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Building Energy Management Systems

- Towards energy smart buildings

Buildings account for about 40 % of total energy consumption and contribute significantly to overall carbon emissions worldwide. Commercial buildings make up a large part of this. In the U.S. alone businesses spend in the region of $100 billion on energy for their buildings. In Asia, economic growth and a shift towards service based economies will expand the need for commercial buildings. This provides scope for substantial cost savings for the U.S. estimates predict that smarter buildings could save $ 20 -25 billion in annual energy costs. There are a number of different ways companies can reduce the energy consumption of their buildings. Buildings can be designed more efficiently at the planning stage, which whilst ideal is not always an option. Existing buildings can be retrofitted to improve energy efficiency - which can be capital intensive and disruptive. Another option is to use software to ensure buildings utilise energy efficiently. Building Energy Management Systems (BEMS) are computerised systems that enable building operators to monitor and control building systems including heating, ventilation, air conditioning and lighting. They often require minimal capital investment and result in little site disruption. The opportunity BEMS can provide for energy savings is largely untapped today as many building owners and operators are not aware of how data driven optimisations can reduce energy consumption. Analytics software can help detect and address many sources of waste such as: HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) equipment that is simultaneously heating and cooling a given space due to a failed sensor or other fault. Technicians dealing with low priority or false alerts about building anomalies, while the notification system fails to highlight other issues of greater impact. Default configurations for all systems and pieces of equipment, meaning they run at suboptimal set points and are rarely updated after initial configuration. Lack of visibility and attention to energy waste on the part of occupants and building engineers. HVAC and lighting systems running at full capacity during periods when buildings are largely unoccupied.

Building efficiency meets information technology In recent decades, most commercial buildings have been equipped with an increasing number of sensors, controls and other devices. Modern buildings have built-in control systems, referred to as building management systems (BMS) or

Environment and Green Technologies Dept Enterprise Ireland

October 2011

building automation systems (BAS), allowing building engineers and facility managers to control their infrastructure. In this type of model, disparate building management systems and control panels are the access points to observe and manage building equipment, as illustrated in Figure 1 (left side). By introducing a smart building solution that provides an additional analytics layer (right side), a single data repository for all buildings is created and engineers are equipped with a powerful toolset to analyse data. In addition, this provides a foundation for tighter integration with a smart utility grid

that manages energy supply and demand dynamically on a local or regional level.
Fig 1 : Building Management traditional approach (left) vs. smart building approach (right)

How analytics can cut energy waste Fault detection and diagnosis: Through sophisticated fault detection and diagnosis rules, issues with building equipment across an entire group of buildings can be automatically identified and prioritised for building engineers. Conducting equipment maintenance on a continuous basis so-called continuous commissioning avoids waste and dramatically improves resource allocation. Engineers do not have to walk around looking for issues and money is spent where it is most needed. This also frees up engineers time to address issues with smaller subsystems, which can add up to a large potential savings opportunity. Alarm management: By prioritising and structuring the numerous notifications generated by building systems, a smart building solution focuses engineers attention on the most critical events. They can concentrate on urgent and effective interventions from the perspective of occupant comfort, energy consumption, cost and business impact. Energy management: Smart building solutions are able to centralise and correlate data from building systems, corporate data warehouses, and external sources, such as utilities and weather data feeds. Through analytics tools, building engineers can find anomalies and manage energy use holistically. Likewise, employees can be encouraged to save energy through information sharing in the form of dashboards, as well as energy benchmarks that create internal competition.

Environment and Green Technologies Dept Enterprise Ireland

October 2011

Figure 2: Basic smart building program components

Inhibitors to smart building adoption Despite such benefits, corporate uptake of smart building implementations has remained relatively limited to date. This is due to a range of challenges that have inhibited adoption. These typically include: Connectivity and integration: The most immediate challenge lies in accessing the data from the existing building management systems. This is made more difficult by the disparity of systems, varying ages of the assets and different communication protocols. Also, as the smart building solution may be hosted externally, a secure connection may need to be established, which can complicate the data exchange and delay the rollout. Data volumes can be significant and can conflict with available capacities for extraction, transfer, storage and processing. Depth and breadth of available data: A second issue is collecting data that is sufficiently granular, both in quality and quantity. Firms need to ensure that all relevant equipment is networked and sends regular updates (e.g. in five-minute increments). Contextual information is also needed. For example, air conditioning usage needs to be mapped against weather conditions to distinguish savings simply due to favourable weather from real improvements. Internal data, such as the number of occupants, is similarly needed for meaningful analysis. Usability: Usability challenges have been a common barrier to adoption, as many engineers have had limited exposure to advanced analytics tools. Some applications run the risk of overwhelming users with too many features, presented via a non-intuitive or unfamiliar user interface. Organizational support and change management: Implementing a smart building program can take several months and relies on many stakeholders. One particular challenge is the need for full commitment and close collaboration between all stakeholders executives, building engineers, IT staff and external vendors. Engineers can be faced with conflicting workloads from both old and new responsibilities, which can inhibit uptake and delay payback periods. Budget challenges: Although the cost of implementing a smart building solution can be modest compared to the operating cost of the building, budgets are often tight and facilities teams may find it challenging to secure funds for such programs. They face the challenge of demonstrating both cost and

Environment and Green Technologies Dept Enterprise Ireland

October 2011

sustainability benefits in their business case. Implementations companies can be harder to justify as they lack economies of scale. Cylon Controls

for

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A wide range of European and Irish companies manufacture the hardware and software that go into BEMS. One such company is Cylon Controls Limited. Founded in 1985, Cylon, an Enterprise Ireland client company is now one of the largest independent manufacturers of building control systems in Europe and continues to grow worldwide. Cylon BEMS are installed in a number of high profile projects including the Dublin Airport Terminal 2 Building. The Cylon BEMS controls the air-handling units, cooling and heating systems and monitors the level of carbon dioxide via CO2 sensors. The Cylon UnitronUC32 OPC server provides the new terminal with a fully integrated solution. The OPC server allows integration between the Cylon BEMS and other systems such as lifts, luggage conveyors, lighting, security and fire security. All systems can be viewed and monitored from a single PC using the OPC interface.

Last year, we also won a deal to install our system in the Greenview building in Beijing, said Cylon founder and managing director Sean Giblin. It was one of the top ten construction projects in Beijing. It was the first multimode building. They built buildings inside an outside skin and they can run the building with natural ventilation for part of the year and it can be air conditioned for the other part of the year, its our kit out there. Meanwhile, in the United States, the companys technology is being used as part of an extensive retrofit of a major research and development facility. The company has also had a fruitful period in the Middle East. At this stage, its equipment is installed in more than 8,000 of the telecoms base stations in the region. It has also signed up a number of large hospitals in the area. We are a very export-orientated company. More than 70 percent of our business is outside Ireland, Giblin said. All of our growth is in exports at this stage. We now have two offices in China in Beijing and Shanghai. We have put some senior business development people into Europe as well, which resulted in us doubling our sales in the Scandinavian market last year. In addition to selling more equipment and software, Cylon has begun to move into the services market. Doing so will provide the firm with valuable recurring revenues, but Giblin said that it should also help its customers save more money.

Environment and Green Technologies Dept Enterprise Ireland

October 2011

According to the Carbon Trust in Britain, 90 per cent of these kinds of systems arent optimised, he said. You are relying on who is running the building. The building manager has to do this along with everything else they have to do. The future direction that the company is investing in is in services around the products. Well run your building, well monitor it and we can tell you whether your building is operating outside its energy targets. We can tell you why and how to fix it and we can do that over the internet. Giblin said that a growing number of customers were beginning to move over to a service-based model. In particular, large firms with multiple buildings can see the value of having a centralised energy management system. Between Boots and Next in Britain, Cylon has its system in 1,000 retail outlets. Its all about making sure that the energy use matches the use of the building, he said. So you only have full lighting on when customers are actually in the store. You only run full air conditioning when you have a heavy load of customers in the store.

Market Growth
According to a recent report by Pike Research, the BEMS market holds significant opportunity for growth in the next few years and the firm forecasts that investment in the sector will total $10.1 billion in the U.S. alone from 2010 to 2016 with a compound annual growth rate of 17.4%.

The Future
Cloud Computing Cloud computing is set to transform information technology, by making third party applications readily available as a service over the internet. Cloud computing is the provision of services and resources from software to applications and more over a wireless network or cloud, rather than physically on your device. Instead of installing software, it is available in the cloud to process and store data and access programmes when needed. For smart building solutions, this will deliver a number of benefits including:

Accessibility: Aggregating and analysing data from disparate sources is at the core of any smart building solution. The cloud is ideally suited to providing a universally available platform for managing building data mashed up with contextual information and made accessible for a variety of users and devices. Scalability: As the data volume and diversity of sources increase, cloud based architecture provides the scalability required to process massive volumes of data at an affordable cost. Abundant computer power will allow more complex modelling, such as correlating external

Environment and Green Technologies Dept Enterprise Ireland

October 2011

temperature, cloud cover and wind conditions with building access activity to refine heating, aircon and lighting patterns. Once connected the clouds capacity would allow vendors to serve new customers and increase the number of buildings managed without installing physical servers Automation and real-time analytics The next generation of smart building solutions will allow organisations to automatically adjust building controls based on real-time data. For example, by monitoring the security badge access information for a building (as a proxy for the number of employees present), HVAC systems could be automatically adjusted to account for increased or decreased conditioning requirements. As an alternative, location and presence data from laptops or mobile phones could be used. Such solutions will rely on real-time analytics applied to incoming data streams, along with complex event processing, to execute automated adjustments to building controls. Future tools might even use machine learning to optimise algorithms over time, realizing even greater energy savings. For example, statistical analysis, simulation and predictive modelling can be applied to determine how many chillers need to be turned on, based on forecast occupancy levels and outside weather conditions. Researchers are also working on solutions that shape electricity demand curves of HVAC systems by using buildings as a form of energy storage and applying complex algorithms to optimise energy consumption through the course of the day. Integration with utilities and city infrastructure With increasing adoption of smart building solutions, the built environment will achieve new efficiencies in energy use and improvements in occupant comfort. This is only part of the story however. Electricity grids are being upgraded with intelligent controls and two-way communication. As individual nodes of the smart grid, buildings will become active participants in managing energy demand and supply in a connected environment that includes power plants, transmission infrastructure and even electric vehicles. For example, if a substantial share of a large companys employees were to use electric cars that are plugged in during the day, the campus could use the combined battery capacity to lower peak demand drawn from the utility at certain times during the day. Likewise, demand response technology could be used to shed loads in buildings when electricity consumption peaks, saving cost for utilities and building managers. As buildings become increasingly networked, they play a crucial role in the development of energy-smart cities that unify the concepts of resource management and information technology on a municipal level.

Environment and Green Technologies Dept Enterprise Ireland

October 2011

Conclusion BEMS with aggregated data and powerful analytics that add intelligence to existing infrastructure have the potential to transform the way companies manage energy usage over the coming years. The potential for information technology to improve building energy efficiency is only starting to be realised. The Global eSustainability Initiative, a consortium of leading high tech companies including Microsoft, Vodafone, Nokia, Hewlett Packard and Cisco estimates that smart building technology has the potential to realise up to $25billion in energy savings annually in the US alone. Quite simply, firms seeking to enhance their bottom line need look no further than the offices theyre sitting in.

Environment and Green Technologies Dept Enterprise Ireland

October 2011