May 2009

Innovations in Comfort, Efficiency, and Safety Solutions.

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Michael R. Lavelle, P.E. ENthEnergy LLC

Invitation to Open Grid-Aware Building Collaborative Workshop

The Internet has set the standard for information delivery and connectivity.  We need this same approach for the building automation industry.

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Today’s modern buildings use a combination of automation equipment, real-time web servers, and unit controllers to run the environmental systems. It works, but falls short of the real opportunity. Buildings operate as “energy islands” running with grid-supplied energy - regulated and priced by the local utility. Software, such as Open Automated Demand Response, has shown the value of Internet-enabled software to manage building peak demand.

In recent years several hardware vendors have built interesting applications, linking building operators to building environmental systems, that clearly demonstrate the value of Internet technologies like web servers. These applications have jumped the building automation industry into modern Internet delivery methods. Underlying this technology is a collection of low-level protocols designed to communicate with virtually all building automation systems. Still, the variety of proprietary protocols has sometimes defied the movement to openness. The Internet has set the standard for information delivery and connectivity. We need this same approach for the building automation industry.  

Buildings that connect to the grid will also need a jump in technology. These applications must include building occupants as well as building automation equipment. There needs to be a way to link occupants and HVAC environmental equipment into a unified approach for dealing with grid-connected buildings. This is the role of Grid-Aware middleware - to provide the glue for high-level applications to work with low-level building controllers. This middleware needs to reach beyond clever web graphical presentations. It needs to deal with dynamic energy pricing as well as building energy usage, perhaps both on a minute by minute basis. It also needs to simplify data presentation and communicate that information to all building participants. And it needs to link all building players into a cohesive energy plan for sustaining building energy conservation. That’s the future of Open Grid-Aware software – to serve as an all-encompassing approach for managing buildings in a Grid-Aware world. 

Join us at Connectivity Week 2009 on Monday June 8th to discuss the opportunities for bringing a new Open Source solution to building connectivity. 

By participating in the workshop you can ensure that your ideas are heard in these formative stages. To stay informed about this workshop and to register please email



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