Tag Archives: fms

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.

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

 

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.

Why Smart Building Technology Is a ‘No-Brainer’

Why Smart Building Technology Is a ‘No-Brainer’ An Article by: environmentalleader.com

Pressure to manage costs, risks and energy consumption is pushing commercial building Smart Building Management owners and investors to explore how smart building technologies can help a company’s triple bottom line — people, planet, profits — according to Jones Lang LaSalle’s latest report.

The Changing Face of Smart Buildings: The Op-Ex Advantage, says five key trends are making smart buildings a “no-brainer” for commercial property owners and investors. Smart building technology boosts operational efficiency, helps buildings save water and energy, and reduces their carbon footprints, says Dan Probst, chairman of energy and sustainability services at Jones Lang LaSalle. These advantages give owners and investors a competitive edge.

The report, which details the landscape for smart building technology, identifies five major trends:

  1. Rapid return on investment (ROI). Smart building technology investments typically pay for themselves within one or two years by delivering energy savings and other operational efficiencies. Also driving the fast payback is the low cost of automated building technology, which has fallen as adaptation has increased. For example, intelligent lighting components that cost $120 four years ago today sell for $50. Procter & Gamble’s building management pilot program,  for example, generated a positive return on investment in just three months.
  2. Operating-expense (op-ex) advantage. Relative to other energy-related building upgrades, smart building technology requires little upfront capital expenditure (cap-ex), while delivering significantly reduced operational expenditures (op-ex). Using automated systems, smart buildings generally cost less to operate than buildings operating solely on legacy systems, therefore offering a long-term op-ex advantage. By combining smart building systems and data analytics with facilities management, a smart building management system can detect and resolve building issues before equipment failures and capital expenditures ensue. Additionally, operational and energy savings begin shortly after the smart building management system is implemented.
  3. Marketing mileage. As reported in JLL’s October 2012 Global Sustainability Perspective, numerous studies and surveys have demonstrated that tenants and their advisors increasingly expect smart building features such as zoned HVAC, sophisticated equipment maintenance alert systems, advanced security systems and green buildings. Like a new lobby or elevator bank, an improvement in sustainability makes an office building more desirable to tenants. These benefits can justify collecting higher rent, and can increase competitive advantage and occupancy rates. And when the building is sold, sustainable investments can be recouped in an increased sales price. A 2011 study by Eichholtz, Kok and Quigley indicated the premium for LEED certified or Energy Star labeled buildings is about 13 percent.
  4. Energy savings. Smart building technology can generate energy savings of 8 to 15 percent annually almost immediately after deployment, with the potential for incremental improvements over time. JLL cites a 2012 report that estimates that $289 billion in building efficiency investment would produce savings in excess of $1 trillion in the US alone, with every dollar invested in energy efficiency producing three dollars of operational savings.
  5. Improved corporate social responsibility profile. Redirecting energy spend to building efficiency has allowed some corporate decision-makers to gain the reputational advantages of doing the right thing by the environment while also gaining significant performance and productivity improvements. Another benefit is a smart building system’s ability to measure and report greenhouse gas emissions. Some owners feed building emissions data to multiple benchmarking organizations, such as Greenprint and GRESB, as well as to Ceres and similar third-party reporting organizations, and smart systems can roll up the information from across a portfolio.

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 cannot be made smart buildings. In an Energy Manager Today article,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.