Innovations in Comfort, Efficiency, and Safety Solutions.
EMAIL INTERVIEW – Ken Sinclair and Nigel David
Nigel David, BSc, MSc, PhD, Lead Researcher
SES Consulting Inc.
enjoys building data pipelines across BC and Canada that allow SES’s
engineers to quickly and continuously deliver energy efficiency
solutions. He leads the research and development activities that
complement SES’s core engineering services. Nigel comes from a
background of experimental physics and hydrogen fuel cell research. His
current research interests include the “internet of things”, integrated
energy systems, and the Passive House and WELL building design
standards. When not wrangling data, he can be found wandering the BC
trails and beaches with his family.
Sinclair: We have featured the DOE
Volttron project a few times, I have listed the links below:
"Open Source Finally Arrives" It’s this need to marry the new with the old that is the driver of a lot of innovation. So I think we should be ready to embrace the messiness as we stumble our way to better buildings. - Brad White and SES Team, SES Consulting Inc.
Recently, your team gave me a demo of the SES Volttron Box. Very
interesting on several levels, first please explain the device itself,
and then the larger concept that SES has an open source box to help
automated building analytics to amplifying the value of their engineers?
Brad: At its core, the VOLTTRON box consists of a small network device placed on the building automation system network that securely transfers data to a cloud server hosting a database and web portal. There is obviously a lot more technical detail to it, for anyone interested I would direct them to vottron.org. In terms of how our we picture our engineers making use of it, a picture speaks a thousand words: links).
The Edge of VOLTTRON’s Sword The pillars of this new platform are flexibility - meeting the requirements for a varied set of solution spaces, and usability - easily accessible to both users and developers. The software stack is available free on GitHub to put onto a small form factor computer and create your very own “edge device.” - Brad White, P.Eng, MASc, Principal & Nigel David, BSc, MSc, PhD, Lead Researcher, SES Consulting Inc.
Using VOLTTRON At SES, we were looking for new ways to use data to broaden our impact with energy efficiency measures in buildings. VOLTTRON is an agent based open-source distributed control and sensing platform for buildings, the power grid, and the integration of the two to support the deployment of energy efficiency and grid services to increase consumer benefits. - Nigel David, BSc, MSc, Ph.D., Lead Researcher, SES Consulting Inc.
VOLTTRON An agent based open-source distributed control and sensing platform for buildings, the power grid, and the integration of the two to support the deployment of energy efficiency and grid services to increase consumer benefits. - George Hernandez, Principal Technical Advisor, Buildings to Grid Integration and Buildings Controls Research Program Manager, PNNL
Volttron! (With two Ts) It is an agent based open-source distributed control and sensing platform for buildings, the power grid, and the integration of the two In 2016 the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory integrated AIRx algorithms with the VOLTTRON software platform If you do not address data ownership and allow your vendors and contractors to own your generated data then they own you and your building
Wow this from 2015 VOLTTRON An open-source software platform for distributed sensing and control supporting energy efficiency, grid integration, and the larger ecosystem of Transactive Energy. - George Hernandez, Grid Modernization Technical Advisor, DOE EERE
Sinclair: So What new things did you learn at this workshop?
David: The big news is that the project will be managed by the Eclipse Foundation going forward. They have a track record of managing open source IoT projects that get used by successful companies to make products. The hope is that Eclipse Volttron will gain a large community of contributors, which will eventually eliminate the need for DOE funding.
Release Energy controls platform available in open source
PNNL technology is now part of the Eclipse Foundation
So what kind of traction is it gaining?
David: In the smart buildings space, we have New City Energy, Intellimation and Ace IoT solutions with over 50 deployments collecting HVAC data in Washington DC. Ecorithm is now using it for their analytics platform. These projects along with what we are doing at SES Consulting will drive the analytics use case.
There are also some other companies in different fields: 8 Minute Energy is using it for solar farms, Charge point is looking at it for EV charging. A startup from Thailand, PEA Hive, is using as the core of their home automation platform.
Sinclair: What was your take away message?
Nigel: The presenters from Eclipse brought up how Indusrial companies like Bosch, GE have had to become "software companies" to stay relevant. They all use open source projects and in doing so are reducing the barriers for companies with shallower pockets to get in the game.
From the perspective of GE CEO:
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