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Category Archives: Building Automation

Building Automation

2015 Intelligent Lighting Review


Lighting is a load which every facility manager and operator must consider from an energy and maintenance perspective. In most commercial buildings, lighting is approximately 30 percent of building load. Consequently, ongoing energy and maintenance cost, not just initial fixture cost, must become a consideration.


In addition, operators should evaluate how maintenance and energy costs compare with the benefits of energy efficiency (EE) and demand response (DR), as well as the grid impact of lighting and lighting controls before making a purchase decision. However, sometimes these decisions and evaluations are tricky and expensive for operators or utilities to conduct on their own. For more than 15 years, the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) has been researching the real-world operation and performance of lighting, as well as the necessity to resolve power quality and Read more

Building Automation

Net-Zero Energy Buildings


Due to the current government mandate and possibility of implementation success, the Continental Automated Buildings Association (CABA) is working with the New Buildings Institute in 2015 on a research project entitled “Net-Zero Energy Buildings: Building Intelligent Controls Driving Success”.


The objectives of the research project are to determine the frequency, types, and characteristics of systems in net-zero energy buildings along with establishing energy saving targets. This research will examine strategies and technologies applied in large commercial and multi-unit buildings, to identify net-zero energy (ZNE) best practices that can become the references for developers, manufacturers, property managers, and property owners.


Though definitions vary, a net-zero energy building is a term broadly applied to a building that produces as much energy as it consumes over a given time period. Net-zero energy buildings are, by design, very energy efficient and their remaining Read more

Building Automation

Convergence in Building Automation

Image courtesy of PublicDomainImages, Pixabay

According to a recent report by Accenture, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) could drive many trillions of dollars in economic growth worldwide in the next 15 years. Building automation is expected to represent a huge chunk of the total IIoT opportunity—at least, for those able to take advantage of this monumental technology shift. Read more

Building Automation

Building Automation Market Report


With competition growing in the building automation market, systems integrators are placing increasing emphasis on product choice and adding value to traditional systems to better position themselves towards enhancing customer satisfaction.
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Building Automation

Commercial Buildings and the Smart Grid


For utilities, generating additional capacity is neither a quick nor a simple proposition. Strategies that help monitor and control power demand are essential to ensuring a robust power supply, and the Smart Grid represents the best opportunity to control the demand for additional capacity. Read more

Building Automation

Smart Lighting for Energy Efficiency


How to save energy and receive a quick payback

BY DAWN MORRISON, Graybar Canada

It seems like everything is increasing in price these days, especially when it comes to energy. Electricity often has a very large impact on the bottom line, particularly when it comes to industrial facilities and commercial businesses. In these cases, two of the key contributors of energy consumption are inefficient lighting and improperly controlled motor loads.


Lighting Audit
When a lighting audit is done, the company performing the audit provides a complete documentation of existing lamps and fixtures along with the calculations of current energy consumption. Based on those results, they will then provide a recommendation of replacement lamps and fixtures along with the corresponding calculations of energy consumption by the proposed lamps and fixtures. With the use of payback calculation software, a dollar value can be matched to the energy savings to figure out what the payback would be with the proposed lamps and fixtures.

Building Automation

Boosting Industrial Energy Management


Starting a meter-based operations and maintenance strategy program


The rising cost of producing, delivering, and consuming energy in its various forms continues to affect the facility environment. However, despite dramatic cost increases on all fronts, overall energy efficiency has improved 23.5 percent since 1990, according to “Energy Efficiency Trends in Canada—1990 to 2009”, a recent publication of Natural Resources Canada.

NRC figures comparing power consumption (without factoring in energy-efficiency measures) in 2009, for example, reveal an approximate 1,560 petajoule (PJ) reduction and 81.1 fewer megatonnes (Mt) of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, for a savings to Canadians of almost $27 billion.

In the industrial sector, energy use and associated GHG emissions increased 17 and eight percent, respectively due, in large measure, to significant new upstream oil and gas activity. Even so, the adjusted energy-efficiency effect of the industrial sector shows a savings of 593 petajoules of energy (see Figure 1) and a 27 megatonne reduction in GHG emissions.

During this 20-year period, energy intensity, measured as the efficiency of energy use per unit of economic activity, actually rose 21 percent. Despite the rising cost of delivered electricity—almost 76 percent higher than 1990 for some tariffs—it is obvious that major strides in energy efficiency have been made. The foregone conclusion is considerable room for improvement still exists.

Building Automation

Installing Occupancy Sensors in Warehouses

Lighting in warehouse (Courtesy of Universal Lighting Technologies)

The 2013 Lighting Review: Installing occupancy sensors in warehouses

BY STEPHANIE BOYLE, Universal Lighting Technologies

Warehouses tend to have an enormous amount of square footage per occupant, as you would expect from their function. Lighting all of that space when no one is around is pretty much the definition of wasting energy. And yet, some warehouse owners and managers have been slow to adopt automated lighting control technologies, such as occupancy sensors.

In Canada and the U.S., occupancy sensor systems are gaining popularity as an effective approach to reducing energy use and maintenance costs, whether as part of a larger retrofit project or added to an already effective lighting system.

Modern occupancy sensors were first developed in the early 1950s to function as an alarm system, using sound waves at a frequency beyond human hearing and measuring for any change in frequency caused by motion in the room. Today’s occupancy sensors generally use infrared or microwaves rather than sound, but otherwise operate on similar principles.

In lighting applications, the first occupancy sensors were used only to turn off lights that had been turned on manually. Now, they not only turn on lights when motion is detected, but advanced models also can adjust HVAC equipment to reduce energy use when the room is unoccupied.

Building Automation

Ceramic Technologies

EYE Lighting International

How companies can save money with Gen2 lighting

BY TOM SALPIETRA, EYE Lighting International

Lighting upgrades are a popular and easy way to save on energy. Changing to solid-state lighting may be costly, and some early adopters have not been fully satisfied with the light-emitting-diode (LED) performance claims that some manufacturers have made. That’s not to say LEDs are a poor option. Owners, operators and contractors must make informed choices about the right light source for any application if they really want to save on energy.

Behind the scenes over the last couple of years, lamp manufacturers have been quietly working on their Gen2 version of “ceramic technology” lamps or lamps using ceramic technologies. Ceramic is the best-of-the-best blend of the old standby mercury, high-pressure sodium (HPS) and quartz metal halide (QMH) lamps. Those traditional HID lamps make up a great majority of the installed base of highbay, lowbay, parking lot, wall-mount, and street and area lighting sources.

Building Automation

Automation Standards 101


Understanding industrial and commercial automated systems

BY DONALD DUNN, International Society of Automation

To improve energy and operational efficiency, and leverage advances in smart technologies, electric power companies and other process industries are rapidly implementing automated systems.

The global industrial automation market is predicted to grow from $159.8 billion in 2012 to more than $200 billion by 2015, according to findings by IMS Research. The worldwide market for electric utility substation automation is expected to rise from $2.7 billion in 2012 to $4.3 billion in 2020.

The complexity of these automated systems—which rely on an increasingly sophisticated mix of instrumentation and control devices, computer technologies, and information networks—is expanding rapidly as well.

The challenge facing industries worldwide is effectively devising, applying, managing, and safeguarding automated systems so that they deliver on their great potential. For instance, as these extensive, mission-critical systems have multiplied so too have concerns over widespread power disruptions or other adverse events because of device failure and intervention from hackers and cyber terrorists.

This is why industrial automation standards are extremely valuable. Automation standards provide best-practice guidelines that support proper design and implementation of automation and control systems, and promote ongoing reliability, safety, and security.

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