Tag Archives: Building Automation Systems

Building Operators are Crucial to Energy Advancements

Energy ManageAccording to a study of energy-use behavior that focused on medium and large office buildings in California, reducing energy use in buildings requires more than isolated changes to technologies or individual behaviors.

The study, Behavioral Strategies to Bridge the Gap Between Potential and Actual Savings in Commercial Buildings, conducted by the California Air Resources Board and the University of California Davis, recommends that future building energy use research include building operators, who are in an ideal position to help shape and vet solutions.

The California researchers say it’s important to recognize the building as a social system and use real buildings and users to experiment with solutions. The researchers stress the role of building operators and recommend training and certification for the profession, with curricula including energy use and energy efficiency.

The study recommends: “Recognize and promote building operations as a green job. Building operators can have a major effect on the indoor environment and indoor air quality as well as on building energy use and sustainability. These potential contributions to environmental sustainability can help make building operations an attractive career.”

Source: Energy Manager Today

US Building Automation Market Primed for Growth

Could Help Commercial Structures Cope with Rising Energy Costs
The U.S. market for building automation equipment is set to grow by more than 40 percent within a five-year period ending in 2017, spurred by the need in commercial buildings for more efficient energy consumption, according to a new report from IHS Inc. (NYSE: IHS).

With electricity rates on the rise, driven by increasing wholesale prices and investments in renewable sources of energy, demand for lower energy consumption in buildings is bound to occur, the findings in the report entitled “Building Automation Equipment” suggest.

All told, the U.S. building automation systems market will reach a projected $1.65 billion by year-end, up 5 percent from $1.57 billion in 2012. Solid growth ranging from 7 to 9 percent will follow in the next four years, with industry revenue forecast to hit $2.24 billion by 2017, equivalent to a 43 percent increase from 2012, as shown in the below figure.

The spiraling cost of electricity is a major factor in the operational efficiency of a commercial building structure, which explains why building automation systems could play an important role. Prices for U.S. retail electric power will increase by 8 percent from 2012 to 2020, IHS CERA forecasts, with a sizable proportion of the increase in price related to the investments being made by the market in renewable energy.

A similar story is unfolding in Germany, where the Energiewende policy is promoting the move away from nuclear and fossil-fuel power generation and toward renewable sources of energy. Such investments are driving up the cost of energy overall and adding pressure to the already stretched operational budgets of many commercial and government organizations.

“With budgets cut and many large companies struggling to grow at more than 5 percent on an annual basis, the higher cost of electricity could prove to be a major headache for commercial and government building owners,” said Sam Grinter, market analyst for the Building Technologies group at IHS.
The solution to rising energy prices

In particular, buildings consume huge quantities of energy through heating, ventilation and cooling, Grinter noted. “Making buildings as efficient as possible is crucial to driving down energy consumption. And one way to increase energy efficiency is to install an integrated building automation system,” Grinter noted.

Building automation systems centrally manage the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems of a structure. Compared to more basic mechanisms, building automation systems can save a considerable amount of energy consumption, via scheduled periods of heating or through cooling controlled by a thermostat, to cite two examples. Some vendors of building automation systems claim that energy savings of more than 30 percent can be obtained when evaluated against conventional HVAC systems.

This is why building owners will increasingly look to building automation systems to achieve savings on energy consumption, especially as the cost of electricity keeps going up, IHS believes.

www.ihs.com

7 Keys To Successful Building Automation

Automation Integrator Guide: Successful automation projects contain these seven elements. How many will your next project contain?

Congratulations on your decision to automate. You want to build it faster, build it better, and build it safer. But with so many potential automation solutions available, it can be overwhelming for an engineering team to decide where to start. Once you have justified the need for automation, feasibility, and payback to your business, you are faced with a difficult question: How do you ensure your road to automation is successful?

Seven keys to successful automation follow.

1. People communication

Communication among all stakeholders is paramount. When creating system requirements for the automation solution, the various teams involved must work hand-in-hand. Clear and open communication may seem like an obvious key to success, but too often teams are not brought together until late in the automation process.

Each stakeholder will have different goals in mind. The quality team wants zero defects, the production team wants output increased, IT wants a sustainable and maintainable solution. Before you know it, an operator at the end of the line has an error-proofing application, a shipping application, and an inventory application all running on the same computer, yet none of the systems communicate. The operator is left to manually transfer data between the three systems, and operations become less efficient than pre-automation.

By working with all the teams from the start, you will be in a better position to make sure the solution accounts for the perspectives of all parties involved, and also meets as many requirements as possible. A system integrator can often act as a mediator to help remove the politics from meeting all stakeholder goals and assist in solving what can sometimes seem to be contrasting goals to create a solution that works for all.

When trying to collaborate with teams, one of the largest communication issues we see as an integrator is scheduling. It is difficult to free up all of your team members to be in the same place at the same time. Consider meeting off-site with all of the stakeholders and away from the production facility at the start of the project. Simply removing people from their day-to-day chaos allows the team to focus on the problem at hand. Most likely no one will be able to be away for more than a day or two, but the tight timeline to develop requirements will keep everyone’s focus razor sharp.

2. System communication

You may already have some automated processes in place, but these processes are often developed independently from one another and may not communicate with each other. System segregation leads to data segregation. Data segregation leads to inefficiencies and manual reconciliation, which can cause data loss or, worse yet, data corruption. To avoid this, you want to store as much data as possible in a normalized manner and in a centralized location.

To accomplish this, integration and automation should go hand-in-hand. Getting two automated systems to communicate can be just as important, if not more important, than automating a single process. A system that is a “black box” provides little value if it cannot communicate with other systems.

3. Standardized processes

Before addressing the potential automation of the manufacturing process, you should first standardize the process. Standardization of the process allows for reduced variation and reduced operator training, and aids in root cause analysis.

Without standardized manufacturing processes it can be difficult to identify how automation should be implemented. If you have “loose” processes in place, an automation project is the perfect opportunity to address standardization. Usually this occurs a naturally as a side benefit associated with automation. Let standardizing the manufacturing process help drive the automation process and vice versa.

4. Standardized (yet flexible) framework

When you are developing standards for your framework, focus on the data that is most important. Force the team to keep the same important pieces of data as a baseline for your enterprise to build on. By developing standard interfaces for systems, you can create a model framework for other facilities. Avoid making the framework too rigid so that it can be flexible enough to apply across operations.

With a standardized framework, your team shouldn’t be as bogged down determining how to implement a solution. Instead, they will be focused on developing solutions that will promote production innovation. A standardized framework promotes collaboration so that groups work together, share information, and are positioned for success.

5. Standardized data

Data is king in today’s manufacturing environment. For that reason, you want to avoid proprietary and closed systems as much as possible. Focus on getting, keeping, and sharing your data. You likely already have proprietary systems in place to solve manufacturing problems, and minimizing manual transfers of information between these systems is crucial. Automating important transfers between systems allows employees to focus on their job instead of the white noise.

6. Pick your integration strategy, not your solution, first

Identifying what data you expect your automation solution to provide before you select a solution will also help minimize inefficiencies. All too often clients decide on a solution before they have outlined what data they need. This can lead to two potential downfalls. Either the solution needs to be vastly modified to meet the requirements, or the solution cannot be changed and some of the requirements simply are not met.

The more industry knowledge you can obtain about what solutions are available, the better. This is where a true systems integrator should be able to help. A systems integrator should be able to match a solution to specific goals. Whether it is a custom software solution or an off-the-shelf software package, you want established business processes dictating software solutions used, not vice versa. Keep in mind that whatever solution is selected, it should be a solid and expandable one that the team in place can build upon.

7. Commitment to support

Consider who the end owner will be. Whoever will be supporting the automation solution, the infrastructure, and software should have buy-in from the start that the solution is both maintainable and supportable from a technological standpoint.

Over the past 10 years there has been a transition from the manufacturing team managing software solutions to IT managing the software solutions. While it may be the manufacturing team developing the automation systems, it is more frequently the IT team’s responsibility to maintain the system. With IT becoming such a key player in the process, it is important to get them involved early and often. By including IT at the beginning of the process, you can help ensure a smooth transition from conception to production.

An automation project can seem daunting, especially when you are faced with legacy systems, siloed teams, minimal framework, and varied processes. But if done correctly, automation can provide all the benefits to build it faster, better, and safer. With some planning, standardization, and communication, and maybe a little help from an integrator, the automation project should be headed for success.

Article By:

– Chris Mikola is a project manager at Leidos, formerly part of SAIC. He currently directs the software programming group within Leidos Engineering’s systems division. The programming group specializes in quality information systems, real time production information systems, and custom software development. Edited by Mark T. Hoske, content manager, CFE Media, Control Engineering, Plant Engineering, and Consulting-Specifying Engineer, mhoske(at)cfemedia.com.

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

Commercial And Retail Buildings To Be The Fastest Adopters Of Remote Monitoring Services In Intelligent Buildings

London — Commercial and retail end users will drive the growth of remote monitoring services in intelligent buildings, accounting for more than 80 percent of the $400 million market in 2016, according to a new study by IMS Research, now part of IHS Inc. (NYSE: IHS).

Remote monitoring in intelligent buildings is a service offered by third-party companies that audit and report on the operational performance of a building. The services have two key selling points. First, auditors can make recommendations to save energy costs by determining, for instance, a more efficient schedule for the building automation system. Second, the building owner can reduce internal staffing costs for the facility by using a third-party service provider.

The figure below presents the forecast growth for remote monitoring services used in commercial and retail buildings from 2012 to 2016, with a snapshot of what the market will look like by 2021.

“Remote monitoring services are gaining increased traction as building owners find significant savings to be made, in terms of both decreasing energy bills and reducing staffing costs,” said Sam Grinter, market analyst for building technologies at IHS.  “The drive to reduce overheads has been reinforced over the last five years by tough economic conditions.”

“Commercial and retail end users have been the fastest to take advantage of remote monitoring services in intelligent buildings”, Grinter noted, “Because the slashing of operational expenses has been a higher priority for them than for government or institutional end users”.

Remote monitoring service providers have found success with commercial and retail end users by demonstrating the effectiveness of the systems in trial deployments. Then, once the return on investment is demonstrated, services are rolled out throughout the wider building portfolio. The services in intelligent buildings are looked upon as a competitive advantage, which explains why adoption has spread relatively quickly.

As the market develops further, other end-user industries such as education, government, data centers and hospitality will increasingly take advantage of the services, IHS believes. The systems are expected to not only improve building efficiency but also reduce internal staffing costs for monitoring and maintaining buildings.

Coppertree Analytics- Facility Manager

facility

Manage Alarms

Coppertree Insights

The word ‘insight’ carries the idea of a clear and deep perception of a situation. Coppertree Analytics’ Insights are designed to give you a different pair of eyes to look at your facility. Insights give you an awareness and understanding to:

  • The past: see what changed in your facility yesterday
  • The present: see how your facility is performing today
  • The future: see what changes are needed in your facility tomorrow

Mobile Insights

Insights can be accessed via tablets, desktops and any device with a web browser. Or better yet, Coppertree can deliver them to your personnel on duty directly to their mobile devices.

Fault Detection

Our insights are the basis for a more pro-active approach to facility management. Coppertree Analytics’ sophisticated engines are continually examining data from building automation systems, executing fault detection and diagnostic rules and engaging algorithms to perform statistical and pattern analyses. Whether you choose to use our growing library of analytical rules or to create your own rules, setting them up to run on your site is straight forward. once they are set up, they run automatically whether you are looking or not.

Planned Maintenance

Prioritize Time

Traditional scheduled preventative maintenance programs rely on an exhaustive re-commissioning process requiring many man-hours with the final outcome being a deficiency report detailing problems and required fixes. Further man-hours are then required to perform the corrective measures. Coppertree Analytics’ intent is to raise this process to a new level by generating performance reports or score cards from the data collected. This information will help you pinpoint specific problem areas and prioritize the work required to take care of them, effectively automating the report creation process.

Efficient Manpower

Shifting to a planned maintenance approach, the re-commissioning man-hours required in traditional programs can be re-allocated to the man-hours required to take action, hence maximizing your resources, increasing your efficiency and gaining control of what goes on in your facility.

Maintain Performance

Besides performance reports, Coppertree Analytics’ integrity portfolio of services continually probes your building automation system with an array of fault-detection-and-diagnostic rules to give you insights into your building operations. The key in maintaining performance is continuous auditing. It is as if you had a commissioning agent perpetually examining your building and advising on any areas of concern.

Reporting

Golden Standard

As a facility manager, generating reports is not the end in itself; it is the change from the ideal condition that is important. For instance, would you benefit from a detailed report that tells you how your building automation system has changed since the last time a ‘snapshot’ was taken during the initial commissioning? It might be tedious to generate what we call a golden standard report manually, but Coppertree can deliver it to your inbox daily, weekly or monthly through constant comparison between the current state and a Golden Standard you define.

KPI

Coppertree Analytics’ goal is to provide reports that are easy to understand, appropriate for the audience reviewing them and readily available when needed… all this to help you achieve your goals. Key performance indicator reports are excellent auditing tools to measure the overall success or failure of your facility to achieve a specific target. Is like getting a score card for your building and showing you where you need to direct your resources.

Live Trends

Coppertree report libraries range from detailed reports of specific systems or points to summary reports and executive reports available for viewing via web portals on desktops, tablets and mobile devices. The challenge is always to keep your reports up-to-date. Coppertree Analytics’ integration with the building automation system, and it’s abilty to overlay live trend logs on historical data all reporting can be accomplished seamlessly.

If you would like to learn more please visit: Coppertree here or contact a Setpoint Systems Corporation Account manager here for a live Demo!

Energy Manager

 

Measure Utilities

Trends

Of course your goal is to conserve energy. However measuring your savings from individual sources can be challenging. With the Curator software suite, you can track, estimate, and compare your energy conservation efforts with previous periods. Compare performance between years, months, weeks, days, or even by the hour through any period, or baseline, of your choosing. Receive Copppertree insights directly on your mobile device when your current energy consumption exceeds expectation.

Bill Management

Tracking your utilities is the first component of an effective energy management strategy. Coppertree’s Curator software provides you with an easy way to organize your utility bills. Import CSV data from historical sources, enter your bills manually, and insert manual readings for comparison. Input vendor information to fully customize your local rate structure. Add physical sub meters to your data gathering engine for tenant billing or create virtual meters from mechanical system data for complete energy monitoring of every component.

Compare Readings

Do you measure utilities manually? You no longer have to wonder whether your energy provider miscalculated your bill, or whether your meter requires calibration because Curator allows you to compare manual readings to the automated data that you receive from your Building Automation System. Add the comparison to your reports through downloadable visuals and tables.

Conserve Energy

Baselines

How can you set energy conservation targets if you don’t know what you are comparing with? Comparing with a previous period or last year is good, but not the best solution. The Curator software suite provides the best, with the tools that allow you to create custom baselines for your facility in compliance with the IPMVP protocol (Option C). Evaluate and report on the energy consumption of your facilities in real-time, and compare these to your baseline to have an instantaneous measure of energy retrofit performance.

Carbon Accounting

Stakeholders have carbon-reduction goals and the general public expects annual sustainability reports from you. Impress your colleagues in management and public relations by showing them yearly, monthly, daily, weekly, or even hourly carbon emission info associated with real-time energy use. All that is required is a simple setup and Curator automatically translates energy usage into quantifiable, and reportable, greenhouse gas emissions.

Instant Notification

It is hard to know exactly when your energy will surpass peak demand and accrue additional charges. It is also hard to detect faulty pieces of equipment leading to overconsumption of energy. Curator provides customizable insights sent instantly to your computer or mobile device whenever energy conservation is being compromised, allowing you to take action the instant problems occur.

Demonstrate ROI

Reports

You are in charge of communicating ROI to your stakeholders and it isn’t always easy. We know it can take hours to create a report so Curator allows you to easily view, gather, and collect the data you need for reporting though Coppertree’s automated reporting tool. Create reports showing instantaneous savings and monthly summaries. Compare with other buildings and baselines, and send these reports automatically to stakeholders. Build exactly the report you need to easily illustrate your building’s ongoing efficiencies.

Dashboards

Curator puts you in charge by allowing you to fully customize your energy dashboard. Keep tabs on specific departments, buildings, or meters and visually compare them with the baselines you define. You are in control and can determine which information is important to you. After you decide on the information to be shown, share the dashboard with building occupants so you can educate your colleagues, show stakeholders ROI using live data, or present the dashboard during presentations and conferences with your clients.

Rate of Return

See the impact on your budget and cash-flow to determine the net present value and ROI to verify whether you are making sound investment. Curator’s built-in rate of return calculation tool allows you to have easy access to all the energy, cost, and savings data in one place to help you with decision making regarding equipment upgrades, retrofitting projects, or any other energy improvement initiatives.