January 2008

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EMAIL INTERVIEW  Jeff Seewald, Paul Ehrlich and Ken Sinclair

Jeff Seewald, PE, Intelligent Building Systems Engineer
Paul Ehrlich, PE, President
Building Intelligence Group LLC

Intelligent Sustainable Agreements

There are many areas within the LEED Green Building Rating System to which Intelligent Building practices and technologies may be applied.

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Sinclair:  How do Intelligent Buildings deliver on sustainability?

Ehrlich:  Intelligent Buildings provide a way for building owners to achieve sustainability goals while, at the same time, reduce operating expenses and improve occupant comfort and convenience. Put another way, we find that owners’ commitment to achieving sustainability goals is driving demand for Intelligent Buildings.

Sinclair:  What Intelligent Building practices and technologies address sustainability?

Seewald:  There are of course many possibilities, but a few examples of Intelligent Building practices and technology that present sustainability benefits include:

  • Systems optimization and scheduling based on actual building occupancy.

  • Advanced room, and day-lighting control

  • Interoperable and connected systems that enable data flow about building operations

  • Benchmarking of building performance in order to understand where there are issues and corresponding opportunities for improvement

  • Enterprise-wide systems create potential for better management of facilities and open up new applications possibilities

Sinclair:  What sustainability benefits do Intelligent Buildings bring to building occupants?

Seewald:  Intelligent Buildings offer the potential for greater comfort and convenience through improved indoor air quality and greater responsiveness to building conditions and occupants’ needs. For example, day-lighting control enhances occupant productivity and creates a connection between the interior space and a building’s surroundings. At the same time, it reduces the need for electric lighting and the associated thermal loading. A greater degree of monitoring and control of thermal comfort conditions is another good example that benefits people in the building.

Sinclair:  How do Intelligent Buildings work with the LEED Green Building Rating System?

Seewald:  There are many areas within the LEED Green Building Rating System to which Intelligent Building practices and technologies may be applied. For example, both day-lighting and thermal comfort are represented by multiple Indoor Environmental Quality credits. Another very good example is measurement and verification, a key Energy and Atmosphere credit. Building commissioning as well as ongoing monitoring and verification of performance are greatly enhanced by an Intelligent Building approach. Intelligent Buildings may also earn Innovation Credits as well.’

Sinclair:  Are there any new developments in the industry related to Intelligent Buildings and sustainability?

Ehrlich:  There are very exciting changes under way. The energy act passed in 2007 includes language to move all commercial buildings toward being net zero energy and integration and intelligent building technologies are key to achieving these goals. We are involved with a new group called the Commercial Building Initiative that is focused on delivering these goals. Its founders include some of the most respected organizations in the industry, including ASHRAE, the AIA, USGBC, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, the U.S. Department of Energy, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and the Alliance to Save Energy.

There is a workshop on this a public workshop on this initiative being held as part of the Winter ASHRAE meeting in New York on January 22, 2007. For more details see CBI press release.

contemporary Sinclair:  How does one learn more about the latest in Intelligent Buildings?

Seewald:   This year we are holding our third annual seminar on Intelligent Buildings as part of the AHR Expo in New York City on January 23rd. We strongly encourage attendance at this event which will describe both the opportunity and recommended solutions. Some of the learning opportunities include:

Industry experts will provide detailed information about the technologies, benefits, and challenges of Intelligent Building projects, and how they deliver on sustainability. For more information, see the Building Intelligence Tour web site at http://www.buildingintelligencetour.com/index.php.


Paul Ehrlich, PE, PresidentPaul Ehrlich, PE, President
Paul Ehrlich established Building Intelligence Group in 2004 with the purpose of providing services to help the industry transition to Intelligent Buildings. Ehrlich has been involved in the industry for over 20 years. At BuilConn 2004, Ehrlich was honored with a Buildy Vision Award for his perseverance in promoting whole building integration and interoperability through advocacy, promotion, educational and training endeavors. He is presently the co-chair of the oBIX committee and frequent presenter and author in the industry.

Throughout his career, Ehrlich has been actively involved with various industry groups involved in the creation of new automation standards and technologies. Previous roles include chairing the ASHRAE Guideline 13 committee on how to specify DDC controls and acting as the inaugural chair for the oBIX committee to establish XML standards for building controls.

rior to establishing the Building Intelligence Group Ehrlich had worked for industry leading suppliers including Trane where he served as Controls Business Development Leader, guiding the direction and development of building control products. In this role, Ehrlich focused on determining global customer needs as it related to potential technologies that will be used for Trane’s current and future generations of building control products. Prior to working for Trane, Ehrlich worked for Johnson Controls providing solutions to building owners.

Jeff SeewaldJeff Seewald, PE, Intelligent Building Systems Engineer
Jeff Seewald is a licensed professional engineer who brings nearly 20 years of experience in commercial buildings systems applications engineering and systems optimization to Building Intelligence Group.

He is experienced in IT networks, integrated controls, HVAC equipment and applications engineering. Most recently, Seewald has been involved in the definition, development, and deployment of next generation web based building automation products. Prior experience includes supporting building systems applications and engineering analysis involving heat transfer and fluid dynamics for which he has been awarded several patents. His work reflects a passion for energy efficiency, renewable energy, and sustainability.

At Building Intelligence Group, Seewald provides commercial building clients with analysis and solutions to help them achieve greater levels of functionality, efficiency, and intelligence in buildings.

About Building Intelligence Group LLC
Building Intelligence Group LLC is an independent consulting firm that provides technical and strategic consulting services with a focus on sustainability and intelligent buildings. For more information please visit: www.buildingintelligencegroup.com.


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