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Our Role in the Transformation of Building Automation
January 12, 2016 - Building Automation
by Ken Sinclair
The transition to a new year causes us to reflect on the previous years. The future is falling on us fast but we must be the force that provides linkage to the past, and more importantly to the existing. Only we as an industry have the skill and knowledge; this is not an IoT thing, this is us.
We need to not be overwhelmed by the transformation occurring but to be the stabilizing force of reason in the transformation in our building automation industry.
A reflection on the changes in our industry in last few years casts an amazing shadow. It is interesting that if you look at our monthly themes, you will see that what we all have been talking about is "Our Role in the Transformation." It is not the amazing IoT technological changes that are the focus of our discussions; it is how we as an industry of self-learning assets embrace and connect these changes.
AutomatedBuildings.com has always been about change. As we enter our 18th year with over 160 issues online, the summation provides insight to how we have been embracing change.
Looking back to the Paris Climate Agreement “the beginning of the end of the fossil-fuel era,” this article points us in a path forward from that event.
“The Way Forward from Paris is Via Automated M&V.” Investment dollars to transform commercial building energy wasters into high performers are there, but won’t be tapped until bankers are confident in the measurement and verification of savings — Therese Sullivan, Principal, BuildingContext Ltd
Comes this insight:
“A single universal data exchange schema is not a practical goal now or in the foreseeable future. Each of these approaches to semantics is being built for open, easy information interchange. LBNL has been tasked by the DOE to provide technical support to socialize the standardization and sharing of common terms. By this they mean, LBNL will continuously publish and push out on social media channels mappings to the BEDES dictionary provided by adopters. This is not unlike the Project Haystack forum pages and the soon-to-be published Haystack e-zine that will share use cases of Haystack models and methods.
“Today this is how the buildings industries are working together toward open energy auditing, automated M&V, and energy management information systems that exist along a continuum. Teams that use these tools should be supported by an uninterrupted workflow and easy exchange of data. With research provided by LBNL, the DOE is also reaching for government leadership with its High Impact Technology (HIT) Catalyst project. Among the few technologies on the HIT list are Packages of Building Management and Information Systems (including submetering, control and automated fault detection and diagnostics).
“The Paris Agreement is a significant first in how governments and non-governmental organizations around the globe came together on goals. The sidebar meetings made clear that building efficiency in densely populated cities and regions is among the first, if not the first, focus area of the signers. So my post-Paris 2016 prediction is that this year is going to be all about federal-government initiated, big-bank-financed, big-tech-equipped, big-property-manager-planned/manned, and big-city-piloted projects. Whoops, there is no big-building brains in that line up. So you'll find some of the smaller companies with the building automation know-how actually leading the charge when it comes to bringing the M&V. The money is there to accelerate, if the players can line up behind the projects.”
In this article Jim Sinopoli helps me further explain our role in the transformation:
“New Year’s Resolutions for Building Owners.” Indulge in introspection and reevaluating aspects of your buildings — Jim Sinopoli, PE, LEED AP, RCDD, Managing Principal, Smart Buildings LLC
Comes this wisdom in these words:
“IT is now an important part of the way our global interconnected society lives, works, entertains, and interacts; occupants, tenants and visitors have high expectations. Innovative technology can be disruptive for building owners, troublesome for operations, as well as challenging the individual personnel requirements, but the upside is the advantages and benefits of IT; economic efficiency, communications, automation, competitive advantages, flexible platforms, bridging cultural gaps, etc.
“It now seems some new technology is being unveiled every week. It’s difficult to keep pace and will be even more difficult when the Internet of Things (IOT) really starts rolling as potentially billions of sensors, connectivity, and integrations rise steeply, and it will get complicated. How can building owners know what to implement and when to implement? Start with getting solid information on emerging technology from the news, colleagues, and other sources. Evaluate how the technology improves efficiency, reduces cost, or is differentiator. Look for benefits, ROI, and risk. Talk with others that have deployed the technology. Prepare a cost/benefit analysis that might be associated with a deployment. Start small with a pilot program and evaluate the technology within your own environment. Communicate with employees, vendors, or consultants involved with implementation and have a fallback option. Newer technologies may have “bugs” or sometimes won't work as promised. When implementing, be alert for the unexpected. If the implementation doesn’t meet your expectations, you may have a way to scale back to what you had before.
“Resolution Two - Treat Data as an Asset
“If we really think data is an asset, and we should, then we need to organize and manage it. You’ll want to operate the building on factual data. Buildings provide a substantial amount of data from a variety of sources. The data is generated from building management systems, independent control systems, facility management systems, business systems, BIM, data in the hands of third-party contractors that install, service, and maintain building equipment, data from the utility grid, weather information, etc. The typical building has several "silos" of data scattered throughout the organization with no cohesive strategy for data management and little coordination. Also note that it's not only the data that is in silos but also the underlying technology systems for data management, different data management processes, and even the different people involved. There would seem to be a very good case for bringing all the facility data into a unified database architecture and put into practice standardized methodologies and processes to manage everything.”
This is just a sample of two of our January articles depicting our rapidly evolution and journey that defines our "Our Role in the Transformation"
Ken Sinclair is the founder, owner, and publisher of an online resource called AutomatedBuildings.com. He writes a monthly column for FacilitiesNet.com about what is new in the Internet of Things (IOT) for building automation.