December 2015
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Collecting, Clarifying, Quantifying, and Qualifying Connections

I would like all our readers to join in helping us build "Our Connection Collection"

Ken Sinclair,
AutomatedBuildings.com
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Not sure that any of us could have projected the amount of things our buildings would be connected to and interact with. Today our understanding of the possible of connection is much of the value we provide. As an industry we need to start collecting, clarifying, quantifying and qualifying all of the possible connections to our buildings. Our November issue provides a start but I would like all our readers to join in helping us build "Our Connection Collection."

Here are some great examples of the possible connections to our buildings.

"Connected Building Roadmap" The intent of the session was to ask the attendees to look into the future, and tell BC Hydro what connected buildings would look like in ten years, and what technologies or other items of interest might appear in the meantime - Graham Henderson P.Eng. Sr. Program Manager, Commercial Marketing Energy, Regulatory & Business Planning BC Hydro

I was very pleased to be part of the selected group helping "Building the Map."

Background: On June 25, 2015 a selected group representing various trades in the commercial building space was invited to BC Hydro’s Dunsmuir office for an afternoon discussion on the implications of connected buildings. The group consisted of customers, BAS vendors, contractors, and consultants. The intent of the session was to ask the attendees to look into the future, and tell BC Hydro what connected buildings would look like in ten years, and what technologies or other items of interest might appear in the meantime. The resulting roadmap was intended to provide information about the following:

The session produced a list of ideas, which were subsequently grouped into six themes.

Author's Note: This document is meant to be read in electronic format (to access the web links), and in conjunction with the associated roadmap (Visio doc).

"Take the NIST Transactive Energy Challenge" We are actively building up the teams and seeking to bring in new participants and form new teams. Potentially there could be a buildings-focused team to address the use of TE inside a building or campus. - David Holmberg, Researcher, Mechanical Systems and Controls Group, NIST Engineering Laboratory

Transactive energy (TE) systems hold the promise of achieving efficiency and reliability across the nation’s changing electric power system. Through pricing and other market mechanisms, TE can be an especially important means to optimize the distributed grid. Increasing intelligence in appliances and control systems and the evolving “Internet of Things” create opportunities for automating energy transactions with flexibility, so that distributed intelligent agents can work collaboratively to balance the electric power system while maximizing value for consumers.

TE is a key vehicle for effectively integrating buildings into the evolving smart grid. Forward and real-time energy markets will enable buildings to respond to the dynamic conditions on the grid, caused, for example, by fluctuations in renewable energy supply. Anticipated benefits for building owners include energy cost savings, lower operating and management costs, carbon and renewable energy credits, and even increased comfort for occupants.

These and other tantalizing potential benefits have motivated much interest in TE, spawning a range of ideas on how to structure TE systems and, not surprisingly, lots of questions and concerns about how such systems would actually operate across an already vast and intricate technology system that will continue to grow in complexity.

To help industry and policymakers address these issues while pursuing the promise of TE, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has initiated the TE Modeling and Simulation Challenge for the Smart Grid. This new collaborative effort is bringing researchers and companies with simulation tools together with utilities, product developers, and other grid stakeholders to create and demonstrate modeling and simulation platforms while applying transactive energy approaches to real grid problems. The improved simulation and analysis tools that this effort will yield should make the exploration of TE possibilities and pitfalls more productive, delivering useful results that can help to inform policy decisions and utility investments. Since TE implementation will require enabling legislation at the state level, reliable, robust simulation tools will be especially valuable to legislators and governors.

Since NIST launched the Challenge in September 2015, 26 companies, universities, and federal laboratories have formed teams and new teams are welcome. Organizations have an opportunity to get involved at the upcoming TE Challenge Interim meeting, December 3-4 at NIST’s Gaithersburg, Md., campus. Registration is open.

Here's an excerpt from an interview in the current issue of AutomatedBuildings.com:

"‘Perfect Storm’ for IoT in BuildingsYet, the vast majority of these portfolio managers have no knowledge or solution for fully "IoT’ing" (i.e. networking and connecting data) their biggest assets, under the status quo. - Deb Noller, Switch Automation

Sinclair:  Why is right now such a "perfect storm" for IoT in buildings?

Noller:  One strongly-worded theme keeps repeating itself in the halls of Switch Automation lately: "If you don’t have a ‘digital strategy’ for your building portfolio, then you won’t have a job for long." A bit threatening? Perhaps. True? Undoubtedly.

Here’s the thing…technology is evolving so rapidly [enter, Internet of Things and the fact that building systems, “edge devices” are now primed for enterprise networking and software connections], energy consumption in buildings is still off the charts and the world is under pressure to save resources [in all of its definitions].

Control Solutions, Inc And buildings, one of the largest asset classes, AREN’T KEEPING UP. Basically every single thing that a modern building owner purchases for their building now has some semblance of a digital control [think large mechanical equipment, like chillers, sure—but these days even basic systems like generators and elevators have DDC, not to mention new-generation technologies like solar power inverters]. Yet, the vast majority of these portfolio managers have no knowledge or solution for fully "IoT’ing" (i.e., networking and connecting data) their biggest assets, under the status quo. Many do not even understand that their competitors are doing just that, right now as we speak. There are huge problems with disparate systems from dozens of vendors, most notably in the complexity it creates coupled with a complete lack of overarching management and engineering oversight. Many technology vendors have been taking advantage of building owners / operators / managers for a long time — selling them systems that are not well understood and poorly commissioned in the field, only to subsequently sell them costly service contracts to remediate and monitor the original problems. These assets are well on their way to becoming a huge liability without a solid digital strategy. They need a digital strategy that not only aggregates and displays data in a readable way—but actually gives functional next steps on how to best operationalize, manage and improve efficiencies across the enterprise.

The time is now because it’s the year 2016 and we are completely WASTING money, energy, and brilliant technology, simply because the masses haven’t adopted the end-to-end solution that already exists.

It’s really a choice for building owners at this point - get in front of it, or risk getting left behind.

AutomatedBuildings.com is trying to provide a starting point for us all to better understand the possible of connection. In addition to using our web site we are weaving information in and out of social media using our and other's LinkedIn Groups, my Twitter feed and this month a try at "A New Menu View Pinterest" ... the visual bookmarking tool that helps you discover and save creative ideas.

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