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Daedalus was the mythical great architect and artificer of the classical world. Today, embedded intelligence is enabling the most profound changes in the way we create and use buildings since his day.

Building Intelligence meets the Intelligent Building. The Intelligent Building negotiates with the Intelligent Grid. How will this transform how we interact with the physical world?

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Sunday
Jun032012

Commercial Use of Live Energy Models

This is one of a series of posts on how the semantic expression in WS-Calender is beginning to affect buildings and smart energy. WS-Calendar recently completed its third public review and will soon be published as Committee Specification 1.0.

In a previous blog, I discussed new directions in commissioning; including commissioning that incorporates BIM, schedules, and continuous energy models.

Performance Contracting and the new Commissioning

Many building owners are suspicious of energy performance contractors because the performance contractor is both a player and a score keeper. Because a significant effort is required to understand the information in building systems, there are significant start-up costs. These costs, both in money and time, require that each contract include a significant minimum contract lengths over which to amortize the up-front costs. These up-front costs make it uneconomical for energy contracting to use a third party auditor to verify results.If the owner selects a new a new performance contractor, the up-front costs will be incurred again.

Standard semantic tags and ready access to a light-weight BIM can change this.

Imagine a market wherein a cloud-based energy performance contractor could offer same-day initial reports. That same market also supports a number of 3rd party auditors, cloud-based, each able to independently assess the results of the performance contractor. Each of these parties can hook up to the BSI, read the BIM, read the tags, and begin analyzing right away. A potential energy performance contractor could offer the building owner a selection of third party auditors to report the success of the contract.

This competition between cloud-based services would drive rapid innovation. On one side driving costs down, on the other driving richer models. These models are likely to build upon two significant efforts currently underway. ASHRAE SPC201 would inform the models, and through the linkage of systems and space, become more nuanced. Schedule-based business assertions, as we are beginning to see in the links of WS-Calendar and the IFCs would make these models more business aware.

Continuous commissioning based on such a foundation would support an ecosystem of cloud-based service suppliers, each able to grow to scale.

Retail use of Live Energy Models

As we move in this direction, we move from information models that are tuned to reflect changed operating hours to models that can tied increased energy use to short term activities, including, say those associated with a sale in one portion of a store. That portion of a store with an ongoing sale may have increased HVAC driven by increased traffic or brighter lights to attract shoppers and display the merchandise, and other enhanced amenities. A side effect of the brighter lights may be increased heat load, thus causing still more HVAC requirements than at first expected.

The most respected retailers with superior operations are already using these sorts of models to fine-tune their special Sales.

Non-Energy adaptive re-use of new Energy Components

Because the approaches described above rely on the composition of multiple standards, they create components that building integrators can re-assemble to meet other purposes.

Emergency responders have long wished for a variety of interactive means to acquire situational awareness of the facilities they are entering. The standard light-weight building model described above is a natural basis for situation awareness sharing. During an emergency response, the goal may be closer to raw sensor readings than to energy use. Those sensor readings, like the performance information, cannot be interpreted without a framework that indicates the spaces and the business purposes where those sensors are located.

Common abstractions, business purposes, and frameworks are the foundations for policy-based interactions with any system. The business-purpose-based analysis of space and system and schedule, is a likely target for adaptive reuse for emergency-response based policy. In the simplest (and direst) case, the facility is on fire, every asset is at risk, and so every bit of information about a building might be shared. In a simpler case, if the Spill Response Team is responding to a minor spill in the warehouse, it is inappropriate to share with them acess to, say, a webcam in the executive suite.

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