Buildings IoT

Expecting Energy Savings in Midtown East

By Matt White | October 25, 2018

We’re about eight months into our NYSERDA RTEM qualification and the idea of up to 30 percent cost-sharing on real time energy management projects is piquing the interest of building owners and operators in all corners of the city. In advance of a vendor breakfast and mini conference on #proptech Nov. 8, we thought now was a great time to take a look at one of OTI’s RTEM projects currently underway in New York City.

Join us on Madison Avenue to learn about the intersection of sustainability and technology

Energy Savings in Midtown East

757 Third Avenue is a 502,000 sq. ft. office building in Manhattan’s Midtown East. The building has seen its share of renovations and sales in recent years. Once the current owner settled in with the building, an exploration of the building’s energy use became feasible. OTI, aided in part by the benefits of the RTEM program, was brought on to replace the two existing control systems with EasyIO panels and controllers, integrate existing Niagara devices and provide a visual user interface for full control and continuous monitoring of the new system.

The network will be switched almost completely to BACnet IP and in phase two, we will install a fiber backbone and expand analytical, metering and other services.

Key Benefits of Real-Time Energy Management

Our partners at NYSERDA outline the benefits of RTEM like this:

  • RTEM centralizes the tracking of all utility usage allowing for one-stop management of total energy consumption and spending.
  • RTEM centralizes the management of on-site generation assets with the scheduling and operations of building equipment and plants.
  • RTEM centralizes the monitoring of base building systems and common areas with tenant-owned systems and tenant-occupied spaces.
  • RTEM centralizes the monitoring and management of energy consumption with air quality metrics to minimize energy while maximizing occupant wellness.

Nuts and Bolts

The nuts and bolts of OTI’s RTEM system for 757 Third Ave. include:

  • Ongoing commissioning and continuous identification of energy efficiency opportunities.
  • Energy performance tracking.
  • Automated fault detection and concise diagnoses for quick action.
  • Potential for peak-demand management programs.
  • KPI dashboard built for different building stakeholders.

This project is currently in development with installation expected by the end of this year. As results come in, we will update you on progress. For now, plan to meet us at 41 Madison Avenue to talk more about this project, NYSERDA RTEM, proptech, energy management and system integration. RSVP today.

rtembreakfast

Buildings IoT

What I Learned and Didn’t Learn at Realcomm IBCon 2018

By Clint Bradford | June 12, 2018

Our team is back to our respective offices after Realcomm/IBCon brought more than a handful of us out to Las Vegas. This show always offers an interesting mix of perspectives from service providers like OTI to manufacturers like SkyFoundry, Optigo, Dell and Intel to end users including Berkshire Hathaway, CBRE, JLL, GGP, Cushman & Wakefield, you get the picture. It’s a unique mix of people representing various aspects of real estate investment and innovation.

The Realcomm organization was celebrating its 20th conference this year and for one of my colleagues, last week marked his 13th consecutive Realcomm\IBCon. While it was only my third foray and OTI’s first as an exhibitor, I noticed both familiar refrains and new ideas permeating the show from the exhibit hall to the session rooms. Here are a few takeaways:

Back to Basics

New people are entering the industry all the time and IT folks are getting involved in more levels of controls and operations so it’s good that we continue having conversations around the basics of systems, networks and security. The construction process is still not finely tuned when it comes to integrating building systems. More conversation around the basics and the process of involving Owners, General Contractors, IT personnel, and Master System Integrators creates a better process that will lead to more efficiencies. I’m definitely optimistic.

Realcomm IBCon 2018 was hosted in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Agree to Disagree

Speaking of OT, IT, systems, networks and security, the question of convergence once again reigned supreme. No one seems to agree on the best approach for networking IT and OT devices. Same network? Different network? The jury is out indefinitely, but there was plenty of ping-ponging on the subject. Some integrators firmly said yes to converged networks, whereby OT devices live on IT networks through one or two extremely locked-down access points. Other integrators insisted that separate networks are the only way to insure the highest levels of security and network uptime.

Here’s my take: First, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to system integrations. Second, there are a lot of new products on the market. It makes sense that IT teams are hesitant to allow a converged network in their buildings. Their questions are good ones – how secure are these new devices? Have they really been put through the same rigorous testing to which we subject our IT devices?

During a couple sessions on convergence, end users were on hand to discuss how they’re expanding teams of white-hat-hackers. These groups test all devices that come into their networks. This increasingly includes OT devices, driving OT teams and IT teams closer together. In my view, this is a very good thing.

From the end user perspective, it’s encouraging to hear agreement around value added when devices talk with one another. It doesn’t matter what we call the network.

A hub of smart building innovation, Vegas was the perfect backdrop to an intelligent buildings conference.

Debate on Digital Twins

The concept of digital twins has been around since 2002. It started reaching mainstream audiences a couple years ago and Realcomm focused on the idea in a variety of ways. I can see advantages of a development environment for experimentation with new controls, analytics and operations processes. We’re at the very early stages of this, though. We need to see it pencil out before we can confidently deploy this approach without compromising project delivery.

A few people posited that this digital twin approach wouldn’t have any impact on project completion time or budget, but can we be sure of that?

Aaahhh Analytics

The Realcomm IBCon show this year, and others so far in 2018, have made it clear there is no longer a debate about analytics. Most vendors have some sort of analytics package and most end users perk up at the word.

This is great to see. It suggests analytics will be more widespread in integration projects. With that, the future of building controls and operations will be more efficient and long-lasting. It was also clear that everyone is “doing analytics” making it harder to tell who is offering a valuable system. Loose standards make it hard for property owners, investors and managers to evaluate competing analytics systems. There are a lot of people saying they have deployed analytics. Experience has confirmed building analytics are hard. Additionally, they require professional engineers and data analysts to really have an impact.

Now that we agree that analytics are crucial, we need to dig deeper into what makes them successful in buildings. Are we really taking full advantage of all the data we’re collecting?

Final Thoughts

If the mark of a good show is leaving with more questions than answers, I’d say this year’s Realcomm was a success. Our industry still runs in circles around big topics but there is enough progress to keep me excited about the future.

Want to read more about what went down at the show? Revisit this post about the Digie Awards and our case studies page for peek at what we presented at the Showcase. Also check out our Twitter feed where we were live-tweeting some key sessions.

*Photo 1 by Dom Crossley on Flickr ; Photo 2 by Nelo Hatsuma on FlickrPhoto 3 by Schnitzel_bank on Flickr