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Data is playing an increasingly important role in smart buildings. Analysis of building system data is guiding an expansion of capabilities in the smart building environment, making building systems – including HVAC – more efficient and effective. The convergence of multiple building management systems is inevitable -- it's just a matter of time and it’s already happening. The data collected from the various systems make up a data profile that can be put to work to create new outcomes. Customers want to increase their control of environments using smart technology. I spoke with the folks from Johnson Controls (JCI) about these topics at the recent AHR Expo in Orlando. As it relates to HVAC, they say data can guide system operation based on historical data and a variety of sensors that can determine, for example, that there are 15 to 20 people in a conference room and adjust the HVAC system accordingly. Contributing technologies include wifi access, smart phone connectivity, smart meeting room technologies and sensors such as proximity and heat systems. Sensors used for fire and security are augmenting data that can be used to guide the operation of HVAC systems. Improving efficiencies Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning can do even more to optimize how systems operate "Every generation of HVAC we launch is more energy-efficient and more environmentally friendly," says George Oliver, JCI Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. As the largest consumer of energy in a building's infrastructure, HVAC is the focus of efforts to improve efficiencies. Applying new tools such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning can do even more to optimize how systems operate. "We want to optimize the equipment, processes and sensor data to create a model to best operate a building," says Oliver. The benefit is a huge reduction in energy usage and lowering of the carbon footprint. The goal is to combine an energy-conscious view of operating a building while improving the customer experience. There are cost savings in the range of 20 to 40% of operating a system. Building platforms, access control, and video management Johnson Controls is seeking to incorporate new technologies into building platforms and control, as well as access control and video management. “Buildings have so many kinds of systems, but how do we put all that together?” asks Oliver. Technology is coming together through protocols and an operational technology (OT)-informed world. Johnson Controls has been working with direct channel partners and end users on enhancing their platform and improving their ability to manage data, whether in an existing building or new construction, to optimize how equipment is being utilized. Concepts of AI, machine learning, smart Internet of Things and “smart edge” guide how Johnson Controls operates as a company. A single data platform enables creation of a smart building today that incorporates an integrated, streamlined approach. The additional capabilities are being managed by Android or iOS “apps.” Adopting new technologies The user environment of HVAC has been slow to change" “The user environment of HVAC has been slow to change, but it is accelerating now with adoption of new technologies,” says Mike Ellis, JCI Executive Vice President and Chief Customer and Digital Officer. Adoption of new HVAC equipment is critical to modernizing systems, and the new equipment works alongside the trend to “digitization.” “The industry is at an inflection point in a positive way, and is accepting the technology,” said Ellis. “What we’re hearing from customers is that they want to make a difference, create a differentiation, and bring it together in a unique way.” But will existing players (like JCI) drive the changes, or will it come from outside, high-tech firms? “We believe the domain players inherit an advantage because they really understand the importance of data in the building environment. Among collected data, the secret is: What data is important and how is it analyzed? How is that technology deployed? Industrial companies have the right ecosystem to make it happen, based on 130 years of seeing how buildings operate.” Moving forward “We realize the industry is being disrupted, which begins at the top,” says Oliver. “Smart edge” refers to the remarkable amount of expertise at the edge of the network, where tens of years of data informs the building “science.” The resource is impossible to duplicate. Johnson Controls is working with end-customers to define and direct how JCI is moving the company forward. The accelerated roadmap is based on the experience of people in the buildings. “We are right at the heart of major global trends – sustainability, connectivity and data, and cyber- and physical security,” says Oliver.
Johnson Controls has announced that it has added fully integrated, factory-built and installed wrap-around heat exchangers (WAHX) to its YORK Solution Indoor and Outdoor air-handling units, meeting a growing need for energy-efficient dehumidification methods in a compact footprint. Integrated wrap-around heat exchangers, WAHX offers dehumidification benefits for many HVAC air handling system applications, including schools, hospitals, laboratories and gymnasiums. They’re manufactured on the same line as YORK AHRI 410-certified air handler coils. Johnson Controls guarantees the performance and reliability of the entire system, without need for onsite installation or additional manufacturing lead time. Integrated wrap-around heat exchangers, WAHX Integrated WAHX offers dehumidification benefits for many HVAC air handling system applications YORK Solution Indoor and Outdoor units with WAHX possess all the state-of-the-art innovations for which the solution has become known worldwide, including: AMCA-certified fan systems, including both AC induction and EC motor options to meet project requirements for performance, efficiency, acoustics, size, footprint, serviceability and redundancy. Service-friendly features such as slide-out coil stacking racks with removable coil pull wall panel, raised coil supports for easy drain pan access, motor removal rails, inward-swinging doors and inside door handles. Standard Building Information Models (BIMs) to aid in design and engineering. membrane roof system YORK Solution Outdoor units are engineered specifically for use in outdoor environments and feature a patent-pending zero-penetration membrane roof system backed by the confidence of a 10-year roof warranty. They also include an exterior two-layer coating system with a salt spray test rating that exceeds 2,000 hours – up to four times longer than other paint systems. YORK Solution Outdoor units are the first semi-custom air handlers to offer a full-length integral factory-installed service vestibule, providing convenient, safe service access with full protection from inclement weather conditions.
Johnson Controls releases the U.S. results of its 2019 Global Energy Efficiency Indicator survey. The study found that 75 percent of surveyed organizations plan to increase their investment in energy efficiency, renewable energy and smart building technology, a 16 percent increase over 2018. The research suggests that sustainability is a key contributor to this increase - 80 percent of organizations with energy or greenhouse gas reduction goals plan to increase investment next year, versus 37 percent without goals. Investing in smart, sustainable building technologies “This is the largest annual increase in planned investment in over a decade,” said Clay Nesler, vice president of global sustainability and regulatory affairs, Johnson Controls. “Investment in smart and sustainable building technologies not only addresses urgent climate challenges but also improves comfort, health, safety and affordability for building occupants and communities.” The study, now in its 13th edition, surveyed 400 energy and facility management executives in the United States to understand current and planned investments, key drivers, and technology trends supporting smart, safe and sustainable buildings. Enhancing energy security Over half of participants believe that reducing energy costs, increasing energy security and reducing greenhouse gas emissions are critical factors to consider when making investments. In addition to these drivers, 87 percent of organizations indicated that resilience is very or extremely important when considering future energy and building infrastructure investments, compared with 68 percent the previous year. The survey also indicates a rising trend towards green and zero carbon buildings Traditional energy efficiency measures top the list of future investments with over two-thirds planning to invest in energy education programs, HVAC equipment and building controls improvements. Despite the common perception that building owners typically run building systems to failure, 42 percent of organizations updated building controls and 36 percent replaced HVAC equipment before end-of-life last year. The survey also indicates a rising trend towards green and zero carbon buildings that are energy efficient and cost saving. The 2019 Global Energy Efficiency Indicator survey results show: 85 percent of organizations plan to have at least one certified green building compared with 72 percent last year, while 62 percent are willing to pay a premium for space in a certified green building. 63 percent of organizations say they are very or extremely likely to have one or more facilities that are nearly or net zero energy or carbon in the next ten years, up from 58 percent in the previous year. 61 percent of organizations surveyed invested in on-site renewable energy in 2019, while 34 percent of organizations invested in the replacement of fossil fuel heating equipment with heat pump technology last year. Furthermore, the report states that there was continued strong interest and investment in smart buildings last year, including - 71 percent of organizations invested in building control system improvements and over half have implemented an enterprise-wide building management system. Over half of organizations invested in the integration of security, fire/life safety systems and lighting systems with other building technology systems last year, with another third investing in energy information management software. Cyber security, Internet of Things (IoT), data analytics/machine learning, data privacy and advanced controls were identified as having the greatest impact on the implementation of smart buildings over the next five years. Energy efficiency solutions and building automation expert Johnson Controls is a global diversified technology and multi industrial leader serving a wide range of customers in more than 150 countries. The company creates intelligent buildings, efficient energy solutions, integrated infrastructure and next generation transportation systems that work seamlessly together to deliver on the promise of smart cities and communities.