Tag Archives: Business

Federal Buildings Add Requirements

2012-12-07_11-09-43-300x1782Federal agencies are now required to install building energy meters and sub-meters, as well as water meters at agency buildings where cost-effective and appropriate, according to a memo reported in FEDweek.

The agencies now must ensure that any agency buildings metered for energy and water performance must have that data entered into the EPA Energy Star Portfolio Manager to improve performance and allow benchmarking.

The memo encourages the use of a “Green Button” standard as part of agency energy management practices. The Green Button system was developed by the North American Energy Standards Board for providing online access to energy bill accounts, usage and energy consumption data to customers to help with business and usage management.

December 19, 2013 by William Opalka | Energy Management News

Setpoint Systems Corporation and Coppertree Analytics Announce New Strategic Partnership

Littleton, Colorado November 25, 2013

Since 1983, Setpoint Systems Corporation, an independent integrator of building control systems has been uniquely positioned to offer fully integrated system solutions on a common communications network. Their diverse and dynamic portfolio includes: 40+ story high-rise commercial office buildings, 1000+ room hotels, university campuses, K-12 school districts, hospitals, 40-megawatt data centers, top-secret military facilities, jails and prisons, and major league sports stadiums.

“Our customers are seeking to maximize every area of their buildings and facilities. We strive to provide optimal and collaborative solutions for their project. CopperTrees’ approach to analytics is focused on gaining insight into large and complex data sets in order to reach your building’s maximum potential.” – Aaron Nahale, CEO, Setpoint Systems Corporation

CopperTree Analytics’ approach was driven out of frustration with “smart” buildings not delivering on the promise of intelligent and efficient operation. From its inception, the team at CopperTree knew there must be better ways to operate buildings, and they made it their mission to make buildings easier to monitor, diagnose, improve, and manage.

About Coppertree Analytics:
For more than 30 years, Coppertree’s parent companies – Delta Controls (one of the largest independent building controls manufacturers) and ESC (Western Canada’s largest building systems integrator) – have been at the forefront of creating SMART buildings. Long before ‘sustainable’ was a buzz word, the founders were involved in energy audits and consulting; and so it was a natural extension to create Coppertree in response to the growing demand for building energy management services.

Our heritage means we combine an implicit understanding of the technology, which controls buildings with the practicalities of maintaining them – so you get a solution, which delivers genuine energy savings. Know your energy issues – Fix what is broken.

Put simply, Coppertree analytics provides energy management and fault detection diagnostics as software-as-a-service, which delivers you the power to optimize your building performance.

We were frustrated how SMART buildings aren’t delivering on the promise ‘intelligent’ buildings inspired and we know we can fix that. Our mission is to lessen the climate changing impact of buildings by making them easier to monitor and manage.

Based outside Vancouver, a city with a booming tech sector, we share a similar profile being young and multicultural. Our average age is 33, and diverse cultural backgrounds from Vietnam and India to Ireland and Russia. Learn more at coppertreeanalytics.com.

Contact Information
Setpoint Systems Corporation
Corporate Headquarter
8167 Southpark Circle
Littleton, CO 80120

+1.303.733.2300

Info.setpointsystems.com

Coppertree Analytics
100 – 5265 185A Street
Surrey, BC V3s 7A4

+1.604.575.5943

info.coppertreeanalytics.com

Setpoint Systems Corporation Receives 2013 Best of Littleton Award

Setpoint Systems Corporation Receives 2013 Best of Littleton Award

U.S. Commerce Association’s Award Plaque Honors the Achievement

NEW YORK, NY, August 13, 2013 — For the third consecutive year, Setpoint Systems Corporation has been selected for the 2013 Best of Littleton Award in the Instrument Contractor category by the U.S. Commerce Association (USCA).

The USCA “Best of Local Business” Award Program recognizes outstanding local businesses throughout the country. Each year, the USCA identifies companies that they believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and community.

Nationwide, only 1 in 120 (less than 1%) 2013 Award recipients qualified as Three-Time Award Winners. Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2013 USCA Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the USCA and data provided by third parties.

About U.S. Commerce Association (USCA)

U.S. Commerce Association (USCA) is a New York City based organization funded by local businesses operating in towns, large and small, across America. The purpose of USCA is to promote local business through public relations, marketing and advertising.

The USCA was established to recognize the best of local businesses in their community. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations, chambers of commerce and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to be an advocate for small and medium size businesses and business entrepreneurs across America.

SOURCE: U.S. Commerce Association

CONTACT:
U.S. Commerce Association
Email: PublicRelations@uscaaward.com
URL: http://www.uscaaward.com

Setpoint Systems Corporation Contact:

Setpoint Systems Corporation
Email: info@setpointsystems.com
URL: http://www.setpointsystems.com

 

Incorporate lighting controls with BAS to save energy- Part 1

Incorporating daylighting and lighting controls with a building automation system can result in energy savings.

Learning objectives

  1. Understand the benefits of incorporating lighting, daylighting, and building automation systems.
  2. Know the codes and standards that govern lighting and daylighting.
  3. Learn to gather and analyze data from an automation system.

Continue reading

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.

Integration: Building automation and fire alarms

The building automation system can control all aspects of a building or campus, including its fire alarm system. This outlines best practices for integrating a fire alarm into a BAS.

Learning objectives

  1. Understand the efficiencies of integrating building automation with fire protection systems.
  2. Name various communication protocols, such as BACnet and LonTalk.
  3. Learn about inspection and testing of systems.

The responsibilities of a chief building engineer are becoming more challenging as technology advances. Bigger and taller buildings are being constructed with an increasing emphasis on energy efficiency and comfort, and the ever-increasing demand to keep construction costs and operating expenses down. In addition, building codes are changing the way these buildings are constructed in order to improve safety with an eye on new construction methods and materials.

There is also the somewhat traditional mind-set among those within the design and engineering community that building automation and fire alarm systems should maintain a significant level of separation with minimal connectivity or interaction. Most of this belief stems from the fear of the unknown and the desire to mitigate risk along with the old adage of “This is the way we’ve always done it.” In reality, the integration of building automation and fire alarm systems can result in overall reduction in equipment, installation, and maintenance costs while still maintaining the level of safety required for these systems to operate.

With the advent of smart building technology, heating, cooling, electrical, lighting, security, and other systems need monitoring and intercommunication for optimized efficiency and operation. With sophistication comes the need for a building automation system (BAS) to allow for nearly seamless operation of these various interrelated equipment.

Like BAS, fire protection and alarm systems have also evolved into sophisticated computer-based systems, which integrate fire detection and emergency communication systems as part of overall building operations during an emergency event.

Often fire protection and alarm systems must interact with other building systems to provide a proper level of protection. While the fire alarm system is fully capable of performing and initiating the necessary actions to accomplish the fire alarm and building systems’ responses, efficiencies can be obtained by integrating with the BAS. These efficiencies include minimizing additional equipment, expediting system acceptance testing, reducing installation costs, and sharing and consolidating information at a central location where all of the building systems can be precisely monitored during emergency incidents.

Smoke control systems are a good example of the marriage of building mechanical systems with fire protection/fire alarm systems. Fans are starting or stopping, dampers are opening or closing, and doors may be closing or unlocking while elevators being recalled. Although both the BAS and fire alarm systems have specific tasks to perform, there is a certain level of priority and sequences that must be followed. Failure to follow the proper priority or sequence may not only be non-code compliant, it may also lead to equipment damage or risk to human life. For example, if a smoke control fan operates before dampers open, ductwork may be damaged or door opening forces may be increased beyond acceptable levels for egress.

Communication

When the fire alarm system takes control of equipment that is not a listed component of the fire alarm control unit, the fire alarm system must either override the natural operating mode of the building equipment or pass off that command via a simple switch or data communications to the building mechanical systems. Likewise, each manufacturer’s BAS has its own protocol for monitoring conditions and communicating operational commands to maintain the proper building environment and efficiency. There are also standard open communication protocols such as LonTalk and BACnet that can be used to communicate with a multitude of equipment from various manufacturers in order to achieve an integrated building system.

The communication protocol for a fire alarm control unit to communicate to and from its indicating (input), initiating (output), and sometimes notification appliances is typically an analog or digital communications signal carried over what is referred to as a signaling line circuit (SLC). Because communications signals are typically proprietary protocol, each SLC is dedicated to a specific manufacturer’s equipment and cannot include connection of incompatible devices that use a different signal protocol.

Therefore, in order to integrate system alarm and control functions with the BAS in a manner other than relay logic, fire alarm system manufacturers had to also design and support the open communication protocols used for building automation, in a manner that would not compromise the integrity or the operation of the fire alarm system. This process of sharing information between both fire alarm and BAS came to be known as bridging, or open gateway processing. Because of the strict code and listing requirements of fire alarm systems, much of this communication has been primarily limited to one-way communication. However, some manufacturers of both fire alarm and BAS do produce equipment such as gateways that are listed for bi-directional communication with their equipment.

The use of these open gateway processors has the potential to eliminate the need for costly interface equipment and enclosures. A single gateway can replace hundreds of conventional or electronic relays and input sensors for control and monitoring while also eliminating the need for multiple wire terminations that can decrease the potential for system failure points.

Article By: Jon Kapis; Rick Lewis; Craig Studer, PE; The RJA Group Inc.

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.