energy saving building toronto

Energy Saving Building for Your Commercial Space

If you run a business or manage a commercial building, then you must be aware of the various building systems that are required to be functional in order for the business to run smoothly. On top of that most commercial buildings tend to be high energy consumers thus putting a dent on your net profitability. As a business owner or commercial property manager, you do not have to think out-of-the-box on how to lower costs as you know all too well how energy consumption costs reduce your bottom line. There are many steps you can take to transform your commercial space into an energy saving building. Let’s delve deeper into some of these:

 

Energy saving building

These days, the entire world is talking about conserving energy and whether you acknowledge it or not, conserving energy is not simply about making the world a better and greener place, the concept is also tied to enhancing efficiency and improving building performance. An energy saving building is any building that has been designed, constructed or upgraded in a way that it is able to get the maximum work out of energy provided to them while minimizing the loss of energy.  Energy saving building also works by reducing energy demand of the building system, for example- by turning off power when not in use or in areas not required.

 

How to make your commercial building energy efficient and reduce costs?

Invest in energy management systemEnergy management system offers valuable data and insights to track, monitor and regulate energy use in your commercial building and enhance building performance while reducing costs. You can invest in building data analytics that provide you with relevant and simplified data of energy use and take control.
An energy management system can be used to detect faults in your building system, provide preventive maintenance and thereby reduce maintenance costs and damage to building.

HVAC Controls and Optimization

Perhaps the most energy draining system of your building is the HVAC system. For a commercial building, HVAC system can account for up to 60% of energy consumption. Hence, it is only rationale as a business owner that you pay special attention to HVAC system efficiency.

Apart from having your HVAC system annually maintained by a professional, installing an efficient Building Automation System for your commercial HVAC can significantly improve life cycle of HVAC, provide increased HVAC efficiency while reducing your energy costs.

Building Automation and Controls allow commercial buildings of any size or industry to optimize their central HVAC system- even multiple HVAC systems can be monitored and controlled from a single interface seamlessly from anywhere through IoT. This results in fewer maintenance calls, proactive servicing, and reduced bottom line.

Retrofitting old HVAC system

Sometimes your HVAC system may be too outdated to perform efficiently and if you are not ready to change your old HVAC system, you can try and see retrofitting the old HVAC system. This is simply an upgradation where you can change parts of your old HVAC such as adding a new compressor, ventilation control, condenser fan control and so on to improve HVAC system performance, minimize energy use and reduce utility bill. Retrofitting HVAC system can save you up to 30% energy costs.

Invest in newer energy-rated appliances and equipment

 

An energy saving building does not only mean it is designed to be an energy efficient building. Today’s energy saving buildings run on newer, better appliances and machines that use less energy and are environmentally friendly. For example, think of simple things in your commercial building that you have not changed in a few years – it could be a refrigerator, oven, air-conditioning system, or HVAC system. Modern equipment are energy rated so that they consume less energy and reduce carbon footprint.

Improve thermal insulation

Poor insulation in a commercial building can also account for significant energy loss. You can retrofit your old building to add insulating layers that allow for lower heat loss. If retrofitting the entire building is not possible, you can take small steps like changing window glasses that are better insulators such as double or triple pane windows, sealing gaps and entryways or even checking vents, HVAC ducts, pipes and so on.

Choose smart building technology

Commercial buildings today have a lot of opportunity to improve energy use by investing in smart building technology. Through this, building managers and owners can view real-time update of energy use in building, take better control and take measures that minimize energy use. For example, smart buildings utilize various sensors to power building automation.

Sensor and controllers provide remote and real-time monitoring of various building systems such as HVAC system, lighting, security, electrical and so on via internet of things. Smart building controls remove the scope of human forgetfulness of failing to turn off lighting and HVAC settings, thereby reducing energy costs. There is also HVAC monitoring app that allows you to track, monitor and control your HVAC system remotely from anywhere.

Invest in LED Lighting

If your commercial building is still using traditional lighting, then you are simply throwing money out the window without even realizing it. While changing the entire lighting of your building may feel superfluous to you, investing in LED lighting can save you money as they are much more sustainable, energy efficient as well as environmentally friendly.

Empower your community

Investing in latest technology will not automatically solve the problem of high energy bills if the occupants or users of the building are not aware. Educate and empower your staff and residents on how to manage the building system in an energy efficient way, such as using equipment properly and so on.

If you have an energy saving building for your commercial space, it will not only reduce energy cost but also result in improved comfort, and better functionality.

A-TECH Engineering Ltd. is a leading building automation and controls provider based in Toronto and other major cities across Canada who can help you transform your commercial property into a functional, comfortable and energy saving building. Contact our team member today to learn more.

BUILDING AUTOMATION SYSTEM WAREHOUSE

How Building Automation System Can Increase Your Warehouse Efficiency

Warehouses are essential infrastructures where large volume of goods and products are stored. Owing to their large square feet area and functionality to store goods and products in safe conditions, it is imperative that warehouses are managed efficiently. Because of their purpose of use, warehouse also happens to be big on energy consumption. In today’s technological era, having a building automation system for warehouse can greatly boost efficiency and reduce costs. The key benefits of BAS for warehouses include commercial HVAC controls and energy management system. Building Automation System is also an energy management system that reduces costs by efficiently controlling air conditioning and heating as well increases system performance and enhances occupancy comfort.

Building Automation System

Building automation system refers to the central control of a building’s several systems mainly the HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) as well as lighting, security system,  access control, and other interrelated systems through a Building Management System (BMS) or Building Automation System (BAS).  The BAS offers a centralized platform or interface which allows you to modify the control settings, monitor the system status, and identify any possible issues associated to building system performance and take preventive measures.

Having a building automation system includes several benefits such as improved occupancy comfort, efficient operation of building systems, lowering of energy consumption, reduced operational costs, enhanced security, remote access, control and operation of building systems as well increased sustainable use of resources and equipment.

Building Automation System Integration for HVAC Controls System

Many large commercials including warehouses have central HVAC system in order to provide heating and cooling to the entire facility. They can also have multiple HVAC plants depending on building size and use. Building automation system allows integration of all these multiple systems on a unified interface, thereby providing better control, reducing inefficiencies, and lowering energy consumption.

How can warehouses benefit from Building Automation System?

The major areas where warehouse uses energy include lighting, temperature control such as humidity levels, refrigeration, heated casings and so on.  Regulation of accurate temperature is vital as different products and goods require varying storage conditions.

Then there are also seasonal warehouses that operate only during certain parts of the year. For example, agro-based warehouses are operational only during the season of its yield. However, the warehouse facility needs to be maintained throughout the year to ensure its functionality.  Introducing an efficient building automation system to your warehouse will give you better control on energy consumption as you can track and regulate building variables easily with integrated IoT solutions. IoT solutions can help you remotely access, regulate and operate building systems of your warehouse.

Building automation system helps you cut your warehouse energy costs by giving you valuable insights and data pertaining to your warehouse. Some of these are:

  • Are you heating your warehouse when it is not necessary?
  • Are you heating your warehouse in areas it is not needed?
  • Is your HVAC energy efficient?
  • Is your lighting energy efficient?
  • Are you lighting your warehouse when it is not required?

If your warehouse is still relying on traditional ways for its operation, chances are that you have no way of having all these data, all of which can translate into enhanced warehouse efficiency and reduced costs.

With building automation system you can have a better understanding of energy use in your warehouse,
identify opportunities when you can cut energy use and set benchmark on how much energy you want spent in your warehouse.

You might feel that with building automation system, you will be handing over control to automated system but think of it like a puppet with strings- the system is the puppet but you are the one pulling the strings as you have full control over the system right at your fingertips.

In addition, having automated building system for your warehouse does not only mean that you are improving efficiency of your warehouse but also increasing your productivity and ROI. For example building automation system and control uses intuitive technology that autocorrects if there is any error in the system, so if you require warehouse temperature at a certain degree to store goods, it will auto-set it and prevent damage to the goods which you may not even be aware of if you were the one overseeing these variables.

The integration of building automation system combined with data analytics, gives you easy access to a plethora of valuable insights into the working environment of your warehouse. You can easily find out heating and cooling temperatures, HVAC monitoring, indoor air quality monitoring, and lighting besides other functional aspect of your warehouse to ensure everything is in working order.

Another way building automation system enhances your warehouse productivity is by ensuring a safe workplace for your employees. Employees not only have boosted morale to work productively but also health risks with air quality monitoring and regulated temperatures are minimized. This in turn results in greater productivity and increased net profitability for your warehouse.

Running a warehouse is a massive task and you might be inclined to thinking that having an automation system is just a superfluous  addition which your business does not require, when in fact it could actually help you reduce unnecessary energy costs and grow your net profitability.

A-TECH Engineering Ltd. – a leading building automation system provider in Toronto as well as other major cities in Canada can provide custom building automation and control system tailored for your warehouse requirements, which will result in better performance, reduced costs and greater comfort of occupants. Contact our team today to find out how we can help your warehouse business become more sustainable.

energy savings and data analytics for hvac

Energy Savings and Data Analytics for HVAC Controls

 

When it comes to optimizing your business there are certainly many things you need to consider. If you are looking for a competitive edge for your business, lowering cost is something that you absolutely cannot afford to overlook. Many organizations and businesses look for various ways to cut down costs without looking at some of the most obvious and easiest ones. One of the easiest ways you can reduce your expenses is take better control of your energy consumption and HVAC controls play a big role in that. In fact, heating, ventilating, and cooling (HVAC) accounts for almost 50 percent of a building’s total power usage. Hence it is only logical to look for ways to enhance building efficiency through HVAC controls and achieve energy savings.

 

HVAC Controls

 

HVAC controls have been around for a very long time and they give you complete control over ambient variables in your building system such as heating, ventilation, and cooling.

Through HVAC controls, we are not only talking about being able to control these three variables in your building or office environment but also, they allow easy access to automated features that make the job of running your building in a smooth and efficient manner. This results in reduced cost, improved efficiency, and a comfortable environment.

 

Some industries became acquainted with HVAC controls a lot earlier than others out of necessity. For instance, industrial producers know very well that their machinery needs to operate within certain temperature thresholds, or they start to break down or underperform. Hence investing in efficient HVAC system is important to them.

 

On the other hand, if you are mainly focused on retail or customer service, you may not have yet considered this as a need as you may think you do not require it with as small business space or building size. However, if you are looking to minimize energy costs while ensuring comfort of occupants, HVAC controls is a must-have in today’s energy conscious era. Let us outline a few of the main reasons of why it is beneficial to have HVAC control system for your building.

 

Saving Energy Saves the World

Today’s world is one where environmental concerns are present at every level of analysis. Our society has become increasingly aware of its potential to either damage or preserve the natural balance. With ecological considerations at the front of our concerns, we find that from the highest tiers of government to the individual level, we are all doing our part to contribute to this effort.

 

Automated HVAC controls leverage the power of digital technology and high-quality sensors to provide real-time data that can be used in several beneficial ways. One of these is that you can know for sure that you are always spending the optimum amount of energy possible. No more and no less than what is needed will ever be spent to maintain the parameters that your business requires to function. There are applications like HVAC monitoring app through which you can monitor the data coming from sensors and make the necessary adjustments in real-time. You will always have complete control and can choose to set your desired parameters from anywhere with IoT. With HVAC controls, the system will do its work to ensure comfort and energy saving with minimal input.

 

Saving Energy Saves You a Lot of Money

Of course, saving the environment is important – after all we are part of the same ecosystem. However, you are also running a business. There is no way to work for a sustainable environment if your own business is not sustainable. That is one of the biggest reasons why you should consider acquiring automated building HVAC controls.

 

Energy bills can be very expensive depending on your needs, location as well as other factors. Our metrics show that we can help cut energy costs by as high as 30%, which can make a huge difference in the short, medium, and long term. In today’s highly competitive market, there is very little margin of error, no matter what your line of business is. So, if you can reduce almost a third of the cost of any aspect of your business, that is an opportunity you do not want to miss.

 

Although there are a few costs that are associated with installing this equipment if this is a first for you, the good news is that our services are designed to work with most of the main brands and models of equipment. That means that you are very likely to be able to keep most of your HVAC equipment and still take full advantage of what building automation system has to offer you.

 

You should also keep in mind that most of these are one-time expenses. Once you are set up you will not have to worry about special equipment or adapting existing installations anymore. Things will be up and running and will stay that way for as long as you need them to.

 

Leveraging Data Analytics for Increasing Efficiency

Do you find yourself wanting to know more about certain conditions in your working environment? If the answer is yes, then data analytics from automated HVAC controls system can empower you and your business with fast and reliable insights which you can use to better manage your building system. The data collected from HVAC monitoring app gives you alerts and notification in your chosen form and frequency so that you are always on top of your building automation system. You can utilize building analytics to make prompt and proactive decision and carry out preventive maintenance tasks to minimize service and repair costs.

 

Another benefit of automated HVAC controls is that the automation means you no longer require specially trained employees to deal with the data analytics and translate the information for your business. The technology will enable you to get exactly what you need from the system with minimum effort as everything is simplified and readily available.

 

Easy Access to Data with IoT solutions

In today’s smart technological era, our lives are completely dependent on our mobile devices. Like it or not that is the reality that we are living in right now. We use our phones, tablets, and portable computers for doing a lot of things, and controlling HVAC is  no exception here. Nobody wants to have to work with specialized equipment when we have powerful computers right in our pockets. That is why all our services are built with connectivity in mind, and you will have no trouble at all to set the services in your device of choice. You will have access to all the data that the equipment provides at your fingertips no matter where you are.

 

COVID-19 Proofing

With COVID-19 pandemic, we have all adapted to the new normal to continue doing our jobs or carrying out business in new and innovative ways. There are several challenges and requirements to be fulfilled daily and many of these seem to be here to stay for as long as COVID-19 will be around. And with the recent news of COVID-19 being an air-borne disease, it is now even more important to take preventive steps to ensure occupant safety of the building. At A-TECH Engineering – which is a leading HVAC controls contractor, we are offering free COVID-19 assessment of your site to show our solidarity to the local community during this difficult time.

 

HVAC controls can range from a great-to-have feature to absolute necessity depending on your business. However, if you are looking to optimize your business resources, improve efficiency and save energy costs, automated HVAC system is something you should seriously consider for your business no matter which industry you belong to. Contact our team of experts at A-TECH Engineering for more info on the energy saving potential of smart HVAC system that translates into actual savings for your business.

Facility Managers: How to Cut Energy Costs and Increase Efficiency of Facilities

Helpful energy saving checklist for facility managers to reduce energy costs and increase efficiency

Facility managers have the essential task to ensure that everything in the building runs smoothly as well as efficiently for the occupants all the time. Over time, the role of facility managers has broadened and includes making sure that the building is energy efficient as well. This results in occupants having a comfortable working environment while minimizing energy costs of the building.

As per EPA, 32% energy consumption and 19% greenhouse gas emission arise from buildings. As companies today work towards reducing energy waste, they are turning to facility managers who are greatly involved in improving the building condition. Facility managers are at an advantage to identify scope of improvement and take corrective actions to improvise energy efficiency of the building.  In this article we take a look at steps facility managers can take to improve efficiency of the facility building and transform it into an energy saving building.

Inspect energy consuming equipment and employ regular maintenance

In order to maintain functionality, efficiency, and comfort of a facility building, it is imperative to consistently manage the energy-using equipment through routine check-ups along with preventive maintenance. When energy consuming equipment are left without any monitoring system or check ups, the equipment not only loses efficiency but can also be irrevocably damaged. Regular, consistent maintenance for equipment through a building automation system can help identify issues such as leaks, repairs, and replacements. Routine check-ups and maintenance can be held for boilers, chillers, fans, lighting system, computers, electronics, HVAC system and so on. In addition, data analytics can equip facility managers with valuable insights into performance measurement which can be utilized to improve the energy efficiency of the building.

Also, as a facility manager, you must take note of equipment that are obsolete, require frequent repairs and get rid of these. Replacing these with energy-rated machines will not only enhance performance but also bring down energy costs significantly.

Utilize submetering to accurately picture energy costs of the facility

When you are a facility manager, it is important that you know exactly how much energy the building is using, how much energy is being wasted, and identify areas of improvement to lower energy cost.

For this, you can look at trends in your utility bills and take note for any inaccurate meter readings and charges that do not make sense. You should also be aware of any controllable factors that can be leveraged to reduce energy consumption.

Also, using submetering in facility buildings is a great way to effectively control and use the resources in the building. Instead of using a single device to determine total energy use, facility management firms are increasingly switching to submeters in facilities to accurately monitor and manage utility costs. Submetering makes it relatively easier to see which areas of the facility consume high power and come up with alternative energy efficient solutions. It also allows precision data-collection methods that facilitate in identifying problems, scheduling corrective measures, and applying better energy saving solutions to improve overall energy efficiency of the building.

Use lighting and HVAC controls effectively in facility buildings

It is no doubt that lighting and HVAC systems account for a huge portion of the electricity bill. In order to cut down energy cost of your facility building, increasing efficiency of these systems can greatly reduce your building’s energy cost. For example, it is very likely for occupants to forget turning on and off these systems when not required, and as a result energy is being wasted. You can have motion sensor lighting that automatically turns on and off depending on the presence of users in the area. Installing efficient building automation system can help to reduce the cost of energy by automated daylight harvesting feature which allows detection of daylight and minimizes the use of artificial lighting in those periods. Nowadays there are many energy saving lights available in the market such as LED lighting, combining this with an automated lighting control system will surely have a beneficial effect on reducing energy costs of your facility.

Similarly, automated HVAC controls and smart thermostats can be utilized in your facility building to control HVAC system. As a facility manager, it is important that you monitor the thermostats and HVAC control settings so that occupants of the building are working in a comfortable condition. There are many automated systems available these days that give you access to these controls through Wi-Fi on your phone, making them easy to use.

Educate facility occupants about ways to reduce energy costs and properly use the facility

Only using an energy efficient machine and transforming the building into an energy saving one will not save money if occupants do not learn how to use it properly. As a facility manager, educate them through meetings, sessions and let them know the proper use of the equipment so that they run efficiently and minimize energy costs.

Get guaranteed 10% Energy Savings when you use A-TECH Engineering Energy Management Services for your facility.

With businesses and organizations becoming more energy conscious over the days, facility managers play an important role in tackling issues, identifying areas of improvement that can enhance building efficiency. A-TECH Engineering Ltd. – a leading building automation contractor in Toronto offers energy audit and energy management systems that can transform your facility building into an energy saving building, give better control over the building, reduce energy costs, and at the same time ensure comfort of the occupants. Contact us  to get a quote and discuss the energy saving potential of your facility.

car dealership energy efficiency

How To Improve Energy Efficiency of Your Car Dealership

 

Are you tired of paying high bills for your car dealership? You can save over 40% by increasing energy efficiency of your building. Read on to find out how to improve energy efficiency of your car dealership and reduce energy costs.

Starting from early November 2020, electric bills in Ontario will increase by at least 2% as fixed pricing comes to an end. With COVID-19 pandemic still looming over us, it is no doubt that the surge will have a dual negative impact on businesses that are already affected – including car dealership businesses that typically consume more energy per square foot than conventional office buildings. As such, car dealership owners can greatly benefit from an energy management program that will not only reduce its carbon footprint but also reduce its utility bills. In this article, we will take a look at the cost effective areas in which car dealership can reduce use of energy such as heating, lighting, air compressors and so on, while at the same time maintaining functionality and comfort of the building.

Lighting – It is no secret that car dealerships tend to consume a lot of energy in the lighting department as the place needs to showcase the car in the best way possible. Most of the car dealerships that have been operational for a long time use outdated, energy inefficient bulbs that are not only poor in service but also need frequent replacement, thereby increasing overall cost.

Having a building automation system can greatly aid dealerships to effectively use lighting only when necessary thereby reducing extra costs. In addition, dealerships can also invest in energy efficient LED bulbs instead of being fixated on using age-old light bulbs that consume a lot of energy and give rise to a high electricity bill at the end of the month. This will surely result in improved energy efficiency of car dealership.

Heating– Another area car dealerships lose a lot of energy is the heating department. Having outdated heating system, leaving doors and windows open while heating or air-conditioning is on, outdated boiler heating controls are some of the many ways through which energy loss occurs, resulting in high utility costs. On average, 30% of car dealership energy costs are pertaining to heating.

One of the long term cost effective ways to reduce energy costs from heating is to have a smart building technology which controls its heating settings, automatic opening and closing of bay doors, smart thermostat and so on. A smart building knows when to turn the power on and off on its own so even if you have a forgetful mind, you are assured that at the end of the month you are not going to get a high bill because you simply forgot to turn off the power.

Air-compressors – Air-compressors also play an important role in dealerships and are another source of high energy consumption. To improve energy efficiency of your car dealership, it is essential to keep track of air compressor maintenance and performance. Often energy is lost due to leaks in air compressor, presence of condensate and moisture, pressure fluctuations, high source pressure and so on.

Having an energy management system in place ensures accurate assessment of air-compressors through techniques such as metering and measuring. This gives insight into air compressor performance as well as identify windows for improvement. It is also important to use energy rated products, for instance an energy rated air compressor will not only save money but also curb air pollution.

Most dealership owners do not want to partake in energy audit or energy management programs as they feel like these would be an additional and unnecessary cost. What is the need to fix something if it is not broken, right? However, when you are not changing or upgrading your system, you not only run into unforeseen problems but also incur additional cost in the long run. With a little bit of foresight and innovation, as a car dealership owner, you can save a lot of money if you are keen in making your dealership up-to-date and energy efficient. Having an ongoing energy audit and management system will equip your dealership with data, insight and control on how to reduce energy usage, find existing faults, and suggest preventive maintenance and repairs.

At A-TECH Engineering Ltd. – which is a building automation and energy company, we have a host of energy management and building automation systems that are geared to improving your dealership’s energy efficiency and reducing energy cost while ensuring quality, functionality and comfort of the building.

Energy-Management-System

Energy Management System

Optimizing resources can be a challenging task in any given environment. Putting the available tools in use to obtain the best results possible expending as little as you can is a full-time job and requires a lot of careful consideration. This is especially the case in the current state of technological development. Many options are constantly arising, evolving, and improving, and one must consider at least some of them with care since they can make a big difference.

This is the case when it comes to Energy Management. The technology involved in this field has evolved so much that it is now possible to cut down on costs and increase the efficiency of HVAC systems if a good solution to automation of variables such as temperature is properly implemented.

Today we are going to focus on the Energy Management of Schools and commercial buildings. Practically every industry, as well as end-users, can benefit from some kind of Energy Management System, both here in Toronto and around the world. We are focusing today on these two because their particular characteristics set them apart from other sectors and we will try to cover these differences in a certain amount of detail.

This is an area that can benefit greatly from proper HVAC controls, given the fact that it is very common to see, especially in Schools, that there is actually no system in place to manage the temperature remotely at all. Commercial buildings, on the other hand, display a very wide array of solutions, ranging from none to rather advanced systems in the higher end of the spectrum. Advanced is not always optimal, though. Since, as we have mentioned above, this field is constantly evolving it is always good to reassess periodically.

HVAC

First of all, we should unpack this term so that we are all on the same page. HVAC stands for Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning. It refers to the technology used to control these environmental variables. It has come a long way in the last few years, and it is now possible to interact and command vast systems using practically any modern device with access to the internet. There are PC, Mac, Android, and iPhone solutions that provide an interface with which to manage these systems. When this is properly implemented a lot of time and money can be saved.

Currently available apps, such as A-TECH Engineering Ltd’s brand new iPhone and Android app are designed to provide detailed reporting and the ability to control a few key aspects of the machinery in place. They interact through industry-standard protocols and with all the best-known brands out there to ensure compatibility.

Schools

Schools are often big buildings, and the age of these buildings varies greatly. There are certainly newer buildings that have been constructed recently and there are quite a few older ones in use in our education system, too. Often the newer buildings benefit from being a bit more energy-efficient due to the construction techniques applied and the materials that were used during the process. Some may even be already equipped with HVAC systems that are compatible with remote management.

On the other hand, the older buildings will probably not benefit from all of these things or any at all.

Because of its size and the number of hours that a school is active every day throughout the year proper energy management is crucial. An effort to bring up-to-date the environment controls of schools is needed and would be very beneficial. It would ensure that temperature and other factors are kept at an optimal level using the least amount of energy possible.

Commercial Buildings

There are similarities between Schools and Commercial buildings when it comes to this issue. These kinds of buildings vary in size and construction features. Some of them may be very big, while others are rather small. The key difference here is that commercial buildings will probably have less access to aid from the government to put the kind of system that we have been discussing in place. Some of these businesses will be able to afford it, while others will not.

The other factor that comes into play is that, even though the business may be able to cover the costs of this investment, they may not deem it important enough to go through the process. They may reach the conclusion that it is better not to change something that is working properly.

Careful assessment is required here because even though it is in everyone’s best interest to be as energy-efficient as possible, we cannot achieve that at the cost of hurting the businesses involved. There are a few ways in which this problem can be solved, either by making incentives available to private businesses or by enforcing laws. There are examples of both of these approaches locally and internationally with varying degrees of success. If the goal of achieving efficiency with as little negative impact as possible is kept in mind a solution will surely arise that will benefit everyone involved. Let us talk a bit now about the implementation of the first steps in this process.

Initial Investment

Any sector looking to enter into the world of remote energy management will require an investment to get started. This cannot be avoided since regular HVAC equipment will not do, specific equipment that is built with connectivity is required.

This investment pays off in a very significant way as time goes on, it returns in the form of savings from energy bills and often in the fact that this new machinery will require less maintenance both because it is built with newer technology and because of its ability to report the way it is functioning, which improves the machine’s working condition and extends its lifetime.

The problem is that not everyone will be able to shoulder the initial costs of acquiring and setting the equipment up. Although many of these expenses have gone down significantly in the last decade or so, the expense is still a non-trivial amount.

Incentives from the Government

A way around this issue could be provided by the government of Ontario. There is currently an incentive program that is designed to improve energy efficiency across all sectors, including consumers. The way this has been implemented is by providing a discount on the acquisition of more efficient appliances, which spend less energy to perform the same tasks. This initiative could be expanded to include an even greater number of HVAC equipment that may be better suited for the needs of commercial buildings and Schools. There are other incentives that could take place alongside this to further simplify the task of updating or acquiring equipment.

No matter what form this aid takes, it is important to keep in mind that, since this change benefits everyone we should strive to improve energy management as much as we can in all fields. Both commercial buildings and Schools are big players when it comes to energy management and they should be part of this conversation.

Benefits

After the first step is taken things get a lot easier. As soon as the equipment is in place and doing its job the efficiency starts to rise, which translates into significant energy savings. This means cheaper energy bills and operational standards that are a lot friendlier to our environment. Because of all of the features that current equipment provides maintaining this kind of hardware and avoiding malfunctions is much easier, it takes less effort and time to keep operational levels optimal. Personnel will be freed to handle other tasks and no longer burdened with things that can now be done from a smartphone, this is another added benefit of connectivity and automation.

Conclusion

It can be hard to take a leap and jump into such investments at times. It is often hard to justify them when considering the costs and efforts involved. In every one of the cases we have covered here today, there are already solutions in place to handle temperature and other ambient factors. That makes this decision even harder. Why invest in something that is already resolved and performing its tasks? As we have seen the reasons are compelling and the benefits are great in the long run. It takes a bit of foresight and calculation to realize that moving into a smarter HVAC control scheme is the better option, and we should be trying to help and incentivize as much as we can to ensure that everyone involved makes the required changes as soon as the possible can without hurting their operation. This can be especially challenging in the private sector and should be considered carefully. Schools may not suffer from this challenge, but they have a set of their own to deal with.

Both of these two cases are a substantial part of the energy pie, they should be one of the main focuses of efforts to make both our city and the rest of the world more efficient when it comes to energy management.

IP based system using POE Technology

Building Automation Design Services with IP network

In every building, the bigger and more complex the system, the more it’s necessary for it to have Building Automation Systems(BAS) installed.

Automation plays an important role in the Building System. It can provide secure, trouble-less and comfortable management of facilities. It is the creation of technology and its application in order to control and monitor the production and delivery of various goods and services, with the use of wired buses or wireless broad networks, which connect to high-level controllers. It is implemented through the combination of hardware and software-based solutions that automatically execute and manage repetitive network environment processes. Each controller automatically provides a Internet Protocol (IP) address that communicates to other systems and devices. It allows BAS to cross industry boundaries and interface with a wide variety of other systems. Allowing separate systems and groups of components to share the same set of wires. This reduces the overall cost of installing and maintaining several systems

Advantages of IP Based System

  • IP-based control does not tie you to an individual supplier. It is flexible in nature. It can communicate to other systems regardless of its brand. Devices connected to an IP network are capable of being interoperable with other IP-connected devices. It does not require the elimination of existing controls throughout a building. A good IP-based system can talk to backward compatible, or previous-generation, equipment – regardless of any protocols it was used.
  • Real Time Notification. Because they’re connected to the network, IP-based systems can send you alerts, when it detects potential problems, changes, etc. Using the Mass Notification System/MNS thru different notification devices such as speakers, digital signage and sirens. It can also be connected to the internet or any cellular devices sending alert thru text messages, calls or emails.
  • Easy Maintenance. When an IP-based device goes down, it’s easy to perform troubleshooting or maintenance on that device without needing to take the entire system offline or waiting until off hours. In most cases, there’s no need for a middleware device; connections are created directly between the field device and the enterprise network.
  • Cost Optimization. IP-based controllers are able to use multiple protocols – such as BACnet, LonTalk, N2 – to connect to other devices at the field bus level or at the enterprise level. This interoperability preserves the investment that has been made in the control system. Expenses are further reduced because no middleware or gateways are required to communicate across the network.

In this article we will give you guides and ideas on what to include in your building, either it’s for an initial plan or an upgrade after you’ve installed your BAS using an IP network.

IP using BACNET protocols

Building Automation and Control Networks(BACNET) is the control industry’s new pre

IP based system using POE Technology

ferred communications protocols, allowing systems to talk to each other over a network, like Internet of Things (IoT) technology. It is a collection of one or more IP subnetworks (IP domains) that are assigned a single BACn

et network number. Connecting to an Ethernet running the IP protocol is more convenient. IP network is the quickest way to gain access to the Internet which is the world’s wide-area-network (WAN).

IP based system using POE Technology

Power over Ethernet (POE) is a technology that lets network cables carry electrical power. It can help you make the most of IP-based systems and devices. Allows you to use one cable to transport data and power instead of two separate wires/cables: one for electricity and one for data transmission. Carrying both through one cable offers many benefits for digital buildings that utilize IP-based systems.

 

Building system that  can be an IP-based

 

  • Mechanical and Electrical
    • Heating Ventilation and Air conditioning systems
    • Electronic Access Control
    • Lightning
  • Safety Systems
  • Audio Visual Systems

Conclusion

It is important to understand IP networks and its implication in Building Automation systems, it can give comfort through means of accessibility, cost efficiency and reliance. It is indeed an era of information technology. IP is everywhere, considered as universal standards and opens up possibilities that will attract not only the interests of the building manager but the facilities manager as well. Making the most out of the Internet of Things in Building Automation.

We value your comments and suggestions. Feel free to write up in our comment section. For any  inquiries about the Building Automation Design Services with IP network, please contact us or click to connect, we are glad to assist you.

Show Citations

  1. https://www.techopedia.com/
  2. https://www.automatedbuildings.com/
  3. http://www.bacnet.org/
  4. http://www.steves-internet-guide.com/
  5. https://www.belden.com/
  6. https://www.achrnews.com/
  7. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/261987811_IP_in_Commercial_Buildings
  8. https://books.google.com.ph/ -Smart Buildings Systems for Architects, Owners and Builders by James M Sinopoli

BACnet and IOT, Cloud based Monitoring/Alerting/Controls

The internet has brought us a great deal of power. We are currently able to control so many things from the comfort of our couches that we can often take this for granted. It is incredible to see technology grow to facilitate our lives at such a staggering rate and yet, there may be a lot of things that we could do more efficiently.

Even though we are now accustomed to simplify our lives through the use of technology there may be areas that we overlook. Maybe we think that technology is not there yet, or too expensive for us to afford in a particular field. That is still true, but more often than not a few minutes of searching can yield great results that can make your life a little (or a lot) better.

This is clearly the case when it comes to HVAC and other related controls, and we will discuss why in a bit of detail as we explore the topic in this article.

Perhaps you are a newcomer to this world of remote administration of Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning systems (HVAC for short), or maybe you are a veteran looking to improve your current setup. You will find useful information here regardless.

We have started to see many options recently that are able to bring these kinds of useful features to consumers as well as big and small businesses, but it is always a plus to leave your concerns in any given field in the hands of experienced professionals instead of going with an untested option. A-TECH Engineering Ltd is a company that is focused on providing the best in terms of user experience, working with well-known providers of equipment that is sure to work as intended.

The main objective here is to put systems in place that will enable a user to receive alerts and monitor the way in which a given set of devices is operating, to ensure that energy efficiency is at peak levels at all times.

With a good HVAC monitoring system on your side, you can be sure that machines spend as little as they possibly can to maintain the optimal range of conditions in your given working environment, which helps lower energy costs by a lot and can simplify a few crucial tasks. All of this is, of course, at the tip of your fingers nowadays. A-TECH Engineering Ltd has worked hard to produce a top-of-the-line HVAC Monitoring App to ensure that you can get all the benefits of this technique. It has been built from the ground up to interact well with the most popular providers of equipment and many other BACnet-compliant pieces of hardware.

The process of setting this kind of thing up can be cumbersome at times, but A-TECH Engineering Ltd makes sure that there is no pain in it. An HVAC Control App such as the one that is provided will enable you to control as well as monitor, the amount of control you have depends on your hardware setup, but it is often enough to make a big difference and save you from an emergency car trip to turn a physical nob or flip a switch.

But what is it exactly that enables us to control these devices from afar with precision? This technology is built around two main components: Sensors and Connectivity. Much of what is available today in this field would not have been possible ten years ago. Much of the technology involved was either too expensive or non-existent. Let us break down these two so that we can better understand what is happening when we operate these machines in such a convenient way.

Sensors

These are the way in which a particular piece of equipment is capable of measuring certain aspects of its surroundings and report its own operation. It is possible today to acquire very accurate and reliable sensor equipment for almost any piece of hardware, we can even rely on the ones that are present in our own cellphones. That is the case because the cost of quality digital sensors has dropped significantly in the last few years and they are now cheaper to make. They are also smaller, more reliable, and packed with a lot more reporting features than ever before. Current HVAC equipment is capable of reading its environment and use that data to adjust its operation according to preset parameters. That means that we are now able to establish our desired outcome and let the machine do its work.

The equipment will also periodically inform a lot of useful data, such as how much energy it is consuming and many other operational details. This can help to quickly diagnose any malfunction remotely, which can then can either be addressed in the same way or in person. This enables companies and consumers to always be able to operate at peak efficiency, spending as little as possible to achieve the necessary conditions.

The most common sensors that come with this kind of equipment are Temperature, Pressure, and Humidity. There are other options available and different combinations depending on the equipment and manufacturer.

Armed with these, the machinery can be instructed to maintain a certain range of conditions. This is very useful when trying to control the temperature in a Hotel or office, for instance. But it is also very important in an industrial environment to make sure that the equipment is operating at nominal conditions. Many such places have come to rely on this kind of technology to operate, and the technology itself is more reliable than ever.

All of this reporting is only useful as long as it can be communicated in real-time to wherever it needs to get to. That is where the other aspect of this technological advancement comes into place.

Connectivity

We have come to expect that each of our gadgets is connected to the internet and can talk to each other in some form or another. Our phones talk to our computers, TVs and even refrigerators. The number of so-called “smart” devices continues to grow and is a trend that is expected to continue to rise in the future.

Most current equipment offers a connectivity solution and many are well-designed to interact even with similar equipment of different brands and third parties through what is known as BACnet.

BACnet

Building Automation and Control networks are a form of standard protocol that is designed exactly with the purpose that we have been discussing in mind. It enables devices that have different functions and may even be from different brands to interact in a compatible way to provide the user with the ability to control their function. Such protocol is used for controlling all the sensor-related features that we have been discussing, as well as controlling lights, locks, and other features. Our brand new BACnet app interacts with many devices that support this protocol in a flawless way, providing a simple way to control many of these in a streamlined fashion.

IoT

Although BACnet is a dedicated protocol there are other alternatives to having devices connect with each other and a controlling user. The IoT or Internet of Things is the network of intelligent devices that surrounds us. It is comprised of every single piece of equipment that has the ability to connect to the Internet and is an alternative to dedicated protocols such as BACnet. There are advantages and disadvantages to this alternative. It is is very easy to set up and compatibility is also very high. If security is a concern we would recommend that you either take steps to secure these devices or consider other options. The IoT has been growing strongly because it is the main method by which consumer products are connected. It is used in home appliances of all kinds.

Both the networking and sensor solutions available to you will depend on the equipment you are working with. The good thing to keep in mind is that you will be able to use our BMS Monitoring App in most cases due to our high compatibility and support. We work well with the biggest brands in the market and also with smaller vendors that comply with some of the protocols that we have mentioned above.

We highly encourage you to look into this matter further if you have not done so yet. It will make a big difference and simplify a lot of tasks. Once you adopt a remote management solution for your HVAC concerns you will not look back.

If, on the other hand, you are already connected and experienced you will find that A-TECH Engineering Ltd’s brand new App will offer a great improvement, you will benefit from an interface that is designed specially to handle in a simple way the most common concerns when it comes to Monitoring your equipment. You will be able to configure not only the machinery, but also the alerts that you receive. Everything in a single app on your phone.

COVID-19, Cloud HVAC BMS Monitoring Solution

It has been just under a week since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. In the time since that has happened, we have all witnessed the uncertainty and urgency unfolding around us. Precautionary measures to #Flattenthecurve are being taken throughout Canada and all around the globe. Schools and businesses are being closed, and mass gatherings have been cancelled, in an effort to reduce potential exposure.

In awake of global crisis and Covid-19, building and businesses are closing temporary with no staff to monitor HVAC Equipment, commercial buildings need to maintain HVAC equipment and operators might not be available for extended period of time, with our app, you can monitor, receive alert and also control setpoints remotely.

We were initially charging a fees of $2,999 for setup etc, to help and assist communities (business owner, schools, office building) we are WAIVING the fees for setting up the app (www.atecheng.ca/iot) to monitor, alarm/alert and control your building from the cloud, for more information you can email appsupport@atecheng.ca  and advise of which system or brand you currently have such as Tridium, Siemens, Honeywell, Alerton, Distech our protocol, Lon, BACnet, modbus.

We are doing the best that we can to support you and your local community, while at the same time, doing our part to reduce the spread of COVID-19. With all of us working together, and supporting one another, we will get through this.

Sincerely,

Adeel Choudhry, P.Eng., MCPM, CPEng.
Managing Director
A-TECH Engineering Ltd.
Toll Free: 1-866-448-TECH (8324)
Fax: 1-866-449-TECH (8324)

HVAC Monitoring and Alerting

The Ultimate Guide to Building Automation | Toronto

Building Automation is the automatic, systematic monitoring and centralized control of a building’s infrastructure. Building Automation System (BAS), also known as Building Management System(BMS) are the ways that use the advancement of Information Technology (hardware & software) in aspects of building operations. Such functions are, Mechanical, Electrical, Heating & Ventilation and Air conditioning (HVAC), Security, Life Safety, Lighting, Utilities, Telecom, and Energy Management of the building. These are independent entities, however, they are related to each other to operate. The objective of building automation is to create Smart and Intelligent building that will improve occupants comfort, efficient operation of building systems, reduction in energy consumption and operating costs, and improved life cycle of utilities.

 

For easy understanding, here are examples of common Building Automation,

  • In the hotel industry. Empty rooms usually are not ventilated or lit so as to reduce energy usage. When the occupants enter the rooms using the hotel key cards light automatically opens.
  • The use of Smoke detectors that are placed along with ceilings or high on walls which has the ability to identify a fire while it is still in its incipient. Alarms & later the sprinklers may be activated automatically.
  • Installation of Programmable thermostat in different parts of the building. It can automatically control to switch on air in rooms that are occupied, switch off during off-peak hours as well as to program desired setpoints.

To provide anything you need to know, whether your planning into the transition of your traditional building into an automated building or eyeing maintenance and upgrades for your smart or an Intelligent buildings, Here are the ULTIMATE GUIDE in Building Automation.

How Building Automation works

Components of Building Automation

  1. Communications Bus

 A contraction of the Latin omnibus [1] is a series of wires connecting field controllers to one another and to the supervisory device. This is a pathway for digital signals to rapidly move data.

Most building automation networks consist of a primary and secondary bus which connect high-level controllers with lower-level controllers.

  • 1. Primary Bus

Connects sensors and actors (up to 64 devices on the bus) with a central control unit.

  • 2. Secondary Bus

This is optional, connects up to 8 central control units, a GSM unit or  a unit of

Logical functions. TCP/ IP modules or other high-end devices.

2. Communications Protocol

           

Sets of Rules for how messages are formed and transmitted across the wire. These are needed to facilitate the control functions to specify control system capabilities on data collection, archiving, networking, remote annunciation. These mainly used for the automation process.

  • 2.1. BACnet ( Building Automation & Control Network)

 

[2]A Data Communication Protocol for Building Automation and Control Networks.

Developed under the auspices of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), BACnet is an American national standard, a European standard, a national standard in more than 30 countries, and an ISO global standard. [3]It was designed to allow communication of building automation and control systems for applications such as heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning control (HVAC), lighting control, access control, and fire detection systems and their associated equipment. The BACnet protocol provides mechanisms for computerized building automation devices to exchange information, regardless of the particular building service they perform.

 

  • 2.2. Modbus

 

A network protocol best used for industrial automation systems specifically for connecting electronic equipment. Developed under Modicon Inc. and standard maintained by Modbus Organization, Inc [4] It is an application-layer messaging protocol to provide client/server communication between devices connected on different types of buses or networks.

 

  • 2.3. LonWorks (Local operating netWorks)

 [5]An open platform for connecting building systems to each other and the Internet.

The system consists of the LonTalk communication protocol, a dedicated controller (Neuron Chip) and a network management tool.

It was designed on low bandwidth, for networking devices through power lines, fibre optics, and other media. Developed by Echelon Corporation(Motorola).

 Systems Architecture of BACnet [6]

 

3. Controllers

 BAS Controllers are purpose-built computers with input and output capabilities, it was considered as the “brain” of Building Automation System. It has two main processes, the Input, which takes the data from the sensors and decide how the system will respond. The outputs, that allow the controller to send command and control signals to slave devices, and to other parts of the system.

Categories of Controllers

 

  • 1. Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs)

[6]A digital computer used for industrial automation to automate different  electro-mechanical processes. These controllers are specially designed to survive in harsh situations and shielded from heat, cold, dust, and moisture etc. PLC consists of a microprocessor which is programmed using the computer language.

 

  • 2. System/Network controllers, and Terminal Unit controllers

It can be applied to control one or more mechanical systems such as an Air Handler Unit (AHU), boiler, chiller, etc., or they may supervise a sub-network of controllers.

 

  • 3. Terminal Unit controllers

Are suited for control of lighting and/or simpler devices such as a package rooftop unit, heat pump, VAV box, fan coil, etc. The installer typically selects one of the available pre-programmed personalities best suited to the device to be controlled, and does not have to create new control logic.

 4.Input and Output devices

4. 1. Sensors

Analog inputs are used to read a variable measurement. A digital input indicates if a device is turned on or not – however it was detected. They capture the measurements that are sent to the controllers to be processed by the system.

 

Examples of Sensors

  • Room temperature sensors
  • Outdoor temperature sensors
  • Immersion temperature sensors
  • Brightness sensors
  • Air quality sensors
  • Pressure sensors

4.2. Controls

Analog outputs control the speed or position of a device. Digital outputs are used to open and close relays and switches as well as drive a load upon command.

Examples of Controls

  • Variable frequency drive
  • I-P (current to pneumatics) transducer
  • Valve or damper actuator

Layers of Building Automation [7]

  1. Server/Application Layer

It consolidate data from multiple different supervisory devices. It then delivers this data to the end user through the user interface (UI), often known as clients.  Also store trend, alarm, and schedule data in a database.

  1. Supervisory Layer

This is where the supervisory devices sit. Supervisory devices collect all of the traffic from the field controllers and consolidate this traffic.These devices serve to manage your communication trunks. Communication trunks allow your field controllers to connect to one another and allow your supervisory devices to collect information from the field controllers.

  1. Field Controller Layer

Look at data from inputs (temperature sensors, switches, etc) and then control outputs (actuators, relays, etc). BAS companies will use programming tools (usually developed by the BAS vendor) to program these field controllers.

  1. Input/Output Layer

This is where the sensors and control devices exist. There isn’t a ton to add here except that you are starting to see IP-enabled sensors that use Ethernet or Wi-Fi for their communications.

Systems, Networks & Integration[8]

On this section, we will discuss the ways in which components are linked together to form a complete Building Management System (BMS).

  1. BMS Architecture

[9]High-level organizational description of the elements that make up a building management system. These elements vary greatly from building to building, depending on the business objectives of the property managers or building owners.

  • 1. Conventional Controls

Controllers are based on analogue inputs & outputs, usually used in smaller buildings. Each controller are based on operational amplifiers (now replaced by microprocessors) and linked by direct connection to the controlled output device and perform single function. Several independent control systems may coexist within the building.

  • 2. Centralised Intelligence

From the use of microprocessors, it was developed to Direct Digital Control (DDC) Systems. The controller function is carried by software program, which can be program to execute to any desired control characteristic. Many control loops can be handled by the same processor. Control function can be made by changes to software alone.Without any change in the hardware.

  • 2.1. Dumb outstation

Separate wiring for each sensor and actuator is expensive and this has led to introduction of  local outstations ( Data Gathering Panels). Sensors are connected in to the outstation which performs signal processing and communications functions.

 

  • 3. Programmable Controllers

While the use of dumb outstations reduces the wiring requirement for the large BMS, it is vulnerable for CPU failure. The programmable controllers or intelligent outstations are developed, which incorporate their own microprocessor and carry out local control functions which will operate in the event of CPU problem. Devices communicate via a local area network or bus.

  • 4. Bus Systems

Decentralisation is carried further, where the intelligent devices in the control system incorporate in their own microprocessor and communications ability. Devices are connected to a bus which allows communication between all devices using well-defined protocol. Each device is individually addressable and programmable.

  • 5. Modular system

The system uses a range of modular units, each of which is programmed to control specific item. There is a range of zone controllers which perform the function of local user interface. All the modules communicate thru twisted-pair bus system using the Lontalk protocol.

  • 6. Package system

A package unit complete with factory installed unitary control system. It is set directly to the local controller then to the main BMS for the purpose of time scheduling and transmitting of alarm system. Each unit will control itself independently. This is often considered as economical.

 [11] Hierarchical structure of communication level

Field Level

This is the bottom part of the system, where the sensors and actuators are installed. It controls the devices in the building.

 Automation Level

 The mid part of the system, where the data from the field level are received and linked with each other via the application software of the components to enable the system to function.

 Management Level

 The top part of the system, where the data are processed and visualized. The user himself is able to step in and change operating parameters. Additionally, it is possible to record, protocol and configure data.

 Internet of Things(IOT) in Building Automation

 Is an advance building automation system which uses analytic software & services. The data sent between devices and to cloud, which is more secure, manageable & user friendly. It connects people with technology. This is a network of sensors, meters, appliances, and other devices that are capable of sending and receiving the data.

 [12]Four categories

 

  1. Energy

Includes popular applications like wireless energy consumption monitoring.

  1. Equipment

Those that optimize lighting and HVAC use.

  1. Environmental quality

Devices might measure particulate matter or CO2.

  1. People or spaces

Devices that can measure occupancy, space utilization or how many people have passed through a certain entrance.

Plan to jump in,  into IOT from traditional building? We’ll be glad to help, feel free to Contact us.

Resources:

  1. https://buildingautomationmonthly.com/what-is-a-communications-bus/
  2. http://www.bacnet.org/
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BACnet#cite_note-1
  4. http://modbus.org/
  5. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/281903357_Latest_trends_in_building_automation_and_control_systems
  6. https://www.engineersgarage.com/article_page/plc-an-overview/
  7. https://buildingautomationmonthly.com/building-automation-system/
  8. https://study.com/academy/lesson/building-management-system-architecture-trends.html
  9. https://www.slideshare.net/AYM1979/building-control-system-aplication-guide-cibse-guide
  10. http://iotbacnet.com/products/airtek/
  11. https://www.dial.de/en/blog/article/bus-systems-for-smart-buildings-a-comparison-of-open-systems/
  12. https://www.buildings.com/news/industry-news/articleid/21603/title/iot-smart-building-technology