Intelligent Infrastructure achieves substantial Energy Savings
"Technology in the form of an intelligent infrastructure is fundamental to the building industry today, as it enables efficient monitoring and management of energy consumption, resulting in energy savings, reduced operating costs and an improved bottom line."
This is according to Bradley Hemphill, Managing Director of Cape Town-based Electrical Engineering Solutions (EES), speaking this month on 'IT for Energy Efficiency & Building Performance' at the ConnectivityWeek convention being held in Santa Clara, California. At the cutting edge of global smart energy and green environment events, ConnectivityWeek is the only international convention focused on the intersection of energy and information technology.
"In the current harsh economic environment and with punitive measures on the horizon to persuade and inveigle enterprises to better mange their energy usage, not to mention the global emphasis on green issues, it has never been more important to save energy and reduce operating costs," states Hemphill.
Technology lowers operating costs
"Technology, which in the building industry is in the form of an intelligent infrastructure, without doubt lowers communication costs, reduces energy and lowers overall operating costs," he continues. "All managers who recognize and understand this, and act accordingly will achieve improved performance." Just knowing what on operation's energy costs are leads to cost reduction.
"Would a vehicle manufacturer make a car without a dashboard? If he did, the owner could not see what is going on? Then why should a building be constructed without its own dashboard?"
Hemphill continues: "While many enterprises nowadays feel pressurized to spend money to implement an intelligent infrastructure to better manage their energy use, and would prefer not to spend, technology without doubt ultimately reduces the cost of doing business. Although it may at first appear a contradiction, it is necessary 'to spend money to save money'."
How then does an intelligent infrastructure work?
Energy business intelligence uses a myriad of current Information Technology (IT) solutions based on internet technology to make facilities management easier. These IT products and solutions which are deployed in buildings as a tool help accurately determine and manage energy consumption, and increase the performance of buildings.
Intelligent infrastructures should be based on internet protocol (IP), with the normalized data that is being collected stored in the data centre and the web based dashboard, providing the relevant information. The approach should be similar to that of a service orientated architecture (SOA). This should then connect to the business systems such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and other financial management tools.
The smart building approach
"The smart building design process and implementation of energy design systems requires a team approach," Hemphill emphasises. "Currently major players are working in silos rather than integrating systems. Experts should co-operate and make use of their own particular strengths to deliver a complete solution."
The building design team, which includes architect, engineers, energy and other consultants, needs to interact to firstly set energy performance goals, and then work together throughout the process to fully understand and get to grips with the building system's interdependencies and produce a more efficient, cost-effective, smart building.
"And planning must happen upfront", Hemphill advocates. "IT infrastructure should be included in the early planning phase of commercial and industrial property developments. In this regard, the IT and Building Automation Systems (BAS) industries must engage and educate all the role-players."
Triple bottom-line reporting
It needs to be remembered that reduction in energy use and improved savings are becoming ever more important to triple bottom-line reporting - people, planet, profit. Triple bottom line accounting means expanding the traditional reporting framework to take into account ecological and social performance in addition to financial performance.
Energy use and improved savings will be a crucial component of corporate triple bottom-line reporting, and executive management and shareholders will demand credible information on green issues.
"In fact triple bottom-line reporting will become critical in order to remain competitive," says Hemphill.
He stresses that building a green environment or low carbon economy is not about slowing the economy down. "It is about building an economy that is sustainable."
In conclusion: "We will see and experience the biggest change to the global economy since the industrial revolution, and this at the pace of the technological revolution."
Electrical Engineering Solutions (EES) is an ISO 9000, professional services company, offering engineering, project management and business management services in all sectors of industry throughout southern Africa, eastern Africa as well as in the Middle East.
The firm is active in the design, implementation and system integration aspects of the IT and BAS of two of the 2010 stadia and the Cape Town International Airport.
Based in Cape Town since 2001 the firm has specialist experience in building automation systems BAS integration, communication networks and related IT, security systems and 11kV and 400V electrical systems
For further information please contact:
Bradley Hemphill, CEO
tel: +27 (0) 21 702 8345 (CT, South Africa)
cell: 082 3755900