Posts by Laura

Integrating Alternative Energy Sources Into Demand Response

Ken Hejmanowski, Director of Product Management January 6, 2017 Utilities have created Demand Response (DR) programs as one of their tools to help them balance their operations by managing the flip side of supply. By decreasing demand from their customers at peak times, they’re able to reduce the total supply they must produce, and thus avoid higher costs involved with increasing supply, as well as avoid the risk of generating too little electricity to meet demand. DR programs rely upon customers volunteering to participate in a series of events in exchange for financial incentives. During DR events, participating customers must drop —and validate— their energy demand by agreed-upon amounts in order to qualify for the financial incentives. The methods used by participants to live up to their DR obligations have been largely manual and rather brute force. Many times, it means that a facility manager must push buttons or throw levers to do things such as: Turn off lights Shut down some elevators Shut down heating, venting and air-conditioning (HVAC) equipment Reduce HVAC usage through re-setting temperature set points Shut down production processes Shift production processes to other times Many times, these things are done in ways that significantly impact occupant comfort and productivity; yet 90% of a business’ operating costs is tied up in people and their productivity. According to the report, Health, Wellbeing & Productivity in Offices, by the World Green Building Council (Sept. 2014), employee productivity drops by 6% when temperature exceeds the maximum comfort level. So, while a 10% variation in energy cost might contribute only a small amount to the bottom line for a single building, it can have a disproportionate impact on the business’ total operating cost.   Impact of…

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Technology is not meant to replace humans…

Steve Nguyen, Sr. Director of Marketing November 14, 2016 When I started working in the controls industry 20 years ago, it was after a lifetime of tracking and trying new technology. New “stuff” tended to be my passion —from the first epoxy resin tennis racket to the first PCs with micro-channel architecture, to the world’s first laptop (the gigantic Compaq with the 4 inch amber screen). As a young man, I worked at the Sharper Image and sold the world’s first mountain bikes, bread makers, and even baby sound soothers. Even then, technology seemed to be the answer for everything. By the time I joined Echelon —a true IoT pioneer—, I was convinced that instrumenting the built environment was the tipping point that would change the world. I could envision buildings that automatically incorporated wheelchair controllers for actions like calling elevators initiating a fire alarm. At that time hospital wards were already using technology to lock doors when babies got separated from their moms. We were able to build smart environments so we could stop worrying about aging loved ones or make street lights smart enough to dim 5% during evening rush hour (imperceptible to drivers but helped with slowing traffic) commutes. Funny thing though, as we’ve moved to smarter and smarter buildings and the seemingly inevitable “IoT-ification” of life, we find that there’s a disconnect between cloud intelligence and the built environment. It’s as if we’ve hit our equivalent of the uncanny valley —the one that separates life-like robots from human acceptance. How is it, for instance, that a perfectly-optimized building system can be undermined by a poorly shaped hallway? The IoT devices and sensor networks all point to perfection in the environment, but…

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Automated Measurement & Verification the BuildingIQ Way

By Jen Jackson, Director of Product Management, CMVP September 16, 2016 One of the favorite parts of my job is building new products that make life easier for my customers. With the introduction of our 5i Platform, we’ve taken the wraps off of one of the cooler features of our Predictive Energy Optimization™. (PEO) solution and given it life. We call it Automated Measurement & Verification, or AM&V for short. What we wanted to do was make the process of M&V faster, simpler, more reliably accurate, and —very importantly—repeatable. Our M&V process is largely automated and adheres to the key principles set forth by the International Performance Measurement and Verification Protocol (IPMVP). Once deployed, AM&V can be used any number of times for qualifying for utility incentives, rebate programs, or measuring and verifying the results of other energy initiatives. And if systems change, adjustments can be calculated with just a few clicks. We offer AM&V as a standalone service and bundled with BuildingIQ’s Predictive Control services —Demand Response and PEO. How We Do It We automate data collection (independent and dependent variables), baseline creation, baseline prediction output, savings calculations (baseline vs. actual), and non-routine adjustments. The baseline models go through rigorous review prior to use and all results undergo periodic quality assurance. With all functionality built into BuildingIQ’s cloud-based platform, the process is user-friendly and transparent. Equally important though is that the methodology is consistent and repeatable, and not as prone to human error. This means that stakeholders can evaluate system performance without costly and time-consuming, third-party analysis, yet all of the building blocks are available as auditors’ needs arise. Reporting Savings Once a validated baseline model is in place, BuildingIQ optimization is enabled (or…

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