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System Integration Can Add Functionality In Existing Buildings


Today's briefing comes from Jim Sinopoli, managing principal of Smart Buildings LLC. Here are four ways that system integration can add functionality to the operation of existing buildings.

  • Off-hours system activation. Have the card access system trigger the activation of lighting and HVAC zones during off hours, based on reading and validating the card access information and then issuing override, enable, start/stop, or other commands to the lighting control and DDC system.

  • Demand response. Use a power monitoring and control system to provide data that could trigger demand or energy reduction sequences. For example, the building KW load data from the power monitoring and control system could trigger a reduction of lighting levels via the lighting control system, then issue commands to the DDC system to raise the space temperature setpoints for selected zones to reduce the cooling load, or turn off a selected piece of equipment to represent KW load reduction, or raise the chilled water discharge setpoint for reduced cooling load as an energy reduction sequence.

  • Shades, lighting, and HVAC. If a building has exterior shading, typical lighting controls, and a DDC system, there's probably a need to optimize several variables within the systems. It's really about controlling the penetration of sunlight. Too much sunlight may result in heat gain and trigger cooling from the HVAC system. Too little sunlight or daylight harvesting may result in greater use of the lighting system. The position of the shades affects thermal loads in the space via the amount of sunlight the shades let in as well as potential heat from the lighting system. At the same time there’s a need to use daylight harvesting. An integrated approach among the different systems can be used to control active and passive sources of heating, lighting shading, and ventilation via a preset sequence of operations.

  • 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. If the scheduling system is integrated with HVAC, lighting, access control, and even the AV system, the integrated system can automatically set up the room prior to its scheduled use (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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