Tag Archives: BAS

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.

Energy Savings: the Data Are in the Details

Energy managers know that every commercial building is complex. The upside to that complexity is that many of these buildings offer large energy efficiency potential. Through identifying efficiency opportunities in thousands of commercial buildings to-date, we have confirmed a simple premise. A commercial building’s energy use data set is like a fingerprint: no two are exactly alike.

With that in mind, energy managers need a smart strategy for understanding and capturing efficiency opportunities. Here are a few tips:

1)     Don’t just look across the road – A recent slew of energy management tools suggest that energy managers can design energy efficiency strategies based on comparisons to buildings with a similar size and use-profile. Don’t be tempted to compare your efficiency achievements with building operators overseeing other properties.

Our research has shown that ‘like-building’ hypothesis may prove true for the residential sector or the smallest commercial buildings such as pizza shops. But for most of the commercial sector, even very similar buildings can have vastly different energy-use profiles, and it’s important to tailor your strategy accordingly.  Take for example the two buildings highlighted in the infographic below, both of which operate near Chicago with similar sizes, sources of heating/power, assets, and Energy Use Intensity. Their strong resemblance on the surface disappears with a deeper dive into the building’s true energy usage patterns.

While a “like-building” analysis using benchmarks or past databases might suggest that these buildings have similar opportunities, in fact, Building #1 has nearly twice the annual savings potential as Building #2.  It also has more operationally-focused energy conservation opportunities coming from lighting controls, HVAC/plug controls and cooling set points. In contrast, Building #2 would benefit most from a lighting retrofit, making its energy reduction opportunity more about asset improvements than about operational changes.

Looking even deeper, an even larger difference is noticed in how energy is used throughout the building. Cooling usage dominates Building #2 (48% vs. 18%), while Building #1 has more usage going to lighting and plug loads. These breakdowns are part of what drives the differences in recommendations.  It’s worth noting that these unique building results came from advanced analytics applied to their meter data, leading us to the next tip…

Every Building Has Its Own Story To Tell

If all buildings have their own story to tell, how can you effectively approach each and every one?

2)     Real data doesn’t lie – Greater availability of high frequency consumption data coming from commercial building utility meters, coupled with recent advancements in data analytics provides a completely new way to understand energy performance. This data is just as available as square footage and EUI, but much, much richer.  Using consumption data as a starting point for understanding your usage gets you to the source of energy (in)efficiencies. It is not uncommon for data analytics to uncover, for example, a simultaneous heating and cooling issue that a building operator is adamant doesn’t exist. That is, until he goes and double checks the air conditioning systems.  You can’t hide from what the data reveals.  Although it may be uncomfortable to see the truth,data and advanced analytics provide great insights into ways to save energy and money in your building.

3)     Go deep and be objective – not wide and subjective. Many energy efficiency initiatives start with an audit, so the quality of information gained from that step is critical. Sending in a team of people with hard hats and clipboards to record the minutiae of energy use, from how often the mechanical equipment is shut down to how many times the building automation system is manually overridden, may be the first choice. However, in some situations, it may not be the best. Besides being an expensive and time-consuming endeavor, those kinds of audits may be led by individuals with differing experience, motivation, and techniques.  Numerous studies have shown that onsite audits yield highly inconsistent results, mostly because it’s hard to make consistent auditors.

Think about audit partners that can strive for objective consistency each and every time they analyze a building. There are firms that can provide that level of deep and specific building detail without requiring all those boots on the ground. An even better approach may be to perform the analytics first and then provide those results to the energy audit team, therefore enhancing the overall process.

4)     Put your utilities on speed dial – It is becoming common knowledge that many utility companies have significant monetary incentives for increasing building energy efficiency. So, it’s time to take full advantage. Every commercial energy manager should know who runs the efficiency programs within their utility providers, and should be in regular touch to better understand their buildings’ energy use profiles and savings opportunities, and available incentives.

Like all relationships, however, the energy manager-utility relationship is a two-way street. The better data and insight that utilities have on your energy usage, the better job they can do to help you realize savings. As the infographic above contends, every commercial building in a utility’s portfolio is different, and you should look to partner with your utility to identify the right kinds of operational and asset-based cost savings opportunities.

5)     Go public. Making your buildings’ energy performance part of everyone’s business is, well, good business. Providing energy audit results to your constituents – from tenants’ facility personnel to your preferred energy contractors to your own CFO – is crucial in ensuring that efficiency projects don’t fall by the wayside.

Why is transparency so important? Because it enables you to demonstrate not just the hows of energy efficiency (e.g., turning off the lights at 6:00 p.m. will save 10,000 kWh of energy) but also thewhys (e.g., turning off the lights at 6:00 p.m. saved the company $1,500 in energy costs last month, enabling us to purchase better equipment for our staff or our tenants). Most important, making energy use and savings data available helps make a stronger business case for energy efficiency projects.

Every building has its own story to tell, and the plotline is in the detail revealed through analytics. Data that lives deep within the lighting, power, HVAC and water systems in every building should be mined, analyzed and presented in a way that shows the value that energy efficiency projects can unlock. By looking at each building’s unique energy fingerprint, you can find hidden opportunities for efficiency and cost savings without always having to putting on a hardhat.

Article By: Swapnil Shah is CEO of FirstFuel.

How Facility Managers Can Integrate Systems In Existing Buildings

How Facility Managers Can Integrate Systems In Existing Buildings by: Jim Sinopoli

When it comes to the idea of integrating systems in existing buildings, facility managers may find themselves torn. On the one hand, there are solid, bottom-line reasons to integrate systems in existing buildings. On the other, there is a range of problems that don’t exist in new construction, from legacy systems to missing information. But those problems don’t mean that facility managers should forget about integration in existing buildings. Good planning can go a long way to getting around those challenges.

It’s important to keep in mind that systems integration can deliver tangible benefits in existing buildings. For example, by functionally linking two systems, facility managers can obtain system capabilities that neither system could do by itself. The best example of this process is the integration that takes place with the fire alarm system. The fire alarm triggers the HVAC system to control smoke and ventilation, the access control system to provide egress for occupant evacuation, the elevator system to either bring the cabs to the bottom floor or, depending on the height of the building, provide elevators for evacuation in a high-rise. Without the automated systems’ integration, each of these components would have to be separately and manually adjusted. The integration provides functionality that no one system can, does so automatically, and the facility and its occupants benefit. The theory is, essentially, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Another reason to integrate systems is to combine the system data. The facility manager isn’t limited to simply looking at data from one building system; rather, a database with multiple systems is created so holistic data can be analyzed and correlated, and useful building metrics can be developed that will lead to enhanced operations. This type of unified database is generally used in a truly integrated building management system. Bringing all the facility data into a unified database architecture and putting into practice standard methodologies and processes to manage the data has multiple benefits. Building data are more widely available, sharable, and accessible. There’s also improvements in archiving, preservation, and retention of data, as well as improved integrity of the data. From a cost basis, a single database considerably reduces the cost and support for synchronizing separate databases. It provides a common platform for data mining, data exchange, and enterprise data access.

Today’s systems integration includes all of the control systems in a building, but also encompasses facility management systems and business systems, and eventually will extend to utility grids.

Integration in Existing Buildings

For new construction systems, integration is addressed in MasterFormat Division 25, created in 2004, with the resulting product being construction documents for integrated automation similar to specifications and drawings from other design disciplines.

While new construction may have higher visibility, the fact is that there are many more existing buildings than new construction projects, and there is no reason why existing properties can’t benefit from systems integration. The financial impact of improving the performance of an existing building and adding appropriate technology amenities can be compelling. The investment in an existing building is returned in reduced operating and energy costs, lower cost for tenant improvements, higher rents, higher asset valuation, and a positive impact on capital planning.

Existing buildings come with baggage, however. They already have building systems installed. It’s likely that older buildings may have automation systems using proprietary or legacy network protocols which will need to be migrated to open protocols. Typically this means the use of gateways or some middleware to translate protocols.

There are other challenges. Sometimes the documentation on the building systems — such as the original as-built drawings — may be unavailable. Cable pathways, if needed, may be difficult to find. And there may be organizational issues involved with coordinating facility management and IT.

ENR Mountain States 2013 Best Projects Winners

Please join us in congratulating a few of our customers for being highlighted or winning “Best Projects in the Mountain States Award!”

  • NREL Controllable Grid Interface, Jefferson County, Colorado
  • Energy Systems Integration Facility, Golden, Colorado
  • Southeast Wyoming Welcome Center, Cheyenne, Wyoming
  • Crestone Charter School, Crestone, Colorado
  • Metropolitan State University of Denver Hotel and Hospitality Learning Center, Denver, Colorado

ENR Mountain States 2013 Best Projects Winners By: Mark Shaw

ENR Mountain States is pleased to announce the winners of its 2013 Best Projects competition in the region, which includes Utah, Idaho, Montana, Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota.

A panel of eight judges from all areas of the industry—architects, GCs and engineers—selected winners in each of categories. The judges also selected a number of merit winners and awarded ties in some categories where they thought the projects were of similar quality.

This is the 13th year producing these awards, which are detailed below. In addition to the awards listed, ENR will present safety awards to several deserving projects, and one project in each area (Intermountain and Colorado/Plain States) will win top honors as the Best Overall, along with some judges’ special recognitions. The safety winners will be announced soon, but the special judges awards will not be named until the morning of the awards banquets.

The awards are split into two areas (Intermountain and Colorado), to correspond with their respective awards events, and arranged by category below. Scroll down to see both lists. Projects will be covered in more detail in the October issue of ENR Mountain States and honored at two breakfast awards events: Salt Lake City on Oct. 29 and Denver on Oct. 30.

If you have questions, please e-mail (Mark Shaw, Editor-in-Chief, ENR Mountain States) at mark.shaw@mhfi.com.

Congratulations to all of the winners!

Intermountain Winners
(Utah, Idaho and Montana)

Airports/Transit

Winner: Utah Transit Authority Airport TRAX Extension, Salt Lake City

Cultural/Worship

Winner: Boise LDS Temple Renovation, Boise
Merit: Utah Field House of Natural History State Park Museum, Vernal, Utah

Energy/Industrial

Winner: FCF Rebuild, Salt Lake City
Merit: High Mesa Wind Farm, Twin Falls, Idaho

Government/Public Building

Winner: Salt Lake City Public Safety Building, Salt Lake City

Health Care

Winner: HCA MountainStar Lone Peak Hospital, Draper, Utah
Merit (tie): Utah State Veterans Nursing Homes, Payson and Ivins, Utah
Merit (tie): Salt Lake Clinic, Salt Lake City

Higher Education/Research

Winner: Tooele Applied Technology College, Toole, Utah
Merit (tie): University of Utah L.S. Skaggs Pharmacy Research Institute, Salt Lake City
Merit (tie): University of Utah Spencer Fox Eccles Business Building, Salt Lake City

Highways/Bridges

Winner (tie): U.S. 95 Sand Creek Byway, Sandpoint, Idaho
Winner (tie): Mountain View Corridor, Salt Lake County
Winner (tie): I-15 Corridor Expansion (I-15 CORE), Utah County
Merit (tie): SR-14 Landslide Emergency Repair, CM/GC Services,
Cedar Canyon, Utah
Merit (tie): Carbon and Duchesne Counties Nine Mile Canyon Road Reconstruction, Utah

Interiors/Tenant Improvement

Winner: MRM // McCann, Salt Lake City
Merit: Clearlink Call Center, Winner Floor, Orem, Utah

K-12 Education

Winner: Granger High School, West Valley City, Utah

Manufacturing

Winner: Swire Coca-Cola USA Distribution Center, Draper, Utah

Office/Retail/Mixed-Use

Winner: Adobe Corporate Campus, Lehi, Utah
Merit (tie): Deseret Book, Rexburg, Idaho
Merit (tie): eBay Global Customer Service Center, Draper, Utah

Renovation/Restoration

Winner: Ogden High School Restoration, Ogden, Utah
Merit (tie): Wheeler Office Renovation, Salt Lake City
Merit (tie): Tribune Building Renovation, Salt Lake City

Residential/Hospitality

Winner: The Village at South Campus, Provo, Utah
Merit (tie): Weber State University Residential Life Complex, Ogden, Utah
Merit (tie): Westminster on the Draw Student Housing, Salt Lake City

Small Project (Under $10 million)

Winner: 10 Barrel Brewing Co., Boise
Merit: Uintah County Library, Vernal, Utah

Specialty Contracting

Winner: Rocket Express Car Wash, Midvale, Utah
Merit: Adobe Omniture Phase 1 LEED, Lehi, Utah

Sports/Entertainment

Winner: Provo Recreation Center, Provo, Utah
Merit: Megaplex Theatres at Valley Fair Mall, West Valley, Utah

Water/Environment

Winner (tie): Orange Street Sewer Trunk Line Rehabilitation, Salt Lake City
Winner (tie): Jordan Basin Water Reclamation Facility, Riverton, Utah
Merit (tie): Streamside Tailings Operable Unit – Silver Bow Creek
Subarea 3 Remedial Action, Butte, Mont.
Merit (tie): Jack Waite Mine Superfund Site Remediation, Bunker Hill, Idaho
Colorado/Wyoming/Kansas Winners

Cultural/Worship

Winner: Mesa Verde National Park Visitor and Research Center, Mesa Verde, Colo.

Energy/Industrial

Winner: NREL Controllable Grid Interface, Jefferson County, Colo.

Government/Public Building

Winner: Ralph L. Carr Colorado Judicial Center, Denver
Merit: Energy Systems Integration Facility, Golden, Colo.

Green Project

Winner: Windsor Readiness Center, Windsor, Colo.
Merit (tie): Southeast Wyoming Welcome Center, Cheyenne
Merit (tie): Galileo’s Pavilion, Overland Park, Kan.

Health Care

Winner (tie): Rangely District Hospital Replacement Hospital, Rangely Colo.
Winner (tie): University of Colorado Hospital —
New Inpatient Tower and Critical Care Wing Expansion, Aurora, Colo.
Merit (tie): Children’s Hospital East Tower Addition, Aurora, Colo.
Merit (tie): Castle Rock Adventist Hospital, Castle Rock, Colo.

Highways/Bridges

Winner: I-70 & Central Park Boulevard Interchange, Denver

Interiors/Tenant Improvement

Winner: Turner Construction Offices, Denver

K-12 Education

Winner (tie): Manhattan High School West Campus & Bishop Stadium,
Manhattan, Kan.
Winner (tie): Garden City High School, Garden City, Kan.
Merit: Crestone Charter School, Crestone, Colo.

Office/Retail/Mixed-Use

Winner: Trimble Rockies Campus, Westminster, Colo.
Merit: Suncor Energy USA Denver Regional Headquarters, Commerce City, Colo.

Renovation/Restoration

Winner: Wayne N. Aspinall Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse,
Grand Junction, Colo.
Merit (tie): Colorado State University Parmelee Hall Revitalization, Fort Collins, Colo.
Merit (tie): Hotel Jerome, Aspen, Colo.

Residential/Hospitality

Winner: Metropolitan State University of Denver Hotel and Hospitality Learning Center, Denver

Small Project (Under $10 million)

Winner: Drive at TAXI, Denver
Merit: Elk Camp Restaurant, Snowmass, Colo.

Water/Environment

Winner (tie): Horsethief Canyon Native Fish Facility, Fruita, Colo.
Winner (tie): Southern Delivery System South Pipeline 2, Pueblo County, Colo.

Delta Controls – ORCAview Tip – Auto-Logoff

The Auto-logoff period is the amount of time that ORCAview will sit idle before automatically logging off of the network. You can disable this feature by setting the period to 0 on the “Login” tab of your System User Access (SUA) Object.

Orca 2

  • To get there, go to the “Tools” menu, select “Setup”, and then “Current User…”
  • Click on the “Login” tab, and you’ll see something like the picture on the right.
  • The Auto-logoff period can be changed at the bottom.

Delta Controls – ORCAview Tip – Filter Box

The filter box at the top of the Navigator window can be used to quickly narrow down the list of displayed points to exactly what you’re looking for.

For example, typing bi ai>50 in the filter box will display all Binary Inputs and any Analog Inputs which have a value greater than 50.  Whatever filter you type here will remain in place as you move between controllers.  To clear the filter, highlight it, then press “delete” and “enter” on your keyboard.

How Facility Managers Can Integrate Systems In Existing Buildings

How Facility Managers Can Integrate Systems In Existing Buildings: By Jim Sinopoli

When it comes to the idea of integrating systems in existing buildings, facility managers may find themselves torn. On the one hand, there are solid, bottom-line reasons to integrate systems in existing buildings. On the other, there is a range of problems that don’t exist in new construction, from legacy systems to missing information. But those problems don’t mean that facility managers should forget about integration in existing buildings. Good planning can go a long way to getting around those challenges.

It’s important to keep in mind that systems integration can deliver tangible benefits in existing buildings. For example, by functionally linking two systems, facility managers can obtain system capabilities that neither system could do by itself. The best example of this process is the integration that takes place with the fire alarm system. The fire alarm triggers the HVAC system to control smoke and ventilation, the access control system to provide egress for occupant evacuation, the elevator system to either bring the cabs to the bottom floor or, depending on the height of the building, provide elevators for evacuation in a high-rise. Without the automated systems’ integration, each of these components would have to be separately and manually adjusted. The integration provides functionality that no one system can, does so automatically, and the facility and its occupants benefit. The theory is, essentially, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Another reason to integrate systems is to combine the system data. The facility manager isn’t limited to simply looking at data from one building system; rather, a database with multiple systems is created so holistic data can be analyzed and correlated, and useful building metrics can be developed that will lead to enhanced operations. This type of unified database is generally used in a truly integrated building management system. Bringing all the facility data into a unified database architecture and putting into practice standard methodologies and processes to manage the data has multiple benefits. Building data are more widely available, sharable, and accessible. There’s also improvements in archiving, preservation, and retention of data, as well as improved integrity of the data. From a cost basis, a single database considerably reduces the cost and support for synchronizing separate databases. It provides a common platform for data mining, data exchange, and enterprise data access.

Today’s systems integration includes all of the control systems in a building, but also encompasses facility management systems and business systems, and eventually will extend to utility grids.

Integration in Existing Buildings

For new construction systems, integration is addressed in MasterFormat Division 25, created in 2004, with the resulting product being construction documents for integrated automation similar to specifications and drawings from other design disciplines.

While new construction may have higher visibility, the fact is that there are many more existing buildings than new construction projects, and there is no reason why existing properties can’t benefit from systems integration. The financial impact of improving the performance of an existing building and adding appropriate technology amenities can be compelling. The investment in an existing building is returned in reduced operating and energy costs, lower cost for tenant improvements, higher rents, higher asset valuation, and a positive impact on capital planning.

Existing buildings come with baggage, however. They already have building systems installed. It’s likely that older buildings may have automation systems using proprietary or legacy network protocols which will need to be migrated to open protocols. Typically this means the use of gateways or some middleware to translate protocols.

There are other challenges. Sometimes the documentation on the building systems — such as the original as-built drawings — may be unavailable. Cable pathways, if needed, may be difficult to find. And there may be organizational issues involved with coordinating facility management and IT.