Traditionally, the design and operation of individual building systems - electrical; communications; lighting; heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning (HVAC); and security - were independent processes. Little thought was given to why or how the various functions in a building can be integrated to work together.
Advancements in hardware and software technology and a better understanding of the interrelationship between system functions have resulted in an exciting new concept that is driving the future of building system design: integrated system solutions. Integrated systems provide a wide range of benefits not only for building owners, but also for occupants.
The concept of integrated building systems involves coordinating, unifying, and tying together all of the electrical distribution, control, and communications functions in a facility. It's a solution that can benefit buildings of any size or complexity. Integrated systems can tie together the functions of any number of facilities. As a result, enterprise-wide interoperability is achieved, sometimes from a single control point.
Enterprise-wide integrated solutions monitor and control several functions: interior, exterior, and display lighting; HVAC; metering (not only of power for functions such as lighting, HVAC, and the entire building, but also for gas, water, steam, and effluent); security;, building monitoring (indoor air and power quality); and a number of other systems, such as customer counts, movement in a store, and point of sale.
The benefits of integrating building systems are significant, including lowering energy costs by reducing consumption and avoiding demand charges. An example of an integrated system is a building with lighting control that imperceptibly brightens or dims lighting by factoring in the amount of natural sunlight coming into a room. This control benefits the HVAC system by lightening the load, resulting in lower energy consumption and often demand charges. Often, this only requires a few simple sensors and controllers, which can save enough electricity to pay back the cost in a year.
With interoperability, it is entirely feasible to shed loads when rates are highest, or when demand is approaching its upper limit. This ability to shed and add loads will become increasingly important as prices for energy fluctuate more widely by time of day - a possible result of deregulation. This ability will also allow some facilities owners to negotiate uninterruptible rates.
Other advantages of integrated systems include the ability to provide increased security and safety for facilities, as well as the people who occupy them. Higher levels of comfort and peace of mind for occupants mean less downtime. Another benefit is increased uptime for facilities. Integrated systems can be prewired to reduce wiring and other installation errors that often plague facilities owners and managers during commissioning and initial operations. Additionally, a more compact installation is possible in many cases. A two-section switchboard, equipped with remote-controlled breakers, can replace a large switchboard and a number of subpanels.
Consider chain stores, where integrated systems offer enterprise-wide interoperability. Often, building systems can be monitored from a single PC. From this PC, energy usage from each store can be monitored and compared, providing an opportunity to identify areas where costs can be reduced. Security systems can be linked into integrated systems. At the same time, customers can be tracked to determine where they go first, and the average amount spent. Using valuable information, stores configure space to move more product.
In a competitive society, and especially in the competitive environment established by a deregulated energy marketplace, interoperability of a facility's functions is critical for optimal profitability.
Enterprise-wide integrated solutions
* Control interior, exterior, and display lighting.
* Control heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems.
* Meter power usage for lighting and HVAC systems, as well as gas, water, steam, and effluent.
* Monitor security systems.
* Monitor building indoor air and power quality.
* Oversee customer counts, movement within a store, and point-of-sale timing.
For More Information
For more information on a variety of electrical and wiring products, circle or write in Inquiry No. 706 on the Free Product information Card, page 65.
Ken Uhlman is manager of the retail facilities segment at Cutler-Hammer, Pittsburgh.
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|Title Annotation:||integrated building system design|
|Date:||Dec 1, 1998|
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