April 2008

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The Future of Automated Buildings in North America

The Future of Automated Buildings in North America

  Ken Sinclair, AutomatedBuildings.com

As published
Climatização & Refrigeração Magazine Brazil

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My name is Ken Sinclair and I am the Editor/Owner of a global online web-based magazine and resource called www.AutomatedBuildings.com. This web resource provides the news, as well as connection to the exciting and rapidly evolving industry that automates large buildings. The publication has been online for 9 years. Prior to starting this magazine for 30 years I owned and operated an Energy Management / Building Automation Consultancy for large buildings.

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Brazil Climatização & Refrigeração requested that I write an article about the future of automated buildings in North American but to do this I will have to provide insight into the industry’s evolution to date. Connectivity is no longer a concept; but a reality that is changing how we work and what our industry will look like in the near future. Connectivity concepts such as the smart grid, the greening of buildings with better connections to everything are all creating new directions and markets. This requires that we all re-examine our core business models and make adjustments for connectivity and convergence.

Demand Response will be a $3 billion+ market in the very near future and savvy control integrators have an unparalleled opportunity to redefine themselves to deliver Smart Energy Building Solutions, and to set the standard for a global solution to climate change.

This kind of thinking considers the intersection of buildings, energy, and environment. Buildings are at the heart of our energy and climate issues. Recent data from the Department of Energy indicates that electricity generation is responsible for 39% of greenhouse gas emissions, and the American Institute of Architects credits buildings alone with responsibility for 48% of Greenhouse gas emissions.

What is GridWise? http://www.gridwise.com/
It is an entirely new way to think about how we generate, distribute and use energy. Using advanced communications and up-to-date information technology, GridWise improves coordination between supply and demand, and enables a smarter, more efficient, secure and reliable electric power system. Since the building automation industry controls the energy-intensive part of the buildings it is mandatory that this partnership be well understood to allow correct integration and interoperability with the grid.

The wisdom and economics of buying back peak electrical demand is now being driven by the exposed real costs of new electrical generation and distribution. This provides new money to our building automation industry to reduce overall electrical peaks in an orchestrated interaction with the grid.

Advancing Grid Reliability

In April 2007, GridWeek demonstrated the winds of change are blowing in several directions and at several levels. The event allowed politicians, electrical regulators, generation, distribution folks, technology providers and electrical energy users a common venue to talk about the smart grid of the future and its required changes. It showed how connectivity and innovation will help change the grid users’ behaviour by communicating price breaks for time-of-day billing using new connectivity paths.

Buying back peak electrical demand is big business. A $900 billion market opportunity was identified for the industry to make the national grid smart and wise with interactive connectivity. GridWise Demand Response (DR) and GridWise devices provide a quicker response time than existing generation control. These quick interactions when coupled with the shear economics of not providing new generation and distribution is the reason that the grid folks are willing to invest in the industry’s interaction with the grid. Conservation and DR coupled with smart grid approaches are being billed as the new green fuel for the electrical grid.

The critical shortage of electricity in the United States is driving utilities and regional Independent System Organizations (ISOs) to offer significant incentives on electricity loads that can be curtailed at peak times. Issues driving the need and opportunity of DR include: spiralling energy costs; shortage of electric generation at peak periods; demand for energy efficient green buildings; increased awareness for reducing the carbon footprint; and availability of communication and control technologies.

GridwisePower outages cost U.S. business at least $50 billion a year, according to Electric Power Research Institute estimates. When given the opportunity to prevent the electrical grid from going down or dropping to a lower level of electrical use, many see it as a “no brainer.” Computer screens going black, servers down, critical lighting going off, and loss of other essential services such as refrigeration strikes fear into people.

All of these facts present a giant opportunity for the Building Automation industry to interact with the electrical grid.

All indications are that 2008 will be the year that Smart Buildings truly meet the Smart Grid. President Bush signed the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 and there is an entire title on GridWise and Smart Grid activity.

Enough about GridWise - what are the other trends shaping the North America Building Automation Industry? If we look at the most downloaded articles each month for 2007 from our web site it provides insight into what our readers’ interests are and where the industry thinking is heading.

January we visited and explained a project that was actually achieving large scale integration. Destination Sydney, Australia - Four For Points for the Industry Four Points by Sheraton Leading the Way in the Management and Control of its Facilities Management, Workflow, Energy Management, Security and Building Efficiency.

“Looking to increase the support of its internal operations, reduce energy and operational costs, migrate to an open, Web-based enterprise platform, integrate all the building systems and improve guest comfort, the hotel turned to Tridium and local system integrator Airmaster to design a complete end-to-end solution consisting of both hardware and software.

Specifically, the requirements called for an open platform with real-time, enterprise connectivity and an easy-to-use, Web IT Portal with customized interfaces that integrated with the hotels existing building automation systems, Fidelio guest management system, lighting systems, paging systems and intelligent guest room control systems. A seamless interface was required for the corporate Maintenance Management system and Help Desk and all systems had to be capable of being interfaced to the company’s financial systems and Oracle database. “

Ken Sinclair Editor/Owner AutomatedBuildings.com, Marc Petock, Director of Marketing, Tridium, Mike Marston, Director, Asia/Pacific, Tridium, Martin Hodder, Regional Director, Tridium Asia

[an error occurred while processing this directive] February saw us understand how the concept of getting the technology contractor involved at the very beginning would result in a facility that better serves the owner’s needs and saves money over the long-term. Technology Contracting – The Future Is Now Terry Hoffmann, Johnson Controls, Inc.

You are right. New information and building systems technologies have strained the old model for designing and constructing buildings. It still works for smaller-scale building construction where the systems are simple and little integration is desired. However, for large and more complex technology installations, it falls short. It misses opportunities for intelligent integration and cost savings. The old model can result in redundancies and waste, finger pointing, big change orders, and construction delays.

Enter the new technology contracting model. Here, the general contractor hires one vendor to design, integrate, and commission all integrated building systems. Mechanical and electrical consulting engineers still coordinate systems specification. Electrical contractors still install systems for medium and high-voltage power distribution, as well as emergency power generation. The technology contractor designs, installs, and commissions everything else: building systems, IT systems, and specialty systems. The result? The new model delivers smart buildings as well as single-point monitoring, control, and programming of both mechanical and low-voltage electrical systems.

March we explored that integrated building systems will not become the norm in building design and installation without designers and installers having credentials. Certification for Designers and Installers: The Industry’s Path Forward for Credibility Jim Sinopoli PE, RCDD, Managing Principal, Sinopoli and Associates

The industry needs credentials for those designing integrated building systems so that they can be recognized by the design team and owner as having the requisite skill sets and knowledge. The industry also needs certification process for the contractors installing the integrated systems so they can be recognized as having the qualifications to perform the work and properly install integrated systems.

Intelligent Buildings RoadmapApril had us stopping to look at the map “A good plan is like a road map: it shows the final destination and usually the best way to get there.“ Intelligent Buildings Roadmap “The industry needs to get together to integrate or at least educate all of the people that are involved. The owner cannot integrate the industry, the architect cannot integrate the industry, the industry must integrate itself and take the lead…” Paul Ehrlich PE, President, Building Intelligence Group LLC

Recently, there has been a lot of discussion on the Automated Buildings site about what the industry needs to do. Articles have appeared promoting the need for certifications, new conferences and better design processes to deliver Intelligent Buildings. All of these are great ideas, but need to proceed in a unified manner. One of the leading organizations in this space is CABA. Their “Technology Roadmap” document which was released in 2002 is often referenced in the industry. In early 2006, CABA started a project to update this document with a new report dubbed the “Intelligent Buildings Roadmap.” This has been backed by a large group of organizations including Cisco Systems, Direct Energy, ESC Automation/Delta Controls, Johnson Controls, HID Corporation, Honeywell International, Tridium, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories, Legrand North America, Lutron Electronics Co., Inc., Panduit Corp., Siemens Building Technologies, Tour Andover Controls, Trane, and InfoComm International. Our firm, Building Intelligence Group, was selected to research and write the report, which has now been completed.

May we supplied an example of The Largest Enterprise Energy Management Deployment in North America Once completed, Simon will have the ability to understand and manage thousands of control points from an energy potential perspective as well as integrate real time results of any point to match the business strategy of maximizing comfort and performance while minimizing energy costs. Brooke Richards, Richards-Zeta Building Intelligence, Inc.

Simon Property Group

Problem. With over 245 million square feet of leasable property, Simon Property Group was seeking a solution which would allow them to leverage the most innovative and advanced technology in Building Automation fully integrated with Automated Meter Reading. Historically, Simon Property Group has manually read thousands of check meters in order to measure common area, tenant, and heating & cooling plant energy usages. Simon had inherited legacy systems as they expanded their portfolio of properties. Many of these legacy systems needed significant technical updates and had limited support options.

Solution. Seeing the forest through the trees is an understatement when the Energy Service Group facilitated two large projects at the same time. Simon committed to installing new automation systems at most of the active sites as well as install thousands of common area and tenant meters. Simon realized that there needed to be an intelligent middleware solution which would enable automated reads of all metered loads, as well as provide a means to implement energy efficiency initiatives via the centrally managed Building Automation System. Simon needed a technical solution that would allow implementation of centralized operational decisions creating a very High Tech Low Touch Enterprise Energy Management system. This new system would provide load shedding and demand response programs for million of square foot of facilities distributed throughout North America by coupling automated metering platform and the building automation systems into a single business tool. Ultimately, this undertaking was envisioned to increase SPGs control and efficiency through an effective coupling of integrated building systems.

June saw us explore what are; Truly Brilliant Buildings The primary principle is to ensure that you collect and store data once when it is generated and then re-use it throughout the lifecycle of the facility. Deke Smith, AIA, Executive Director, buildingSMART® Alliance  National Institute of Building Sciences

As a facility manager imagine having a complete virtual model of your building with every important detail included for all the facilities in your portfolio. Imagine a model that you can walk through and simulate operations as well as having valuable information about the equipment installed in the facility. Imagine knowing who manufactured the piece of equipment, who installed it, when its warranty period ends, what preventive maintenance has been performed, and when the next maintenance is required. This would be invaluable. Imagine having information about what space people occupy, who might need special assistance in an emergency, what everyone’s phone number is, what kind of phone they had and whether it was operational, and what furniture is assigned to the space including color and fabric. Imagine when preparing to remodel knowing what and where things such as conduits, water piping, and communications cables are in the walls and the floor. Imagine having accurate connectivity information for all the computers and voice over IP phone connections. Imagine having status information about the video teleconferencing sites for all your facilities. Imagine having security information at your fingertips including video feeds from cameras located throughout your site. It is all possible today, with preparation and planning and less effort than you are now expending. When this vision was presented at a recent conference one follow-on speaker said she felt as if she had just seen an episode of Star Wars. This is now becoming a real picture of what we should expect with a few mind set changes.

July's article came with good advise; The Top 10 List For Successfully Integrating Building Systems Many building owners and people in the industry find the concept of integrated building systems to be persuasive and intuitive. However, they struggle with moving from the concept to actual deployment. Here are ten things needed for successful installation of integrated building systems. Some are just good business or project management practices. Jim Sinopoli PE, RCDD, Managing Principal, Sinopoli and Associates

1. Understand the Building Owner’s Business
Integrating building systems is not a “one size fits all” deal. There are different facility types and widely varying business objectives for private and public sector building owners. Integrated systems for a mixed use project for a developer or owner is significantly different than a 500-bed government hospital.

Since technology is simply used to further business objectives, it is the business drivers of the building owner that shape the approach for successfully integrating building technology systems. The discussion with an owner at this point has to do with how building technology systems can affect capital and operational costs, generate revenue, improve the experience or operation of building occupants, enhance building operation and possibly differentiate the facility. Such a discussion is the programming or foundation on which to move forward.

2. Get Early Participation In the Project
The discussion with and buy-in of the owner has to be early on in the project. The later it is in the project schedule, the less likely it is to be adopted and if so, to be successful. Later in the process also means its more “disruptive”. It’s disruptive because some decisions have already been made and designs developed by the rest of the project team, specifically the architect and civil and MEP engineers. It’s also disruptive if it has budget implications that were not initially planned for. Chances for success depend on getting in early in the project.

August saw numbers coupled with good advice peak interest with the Seven Habits of a Highly Profitable Controls Company  We have two basic choices in how we do things: be reactive to things that happen around us, or proactive to ensure things happen as we want them to. Anto Budiardjo, President, Clasma Events Inc.

Be Proactive

When it comes down to it, we have two basic choices in how we do things: be reactive to things that happen around us, or proactive to ensure things happen as we want them to. The changes occurring within the buildings industry is a perfect backdrop to practice this habit, and fundamentally it’s about change.

In a way, “change” is a four-letter word. None of us like to have change imposed upon us, it disrupts our status quo without, it often seems, any benefit to us. Some changes however are good. Think of the last car you bought. The chances are that you could not wait to get that brand new model vehicle, oh that new car smell!

The problem is the buildings industry is changing--seemingly out of our control--and recent developments have made one thing very clear: Change is a certainty. So, in this turbulent climate one question must be asked: Will you either just wait for the industry to change your business and let circumstances change you, or will you meet this change head-on by positioning your business to leverage the possibilities of the changes? Successful players have taken the latter approach, trying (however small) to be proactive.

[an error occurred while processing this directive] September saw the fascination with numbers and good advice about Demand Response continue with Four steps to make money from DR  Understand - Internalize - Plan - Execute Anto Budiardjo, President, Clasma Events Inc

No, he’s not that same one as the 70s or 80s phenomenon that was short lived; the relics of those days are gone, along with bell-bottoms and disco-trotting Travolta. The DR of the 21st century is focused on hard business propositions fuelled by the reality of today’s energy-hungry, environmentally-aware society, desperate energy suppliers and financially-driven building owners, keen to find ways to improve their buildings and financial bottom line while at the same time be socially responsible to the environment.

Step 1, Understand: The new DR proposition

It is vitally important that we understand the new DR opportunity today, why it exists, the size of it and the scope of opportunities for the many players involved with building automation.

First though, it’s important to understand that DR is not just about saving money. This may sound strange but the reality is that the cost of energy in North America represents only a small (around 2 percent) of the typical expenditure of building-owning organizations, for which saving a small percentage on a small amount of peak time amounts to almost nothing – the “emptiness” of DR promises of the past.

October kept the interest with demand response as the The Killer App is Here A killer app is defined as being a product or service that is so useful that people will buy particular piece(s) of computer hardware and/or an operating system simply to gain access to the application, one that is so valuable that it transcends any concerns, risks or need to learn something new. Anto Budiardjo, President, Clasma Events Inc.

Why DR is a Killer App

For many building automation and control contractors and integrators, DR is old hat. It’s something that has done for many decades though have yet to deliver any significant value, in other words, it’s easy to do, and the tools and technologies required is well known to most.

That does not sound like a Killer App does it?

The fundamentals of DR are not new, but what is new is the circumstances around a new form of DR, some people are calling this ADR (Automated DR) while others IDR (Intelligent DR). This form of DR uses all of the technologies that have been talked about in AutomatedBuildings.com and BuilConn for years. This form of DR leverages the application of open systems, standards and IP based connectivity for a specific business opportunity that carries a great deal of promise for increased business returns.

The second reason the “new” DR is not to be ignored are a number fundamental business drivers; the impending scarcity of electricity in the nation’s electricity system and the increased concerned by US companies of green and sustainability issues, driven by climate change that is now an accepted scenario world-wide.

The combination of the above makes DR a major contender to be categorized in our minds as a “Killer App”, a combination of opportunity, technology and capability to deliver.

In November Demand Response gave way to total interaction with Net zero in two close well read articles: Integrated Design Associates, Inc.  Design headquarters is among the first to achieve net-zero energy Johnson Controls, Case Study

IDeAs is a consultancy that provides electrical engineering and lighting design services for projects such as educational and medical facilities, office and retail spaces, and restaurants and apartments. When the company bought a 7,200-square-foot former bank branch to house its new headquarters, David Kaneda, principal, saw an opportunity to bring the concept of a zero-energy building to life. “We felt we should walk the talk, not just talk,” says Kaneda.

The goal was to transform a 60’s era windowless concrete bank into a highly efficient and comfortable building using a full complement of sustainable design techniques and technologies. The result is an office building that uses renewable energy from photovoltaics to meet 100 percent of its energy requirements, burns no fossil fuels and produces no net greenhouse gas emissions.

Ferreira “31 Tannery Project” First Net Zero Electric commercial building in the U.S. A Post Occupancy Review, Observations & Lessons Learned Edward H. Brzezowski, P.E. – LEED AP, Director of Engineering, Ferreira Group and John Grabowski, Vice President, Live Data Systems

The “31 Tannery Project”, which serves as our corporate headquarters for over 200 people, continues to evolve and serve as a “living lab” and “hands on” showcase of energy efficiency (EE) and renewable energy (RE) systems. It even became the genesis invention of our own patent pending monitoring / diagnostic and visualization solution (MV) which has proven to be the critical component in achieving the maximum result and greatest return on investment.

December's article answers the question; How does a Smart Building approach facilitate meeting or exceed the technical requirements of the credits and points of the LEED rating system? in How Do Smart Buildings Make A Building Green? Smart buildings make green buildings greener, and green buildings make smart buildings smarter. Jim Sinopoli PE, RCDD, Managing Principal, Smart Buildings

Integrating a building’s technology systems and constructing a sustainable or “Green” building have much in common. Green buildings are about resource efficiency, lifecycle effects and building performance. Smart buildings, whose core is integrated building technology systems, are about construction and operational efficiencies and enhanced management and occupant functions.

LEEDPart of what a smart building will deliver is energy control and energy cost savings beyond that of traditional system installation, due to the tighter control system integration. Smart and green buildings deliver the financial and conservation benefits of energy management. One question then is how do smart buildings make a building green? More specifically, how can smart buildings support and effect the LEED certification of a green building?

Buildings can receive LEED certification by submitting documentation of meeting or exceeding certain technical requirements of the U.S. Green Building Council. One or more points are earned towards certification for each technical requirement that is attained. Four different levels of certification can be achieved based on the total points earned.

A wide variety of concepts all focused on providing our client's energy savings with a clear path to substantiality.

My Projections for the Future of the Building Automation Industry for 2008

Our 2007 BAS reflection exposes the strong relationship which has developed with the electrical grid that will forever change the value integrated Building Automation can provide. I project that this reflection will clearly evolve in 2008, as Demand Response, GridWise thinking, coupled with new relationships and new money results in a significant reorganization of our industry. The Green Building movement and our rapidly evolving necessity to achieve substantiality will radically reconfigure both our traditional building stock and the way buildings are built. Net Zero Building now show how renewable energy sources can be integrated with the grid where and when they are needed. My projection is that in 2008 all major existing buildings will be re-evaluated to understand the financial potential of increasing their interaction with the Electrical Grid.

The controls and buildings world is changing. As we all have noticed the traditional construction process is broken and it is increasingly hard to deliver value with building automation. So often design specifications are not enforced and integrators find it difficult to do the right thing, while making projects profitable. So what is the next value proposition? Energy

New partnerships will abound such as those described in Constellation’s NewEnergy Alliance that will create significant industry collaboration, reorganization and focus. Building integration with the grid will become the key driving force for our industry.

To simplify communicationsTo simplify communications with our many new partners and the general public graphics will be the key. Traditional dynamic information graphics will morph into interactive web pages and will appear anywhere they are required to educate and inform the building stakeholders of their contribution to substantiality. Simplified communication is extremely important and I am always interested in new developments such as browser and field device alerts. The use of networked digital signage presents new ways of getting our important messages to our clients and building occupants.

I project that our Building Automation Industry will demand dollars for giving back kW of electrical peak demand to the grid. This new reality will change everything, while creating a new and very demanding Demand Response Industry. This new industry will come with new dollars for our industry which were previously spent on providing peak electrical generation and distribution.

Of course the number of wireless device in our industry will significantly increase. The industry is seeing a paradigm shift. Building owners and facility managers now have the ability to select building systems, components, smart equipment, and applications and services by a "best of breed" approach. No longer limited by the technology that a single manufacturer is capable and/or willing to provide, building owners and facility managers can decide on the best overall technology solution in circulation.

AHR Expo 2008 http://www.ahrexpo.com/ in New York will be our ninth year of providing technical educational sessions. We lead off with Greening the Big Apple with New Building Automation Ideas and will continue with open discussions about Building Automation’s role in achieving sustainability and the impact of new codes and communication standards. AHRExpo is always an annual source of what is new and innovative in the Building Automation Industry.


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