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Xerox Corp. is one example of successful multisite organization enterprise integration. The project included 42 buildings spanning 5 million square feet. These buildings initially had many different, incompatible systems. While some were integrated, not all were, leaving the overall network with major information gaps.
"Xerox had a mandate to reduce their overall energy consumption," Haakenstad says. "Because not all information was available, there was no easy way to identify the differing subsystems, their operational issues or to have management information to do any analysis."
The overall system integration included a range of manufacturers and equipment.
Integration of BAS and the enterprise helped the company improve its information exchange and generate reports from each system type through a single point to provide corporate managers with an easy means for big-picture analysis. The company enjoyed cost avoidance of more than $2 million in 2007 and nearly $3 million in 2008 thanks to an enterprisewide integration.
"The ability to monitor and control interconnected systems can offer substantial savings in time and effort to manage the systems," Haakenstad says. "The information that's available to many users can greatly impact productivity, making it easier and less time consuming to manage these systems."
With hundreds of buildings and more than 32 million square feet of floor space in its real estate portfolio, the State of Missouri spent $300 million annually to operate and maintain existing buildings. In light of increasing energy and real estate costs and a growing deferred maintenance backlog, the state set a goal to reduce energy consumption in its buildings statewide by 15 percent by 2010.
A performance contract upgraded facilities, control systems and information management systems in approximately 1,000 buildings, with guaranteed savings of $9.5 million per year through reduced energy use, process improvements in facility automation, and monitoring and management.
"Energy and other operational costs make up a major part of most organizations' budgets and have a significant impact, in this case, on the viability of a government organization," Hoffman says. "The trending of energy costs, as well as efficiency efforts with daily precision has become recognized to be of equal importance as sales or cost of goods information."
As part of the upgrade, the state's newly designed BACnet system uses a Web portal to bring disparate applications and databases together into one facilities dashboard. The energy retrofit program also included a low-cost, wireless communications system for the Web-enabled building control systems.
Those steps can make it easier to share information across the enterprise. "Dashboards are a primary means of visualization, and Web-based reporting is another," Hoffman notes. "But the systems might also feed information to kiosks for sustainability and green building education. The group for the supply-chain relationships also could use the information to appraise parties in greenhouse gas reporting."
Actual annual savings surpassed $35 million in the first year, and integration of the enterprise system through a dashboard structure is credited to the success of this major performance contract. The contract also helped the state reduce its environmental footprint by 205 million pounds of carbon dioxide, 307,933 pounds of nitrogen oxide, and 583,539 pounds of sulfur oxide.
As such real-life examples show, integrating the BAS with enterprise systems provides the visibility required to evaluate good and bad properties, as well as the efforts of individual facility managers to meet or exceed key performance indicators determined by corporate management.
BACnet International encourages the successful use of BACnet in building automation and control systems through interoperability testing, educational programs and promotional activities. BACnet International complements the work of other BACnet-related groups whose charters limit their commercial activities.
"BACnet International grew from the combination of the BACnet Manufacturers Association and the BACnet Interest Group of North America," says BACnet International President Andy McMillan. "The two organizations came together to develop products that work for real-world building owners."
Along with facility managers, membership includes a who's who list of top-tier companies involved in the design, manufacturing, installation, commissioning and maintenance of control and other equipment that use BACnet for communication.
The organization is actively involved in the facilities industry, undertaking many activities, including:
"We're in the process of increasing our educational focus by developing new opportunities for facility managers and others to learn the importance of applying the BACnet standard in their buildings," McMillan says, citing such tools as Webinars and an annual conference as projects in the works for the current year.
"We're also starting a regular journal with articles and case studies to help facility managers solve the problems they encounter with interoperability and integration," he adds. "BACnet International aspires to be a place where there is networking amongst facility professionals to share best practices and their experiences, good and bad. Truth is we all have both, and we can learn from both."
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