January 2018

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EMAIL INTERVIEWTroy Davis and Ken Sinclair

Troy Davis, Sales Director, EnOcean Inc.

The Worlds of HVAC and Lighting Coming Together

Once the two are on the same wireless protocol, they can easily be visualized in the same software suite.

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SinclairDo you see the worlds of HVAC and lighting coming together in real applications?

Davis:  With the introduction of gateways and data collection infrastructure within existing building stock the simplicity of blending the two silos has become increasingly popular. There are opportunities to control, monitor and analyze these spaces for all sorts of benefits. The obvious is control of lighting and HVAC systems; this results in occupant satisfaction and energy savings. The less obvious are the extended life of equipment and optimization of spaces. With the growing cost of floor space, it’s important to make the best use of every square foot. By monitoring the occupancy of each space, you can determine when and how space is being used.

SinclairHow is BACnet working together with lighting?

Davis:  In the HVAC world you have some very sophisticated teams that can handle a variety of complicated applications and they’ve historically stayed away from lighting. As these integrators start to add light fixtures and occupancy sensors to their BACnet points, it has become clear that these are simply another control scenario they can integrate with. These crews typically have long-standing relationships with the building owners and can expand their current customer base to increase the opportunities for revenue and energy savings.

SinclairThat’s all fine and good but how do you suppose we wire all these things together?

Davis:  That’s where the beauty of wireless comes in, and wireless is what’s allowing the industries to coalesce into one platform. Once the two are on the same wireless protocol, they can easily be visualized in the same software suite. Wireless allows the renovation of existing buildings regardless of their existing wiring plans, piping, or available collections of parts and pieces. The EnOcean wireless protocol has communication structures for nearly every conceivable sensor type and control point. With over 400,000 buildings under their belt, they are leading the way into the optimization of buildings while also providing the key to the Internet of Things (IoT).

SinclairSo if we go wireless, don’t we need to add batteries or wire them anyway?

Davis:  This is the advantage EnOcean devices have: by specializing in self-powered devices they are allowing these wireless devices to essentially operate in perpetuity, without batteries. Everything from occupancy sensors, light switches, temperature and humidity sensors to self-powered valve controls, allowing for truly autonomous pieces to be allowed to become part of the building operations.  You can see how it works during AHR at the EnOcean Alliance booth (#4126) and several others.

SinclairBattery-powered devices are pretty popular and widely available, why would someone want to use a self-powered device?

Davis:  I like to say, the first battery is cheap, because it’s installed in the factory. It’s the second battery, installed by the technician and a truck that are prohibitively expensive. By self-powering devices, you can use sensors that give you the granularity you need while not adding a maintenance point for each one. Installing devices that essentially last as long as the space they´re used in, is a great way to ensure continual optimization and uninterrupted service. 

SinclairIs it lighting or HVAC or is it data?

Davis:  The current industry standards view the objects and points as points, but once this data is collected, analyzed and visualized it can become one of the most powerful, cost-saving tools in any real estate asset management plan. With the slow drift from objects and points to data, we are introduced to what’s become known as the Internet of Things, talking about more connected more visual, more useful data.

SinclairNew building stock all has controls, are they connected together?

Davis:  New buildings are doing much better with controls, in some cases lighting and HVAC are together, but in the majority of applications, no. But the old building stock is where the real opportunity lies. These existing buildings harbor some of the oldest equipment in both lighting and HVAC. By simplifying the backbone of this stream of data into one channel, we can control, save and optimize all at the same time. The integrator holds the key to this system and can bring all of these data points into one, complete, understandable picture.

[an error occurred while processing this directive]SinclairWhat good is the data?

Davis:  This information can lead to all sorts of improvements in many areas, and we are only at the beginning. Today its focus is energy savings as well as temperature and light level management. Tomorrow, the light color is optimized to match the time of day, circadian rhythm adapted, and every square foot under ownership or lease is as effective as possible. As artificial intelligence machines, like IBM Watson, enter this space we can get a very clear picture of building behavior, and the limits haven’t been realized yet.

SinclairEarlier you mentioned self-powered valves, what’s that about?

Davis:  Old radiators have historically been nearly impossible to automate or control remotely. With self-powered valves, we can actually use the heat in the pipes to generate the energy needed to modulate the valve and control the heat output, via wireless command. This has the potential for massive energy savings without running wires to each radiator and/or adding batteries at each place.

SinclairWhat’s next?

Davis:  As the cost of controls and efficient technologies are driven down by volume, the older building stock will be more likely to adopt the latest technologies. This will remain the low hanging fruit for maximum energy savings. The data collection of these various data points will also shed some light on various information within these older buildings; Information which has been previously unavailable to this huge section of real estate in this country. This may drive some amazing changes in the older buildings. From square footage utilization to simply running the equipment less often, it will be a beautiful thing to take place.


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