EnergyStar 2.0 Interfaces and Enterprise Interaction
Monday, August 16, 2010 at 03:13PM
Toby Considine

Earlier this month, a few of us met for the NAESB PAP10 (Energy Usage) task force to discuss EPA EnergyStar Climate Control 2.0. We met to consider how the draft affected the work going on to define a standard for communicating energy usage. The draft EPA specification describes the changing requirements for EnergyStar certification. The EnergyStar certification is aimed for the home markets. Much of the specification discussed consumer interfaces for smart thermostats. My understanding is that the proposed release of this standard is in November of this year.

What caught my eye within the specification were abstract standards for communicating with a home HVAC system. The clear direction of this work is to increase competition and speed innovation in home systems by reducing the integration costs of mixing and matching major system components, i.e., air handler, heat pump, furnace, and smart thermostat.

To me, it is clear that an abstract interface to home systems could be an abstract interface to the small commercial package system. It could also be the abstract interface to each zone in a larger commercial installation. Such an interface would “dis-integrate” commercial building systems in ways that would more easily accept floor-by-floor and even suite-by-suite system and technology upgrades.

Enterprise interfaces to building systems must allow interaction without requiring that enterprise programmers learn mechanical engineering. They must allow coordination and monitoring without letting financial and business programmers screw things up. They must be generic to let one integration work for many technologies.

Don’t look for support for this from the usual standards bodies. Many of the participants are looking to preserve existing business models and fight over scraps. Maybe a newcomer could arrive with an open API and cool enough technology to make everyone else follow.

Or maybe, it could come from outside, from an EPA standard for homes.

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