October 2008
Interview
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Ron Zimmer

EMAIL INTERVIEW  Ron Zimmer & Ken Sinclair

Ron Zimmer is President & CEO
Continental Automated Buildings Association (CABA)

 


Convergence of Green and Intelligent Buildings Study

The intent of our research is to provide documented evidence and build tools that can be used to educate and influence end-users, building owners, architects and contractors that a greener building can be achieved using intelligent technology, and that this greening will provide a tangible and significant return on investment.

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Sinclair:  What is the Convergence of Green and Intelligent Buildings study?

Zimmer:  The Continental Automated Buildings Association is close to completing a research project entitled "Convergence of Green and Intelligent Buildings". The project is a market positioning research study designed to demonstrate to building owners and end-users that a "greener building" can be achieved using intelligent building technology.

The research project will build a business case detailing return on investment and other tangible and intangible justifications supporting investment in both intelligent, and green technologies. The project will look at the influence of intelligent technologies on making a building greener through a compilation of case studies and other research material that best demonstrate key technologies, capabilities and benefits. The case studies will focus on technologies such as building and network management systems, building automation systems, lighting solutions, HVAC and sustainable energy technologies such as solar energy, wind power, rain water collection and recycled wastewater.

Sinclair:  What is the intent of the research?

Zimmer:  The intent of our research is to provide documented evidence and build tools that can be used to educate and influence end-users, building owners, architects and contractors that a greener building can be achieved using intelligent technology, and that this greening will provide a tangible and significant return on investment.

This research identifies the exciting developments taking place on the technology front and analyzes their implications for intelligent and green buildings, highlighting examples of best in class buildings employing green and intelligent technologies. In fact, the report states that green and intelligent buildings equals bright green buildings.

Sinclair:  What are the bottom-line findings?

Zimmer:  Induction of intelligent and green products and technologies in new or existing buildings can enhance energy efficiency in buildings, reduce operating costs and reduce the burden of environmental dependency of buildings, thereby making them greener.

The deployment and success of intelligent and green solutions will ultimately rest on the capability and experience of the project team. Most importantly, the justification for deploying intelligent technologies in a project will rest entirely on the return on investment the project promises since this is the most tangible measure most property owners recognize. Building owners and managers realize multifold financial benefits from utilizing intelligence and green technologies, including: lower energy costs, lower maintenance costs, lower repair and replacement costs, and increased occupant comfort and satisfaction and the resulting productivity benefits. One of the value-added outcomes is increased employee productivity.

All of these factors are providing the cost justifications that have long been needed to warrant end-users making significant investments in the installation of integrated building automation systems. Whether from a green building or energy management perspective, intelligent buildings provide owners with the means to increase efficiency and meet their business objectives by controlling costs and potentially extending the life of a building.

Reliable Controls Sinclair:  Does the report describe intelligent building characteristics?

Zimmer:  Yes. The report incorporated a definitive description of an intelligent building. The reports states that an intelligent building is a building that uses both technology and process to create a facility that is safe, healthy and comfortable and enables productivity and well being for its occupants. An intelligent building provides timely, integrated system information for its owners so that they may make intelligent decisions regarding its operation and maintenance. An intelligent building has an implicit logic that effectively evolves with changing user requirements and technology, ensuring continued and improved intelligent operation, maintenance and optimization. It exhibits key attributes of environmental sustainability to benefit present and future generations.

Such buildings provide improved connectivity between building systems, building users and building systems and users. Intelligent buildings also bring higher resale value and lease rates to building owners. An intelligent building also has the defining characteristic of being able to detect the state it is in and make adjustments to itself. The intelligent building provides a healthier and more comfortable environment and improves long-term economic performance. A key component is that intelligent buildings also reduce energy and water usage and reduces construction and demolition waste. Such buildings also leverage renewable energy technologies, improve indoor air quality and occupant satisfaction.

Key intelligent building attributes include: sustainability, mobility, interoperability, technology, scalability, reliability, efficiency, security, flexibility and longevity.

Fully networked systems transcend integration to achieve interaction, in which the previously independent systems work collectively to optimize the building’s performance and constantly create an environment that is most conducive to the occupants’ goals. Additionally, fully interoperable systems in intelligent buildings tend to perform better, cost less to maintain and leave a smaller environmental imprint that individual utilities and communication systems.

Each building is unique in its mission and operational objectives and therefore, must balance short and long-term needs accordingly. Intelligent buildings serve as a dynamic environment that responds to occupants’ changing needs and lifestyles. As technology advances, and as information and communication expectations becomes more sophisticated, networking solutions both converge and automate the technologies to improve responsiveness, efficiency and performance. To achieve this, intelligent buildings converge data, voice and video with security, HVAC, lighting and other electronic controls on a single IP network platform that facilitates user management, space utilization, energy conservation, and comfort and system improvement.

Sinclair:  How did CABA verify the report’s findings?

Zimmer:  We augmented findings by incorporating a number of industry case studies into the research. Case studies include: Ave Maria University, CityStars of Cairo, Development of the King Abdul Aziz Endowment Project, Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s Trade & Technology Center, Providence Newberg Medical Center, Rogers Centre, and The Verve – High Rise Condominiums.

Sinclair:  Who financed and worked on the study?

Zimmer:  Organizations that have financed this study include BAE Systems, Cisco Systems, Inc., CommScope, Inc., Delta Controls Inc., Encelium Technologies Inc., the Global Environment Fund, Herman Miller Inc., InfoComm International, Johnson Controls Ltd., Legrand (Ortronics/The Wattstopper), Natural Resources Canada, Robinson Solutions Inc., Sloan Monitored Systems, Trane, Tridel Corporation, and Panduit Corp.  Frost & Sullivan was contracted to work with a steering committee formed from CABA's Intelligent & Integrated Buildings Council.

Sinclair:  When will the study be available?

Zimmer:  The entire report will be announced and released to the general public, free of charge through the CABA Web site at www.caba.org on October 13, 2008.

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