarkets, the Indian intelligent building management system (IBMS) market is expected to reach $1,891 million by 2016 at a CAGR of 25 percent from $621 million in 2011.

Many IT partners have identified IBMS solutions as a big opportunity because of a strong trend to integrate once-separate systems such as access control, fire safety, video surveillance, rodent control and incident response.

Says Manoj Bisht, CEO of the Delhi-based MK Infosystems, “Many corporate hubs in metro cities are going in for IBMS solutions. We are also seeing demand from segments like PSUs, hospitality and real-estate.” 

Partners who have ventured into IBMS says it’s a natural progression and is very profitable compared to the IT business. “While the IT systems integration business offers about 15 percent margins, IBMS solutions provide 25 percent margins or more,” reveals Moin Shaikh, Director of the Surat-based Innovative Telecom & Softwares.

He says that partners can leverage their systems integration skills to target existing large customers demanding centralized control to enter the IBMS space. “Partners need to gain skills to develop software interfaces to integrate various components of IBMS. It’s essential to add skills around electrical systems, instrumentation and process control. Also, it’s better to target customers before they execute their building plans.”

During the last fiscal, Innovative implemented eight IBMS projects which contributed about 20 percent to its Rs 115 crore revenue in FY2012-13. While most customers were from the gems & jewelry vertical, some were from manufacturing and infrastructure companies. “In the last two years large gems & jewelry exporters have been compelled to deploy IBMS solutions for Kimberley Process compliance,” explains Shaikh.

For MK Infosystems, the IBMS business is expected to grow manifold. “Our IBMS business has grown 100 percent YoY in the last fiscal. This fiscal too we expect 100 percent growth,” says Bisht.

MK Infosystems executed four large IBMS projects in the last fiscal including one for C-DOT and another for ONGC. “We have partnered with a large SI to do the installation and integration work for their IBMS projects,” informs Bisht. “We are also doing projects for our own customers. In the current fiscal we are working with the SI partner on a large IBMS and data center project for UIDAI in Bengaluru where the installation services revenue is Rs 2.5 crore. We are also implementing IBMS for Duet Hotels and a large real-estate player.”

 By: Amit Singh

 

Case Studies Illuminate Energy Management System Savings

Case Studies Illuminate Energy Management System Savings By: William Opalka- Energy Manager Today

Nissan

The business value of energy management systems and strategies is displayed in a series of case studies from the Global Superior Energy Performance (GSEP) Energy Management Working Group (EMWG).

The case studies consider the outcomes for several companies in Australia and the United States. In one case, the strategy revealed annual energy savings of about 10 percent. In another, the payback occurred in as little as four months.

The case study from the United States examines the costs and benefits of implementing ISO 50001 as part of the US Superior Energy Performance (SEP) program. The Nissan vehicle assembly plant in Smyrna, Tennessee, implemented an energy management system that conforms to ISO 50001 and improved the plant’s energy performance by about 7.2 percent to obtain SEP certification. The system will save the facility $938,000 annually, enabling Nissan to recoup its $331,000 investment in just four months.

The case studies are the first in a series being published by GSEP, an initiative of the Clean Energy Ministerial, to promote energy management as an opportunity for organizations to significantly reduce energy use while maintaining or boosting productivity.

The industrial and commercial sectors jointly account for approximately 60 percent of global energy use. The Australian companies with their case studies include:

AngloGold Ashanti Australia’s crushing and milling operations save an estimated 50 gigajoules of energy annually;

Billiton Worsley Alumina’s advanced process management system is expected to pay for itself in seven months;

Simplot Australia introduced a program that aims to reduce plant energy intensity by 25 percent over a 10-year period; and

the University of Queensland expanded its energy metering system, which will lead to improved efficiency of its chillers to reduce energy usage by 20 percent.

REI Saves 93% on Data Center Energy with Evaporative Cooling

REI Saves 93% on Data Center Energy with Evaporative Cooling By: Linda Hardesty- Energy Manager Today

The system reduces the need for mechanical cooling nearly year-round, or about 8,672 hours annually.

In addition to rooftop cooling technology, the retrofit included upgraded backup battery banks, removal of old power distribution units, installation of floor brush barriers and curtain systems to contain cold air in critical areas, upgraded software to the backup power systems, and rewiring subfloor cabling to optimize airflow under the raised floor.

Because of the efficiencies gained, REI also reconfigured its redundant power supply.

REI’s data center, which houses servers and backup systems for computers, software systems, REI.com and point of sale for its 132 stores in 33 states, is saving enough with the retrofit to power six REI stores – 2.2 million kWh each year. Improved efficiencies also mean improved business resiliency and stability in the event of a regional power outage, says the company.

The project was completed in partnership with CLEAResult, an energy efficiency firm based in Austin, Texas, and Puget Sound Energy.

The retrofit was recognized by the Association of Energy Engineers as the Region V Energy Project of the Year for 2013.

Across its business, REI limits increases to its energy use through renewable resources, efficiency projects and self-generation investments such as solar technology. Last year, with overall company growth of 7.4 percent, REI’s total energy use was essentially flat despite adding five new stores.

 

Building Code Revision Launches In California Toward Zero Net Energy Buildings

Building Code Revision Launches In California Toward Zero Net Energy Buildings Article By: Bill Roth at Triple Pundit

Starting in 2014, California is implementing a tsunami of building code revisions called Title Zero Net Energy Buildings24. These revised building codes will move California’s residential and commercial buildings toward Zero Net Energy (ZNE). In a ZNE building, the annual energy consumption is equal to its annual production of renewable energy. Under Title 24, all new residential construction is to be ZNE by 2020 with all new commercial buildings achieving this ZNE goal by 2030.

Title 24 moves building design toward “comprehensive building solutions.” This building design approach first focuses upon reducing energy consumption through the integration of smart and energy efficient technologies. The final design step after reducing the building’s energy consumption is to install onsite renewable energy generation like solar panels.

Existing California buildings heading toward ZNE, too

As these new codes are being analyzed by the construction and real estate industries, there is a growing realization that Title 24 will apply to existing buildings that implement threshold-sized remodeling or repurposing construction projects. In addition, California’s Governor Jerry Brown has authorized through an executive order that state agencies shall take measures towards achieving ZNE for 50 percent of the square footage of existing state-owned buildings by 2025.

Major shift in utility financial incentives

In coordination with these code revisions, the California Public Utility Commission (CPUC) is revising the financial incentives offered through utilities to encourage energy efficiency investments by building owners. The CPUC is reducing or eliminating past financial incentives for energy efficiency investments that are now mandated by Title 24. In 2014, a new set of financial incentives are being launched that support comprehensive building solutions.

Title 24′s increased focus on plug-in controls

Plug-in loads like computers, mobile phones, tablets, TVs, refrigerators, lamps, etc. have grown to represent at least one-third of the electricity consumption in a commercial or residential building. To address the growth in plug-in loads, Title 24 will require that all 120-volt receptacles be controlled. This will enable electrical loads like computers and printers to be truly turned off at the receptacle. Turning power off at the receptacle will reduce “phantom power consumption” where electronics continue to draw power even when their users have turned them “off.” These control systems will also enable smarter building operations that will allow for demand reduction actions during critical-peak electricity supply time periods.

Title 24′s lighting revolution

Title 24 will also accelerate deployment of more efficient lighting technologies and their integration into a smart building. Title 24 codifies the integration of electric lighting and natural lighting as a comprehensive (and lower energy consumption) building solution. For example, Title 24 mandates automated daylighting. Automated daylighting uses sensors to measure the amount of natural light available in a monitored space and then uses this data to adjust electric lighting to achieve a targeted cumulative illumination level. The obvious benefit is lower electric bills by reducing electric lighting use in spaces that are adequately lit by daylighting. The other key benefit is reduced greenhouse gas emissions if the building’s lighting is supplied from fossil-fueled generators.

Another significant Title 24 lighting change is the requirement that non-residential buildings over 10,000 sq. ft. have automated demand response lighting systems. These demand response lighting systems will receive signals from utility smart meters or similar communication sources when the electricity grid is reaching a critical peak supply period. Under Title 24, when the automated demand response lighting system receives a critical peak signal, it will initiate pre-programmed reductions of at least 15 percent.

Click here for a summary of key links to government agencies and more information on Title 24.

For trade professionals, this is a valuable link to itemized details on code revisions, related building lighting, building envelop, mechanical, process loads and solar.

California’s big bet on smart, clean and renewable technologies

Title 24 is yet another big bet being placed by California that smarter, cleaner and renewable technologies will be the business winners of the 21st century. Unlike most other states, California does offer reduced taxes and direct financial incentives to win the relocation or new construction of manufacturing or industrial plants. California’s economic development strategy uses the State’s massive buying power as the ninth largest economy in the world to create a market demand for technology innovations that have produced successes like Google, Twitter and Solar City.

For example, California’s A Million Solar Roofs program that offered financial incentives for the installation of rooftop solar systems has accelerated economies of scale that have driven solar panel prices below $1 per watt. The result is solar power prices that are increasingly competitive with grid-supplied electricity and, in most cases, will lower electric bills for consumers that install rooftop solar systems. California used this same strategy to generate sales for hybrid cars like the Prius and is using this strategy to drive the sales growth of electric-hybrid and electric cars including the Tesla manufactured in Fremont California.

Title 24 is California’s strategy for growing the economies of scale for energy efficiency technologies to drive down their price to consumers. If Title 24 does create economies of scale for smart and energy efficiency technologies, then California will have sparked a building technology revolution on the same scale as the revolutions now taking place in information technologies, solar power and hybrid/electric cars. The benefits to California will be lower electric bills for consumers and sales growth for the California companies that were on the cutting edge of Title 24′s mass market adoption of ZNE-enabling technologies.

Bill Roth is an economist and the Founder of Earth 2017. He coaches business owners and leaders on proven best practices in pricing, marketing and operations that make money and create a positive difference. His book, The Secret Green Sauce, profiles business case studies of pioneering best practices that are proven to win customers and grow product revenues. Follow him on Twitter: @earth2017

This summary draws from Bill Roth’s coaching program for trade professionals entitled “How To Grow Sales From Title 24 Code Revisions” that was conducted on November 5, 2013 at the San Diego Gas & ElectricEnergy Innovation Center

Top 10 Smart Building Myths

Top 10 Smart Building Myths Article By: Energy Manager Today Staff

Property owners may understand the benefits of smart buildings, but often have misconceptions that they are a lot more expensive, are the same as green buildings, or that only new buildings can become smart and industrial facilities can not be made smart buildings. Jones Lang LaSalle’s smart building experts debunk these myths in an effort to explain that their benefits far outweigh their costs and smart buildings are applicable across all categories of buildings.

They list the top 10 myths surrounding smart buildings and clarify what is ground reality.

Myth #10: Smart building technologies are expensive — Not true, says JLL, since owners typically recoup investments within one or two years by achieving energy savings and other operational efficiencies.

Myth #9: Smart buildings are only about energy — Besides energy savings, smart building management systems can also detect when a piece of equipment is close to failure and alert facilities personnel to fix the problem. This can help extend machinery life and lower facility staff, operations and replacement costs, says JLL.  The systems can prevent full-scale building system failures—which JLL points, may be potentially embarrassing for a Superbowl stadium host, but will be life-threatening in a hospital or laboratory.

Myth #8: Smart buildings and green buildings are the same thing —While they may overlap in terms of some features, they’re actually different. Smart buildings maximize energy efficiency and ensure air quality, while a complete sustainability program includes strategies beyond building automation systems.

Myth #7: Industrial facilities or laboratories can’t become smart buildings — They can be built or retrofitted to become highly automated and smart, says JLL.

Myth #6: Smart buildings can only be new buildings — In actuality, some of the smartest buildings in the world are not new, but have demonstrated a return on investment in smart technologies. JLL cites the example of the Empire State Building, which has exceeded projected energy savings for the second consecutive year following an extensive phased retrofit that began in 2009.

Myth #5: Smart building technologies are not interoperable — It may have been the case in the past, when building automation equipment and controls were designed as proprietary systems. But today, with affordable technologies like wireless sensors, it’s possible to gather data from different systems produced by any manufacturer, says JLL.

Myth #4: Smart systems don’t make a building more attractive to tenants — Not true, says JLL. Anything that improves energy efficiency, reduces occupancy cost and boosts productivity is valuable to tenants. Tenants and their advisers increasingly expect smart building features such as zoned heating, ventilation and air conditioning, sophisticated equipment maintenance alert systems and advanced security systems.

Myth #3: Without a municipal smart grid, a building can’t really be smart —  It’s true that smart buildings get better functionality when supported by advanced electrical grids, but even without a smart grid, owners and investors can draw a wide range of benefits from smart buildings and a management system that can monitor entire property portfolios, according to JLL.

Myth #2: Smart buildings are complicated to operate  — In contrast to this widely held perception, when paired with a smart building management system, a smart building is often easier to operate and maintain than a building that lacks automated systems, since it can integrate work-order management applications,  incorporate equipment repair and maintenance data into performance analytics and pinpoint equipment issues to a degree not humanly possible.

Myth #1: Smart buildings are a no-brainer — This is not a myth, but very true says JLL.  As affordable new technologies are adopted, tenants are beginning to expect smart building features and owners and investors are beginning to see a return on investment.

To achieve a low carbon economy, an optimal solution would be to combine smart buildings with a smart grid, says Energy Manager Today columnist Jim McHale, in a post earlier this month. Carbon emissions can be reduced by interfacing smart buildings with the present “smart grid” and providing demand response and distributed energy capability through a combination of advanced buildings energy management systems (BEMS) and enterprise energy management systems (EEM), says McHale.