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Integration a Key to Energy Management

A typical commercial building will have an energy management system. It will need to integrate power consumption data from the HVAC system, power management and control systems, and the lighting system to provide the owner with information on the energy consumption of the building or to improve functionality and reduce energy use.

Enterprise applications can make more expansive use of integrated systems related to energy management. These include large campuses, retail, and enterprise commercial holdings, where there are multiple buildings in different locations or multiple buildings using different building management systems. Integration will allow the acquisition of different remote building data from disparate building management systems to be integrated into an enterprise database and allow the owner to view enterprise data, with the capability to drill down to particular buildings or control systems. Integrating systems can also improve functionality and reduce energy use.

Other examples of system integration related to energy management and green buildings include:

• Integration of Energy Management and Facility Management Systems. Building system data needs to be integrated with facility management applications for work orders, asset management, preventive maintenance, and more. It is one thing to construct a new green building; it’s quite another to properly operate the building to maintain it as a green building. Applications such as predictive or preventive maintenance and asset management are needed to support the facility management staff in sustaining building performance. Also, integrating this data into business systems such as accounting, budgeting, and purchasing enable the financial side of energy and facility management.

• 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.

This quick read is from Jim Sinopoli, managing principal, Smart Buildings LLC.

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