The game changer for Building Energy Management: Are You Ready for ‘Energy Operating System’?
Commercial buildings use 20% of all electricity consumed in EU and numerous studies suggest that there is a significant unrealized opportunity for energy savings. Nowadays more and more buildings are equipped with “smart building” systems. Let me tell you the inconvenient truth about these complex automation systems, their brain is static, they do not learn. Identifying the specific sources and root causes of energy waste in buildings can be challenging largely because energy flows are generally invisible despite the fact that current building management systems have the ability to collect the necessary information. Existing buildings as well as a high portion of new construction buildings are not smart grid ready. The whole potential of existing Building Management Systems cannot be utilized for the dynamic commissioning of building energy systems due to some technical & operational limitations. Existing ICT infrastructures of the buildings provides a single combined information and communication platform, which would not completely predict the consequences of the building’s behaviour and the needs of the building occupant/operator to manage energy consumption efficiently.
A Central Energy OS is not a Dream Anymore
Analyzing these facts, it is concluded that except for the technological barriers, one of the many reasons these problems persist in the face of financial incentives is that owners and operators of the buildings have very poor visibility into the operation of their buildings. Making changes to operations often requires expensive consultants, and the technological capacity for change is unnecessarily limited. In Reengen we believe that some of these issues are not simply failures of incentives and organization but failures of technology and imagination: with a better software framework for building energy related operations, many aspects of building operation would be improved by diverse innovative software applications. In other words, buildings must be converted into software defined upgradeable entities, which are open to run rich applications developed by third party software specialists. To convert that market opportunity into value, we developed Provolta Energy Operating System, for implementing building energy applications such as Continuous Energy Commissioning Service in a much more flexible and portable way supported with cloud based big data analytics and energy simulation mechanisms.
Unleashing the Hidden Power of Building Management Systems
Do not forget that buildings are already one of the largest and most prevalent deployments of “sensor networks” in the world, although they are not typically recognized as such. Locked in proprietary solutions or behind closed interfaces, a modern commercial building contains thousands of sensors and actuators that are more or less the same as those used in a typical sensor network deployment: temperature, humidity, and power are the most common transducers. Through better use of existing systems, we may be able to make a dent in buildings’ energy usage.
The overarching goal of Provolta EOS is to lay the groundwork for building energy related applications: a platform siting on top of the sensing and actuation already present in existing buildings, providing new functionalities including connectivity with utility demand response applications and ESCO Energy Efficiency Programs. Specifically, we provide applications with a few key properties; applications which are portable, able to be easily moved from one building to another so as to enable changes to building operation which scale like software, rather than hardware on building renovation. EOS allows software to securely and portably collect, process, and act on the large volumes of real time data present in a large commercial building. In order to avoid the shortcomings of current building management systems, EOS implements a multidimensional energy optimization architecture which can extract sensed data and building information from different data sources (e.g. building integrated renewables, electric vehicles, energy storage systems, building management systems), transfers data with cloud enabled platforms and information sources (e.g. wireless sensor networks, energy simulation programs, utility platforms), and processes and aggregates this data in an information management platform. The system continuously acquires performance measurements of HVAC and lighting usage from the existing Energy Management and Control System, compares these measurements in real time to reference cloud based whole building dynamic energy simulation models that have been calibrated by the real time condition data in order to represent acceptable performance. The comparison enables identification and quantification of sub-optimal performance, identification of the conditions under which suboptimal performance occurs, a means to compare and apply alternative corrective actions using whole building metrics, and finally a means to validate improved performance once corrective actions have been taken.
Big data analytics, cloud and Internet of Things continue to disrupt the energy business from the ground. By extending the brains of buildings to the cloud, Provolta Energy OS aims to positively impact 1 Billion people in 10 years. Are you ready for the clean energy disruption?