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Controlling Water Consumption Is One Benefit Of Integrated Systems

By Jim Sinopoli June 2014 - Building Automation

While most of the focus and attention regarding green buildings is on energy, there are LEED credits related to water use which address landscaping, water-use reduction, and innovative wastewater techniques. Water is a uniquely critical resource and also has a direct connection to energy use. Every drop from the faucet requires some pumping or treatment which uses energy; therefore, reducing potable water use reduces energy consumption.

From a green building perspective, the interest is primarily in how we manage and monitor the water use in buildings. More specifically, the focus is on systems that will allow us to collect data on water use and provide actionable information to the facility or property manager. The water management system can identify water leaks and running fixtures and provide information as to when the fixtures are in use, flow rates, restroom traffic patterns, and how water usage changes with the season.

Networked water-monitoring and -management systems consist of flow meters, sensor-operator water fixtures such as faucets, urinals, water closets, occupancy sensors, automated ball valves, and water valves. Some of these devices can be monitored and managed, and others only monitored. These management systems are also applicable to greywater, wastewater, and recycled rainwater systems. For example, a greywater system will need to monitor ultraviolet lamps used to disinfect greywater, the filters, system pressure, UV lamp life and failure, pumps, etc.

By integrating data from a power management or energy management system with the water management system, it is possible to measure energy consumption of the water distribution or irrigation systems and also use the power usage and gallons per minute (gpm) of the pumps to detect inefficient or failing pumps. For example, if the kW/gallon drifts up from historical data for the same gpm (i.e., not just a performance curve variance), that is a sign that the pump (while operational) needs service because it is less efficient.

Off-Hours System Activation

This application integrates the card access, HVAC, and lighting systems in a building for occupants entering the building after hours or on the weekend. Once a person provides credentials to the access control system and is authenticated, the access control system will trigger the activation of lighting and HVAC zones during off hours. The card access information includes the spaces within the building that the occupant can enter, and the system will then issue override, enable, start/stop or other commands to the lighting control and DDC system in those spaces for a fixed time. The application saves energy and staff time.

Event Management

Many large buildings or campuses have scores of meeting and conference rooms, and they manage the rooms via an event management scheduling system. By integrating the meeting scheduling system with the HVAC, lighting, access control, and even AV system, the suite of systems can automatically set up the room prior to its schedule (turn on lights, unlock doors, change the HVAC set point, etc.) and based on occupancy sensors can return the room environment to its unoccupied state afterwards.





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