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OwnerJuly 2015 to presentEl Cerrito

Finding best available technologies for meeting energy needs today and tomorrow: energy efficiency, demand response,, solar, wind, electric vehicles, biofuels and smart grid. It’s all the innovations that make the energy we use more secure, clean, and affordable. The energy world's best hopes lie in what's happening in the digital realm, especially in data analytics.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

HVAC Controls

Building operations consume 39% of the energy in the U.S. and HVAC gobbles up a big part of that. However, 9 out of 10 commercial buildings fail to meet fundamental conditions for acceptable comfort and energy efficiency.

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1. Background

2. Acronyms/Definitions
3. Business Case
4. Benefits
5. Risks/Issues
6. Success Criteria
7. Next Steps
8. Companies
9. Links


Thermal Storage with Ice Energy can transfer electricity demand to non-peak periods

1.Background
  • Air conditioning contributes Fifty percent of the demand for power during peak periods in California and 70 percent of the power in Dubai. Peak power typically comes when air conditioners are cranking their hardest. The percentage of homes with air conditioning rose from 27 percent in 1980 to 55 percent in 2001. Worse, the air conditioners come on during the hottest days in the year en masse, when power is at its peak price and brown-danger looms.
  • Industry experts say most all buildings have more chiller and heat capacity than they need.
  • While a car has hundreds of control points for just one or two people, buildings typically have only one thermostat for 10 or more workers. It’s no wonder occupants consistently report that their workspace is too hot, too cold, stuffy, drafty.


2. Acronyms/Definitions
  1. Absorption Chiller - A refrigerator that uses a heat source to provide the energy needed to drive the cooling system.
    • Absorption refrigerators are a popular alternative to regular compressor refrigerators where surplus heat is available (e.g. combined heat and power (CHP) or industrial processes).
    • In both absorption and compressor refrigerators, when the refrigerant evaporates or boils, it takes some heat away with it, providing the cooling effect. The main difference between the two types is the way the refrigerant is changed from a gas back into a liquid so that the cycle can repeat
    • A compressor refrigerator uses an electrically-powered compressor to increase the pressure on the gas, and then condenses the hot high pressure gas back to a liquid by heat exchange with a coolant (usually air). Once the high pressure gas has cooled, it passes through a pressure release valve which drops the refrigerant temperature to below freezing.
    • An absorption refrigerator changes the gas back into a liquid using method that needs only heat, and has no moving parts.
    • A compressor refrigerators typically use an HCFC, while absorption refrigerators typically use ammonia.

  2. Air Velocity - The speed of moving air. Some air movement is desirable. A little air movement will provide a cooling sensation. Too much air movement is annoying and distracting.

  3. BAS – Building Automation System

  4. Chiller and/or Boiler Optimization – For facilities with multiple chillers and/or boilers, the most efficient units are selected to meet the existing load with minimum demand and or energy.

  5. Chiller Demand Limiting – The chiller electrical load is reduced at certain times to meet a maximum pre-specified chiller kW load.

  6. Clo Value - Insulation values for clothing ensembles from ASHRAE

  7. DCV – Demand Controlled Ventilation - DCV saves energy by ensuring that the proper amount of mechanical ventilation is supplied by continuously monitoring spaces and occupancy conditions by measuring CO2 concentrations. Significant energy can be saved when used in conjunction with typical VAV designs.

  8. Demand Limiting – Temporarily shedding electrical loads to prevent exceeding a peak value. Requires frequent attention.

  9. DOA – Dedicated Outside Air -Decoupling ventilation from heating/cooling can allow both to be optimized separately.

  10. Duty Cycling – Shutting down equipment for predetermined short periods of time during normal operating hours.

  11. EMS – Energy Management System – BAS that focuses on reducing energy use.

  12. Economizer - Mechanical devices intended to reduce energy consumption. In simple terms, an economizer is a heat exchanger. Air-side economizers can save energy in buildings by using cool outside air as a means of cooling the indoor space. Temperature control is achieved by mixing return air from the building with the outdoor air to achieve the desired mixed air or supply air temperature. In most cases, the process requires some sort of relief system to allow the excess air brought into the building to exit without creating a pressurization problem. The process must also be coordinated with the ventilation requirements to ensure that there is always enough outdoor air brought into the building to meet the ventilation requirements. In addition, the control of the process must be coordinated with the other heat transfer elements in the system like the preheat coil and cooling coil to prevent energy waste.
    • When the outside air is both sufficiently cool and sufficiently dry, the amount of enthalpy in the air is acceptable to the control and no additional conditioning of it is needed. This portion of the air-side economizer control scheme is called free cooling.
    • Air-side economizers can reduce HVAC energy costs in cold and temperate climates while also potentially improving indoor air quality, but are most often not appropriate in hot and humid climates.
    • It is commonly held that raising outdoor air flow rates to accommodate indoor air quality needs will dramatically increase energy use because this increased outdoor air must be conditioned. However, this conventional wisdom ignores the dynamics of energy use of different systems during different seasons. With the appropriate controls economizers can be used in climates which experience various weather systems.

  13. Emissivity - The ability of a material to re-radiate heat. E=1.00, all heat re-radiated. E=0, no heat re-radiated. Shiny metals have a low
    emissivity. Most building materials have an emissivity around 0.90.

  14. Enthalpy - A partial measure of the internal energy of a system. Enthalpy cannot be directly measured, but changes in it can be. If an outside pressure on a system is held constant, a change in enthalpy entails a change in the system's internal energy, plus a change in the system's volume.

  15. Exfiltration - Exfiltration: Air that is expelled from a building through cracks and openings in the envelope by a positive pressure in the building relative to the atmosphere. Generally, exfiltration is considered desirable as long as it is not excessive, especially in contrast to infiltration.

    Air that is expelled from a building through cracks and openings in the envelope by a positive pressure in the building relative to the atmosphere. Generally, exfiltration is considered desirable as long as it is not excessive, especially in contrast to infiltration.

  16. Freezestat - A safety device used to protect water and steam coils that are not designed to deal with subfreezing air from exposure to such by shutting down the air handling system and closing any outdoor air dampers. Manual reset is typically required and a hard wired installation is highly desirable.

  17. Global Temperature Adjustment –The practice of increasing the cooling set point and decreasing the heating set point, thereby relaxing the lower and upper limits of the set point deadband. Migrating to State Energy Code.

  18. HDD - Heating Degree Days - Quantitative indices designed to reflect the demand for energy needed to heat a home or business. These indices are derived from daily temperature observations, and the heating requirements for a given structure at a specific location are considered to be directly proportional to the number of HDD at that location. A similar index, cooling degree day' (CDD), reflects the amount of energy used to cool a home or business.

    HDD are defined relative to a base temperature - the outside temperature above which a building needs no heating. HDD are often made available with base temperatures of 65°F (18°C), or 60°F (15.5°C) One popular approximation method is to take the average temperature on any given day, and subtract it from the base temperature. If the value is less than or equal to zero, that day has zero HDD. But if the value is positive, that number represents the number of HDD on that day.

  19. Hot Deck/Cold Deck Temperature Reset - Selects the zone/area with the greater heating and cooling requirements, and establishes the minimum hot and cold deck temperature.

  20. IEQ - Indoor Environmental Quality, of which IAQ (Indoor Air Quality)is a component, also includes the impact of temperature, lighting, sound and other environmental issues.

  21. Inhabitant – User of the building’s controls. Readily usable control interface. The ususal phrase “occupant” indicates passivity, building controls invisible.

  22. Maintenance Management – Provides a maintenance schedule for utility plants, mechanical and electrical equipment based on run time, calendar, physical parameters.

  23. Lockouts – Ensure that equipment does not come on unless it’s necessary. They protect against nuances in the programming of the control system that may inadvertently cause equipment to turn on. For example, a chiller and its associated pumps can be locked out according to calendar date, when the outside air falls below a certain temperature or when building cooling requirements are below a minimum.

  24. Make-up Air - Air that is brought into the building by a fan system to replace air that is exhausted by a process like a kitchen exhaust hood or a lab hood. In some instances, it is simply included in the minimum outdoor air setting of the fan system serving the area. In other instances, it is addressed by a separate system dedicated to the function. The latter approach has the advantage of allowing operating economy to be achieved because the make up and exhaust processes can be cycled based on the function they serve independently from the comfort conditioning HVAC processes in the area. This is especially common in the case of kitchen hoods.

  25. MAU - Makeup Air Unit - An air handler that conditions 100% outside air. MAUs are typically used in industrial or commercial settings, or in "once-through" (blower sections that only blow air one-way into the building), "low flow" (air handling systems that blow air at a low flow rate), or "primary-secondary" (air handling systems that have an air handler or rooftop unit connected to an add-on makeup unit or hood) commercial HVAC systems.

  26. MET Units - Metabolic Rate. HVAC requirements differ depending on how a building is used. Most comfort standards use a Met rate around 1.2.

  27. Minimum Outdoor Air - The outdoor air that must be brought into the system to handle the ventilation requirements of the building. This amount may vary with building use and the system operating conditions (either intentionally or unintentionally) or may be fixed any time the system is in operation (again, either intentionally or unintentionally). Maintaining the proper minimum outdoor air quantity is crucial in terms of ensuring proper indoor air quality, proper inter-space pressure relationships, and proper building pressurization. It is directly related to meeting code enforced ventilation requirements and may include make up air associated with various processes like kitchen hoods and lab hoods.

  28. MRT – Mean Radiant Temperature - The average temperature of all surrounding surfaces. Comfort is not just air temperature. The radiant temperature of surfaces around you, air velocity, relative humidity, activity and clothing all make a big difference. You can be comfortable in a 78 degree room if some surfaces are 65 degrees.

  29. Psychrometric Chart - A graph of the physical properties of moist air at a constant pressure (often equated to an elevation relative to sea level). The chart graphically expresses how various properties relate to each other, and is thus a graphical equation of state.


  30. PTAC - Packaged Terminal Air Conditioner – An air conditioner and heater combined into a single, electrically-powered unit, typically installed through a wall and often found in hotels.

  31. Reheat – Cool to 55 for dehumidification, reheat to what the room needs.

  32. Reheat Coil/Reset – Selects the zone/area with the greatest need for reheat, and establishes the minimum temperature of the heating hot water so that it is just hot enough to meet the reheat needs.

  33. Relief Air - Air which is expelled from the building having been brought in by an economizer cycle.

  34. Relief Fan - A fan which is applied in conjunction with an economizer cycle and located in the relief path from a building, not to be confused with a return fan. Relief fans are applied when the return path from the occupied zone to the air handling unit has an insignificant pressure drop (thus requiring no return fan) but the restrictions in the relief path to the building exterior would cause the building to become over-pressurized when the economizer cycle was operating on high percentages of outdoor air if no fan were provided.

  35. Remote Boiler Monitoring and Supervision – Uses sensors at the boiler to provide inputs to the EMCS for automatic central reporting of alarms, critical operating parameters, and remote shutdown of boilers.

  36. Resets – When equipment operates at greater capacity than necessary to meet building loads, it wastes energy. An EMS can allow equipment to operate at the minimum capacity required by resetting operating parameters. The traditional design practice is to use a proportional reset schedule based on outdoor temperature. Although that method works reasonably well, a more effective method is to base resets directly on building loads.
    • Linear Reset - Temperature increases at a constant rate to the maximum temperature over the shed period
    • Exponential Reset - Temperature increases faster in the beginning and slower in the end.

  37. Return Fan - A fan which is applied in an air handling system when the restrictions in the return air flow path from the occupied zone to the air handling unit would cause the building to become overpressurized. Without a return fan, the supply fan must pressurize the occupied zone to a value that is high enough to overcome the return path restrictions. If this pressure exceeds 0.10 – 0.15 inches w.c., a variety of problems can ensue, including a reduction in supply flow and doors that are blown open.

  38. RTU – Roof Top Unit – A packaged air-handling unit, defined as either "recirculating" or "once-through" design, made specifically for outdoor installation. They most often include, internally, their own heating and cooling devices. RTUs are very common in some regions, particularly in single-story commercial buildings.

  39. Scheduled Start/Stop – Starting and stopping equipment based upon the time of day, and the day of the week.

  40. SEER - Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio - Measures BTU of cooling/watt. Higher SEER = more efficiency Old systems typically around 7 – 10, newer ones up to 15. Worst one you can buy today is 13.

  41. Setpoint - The target value that an automatic control system controller will aim to reach.

  42. Setback - To save energy, the temperature inside public buildings is allowed to fluctuate after business hours by lowering the space heating setpoint or raising the space cooling setpoint.

  43. Stack Effect - (aka chimney effect) - The movement of air into and out of buildings, chimneys, flue gas stacks, or other containers, and is driven by buoyancy. When the building is warmer than the ambient environment, the air in the building is less dense than the air outside at ground level. Thus, outdoor air tends to enter the building through cracks and open doors on the lower levels. This air then moves upward through the building via shafts and other vertical openings, and exits the building through cracks and openings in the upper levels. The flow pattern reverses during the summer months when the temperatures inside the building are cooler than the ambient environment. The stack effect helps drive natural ventilation and infiltration.

  44. Static Pressure - The pressure in a duct system. This pressure is similar to our blood pressure. In this case the system fan (also known as the blower) creates the pressure, instead of the heart. High static pressure can cause low airflow.

  45. SWAC - Sea Water-based Air Conditioning - Uses cold seawater near coastlines to supply air-conditioner coolant, could significantly reduce electric utility loads during high summer demand periods. SWAC is a proven technology currently used in Hawaii, Stockholm and Ottawa.

  46. Thermal Comfort - Dependant primarily on the following six factors: air temperature, mean radiant temperature, air movement/velocity, relative humidity, activity levels, and the isolative properties of clothing.

  47. Thermal Mass - Material within a building, such as concrete or brick, that absorbs and holds heat, lessening energy costs. Building thermal mass can be used to reduce the peak cooling load. For example, in summer, the building mass can be pre-cooled during non-peak hours in order to reduce the cooling load in the peak hours. As a result, the cooling load is shifted in time and the peak demand is reduced. The building mass can be cooled most effectively during unoccupied hours because it is possible to relax the comfort constraints.

  48. Thermal Zone - A single or group of neighboring indoor spaces that the HVAC designer expects will have similar thermal loads. Building codes may require zoning to save energy in commercial buildings. Zones are defined in the building to reduce the number of HVAC subsystems, and thus initial cost. For example, for perimeter offices, rather than one zone for each office, all offices facing west can be combined into one zone. Small residences typically have only one conditioned thermal zone, plus unconditioned spaces such as unconditioned garages, attics, and crawlspaces, and unconditioned basements.

  49. Tons – Cooling capacity is rated in tons. Equivalent to a ton of ice. 1 ton = 12,000 BTU per hour. Typically, a window unit is under 1 ton, central home AC is 1 to 3 tons and commercial is over 3 tons.

  50. U-value - (or U-factor), more correctly called the overall heat transfer coefficient, describes how well a building element conducts heat. It measures the rate of heat transfer through a building element over a given area, under standardized conditions. The usual standard is at a temperature gradient of 24C, at 50% humidity with no wind (a smaller U-value is better).
    U is the inverse of R with SI units of W/(m²K) and US units of BTU/(h °F ft²)

  51. VAV – Variable Air Volume – Technique for controlling the capacity of a HVAC system. An air handling system wherein the supply flow varies as a function of some process requirement. Usually the driving requirement is cooling load, but systems where the volume varies as a function of the heating load or pressurization requirements can also be found. In load driven applications, varying the flow can have a major impact on the energy required to serve the process on several fronts.

    • Fan energy is saved because the amount of air moved varies with the load. This is a powerful, non-linear relationship and all other things being equal, a 25% reduction in flow translates to a 58% reduction in fan horsepower. The need in most systems to maintain some fixed discharge pressure at the inlet to the terminal units detracts from this some, but there are still significant savings to be realized.
    • Control energy is saved in most applications since the need for less capacity is matched by a reduction in available capacity. This is in contrast to constant volume system approaches like reheat, multi-zone, or double duct where the need for a reduction in capacity is addressed by imposing a false load on the system. For instance a constant volume reheat system operating at part load eliminates unnecessary cooling capacity by heating the supply air at the terminal location with a reheat coil.
    • HVAC process energy is saved at the air handling system since the flow through the heat transfer equipment is reduced with load.
    • Dehumidification is greater with VAV systems than it is with constant volume systems which modulate the discharge air temperature to attain part load cooling capacity.
    Control of the system's fan capacity is critical in VAV systems. Without proper and rapid flow rate control, the system's ductwork, or its sealing, can easily be damaged by over-pressurization. Includes reheat coil, fan.

    A BAS could reset VAV static pressure by scanning all the VAV damper positions and gradually changing the static pressure until only one damper was completely open. At that level of static pressure the fan draws the least amount of power required to distribute sufficient air to all the boxes. Stand alone controllers usually cannot rest static pressure in this manner because they typically have no way of sensing VAV damper position. (also called an Inverter): Variable Frequency Drive; a variable speed drive technology that varies the speed of an alternating current (a.c.) motor by varying the frequency of the ac power applied to it. In general terms, the drive circuitry rectifies the incoming a.c. utility power into pulsed direct current (d.c.; hence the term inverter), modifies the frequency and voltage, then coverts the power back to a.c. for use by the motor. There are a variety of technologies used to accomplish the rectification and wave form modification. VAV often provide too little outside air on normal days.

  52. VFD – Variable Frequency Drive (also called an Inverter)a variable speed drive technology that varies the speed of an alternating current (a.c.) motor by varying the frequency of the ac power applied to it. In general terms, the drive circuitry rectifies the incoming a.c. utility power into pulsed direct current (d.c.; hence the term inverter), modifies the frequency and voltage, then coverts the power back to a.c. for use by the motor. There are a variety of technologies used to accomplish the rectification and wave form modification.

    • Motors provide power for pumps and fans for the heating and cooling of buildings.
    • Only a small percentage of large motors are controlled by variable speed drives as opposed to traditional fixed drives which run at full speed all the time.
    • A U.S. motor challenge study indicated that 85 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) per year could be saved using variable drives and high-efficiency motors. A variable speed drive can reduce a motor’s energy consumption by as much as 60%.
    • A variable speed drive can be enabled to respond automatically to pricing signals from the utility; this could have a major impact on a firm’s total consumption requirements and costs, as well as energy-efficiency benefits for society at large

  53. Warm Up/Cool Down Ventilation & Recirculation – Controls operation of the Outside Air dampers when the introduction of OA would impose an additional thermal load during warm-up or cool-down cycles prior to occupancy of a building…often poorly executed.


Smart sensors can identify overcycling wears out machinery and wastes energy.

3. Business Case
  • A Smart Grid is a key enabler in integrating smart building controls with the goal of peak reduction.
  • For commercial and industrial customers, an energy management system linked to a system of internal sensors and controllers can leverage the continual load and rate structures to allow both demand response operations and demand bidding operations.
  • Testing is under way on using web services to integrate BAS’s with utility systems which would implement control strategies based on real-time pricing.
  • Energy storage is another mechanism to optimize building energy usage in response to real-time pricing (RTP) signals. The RTP system provides the pricing schedule through email or direct transfer to the Building Automation System that can perform the necessary activities to optimize the building energy usage.
  • Because electrical demand charges can make up 40% of a utility bill, many building automation systems have demand limiting or load shedding functions. For example, when the demand on a building meter or piece of equipment, such as a chiller, approaches a predetermined setpoint, the BAS does no allow the equipment to load up any further. Another way to minimize peak demand is to program time delays between the start-up of major pieces of electrical load equipment, so several pieces of equipment do not start up at the same time.
  • Global-zone temperature set point adjustment is an ideal DR strategy for HVAC systems with direct digital controls. The acceptability of set point adjustment strategy depends on how much, how fast, and how often it is executed, as well as other occupant related issues such as occupants’ preparation and the information provided to them.
  • .StandardEfficient
    Energy100KBTU/sf/yrLess than 40
    Fan0.9 W/CFM0.3
    Pump30 W/GPM10
    Air Cooling1.4 kW/ton0.9
    Water Cooling1.0 kW/ton0.5
    Percent Free Cooling40%60%
    Boiler Efficiency80%95%
    Condensing
    ReheatYesNo
  • Finally, decoupling ventalation from heating/cooling can provide the opportunity to optimize both systems rather than making compromises in each.

4. Benefits
  • Cost Savings – Simulation results and field tests confirmed tests increasing the zone temperature set-point by four degrees can reduce chiller electricity consumption by about 33% and HVAC electricity consumption by about 25% over a four hour shed, even on hot days. The results also indicate the value of pre-cooling in maximizing the electrical shed in the on-peak period. By lowering the zone temperature by two degrees in the morning off-peak period, the on-peak shed resulting from raising the set-point by four degrees is increased by about 50%. Whether or not pre-cooling is used, the dynamics of the shed need to be managed in order to avoid charging the thermal capacity of the building too quickly, resulting in high cooling load and electric demand before the end of the shed period. An exponential trajectory for the zone set-point during the shed yielded good results.
Example of Smart Thermostat Response for Small Commercial Customer



5. Risks/Issues
  • Unempowered Facilities Organization
    • System is only as good as the operators
    • Tends to be short of resources with many responsibilities.
    • Rarely understands past, current or future energy markets.
    • Lacks the ability to quantify demand reduction and the prerogative to execute these strategies if there are potential negative consequences.
    • Automation is highly technical and requires special knowledge of both building/process systems and communication technologies
    • Perceived loss of control by plant managers
    • Energy use practices change over time as personnel and building conditions change
  • Unempowered Inhabitants - When people feel in control of their environment, they feel more pleasure, comfort, productivity and have more tolerance for less than ideal conditions.
  • User Error
    • Act in response to random external events
    • Use switches after event
    • Overcompensate to minor annoyance
    • Wait some time until taking action
    • Leave system in switched state, do what is most convenient and easiest.
  • Insulative Properties of Clothing - The socially/culturally acceptable clothing styles that we grow up with, which are part of the norms we learn from our family, peers, schooling, company policies, and the mass media, and which vary by activity/task/job description, gender, age, class, and culture, are part of what generate the experience of being thermally comfortable in a given situation. There may be thermal comfort conflicts among different demographic groups possessing different clothing norms (and therefore different insulative values of dress) — including the classic modern conflict between male and female office workers.
  • Individual vs. Collective Comfort
  • Humidity - Dewpoint can be important relative to HVAC process temperatures. Controlling humidity may be a subject of special concern in buildings with very high occupant densities
  • Integration - The trick is getting the sensors and control systems to work together. For example, Air Handler and Terminal Unit Controls Not Coordinated - Independent control loops upstream and downstream, but part of the same duct system, each with its own set point, is a source of waste. Each acts without regard to the other
  • BAS Companies Not Energy Focused
    • Business model focuses on low first cost
    • No “upside” for facilitating participation in DR marketplace – usually requires their most experienced (and profitable) people
    • Understand that most customers only use a fraction of a system’s capabilities (i.e. optimized start, chilled water reset, demand limiting)
  • Inefficient Design - Peak energy use is further amplified by the natural tendency of designers and contractors to provide a larger capacity system than necessary, resulting in excessive and inefficiency cycling of the compressor. Increased cycling of a direct expansion air conditioning system reduces overall efficiency through cycle start-up losses which occur until the cold liquid refrigerant returns to the evaporator coil. The results of over sizing single-speed units include increased electric peak and, in some cases, increased energy consumption.

6. Success Criteria
  • The HVAC industry and market will be transformed to ensure that its energy performance is optimal for California.
  • Market Transformation Programs need to have longer horizons
  • Incentives may vary, yet a consistent structure will lead to wider acceptance
  • Education and simplicity are critical
  • Even when one buys a Porsche, it does not come with a driver and a mechanic – the system is only as good as the people involved in the process

7. Next Steps
  • California should investigate a new efficiency metric for residential and nonresidential direct expansion, air cooled air conditioning system that appropriately rates performance in hot and dry California climate zones.

8. Companies
  1. Chromasun - Sausalito CA - Ausura Founder Developed a solar air conditioner from Ausra co-founder Peter Le Lievre. Heat is captured with a rooftop device similar to a solar thermal power plant. The heat is then used, instead of natural gas, to boil a refrigerant in a solution in a sealed chamber. Through heat exchangers and manipulating the pressure inside the sealed chambers, the refrigerant is re-condensed into a low-temperature liquid and employed create cold air. The evaporation-condensation cycle goes as long as the sun provides enough heat. Chromasun's device is 75 percent efficient. The device – at 10 foot by 4 foot sealed box – is essentially a utility scale solar thermal plant and a utility-scale concentrating solar PV plant in miniature. It contains mirrors, receivers and a concentrator for generating solar thermal energy as well as silicon solar cells.

  2. Ice Energy, Windsor, CO - Provides distributed energy storage and smart grid solutions for optimizing energy system efficiency through peak load management and integration of intermittent, renewable resources onto the grid. Pairing its Ice Bear energy storage module with a standard commercial air conditioner, Ice Energy delivers the industry's first hybrid cooling solution specifically developed to reduce air conditioning energy demand for small to mid-sized commercial businesses. With $63 million of VC funding raised since 2005, and Goldman Sachs as a backer, the company is probably thinking of an IPO.

  3. InThrMa - Intelligent Thermal Management - Oakland, CA - Web based services for Proliphix Thermostats

  4. Optimum Energy LLC, Seattle, WA - Makes software (and some hardware) for controlling the chillers inside skyscrapers.

    Optimum has devised a software-as-a-service system that monitors and controls the chilling systems, which provide the water for air conditioners in large buildings. Control systems for water chilling have existed for years, but often go for overkill. The systems are geared towards keeping the water at a relatively steady 44 degrees, and they keep the flow rate about the same. That means on moderately warm days, more cool air is produced than is required, leading to super chilly rooms or ejected cold air.

    In Optimum's system, the water temperature can rise without impacting the temperature inside the building. Depending on environmental conditions and occupancy, the software can reduce the number of pieces in operation at any given time and also reduce the power going to the machinery in operation. Trend data is also collected, which can be used to anticipate equipment failure.

    The water temperature is ultimately set by an algorithm that analyzes current data on pressure, flow, ambient termperature, water temperature, occupancy, history and other factors.

  5. Radio Thermostadt Company of America - San Francisco - In 2010 Radio Thermostadt expanded to the holy grail of home improvement retail: Home Depot. Ecobee and iThermostat both offer similar products, but Radio Thermostat is hoping the price of $99 and space on the shelves of one of the nation’s largest retailers will compel the masses to pick up its product.

    “The 'programmable' got you part of the way there, but no one lives in a Leave it to Beaver household anymore,” said Dan Goodman of Radio Thermostat Company of America. Instead, people need a device that is easy and user-friendly, as well.

    The product, sold under the 3M Filtrete brand, isn’t that different from others on the market, and one could argue it’s even a little more simplistic in terms of its touch screen and offerings. However, Ecobee retails for nearly $500 in the U.S., and while iThermostat is free, that is only through a utility partner.

    The thermostat’s website, which is free, and requisite iPhone app, are both simple to use. The interface is less than flashy, completely utilitarian, and easy to understand. For now, it is just a place to adjust the temperature of the thermostat, as opposed to a home energy management portal.

  6. Smartcool Systems Inc (TSXV: SSC) - Vancouver, BC - Specializes in energy and cost reduction technologies for the HVAC and refrigeration systems of commercial, industrial and retail businesses. The Smartcool product line of green technologies reduces the electricity consumption (kWh) and demand (KW) of air conditioning and refrigeration compressors. Agorithms that optimize the compressor in commercial or residential air conditioners, the component that can account for up to 70 percent of the power consumed by some systems. More than 26,000 of its energy saving modules have been installed. Smart Cool Systems has been around for nearly 20 years and is still small.

  7. Transformative Wave - Kent, WA - Since 2009, Transformative Wave has been committed to developing, and bringing to market a growing line of energy saving and environmentally responsible solutions to address deficient packaged HVAC rooftop units (RTUs).

    Transformative Wave’s CATALYST is a RTU Retrofit solution that reduces HVAC energy usage by 25 – 50% and the recognized leader in RTU optimization and control.

    The CATALYST is more than a controller and more than a variable frequency drive (VFD). It is a complete HVAC energy efficiency upgrade that includes numerous components, adds 5-6 new sensors and has been developed as an easy-to-install pre-wired kit. When applied, it radically lowers the energy use and improves the overall performance of constant volume HVAC systems. The CATALYST assures proper ventilation, maximizes the use of outside air for free cooling beyond standard economizer logic, and reduces fan energy use by an average of 69%.

9. Links
  1. Simultaneous Heating and Cooling, The HVAC Blight by Steve P. Doty, PE, CEM
  2. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency report, "Energy Cost and IAQ Performance of Ventilation Systems and Controls"
  3. Evaluation of Demand Shifting Strategies with Thermal Mass in Two Large Commercial Builidngs - Peng Xu - Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
  4. International Facility Management Association. Temperature Wars: Savings vs. Comfort" [PDF], The purpose of this 2009 study is to identify when most thermal complaints occur, the nature of the complaints, and what building actions and improvements are made to make workers comfortable and able to concentrate on their jobs

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Enterprise Building Management

Whether managing all systems in a building, or managing one system across several buildings, EBM enhances the ability to manage energy consumption.

Navigate this Report
Back to Smart Buildings Index
1. Background
2. Acronyms/Definitions
3. Business Case
4. Benefits
5. Risks/Issues
6. Success Criteria
7. Companies
8. Links


Enterprise Controls Provide a Single Cohesive Network


1.Background
  • In large organizations there are control systems that manage building functions, and there are enterprise systems used to manage operations. Usually these two types of systems are not integrated. Each has much to offer the other, but they rarely intermingle.

  • Information systems, such as SAP and Oracle, help manage resources, supply chains, and relationships with the enterprise's stakeholders and clients. They cover management decisions and actions requiring information. The objective is to gather data from disparate systems and deliver it as useful information. This requires information to be normalized for meaningful correlations.
    • Building controls include HVAC controls, sensors, meters, fire alarms, access control etc.
    • Enterprise systems include financial software, Capacity Requirements Planning (CRP), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Facility scheduling, load profile models, power purchasing and asset management.

  • There are major integration challenges even within building controls, Various building level systems just don’t inherently communicate. Intelligence has ended up scattered across disparate networks of sensors, logic and actuators. Badge readers don’t talk to chillers, which don’t talk to elevator controllers, which don’t talk to surveillance cameras. Alarms, video and other data may be consolidated to show up on a shared console, but that’s only a small step forward.

  • It’s common to see energy use profiles generated from data collected with energy monitoring systems, but it’s very uncommon to have an analysis solution that includes information about the physical operation, the day-to-day operation that caused the energy profile. Managers end up studying the data resulting from energy consumption, not the root causes of energy consumption.

  • The global market for building data integration technologies continues to grow as vendors begin to understand and develop solutions that process large amounts of facility data. Today, the challenge lies in organizing data sets that come with various formats, naming conventions, and syntaxes. While new building energy management systems (BEMSs) can be implemented to enhance data collection and processing, existing systems present challenges in performing functional data analyses.


2. Acronyms/Definitions
  1. Building Integration - Making diverse systems in multi-building and campus environments communicate Best example is the public sector Campus built over time systems installed by lowest bidder Results in – multiple systems that do not communicate.

  2. EBM – Enterprise Building Management - Bridges the gulf between the business and operational layers of the enterprise. Font end for performing advanced data analytics, data aggregation, data archiving, fault detection and fault diagnostics on building automation information across the enterprise.

  3. EEM - Enterprise Energy Management

  4. Facility Master System Integrators - Performance contractors who need to be hired and managed as if they are IT contractors.

  5. EUI's - Energy Use Indices -Such as kilowatt hours used per square foot (kWh/SF) can be compared between similar buildings to gauge if any particular building is using more energy than necessary. EUIs can also be compared to previous data to ascertain if a particular building’s energy usage has increased. Since equipment efficiency tends to decrease over time, observations of energy usage can indicate when equipment is in need of service or replacement.

  6. FDD – Fault Detection and Diagnostics – Data analytics capable of crunching hundreds of thousands of points from the now-integrated enterprise into understandable and manageable action items. These analytics can be quickly applied to the BAS system in order to begin optimizing it. For example, FDDs can generate a report of all the zones, in the portfolio, which are unoccupied and yet receiving conditioned air.

  7. XML For multi-building developments — whether that means university campuses, government buildings, medical centers or corporations with buildings scattered in various locations — XML may offer a way to manage operations and share important data via Web services over the Internet or campus intranet system.

3. Business Case
  • Fully integrated BEMSs can process data from building systems, the grid, and weather information to provide actionable insights and improve facilities management. According to a 1Q16 research report from Navigant Research, global building data integration revenue is expected to grow from $89.9 million in 2016 to $971.3 million in 2025.
  • Multi building owners have a huge maintenance problem. They are looking for an Internet friendly, real-time, loosely coupled, peer-to-peer integration framework that bridges the gap between the business layer and the operational layer of the enterprise.
  • Building level systems integration includes:
    • Fire alarm and smoke control systems. Fire Alarms often run on their own network due to liability concerns and are not certified for LonWorks. Building control systems can Integrate with fire alarms to close dampers for smoke control
    • Security and Access control systems
    • Energy Control and Monitoring Systems
    • Electrical Infrastructure, Switchgear, Lighting
    • Digital Signage, Communication Systems, Voice/Data
    • HVAC Systems and Equipment
    • Multiple Vendor DDC for campus environments
  • Enterprise Integration includes:
    • Back office data systems, accounting, email, HR, aggregated energy reporting, real-time utility pricing, hotel guest service systems, continuous commissioning.
    • XML Web Services, multiple BMS integrations
    • Linking real time information to business applications
  • EBM Markets include:
    1. Large Enterprises - Typically serve the needs of a huge number of people and comprise a large variety and number of buildings within their respective real estate portfolios. Large enterprises also face pressure to reduce cost while increasing service levels.
    2. Data Centers - Without 24/7 awareness of the physical environment, data centers, and the enterprise that depends on it, are at risk. While cooling, power and security systems often operate outside the standards set by I.T and protocols like Modbus, LON and BACnet, are not within the standards set by IT, EBM can provide an integrated operating picture of operations.
    3. Defense
    4. Education – Universities and School Systems
    5. Government
    6. Healthcare - Hospitals often operate with gross inefficiencies, un-integrated systems, no enterprise network and poor diagnostic tools. The main reason for this lack of visibility is that there is typically little or no integration between the various systems in the hospital. In addition to standard interfaces, hospital systems typically also include Patient Tracking, Nurse Call, Medical Gas, Mobile Refrigerated Case, Asset Management and Human Resources systems. Space management dynamics of a hospital make it impossible to effectively manage energy and building operating expenses at the building systems level. Regulators demand compliance from hospitals via patient-safety reporting measures such as JHACO.
    7. Retail Chains
    8. Real Estate

4. Benefits
  1. Reduced Energy Costs - The most clearly evident and tangible benefit of EBM is near-term cost savings. Adoption is driven by net realized savings; I can save x%, but at what cost? Whether managing all systems in a building, or managing one system across several buildings, EBM enhances the ability to contain energy consumption. Evolving energy markets create opportunities to reduce energy costs, but taking advantage of those opportunities is increasingly complex. For example, with an EBM a facility manager can set a policy to run major pieces of laboratory equipment at times that take advantage of time-of-day utility tariffs. EBM systems can:
    • Track energy use and savings for the enterprise via executive level dashboards
    • Analyze historical and near real-time energy consumption and demand by site.
    • Compare HVAC operational data to metered energy consumption data
    • Compare energy use, costs, and savings between sites
    • Provide short and long term energy forecasts by site and by enterprise
    • Zoom to sites with utility bill discrepancies

  2. Managed Capital Costs – EBM give building owners tools to understand which building systems to change and would it be cost effective to do so.

  3. Visibility – EBM provides executives and management easily understood information related to the energy efficiency of their facilities and helps to identify how well buildings are performing overall with respect to commissioned state of systems and maintenance activities. The introduction of a web browser interface allows a user to access and view resources. Users can dramatically enhance their ability to manage a facility by networking the BAS’s for multiple buildings so that they can be controlled from one location through the internet. Integration allows energy information to be elevated to the management level, increasing usefulness.

  4. Share Information - Simply stated: Data is Valuable. Aggregated data is compounded value. Sharing building and energy data empowers decision making. EBM eliminates silos of systems.

  5. Proactive Maintenance - EBM reduces maintenance costs and changes the way asset management works. Instead of reacting to failures, an enterprise can be proactive about maintenance and reduce repair costs. Parts inventories can be smaller, and replacement parts can be ordered in anticipation of needed service. A simple example is replacing air filters based on the actual run time, instead of the calendar, improving HVAC performance and indoor air quality, while reducing the time and expense of needlessly changing filters. Expanding this example to a larger scale, a maintenance management system that interacts with a building control system can monitor run times and performance for all equipment. Based on real-time information, the system detects a compromised motor and submits an order for replacement parts before the motor fails. When parts are delivered, that event generates work requests, scheduling the work for the off hours. A repair technician arrives with the right parts, ready to complete the maintenance in one visit, minimizing truck rolls and costs.

  6. Reliability - EBM improves reliability by anticipating situations, allowing management to act, rather than react.

  7. Centralized Support - Moving functions to Enterprise level allows for talent in proper discipline. EBM enables connecting existing systems, to achieve new levels of centralized monitoring and control. It enables management from anywhere -- on campus, or off. As needs change, new systems can be integrated ad hoc, through Web Services, often without human intervention. When support or systems management are required, the skills are mainstream and readily available.

  8. Reduced Demand on Facilities Management Staff- The integration of building systems brings control to those who need it, reducing demand on facilities management staff. For example, a secretary uses a desktop application for conference room scheduling, audio-visual control, and temperature setpoints. For example, an employee swipes an access card to enter a building on the weekend. This activates HVAC and lighting in her space, so she is safe and comfortable. Administration accurately bills the department for use of the environmental systems.

  9. Manage Microgrids - EBM provides information to help efficiently operate energy-producing utilities on campus. For example, load modeling, combined with hourly electric tariffs and meteorological data, enable optimization of combined cycle and thermal storage systems.

  10. Compliance - EBM allows health officials to examine conditions such as indoor air quality directly, without the support of facilities management staff. Historical data establishes a visible pattern of satisfactory conditions.

  11. Education - Sensor data and other real-time information can be used in classroom activities to enhance teaching of certain subjects. A university provides a living laboratory for students whose careers will require experience with these technologies. A business professor can assign projects that use live data to develop new business models for energy purchasing. Architecture students can get practical experience with LEED verification. Engineering students can work with advanced controls.

  12. Continuous Commissioning - Energy models and construction documents are used in commissioning. They become part of the EBM system after project completion, making it possible to continuously commission a building. Actual data gathered through the life of one building becomes input for planning the next.

  13. Streamlined Business Processes - Current processes, such as metering and internal billing, can be streamlined with EBM. Energy data can be incorporated into management reports and spreadsheets, and thus included in all levels of decision making.

  14. Revealed Hidden Data, Discovering New Uses -It would be impossible to anticipate every benefit of EBM, because of the many unforeseeable ways in which data might be used. Imagine predicting, in 1993, the numerous ways in which the Internet would be used. Many envisioned online newspapers, but few imagined iTunes or Google Maps. The availability of any new resource sparks the imaginations of enterprises and entrepreneurs who match unmet needs with the newly discovered potential.

Remote Connectivity Efficiently Manages a Distributed Organization



5. Risks/Issues
  • Silo Building Control Systems - Each building control system is optimized for its intended purpose, the "best of breed" available at the time of purchase. The engineers who developed them applied the best practices in their applications. Each of these systems has a narrow focus of operation. A small part of an enterprise is served by each system and, as a result, a small portion of the potential value is delivered. Sharing data is not a priority for individual systems, so they have a limited amount of integration. Islanded systems make it difficult to increase functionality -- most have achieved the peak of their abilities within their narrow scope. A facilities manager might ask, "If all I have after the upgrade is a newer version what I have now, why upgrade before current systems fail?"

  • Data Quality - Macro trends in technology are making it increasingly cost effective to instrument and collect data about the operations and energy usage of buildings. We are now awash in data and the new problem is how to make sense of it. Today most operational data has poor semantic modeling and requires a manual, labor intensive process to "map" the data before value creation can begin.

  • Maintenance - Balancing interoperability with dependence on a single vendor. This is an especially important issue for owners of multiple buildings being developed over time such as a school district. Maintenance costs could be much higher if each location is different.

  • Legacy - Campus built over time systems installed by lowest bidder Results in – multiple systems that do not communicate.

  • Market Power - Lock in to single vendor. Centralized administration is nonexistent, seen as a disadvantage by vendors who prefer to lock customers into their products.

  • Lack of Visibility – Energy bills only go to the accounting department. Not having metered information at the building level.

6. Success Criteria
  • Master Planning – Sit down with decision makers. Determine do we want to go. What are we trying to do. We have multiple building of different ages with different automation systems from different companies. Several meetings to develop master plan, what protocol will support all these buildings what information do you want out of this. Once you do the planning up front, then it becomes clear. Once all the buildings can communicate on a common factor. Come out of that how to train the people. Personnel will become more effective because they are working on one standard. Open standard scenario. Then it becomes clear what systems have to migrate. Maintenance cost will be reduced.
  • Common Web HMI - Reduces costs and increases productivity
  • Open Architecture Gateways - Makes individual buildings easier to transfer ownership and ensure re-integration.
  • Communication Infrastructure - Unifying BAS communication enables HMI choice.
  • Open Standards - Enable IT to develop multi-vendor systems and networks, decreasing the cost of integration and ownership.
  • Open Architecture – Directory enabled and discoverable, to minimize administrative overhead. Stateless, to reduce network burden, and designed to support failover measures.

7. Companies
  1. BuildingIQ, Rushcutters Bay, NSW, Australia & Palo Alto, CA - Their building energy management software can learn and forecast your building's energy requirements, and continuously optimize BMS settings to increase energy efficiency. BuildingIQ’s “predictive energy optimization” system, based on technology from Australian national research lab CSIRO, balances tenant comfort and energy savings by crunching weather reports, building control system data, energy pricing information, and online surveys of tenant comfort, among other sources of information. That allows the system to fine-tune building control systems with energy prices in mind.

  2. Candi Controls - Oakland, CA -  A "Cloud-Assisted Network-Device Integration." They solve for interoperability by enabling data exchange between incompatible devices and services via a flexible, open translation layer at the edge of the network. Using a service bus architecture, they abstract and simplify the difficulty of multiple protocols. This has the effect of "normalizing" machine-to-machine and machine-to-cloud communications. Their streamlined Internet of Things Protocol™ ("IOTP") API allows developers and other parties to quickly realize and connect innovative services and apps to endpoint hardware, without the hassle of interpreting countless low-level protocols. Candi’s target market is service providers in the energy and telecommunications/data industries, specifically utilities, telecoms, MSOs, and the systems integrators and manufacturers associated with those industries.

  3. CBRE - Los Angeles, CA - The world’s largest real estate services company.

  4. CISCO San Jose, CA (Nasdaq: CSCO ) - A backbone of CISCO's enterprise building management initiative is the mediator technology which came through Cisco’s acquisition of a California company, Richards-Zeta Inc., in 2009. Mediator provides a centralized Internet protocol (IP)-based management of multiple systems running in a building including heating, ventilation, air conditioning, electricity, water, telephony and data.

  5. Cooper Tree Analytics - Surrey, BC - Unit of Delta Controls. One one of the largest providers of building analytics software, with offices and distributors around the world. CopperTree Analytics provides energy management and fault detection diagnostics with our Kaizen software, which delivers you the power to optimize your building performance.


  6. Cylon Controls, Dublin, Ireland  US Division Cylon Energy,  Manchester, NH - provides smart energy control systems for buildings and has been used in industrial, commercial, educational and medical facilities.

  7. Ecova - Spokane, WA - An energy and sustainability management company - leading building efficiency intelligence company. Helps utility providers use meter and asset data analytic-enabled approaches to dramatically scale energy efficiency savings in the commercial sector.

    Acquired Retroficiency in October 2015 . Retroficiency uses data to transform the manual process of identifying energy efficiency opportunities, and the resulting glut in the market that creates. Utilities, which have tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of customers, are the key to unlocking that potential. When harnessed effectively, smart grid and smart meter data can provide deep insights about how a building is using energy and how it can improve in minutes and without ever going on site. This information can be used to target, engage, convert, and track customer energy efficiency more effectively than ever before.

  8. GridPoint, Arlington, VA. -  In its first decade of existence, GridPoint raised nearly $300 million in VC funding, bought a half-dozen smaller startups -- and then ousted CEO Peter Corsell, laid off much of its staff, and more or less disappeared from view in the smart grid, EV charging and home energy analytics fields it had sought to command. At that point, many industry observers wrote it off as a has-been from the go-go green technology fundraising days of the prior decade.

    But in the past two years, the Arlington, Va.-based startup has raised $22 million in new funding, hired a new CEO, and rebuilt itself as a commercial building energy management player, expanding on the business it acquired when it bought startup ADMMicro.

    Now GridPoint has about 11,000 commercial building sites under its management, with a combination of energy monitoring hardware, portfolio management software, and a services arm to help achieve and maintain efficiency improvements for customers like big-box retail, fast-food restaurants and pharmacy chains.

  9.  ICONICS Foxborough, MA - By providing a clear view of energy consumption patterns, ICONICS helps companies with their energy conservation efforts. By visualizing, aggregating and summarizing energy usage by location and forecasting energy costs over time, organizations can identify how and where to optimize consumption. Energy optimization means cost savings for the organization, reduction of carbon footprint and an increase in sustainability.

  10. Johnson Controls (NYSE: JCI) Acquired Grid Logix in 2008. Gridlogix's Automated Enterprise Management solution empowers anyone in an organization with the real time data that allows the organization to improve the facility efficiency.

  11. Lucid Design Group - Oakland, CA - Sells a software and sensor service that monitors the real-time use of electricity, natural gas and water. The sensors collect data on electricity and other resources consumed, then use a dashboard to display the amount of money both spent and saved. The company is hoping to add more of a social network component, so consumers can, say, compare their savings to their buddies online. Their Building Network Dashboard can create community-wide comparisons and facilitate real-time energy reduction competitions.

  12. Schneider Electric (ADR: SBGSY) purchased two French companies in building management in December 2010 as the race to build a suite of comprehensive suite of energy services rolls on. Vizelia provides real-time energy management software for commercial buildings, while D5X provides services to optimize how energy gets consumed in buildings.

  13. SCIenergy (SCI)- Dallas, TX - Atlanta Technology Center - Provides energy efficiency solutions via Predictive Diagnostics and Analytics for the commercial building market. The company’s suite of energy management solutions uses the industry’s first software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform to help reduce annual energy spending by comparing predicted energy and system efficiencies against real-time operation.

    In June 2011 SCI signed a definitive agreement to acquire Servidyne, Inc. (NASDAQ:SERV) Atlanta, GA, an energy management and demand response company, for a price of $3.50 per share in an all-cash transaction. The transaction, approved by the Boards of Directors of both companies, is expected to close on or before Q4 2011, pending Servidyne shareholder and customary regulatory approvals. Upon closing of the transaction, the combined company will take on the name SCIenergy Inc. (SCIenergy™).

    SCIenergy will combine Servidyne’s extensive experience in Energy Efficiency, Demand Response and Facilities Maintenance with SCI’s core competency in cloud-based energy management. Servidyne also has deep domain knowledge in Retro Commissioning (RCx), LEED for Existing Buildings (LEED-EBOM), and is the nine-time recipient of EPA’s Energy Star® Partner of the Year Award.

  14. Siemens Building Technologies (ADR NYSE: SI) Acquired Site Controls - Austin, TX - in October 2010. Site controls specialized in energy management and facilities intelligence solutions for retail chains, restaurants and bank branches.

    Through Site-Command Energy Management System, Michaels Stores produced a more than 25 percent drop in consumption among the retailer’s nearly 1,000stores as a result of the equipment monitoring and control and Web-based business intelligence provided by the Site-Command system.

  15. Skyfoundry - Glen Allen, VA - Provides analytics software for energy management and building systems optimization. It offers SkySpark, which allows domain experts to capture their knowledge in ‘rules’ that automatically run against collected data. The company’s analytics engine provides the ability to automatically identify issues worthy of attention. Its solution aggregates, organizes, and manages real-time and time-series data; imports data from Excel, CSV, relational databases, or oBIX; and ships with a suite of apps that allow users to manage and visualize their data using Web browser. The company offers its software for applications, including building commissioning, equipment fault detection, energy analysis, load profiling, facility benchmarking, asset performance tracking, and carbon and greenhouse gas reporting.

  16. Tridium - Richmond, VA - As of November 29, 2005, Tridium, Inc. operates as a subsidiary of Honeywell.    Provides open platforms, software frameworks, automation infrastructure technology, energy management, and device-to-enterprise integration solutions for Internet of Things. It offers its solutions for building automation, energy management, security management, industrial automation, convergence retailing, medical, lighting control, maintenance repair operations, smart services, machine-to-machine, total facilities management, smart homes, and telecommunications applications.

  17. Verisae Minneapolis, MN Makes software designed to track carbon and energy consumption, to keep records detailing the company's own energy consumption. Helps measure, manage and reduce equipment and energy costs including the related business and environmental impacts of carbon emissions. The platform consists of web-enabled enterprise management solutions that improve operational efficiency, protect brand integrity and ensure regulatory compliance for distributed enterprises across multiple industries.

  18. ViaLogy, (LSE: viy) Altadena, CA - Enable real-time fusion of inputs from tens to thousands of sensors of different types. Intelligently combining multiple sensor inputs provides a more complete operational picture and reduces false positives, nuisance alarms, and missed events. Founded in 1999 as a spin-off of the Jet Propulsion Laboratories. In 2006, the company merged with its largest investor, Original Investments PLC, and became a publicly-quoted company on the London Stock Exchange's Alternative Investment Market.

  19. Viridity Energy, Conshohocken, PA, Has developed a technology platform that transforms a customer’s portfolio of buildings and energy investments into a 24/7 virtual power plant. With Viridity Energy’s guidance, facility and energy managers are able to optimize their energy use by dynamically shifting and balancing their load across a variety of energy resources such as, distributed generation and energy storage devices, in response to usage, weather and market prices. Selected as a finalist for the first Innovation Competition at GreenBeat 2009, the seminal conference on the Smart Grid.This company received an undisclosed amount of early growth funding in 1Q09 from an undisclosed investor and is likely to require further funding next year. 

    In August 2012, Viridity raised $15 million from Japanese conglomerate and big green investor Mitsui & Co. It looks like a trans-Pacific partnership that could open up markets to both companies.The Series C round comes on top of a $14 million round in January 2011 and $10 million previously, as well as millions in state grants and investment, to bring total funds raised to about $40 million. Previous investors include Braemar Energy Ventures and Intel Capital.

8. Links
  1. 'X’ Marks New Controls Hot Spot Industry - Groups work to realize promise of XML and Web SErvices to broaden access to building systems data

  2. Automated Buildings.com - Enterprise Building Management for Universities -

  3. Project Haystack is an open source initiative to develop naming conventions and taxonomies for building equipment and operational data. They standardize semantic data models and web services with the goal of making it easier to unlock value from the vast quantity of data being generated by the smart devices that permeate our homes, buildings, factories, and cities. Applications include automation, control, energy, HVAC, lighting, and other environmental systems.  Pragmatic use of naming conventions and taxonomies can make it more cost effective to analyze, visualize, and derive value from our operational data

    Project Haystack is a 501C tax-exempt non-stock corporation formed May 28, 2014.  he management and operations of the Corporation are governed by a Board of Directors of the Corporation. Board members are appointed by the following companies that participated and funded the formation of the Corporation:
    The following companies are Associate members of Project Haystack:

Monday, April 18, 2016

Sustainable Communities

Back to Smart Efficiency

Some topics of interest to my role as Chair of the Environmental Quality Committee in El Cerrito, California don't fit neatly in my Smart Energy categories, so I'm creating a new index page.


Our role is two fold
  • to serve in an advisory capacity to the City Council, staff, other boards, commissions, and committees, and the citizens of the City with regard to environmental quality issues within the City of El Cerrito.
  • To promote and foster public awareness, education, interest and support for environmental quality efforts, foster volunteer opportunities, and educate El Cerrito citizens regarding environmental quality and issues relating to environmental impacts.

Our values are to educate, inspire, and activate


And our mission is to
  • Promote Community & Individual Action
  • Champion Environmental Policies
  • Help Businesses be more sustainable and environmentally friendly
  • Support Carbon Reduction, Recycling and Energy Efficiency
  • Protect Open Space
  • Involve Students of all ages



A. Sustainable Communities - SB 375
friday, august 1, 2014
The landmark 2008 statute requiring integrated regional housing and transportation plans that accommodate each region’s housing need while striving to attain greenhouse gas reduction targets.



B. Smart Cities
april 18, 2016

As the benefits of smart cities become clearer, the number of projects and partnerships supporting the cause is rapidly increasing. In the last few years, city leaders, central government ministries, and technology and service suppliers have announced a range of new smart city initiatives, incentives, and product and service offerings, while more cities are moving from one specific technology interest to a broader range of solutions that have multiple applications. According to a new report from Navigant Research, the total number of identified smart city projects has grown from 170 in the third quarter of 2013 to 235 today.
Coming Soon


B. Climate Action Planning
thursday, July 24, 2014
Coming Soon


C. Urban Greening
thursday, July 24, 2014
Coming Soon

Microgrids - Prior Version

August 2014 - Added 8. Case Studies

Smart microgrids can operate independently when necessary to maintain perfect service or to capitalize on energy cost saving opportunities


Pike Research predicts that the microgrid market could reach as high as 4.6 GW by 2016.

Navigate this Report
Back to Distribution Index
1. Background

2. Acronyms/Definitions
3. Business Case
4. Key Opportunities
5. Benefits
6. Risks/Issues
7. Success Criteria
8. Case Studies
9. Companies
10. Links
Residential Microgrid


1.Background
  • Microgrids have a long history. In fact, Thomas Edison’s first power plant constructed in 1882 – the Manhattan Pearl Street Station – was essentially a microgrid since a centralized grid had not yet been established. By 1886, Edison’s firm had installed fifty-eight direct current (DC) microgrids. However, shortly thereafter, the evolution of the electric services industry evolved to a state-regulated monopoly market, thus removing incentives for microgrid developments.

  • Today, though, a variety of trends are converging to create promising markets for microgrids, particularly in the United States. It has been become increasingly clear that the fundamental architecture of today’s electricity grid, which is based on the idea of a top-down system predicated on unidirectional energy flows, is obsolete.

  • According to a May 2011 tracker report from Pike Research, more than 160 microgrid projects are currently active around the world, with power generation capacity totaling more than 1.2 GW.

  • "Up to this point, the majority of microgrids have been pilot projects and/or research-related experiments," says senior analyst Peter Asmus. "This will not be the case for long, however. The year 2010 signaled a shift as some of the first commercial-scale microgrid projects reached significant milestones. With the expected adoption of the IEEE islanding standards in 2011, the shift from pilot validation projects to fully commercial projects will only accelerate."
  • Technological improvements in gas turbines have changed the economics of power production. It isn’t necessary anymore to build a 1,000- megawatt generating plant to exploit economies of scale. Combined-cycle gas turbines reach maximum efficiency at 400 megawatts, while aero-derivative gas turbines can be efficient at scales as small as 10 megawatts.

  • Most existing power plants, central or distributed, deliver electricity to user sites at an overall fuel-to-electricity efficiency in the range of 28-32%. This represents a loss of around 70% of the primary energy provided to the generator. To reduce this energy loss it is necessary to either increase the fuel-to-electricity efficiency of the generation plant and/or use the waste heat. Combined power cycles technology can attain efficiencies approaching 60% with ratings in the hundreds of million watts. On the other hand if the waste heat from generators with much lower efficiency (28-32%) can be utilized through heat exchangers, absorption chillers or desiccant dehumidification the overall fuel-to-useful energy efficiency can be higher than 80%.

  • Today we talk about energy “distribution,” from central power plants down to light bulbs, which is slightly different from having distributed energy, much of which is not on the grid, like standalone PCs used to be. In a Smart Grid, energy is more likely to be exchanged than distributed. In this new topology, the grid become more peer-to-peer, more multi-vendor, with more standards, and more competition. The transmission of energy then becomes more networked, and more symmetrical, more among than between. Radios and TVs are being replaced by mobile devices, which upload, not just download. The same holds true in energy grids.


Microgrid Overview
Uploaded by GoogleTechTalks on Mar 26, 2009 - Dr. Chris Marnay UC Berkeley CERTS - DOE's Consortium for Electric Reliability Technology Solutions 2. Acronyms/Definitions
  1. DISCO – Distribution Company - Local distribution monopoly.

  2. FOCACA - Freedom Of Choice Among Competing Alternatives

  3. Island – A portion of a power system that is electrically separated from the interconnection due to the disconnection of transmission system elements.

  4. Islanding - The ability of distributed generation to continue to generate power even when power from a utility is absent.

  5. Microgrid - An integrated energy system consisting of distributed energy resources and multiple electrical loads operating as a single, autonomous grid either in parallel to or “islanded” from the existing utility power grid. In the most common configuration, distributed energy resources are tied together on their own feeder, which is then linked to the grid at a single point of common coupling. Microgrids can be viewed as the building blocks of the smart grid or as an alternative path to the much hyped smart “Super Grid.”

    There were approximately 20 microgrids can be found at universities, petrochemical facilities and U.S. defense facilities ;provding 785 MW of capacity in 2005. ; ;Outside of the petrochemical microgrids, there are no commercial microgrids in the United States. Most current microgrid implementations combine loads with sources, allow for intentional islanding and try to use the available waste heat.

  6. Microturbine - Microturbines are an important emerging technology. They are mechanically simple, single shaft devices with air bearings and no lubricants. They are designed to combine the reliability of commercial aircraft auxiliary power units with the low cost of automotive turbochargers. The generator is usually a permanent magnet machine operating at variable speeds (50,000-100,000 rpm). This variable speed operation requires power electronics to interface to the electrical system.

  7. Peer-to-Peer Concept - Insures that there are no components, such as a master controller or central storage unit that is critical for operation of the microgrid. This implies that the microgrid can continue operating with loss of any component or generator. With one additional source (N+1) we can insure complete functionality with the loss of any source.
  8. Plug-and-Play - Implies that a unit can be placed at any point on the electrical system without reengineering the controls. Plug-and-play functionality is much akin to the flexibility one has when using a home appliance. That is it can be attached to the electrical system at the location where it is needed. The traditional model is to cluster generation at a single point that makes the electrical application simpler. The plug-and-play model facilitates placing generators near the heat loads thereby allowing more effective use of waste heat without complex heat distribution systems such as steam and chilled water pipes.
  9. Power Loop – Automatically isolate faults and reroute power flows from either direction.
  10. UPS – Uninterruptible Power Supply
Pilot Microgrid - ;CESI RICERCA DER ;Constituted by several generators with different technologies (renewable and conventional), controllable loads and storage systems. DER-TF can provide electricity to the main grid with a maximum power of 350 kW.
3. Business Case
  • The goals of both the smart grid and the microgrid are the same: to maximize generation assets through embedded intelligence while dramatically boosting efficiencies, thereby minimizing costs. However, they appear to offer two potentially different paths forward.

    Both “supergrid” and “microgrid” will need to get smarter, though it is the distribution system that is currently the prime source of outages and unreliability. Today’s distribution grid network is clearly inadequate to support the type of innovation now occurring with distributed resources, including devices such as plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) serving as distributed storage batteries. The question is: Do we need bottom-up or top-down innovation?

  • The smart grid will seamlessly integrate an array of locally distributed power resources, including clean renewable solar sources and storage in quantities far beyond what is possible with today’s power system. This plug and play capability will enable consumers to supply as well as purchase power.

  • Application of individual distributed generators can cause as many problems as it may solve. A better way to realize the emerging potential of distributed generation is to take a system approach which views generation and associated loads as a subsystem or a “microgrid”. In this model it is also critical to be able to use the waste heat by placing the sources near the heat load. This implies that a unit can be placed at any point on the electrical system as required by the location of the heat load.

  • A utility determines that an electric island (microgrid) could be intentionally established and dispatches electric storage as well as other DER generation and load management capabilities to support this islanding.

  • Europe has a whole lot more loops than radial runs in their transmission system compared to the US which provides redundancy. ; A microgrid is an attempt to make a radial feed look more like a loop.

  • Control systems fall into two major camps. The purists – epitomized by the CERTS software – believe that microgrids should operate without any central command and control system, with generators and loads harmonizing autonomously based on local information. This is the view espoused by leading academics and localization advocates and the rationale is compelling. This system will work for the majority of smaller microgrids with a single owner and whose top priority is reliability and sustainability during emergencies. These are the “dumb” microgrids, if you will.

    In the other camp are what you might call the pragmatists. They lean toward systems that can be described as “master/slave,” (whereas the CERTS approach has been described as being “like a commune.”) These operating systems are much more focused on optimization of services outside the microgrid. The benefits of reliability may come second to generating new revenue streams from excess generation (or even demand reductions.)

    There are also those systems that can straddle these two views. There are few clear cut direct competitors in the space since no standards exist and microgrids are so modular, diverse and optimize such a broad array of energy-related services. It is these control systems – still literally being defined – where the fiercest competition may reign within the microgrid space. This is the guts of the microgrid, if you will, and the focus of current software innovation.

  • The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) March 2011 ruling (Order 745) mandating a demand response (DR) market by authorizing Independent System Operators (ISO) to compensate these distributed resources on par with generators is a game changer and will only accelerate the growing marriage of supply and demand resources within and outside of microgrids. This ruling could transform microgrids from threats to local distribution utilities into valuable resources for the larger grid. The FERC ruling’s primary impact is on energy service provision and less so on capacity and ancillary service offerings. Each ISO/RTO filed its demand response compensation tariffs in July 2011, but for all practical purposes, it will not be until summer 2012 that this new revenue stream will be available to demand response providers.

  • Significant barriers remain for microgrids to be considered a standard option for adding new capacity and other energy-related services across global markets. Nevertheless, there are certain application segments located within specific geographies where microgrids can make economic sense. Sometimes these deployments depend on government incentives or other sources of supplemental funding. Yet the number of microgrids that are being deployed without the help of government grants and incentives is growing. The largest microgrid market today is Asia Pacific, displacing North America for the first time. By the end of the 10-year forecast, these two regions are expected to switch places, with North America in the lead again. According to a study by Navigant Research, global microgrid capacity is expected to grow from 1.4 GW in 2015 to 7.6 GW in 2024 under a base scenario.

4. Key Opportunities for Microgrids Each microgrid market segment – whether a commercial building cluster or a remote community – is characterized by different priorities. Within the federal government sector, and especially in the case of military bases, islanding for reliability purposes is paramount. For commercial institutions, islanding may still be important, but the buying and selling of services from onsite generation or aggregated demand reductions to the distribution utility is often more important.
    In 2015, Institutional Campuses are projected to control almost half the North America Microgrid Market
  1. Military Bases – The Defense Department has become a leading proponent of installing microgrids. ;In 2008, a ;task force recommended DoD launch a comprehensive program to reduce the risk to critical missions at fixed installations from loss of commercial power and other critical national infrastructure. It suggested that the Department should take immediate actions to “island” critical installations and increase the efficiency of critical equipment to reduce the burden for backup systems.

    Currently the smallest market segment, these microgrids are just now being developed. They are integrating Renewable Distributed Energy Generation (RDEG) as a way to secure power supply without being dependent on any supplied fuel.

    In 2009, General Electric received a contract to work with the Department of Defense in a $2 million project to transform the Twentynine Palms Marine Corps base into a model smart microgrid system. The vast Twentynine Palms Base in California houses the Marine Corps Combat Center. The Corps' premier site for training exercises occupies 932 square miles in the southern Mojave Desert, an area about the three-quarters the size of Rhode Island. ;Like most U.S. military bases, Twentynine Palms generates power on site to cover critical needs -- it has a solar plant as well as a fuel cell installation -- and is connected to a larger electrical grid network, the California grid. GE plans to design a system for the base that features a suite of microgrid control technologies. The system is intended to serve as a showpiece of smart energy management for deployment of microgrid technology in general and, more specifically, for military bases.

    Microgrid in War Time
    Lockheed Martin's Dramatization of the use of microgrid to support a Forward Operating Base
  2. University Campuses - Because of the advantage of common ownership, this class of microgrids offers the best near-term development opportunity. At present, 322 MW of college campus microgrids are up and running in the United States, with more sophisticated state-of-the-art microgrids on the drawing boards. In the U.S., 40% of future microgrids will be developed in this market segment, adding 940 MW of new capacity valued at $2.76 billion by 2015.

  3. Industrial Campuses - ; The first “modern” industrial microgrid in the United States was a 64 MW facility constructed in 1955 at the Whitling Refinery in Indiana. All told, 455 megawatts (MW) of these vintage microgrids are currently online in the United States. Unlike today’s conceptual state-of-the-art models, these initial designs for the petrochemical industry still feature centralized controls and fossil-fueled generation sets. Japan is a modern leader in the commercial/industrial sector, though most of its microgrids include governmental and other institutional customers.

    For example, in March 2011, plans for an ambitious multi-faceted energy and research park in northern Colorado have been approved by local county commissioners. The 640-acre project, Niobrara Energy Park, will include natural gas and renewable energy generation plants with onsite storage, cloud computing data centers and facilities for scientists, institutions, engineers and others to research energy systems integration, renewables, smart grid and energy storage.

  4. Cities with 25-75,000 population - Most observers predict that this class of microgrids will not achieve widespread commercial acceptance until standards are in place and regulatory barriers are removed.
  5. Municipal Utilities -
  6. Cooperative Utilities
  7. Indian Tribes
  8. Large Data Centers
  9. Mission Critical Centers (for example the FAA)
  10. Mining and Manufacturing Sites
  11. Jails and Prisons - An $11.7 million microgrid project designed and built by Chevron Energy Solutions will mean Santa Rita Jail in California's Alameda County can sustain power for daily operations and security if its connection to the grid is interrupted.

    The jail's onsite power generation integrates with energy storage to ensure power is never lost. The microgrid also allows the jail to buy power from the utility during least expensive nonpeak hours and store it for use during the most expensive summer peak hours, which provides significant savings. In fact, the county anticipates it will save $100,000 per year in energy costs at the "mega jail" which covers 113 acres and houses as many as 4,000 inmates, making it the fifth largest such facility in the country. The Santa Rita Jail requires 3MW of constant, reliable electricity to maintain daily operations and ensure the safety of the inmates and staff.

    The microgrid initiative is the culmination of several renewable energy projects implemented at the jail, including solar photovoltaic panels, a 1MW fuel cell cogeneration plant and wind turbines, along with a 2 MW advanced energy storage system. The project was funded in part by the Department of Energy, the California Energy Commission and the California Public Utilities Commission.

  12. Remote locations - This segment represents the greatest number of microgrids currently operating globally, but it has the smallest average capacity. While many systems have historically featured diesel distributed energy generation (DEG), the largest growth sector is solar photovoltaics (PV). Small wind is projected to play a growing role,as well.

The United States is the current capacity leader – with at least 626MW operating by 2010 – and Pike Research estimates that capacity will increase to 2,352MW by 2015. Two of the fastest growing segments in this market are the Commercial & Industrial and Institutional/Campus sectors.
5. Benefits
  • Manage Distributed Energy Resources - See my ;DER Blog Article Microgrids could help utilities use distributed power generation systems like solar panels on customers’ rooftops in a far more effective way. Application of individual distributed generators can cause as many problems as it may solve. A better way to realize the emerging potential of distributed generation is to take a system approach which views generation and associated loads as a subsystem or a “microgrid”.

  • Avoided Transmission Investment - This, in turn, could help them cut back on the need for a massive investment (and permitting nightmare) in building lots of new high-voltage transmission lines to carry renewable power from far-off wind farms and utility-scale solar plants to towns and cities. Locally-based solar, wind, biomass generators, fuel cells and other distributed generation systems would be much more convenient sources of power, and would cut down on the line losses associated with long-range transmission to boot. But right now, distributed generation systems are more of a headache than a help for most utilities, since utilities can’t control the way those resources put power onto the grid.

  • Flexibility - Traditional Power Flow Model with AMI and Automated Switching only one switch may be open, and power always flows the same direction depending upon configuration. In a Microgrid, more than one of switches A through E can be open simultaneously without outages due to distributed generation. Power flow direction is variable.

  • Innovation - ;According to SBI Energy, microgrids will become the incubator and operational test bed for innovative smart grid solutions and vendors since it is significantly less difficult and costly to deploy smart technologies.

  • Critical Systems Resiliency - Everything is interdependent. For example, if vital communications go down, other sectors falter, but if sensitive equipment is powered locally, our vulnerable, centralized power system becomes much less critical, and is a less attractive terrorist target.

  • Islanding – The ability to separate and isolate itself from the utility’s distribution system during brownouts or blackouts. Under today’s grid protocols, all distributed generation, whether renewable or fossil-fueled, must shut down during times of power outages. This fact exasperates microgrid advocates, who argue that this is precisely when these on-site sources could offer the greatest value to both generation owners and society. Such sources could provide power services when the larger grid system has failed consumers and owners of distributed energy generation systems.

    Utility engineers have historically opposed the concept of islanding on the basis of safety and lack of control of their own power grids. The standard line was that unintentional islanding endangered the lives of crews working to restore power. Today, however, a host of new power conversion inverter technologies have convinced the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers that little islands of self-sufficient microgrids are no longer a threat to either workers or to the utility grid in general.

    During disturbances, the generation and corresponding loads can separate from the distribution system to isolate the microgrid’s load from the disturbance (providing UPS services) without harming the transmission grid’s integrity. This ability to island generation and loads together has a potential to provide a higher local reliability than that provided by the power system as a whole.

  • Reliability -Another element of fault tolerance of smart grids is decentralized power generation. Distributed generation allows individual consumers to generate power onsite, using whatever generation method they find appropriate. This allows individual loads to tailor their generation directly to their load, making them independent from grid power failures.

    • Avoid an outage altogether
    • Maintain perfect service

  • Environment - Enable cleaner alternative sources of energy, especially solar power with back up storage in homes and offices

  • Efficiency - Increase energy efficiency while reducing the need for new, expensive large centralized power plants and their power delivery infrastructure. Smart microgrids can also take advantage of waste heat from local distributed power generation to heat and cool buildings thus doubling the overall efficiency of the power generation.

  • Self-Sufficiency - Bottom-up electrification initiatives are emerging in the developing world. These are proving to be particularly efficient and cost-effective entry level approaches.

  • Resiliency - It is a decade from now. An unusually destructive storm has isolated a community or region. Ten years ago, the wait for the appearance of a utility’s “trouble trucks” would begin. The citizens would remain literally in the dark, their food spoiling, their security compromised and their families at risk. Instead, with full microgrid deployment, this future community is not waiting. Instead, it’s able immediately to take advantage of distributed resources and standards that support a Smart Grid concept known as “islanding.” Combining distributed resources of every description – rooftop PV (solar), fuel cells, electric vehicles – the community can generate sufficient electricity to keep the grocery store, the police department, traffic lights, the phone system and the community health center up and running. While it may take a week to restore the lines, the generation potential resident in the community means that citizens still have sufficient power to meet their essential needs.

  • Compatibility - Microgrids are completely compatible with the existing centralized grid, serving as a functional unit that assists in building out the existing system, helping to maximize otherwise stranded utility assets.


6. Risks/Issues
  • Legal Prohibition - One of the most significant barriers to smart microgrids is the legal prohibition against private electric lines crossing public streets. This ban is a result of the 20th century argument that consumers are best serviced by giving one organization an electricity distribution monopoly in each geographic service areas.

  • Regulation - Cross-jurisdictional Issues between federal and state regulators: FERC, NERC, Public Utility Commissions.

  • Complexity - Microgrid solutions rely on complex communication and control and are dependent on key components and require extensive site engineering. What is needed is to provide generator-based controls that enable a plug-and-play model without communication or custom engineering for each site.

  • Merging Power and Industry - As more customer-centric applications like real-time pricing, distributed generation and micro-grids are deployed; utilities must take more of an interest in the industrial automation world. What was previously a one-way relationship must become a partnership as customers become active contributors to the operation of the power system.

  • Distribution Automation (See my ;DA Blog Article)

  • Asset Management -Not overloading existing assets as we transition into and out of microgrid operations

  • Security – Cyber & Physical (See my ;Network Security Blog Article)

  • Integration of Distribution Energy Resources - Need to connect customer-owned DG to supply-demand decisions across grid. Smart Grid can take enable the current distribution system by providing more control

7. Success Criteria
  • Development of technology, tariffs, regulations, standards and controls to balance dynamic supply and demand.

  • Testing - More Investigation and pilots re: customers as supply resource

  • Plug-and-Play - Implies that a unit can be placed at any point on the electrical system without reengineering the controls

  • Voltage Regulation for local reliability and stability. Without local voltage control, systems with high penetrations of micro-sources could experience voltage and/or reactive power oscillations.

  • Distributed Generation - A necessary precursor to establishing microgrids is the creation of networks of rooftop solar, small turbine, battery storage, and other related technologies. Without distributed generation and storage capabilities, the microgrid can not survive independent of the national grid.

8. Case Studies
  • Stafford Hill Solar Farm - In August 2014, Green Mountain Power (GMP) broke ground on a solar plus energy storage microgrid in Rutland, Vermont with one expert calling it a "perfect" project. The 2.5-MW Stafford Hill solar project is being developed in conjunction with Dynapower and GroSolar and includes 4 MW of battery storage, both lithium ion and lead acid, to integrate the solar generation into the local grid, and to provide resilient power in case of a grid outage.

  • The companies said that this project is one of the first solar-only microgrids in the nation, and the first to provide full back-up to an emergency shelter on the distribution network. “Solar power and battery storage will provide clean reliable power to a school that serves as an emergency shelter, helping a community cope with loss of power in a future disaster,” said Lewis Milford, president of Clean Energy Group, which manages the Clean Energy States Alliance.

  • The energy storage component of this project is co-funded by a federal-state-NGO partnership involving the State of Vermont; the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Electricity; and the Energy Storage Technology Advancement Partnership (ESTAP), a project managed by Clean Energy States Alliance and Sandia National Laboratories.

  • Cost recovery for this project will come largely through services to the grid. During non-emergency periods, the energy storage is simply there to make the grid smoother.  The project will help further the discussion on how utilities will value grid resiliency and how to monetize emergency services.

  • Frequency regulation has now become a commercially viable business, not only because it has been demonstrated to work technically but also because FERC realized its value. Developers estimate that frequency regulation with energy storage is valued a roughly twice what frequency regulation is when it's done with fossil fuels.

    9. Companies
    1. CERTS - DOE's Consortium for Electric Reliability Technology Solutions ; ;- Program Office run by Lawrence Berkeley Labs- Formed in 1999 to research, develop, and disseminate new methods, tools, and technologies to protect and enhance the reliability of the U.S. electric power system and efficiency of competitive electricity markets. ;The objective of the CERTS Microgrid Test Bed Demonstration with American Electric Power was to enhance the ease of integrating small energy sources into a microgrid.

      CERTS is being piloted at the Sacramento Municipal Utility District(SMUD)’s corporate headquarters. Developed with help from the California Energy Commission and the University of Wisconsin, newly developed software and “smart” switches allows all generation sources and appliances and other “loads” to harmonize like a commune when the grid goes down. CERTS software is embedded in devices such as the Tecogen’s 100 kW CHP unit, reducing the price tag attached to most microgrid control systems. SMUD Microgrid Pilot Environmental Impact Report

      In the case of SMUD, its microgrid will be fueled primarily by solar photovoltaic panels, small combined heat and power units – which generate both electricity and heat from natural gas – and zinc flow batteries. It is expected to be up and running summer 2011.

    2. Eaton, Cleveland, OH - Entered the microgrid market in 2011. A global provider of power distribution, power quality, and industrial automation products for 100 years, Eaton  received a $2.4 million stimulus grant to validate its microgrid at the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center’s Construction Engineering Research Laboratory (CERL). The Eaton microgrid architecture will then be demonstrated at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.



    3. Galvin Electricity Initiative  - Founded by former Motorola chief Bob Galvin, the Galvin Electricity Initiative is leading a campaign to transform the way communities generate, deliver, and use electricity in the U.S. They promote a new smart grid paradigm that is consumer-focused and based on microgrids – the foundation of Perfect Power

      In April 2011, Galvin announced a ranking and recognition program for smart microgrid projects intended to encourage innovation in the electricity industry by emphasizing consumer needs. The program, the Perfect Power Seal of Approval™, will rank projects based on performance in the key categories of reliability, consumer empowerment, efficiency and environment, and cost.

    4. General MicroGrids, formerly Balance Energy is a San Diego-based initiative of the U.S. arm of British defense contractor BAE Systems PLC. It offers a business model tilted toward utilities, rather than end-use customers, with islanding capability often being a secondary concern.   It supplies end customers with renewable energy, and packages it up into a microgrid. Balance Energy's first project is intended to be with San Diego Gas & Electric, a $212 million project aimed at providing the University of California at San Diego with its own microgrid – a self-contained electricity generation and distribution system that can serve as an island of stability amidst a wider-scale power grid.

    5. Honeywell - (NYSE: HON) Launched its microgrid business in 2010 when it was awarded a cost plus fixed fee $4.6 million contract to develop mobile microgrids for the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research Development Engineering Center. The systems can integrate distributed solar PV as well as legacy on-site fossil generation. The microgrid will be deployed for the first time at Wheeler Air Base, Hawaii. This is a remote microgrid system that the Army claims could reduce fossil fuel consumption by 60 percent if deployed widely.

      In 2014 Honeywell was awarded a $3.4-million project to help improve energy security and surety at Fort Bragg, N.C. The company built a microgrid that uses advance controls to network new and existing backup generators on the U.S. Army post, the first application of this technology for a federal agency.  The Department of Defense (DOD)  financed the project through its Environmental Security Technology Certification Program (ESTCP), which identifies and demonstrates innovative, cost-effective technologies that address the department's energy and environmental requirements.

    6. Perfect Power System at the Illinois Institute of Technology, campus in Chicago. The Perfect Power System will allow IIT to avoid costly system upgrades and realize efficiency savings well into the future. It is estimated that the system will pay for itself as it is built, over the next five years. The project is funded by IIT and the DOE.

    7. MRC - Microgrid Resources Coalition - Advocates for formal regulatory reforms that recognize and appropriately value these services, while assuring non-discriminatory access to the grid for a wide variety of microgrid configurations and business models. Founded by Princeton University, NRG Energy, ICETEC Energy, Concord Engineering and the International District Energy Association

    8. Non-Synchronous Energy Electronics, Merrimack, NH, Specializes in sales and systems design of power electronic systems to enable efficient use of, and integration of, the power-generation applications of the future. Designs and consults for power systems using electronic AC-DC-AC power converters, and sales of the necessary equipment. These power converters are specifically designed to overcome difficult interconnection and control issues with the existing power grid as well as the supply of islanded grids.

      NSEE is working with Pareto Energy to develop a microgrid that avoids utility interconnection issues in a Stamford, Connecticut pilot project by only purchasing – and not sending back – power from the host distribution utility.



    9. Power Analytics - Escondido, CA- formerly EDSA Micro Corporation - Maker of Paladin® SmartGrid™ is the first commercially-available software platform designed specifically for the on-line management and control of next-generation “hybrid” power infrastructure incorporating both traditional utility power and on-premise power generation, e.g. solar power, wind turbines, battery storage, etc.

      It optimizes energy consumption in multi-energy source sites, whether they are focused on a single objective – such as minimizing the annual cost, carbon footprint, peak load, or public utility consumption – or a combination of objectives that vary by time, costs, energy source reliability, etc.

      Power Analytics supplied a models-based management continually updated according to external fuel factors (such as levels of sunlight) and internal factors (shifts in demand) to University of California-San Diego, a 42 MW state-of-the-art microgrid that is actually up and running today. Layered on top of this sophisticated scheduling platform is Viridity Energy’s software, designed to extract the greatest value for the microgrid owner according to real-time market conditions.

    10. SDG&E, San Diego, CA - Testing microgrids and intentional islanding in the small desert community east of the city. ;The Borrego Springs microgrid demonstration project has been designed to both enable more active participation by customers as a supply resource (in accommodating various generation and storage configurations), and to reduce the peak load of feeders and enhance system reliability.

      Borrego Springs already has a high concentration of customer-owned solar generation. SDG&E's pilot program is a three-year program of sensors, communications and control equipment, designed to incorporate these home- and business-based solar power generators, coordinate new peak load management technology, leverage smart meters and remotely control distributed generation storage devices to allow access to electricity in emergencies-in essence, the ability to "ride through" an outage. Batteries will also be installed on homes with solar panels, to aid in filling the gaps in power supplied from the panels during the day. These smaller batteries could also feed emergency supply back to the grid for short periods when needed.

      In addition to microgrid technology, the Borrego Springs project will explore numerous technologies, from battery storage to fuel cells, to balancing load on a circuit-by-circuit basis.

    11. Viridity Energy Philadelphia, PA - The Viridity Energy VPower™ system is a technology platform that transforms a customer’s portfolio of buildings and optimized supply and demand-side energy resources into a 24/7 virtual power plant. Viridity's software, designed to extract the greatest value for the microgrid owner according to real-time market conditions is part of the University of California-San Diego, a 42 MW state-of-the-art microgrid.  It is layered on top of a Power Analytics supplied models-based management system.

    Microgrid Incorporating Combined Heat and Power
    10. Links
    1. The CERTS MicroGrid Concept ;(Report: 242 KB PDF, 32 pp; Appendix: 299 KB PDF, 46 pp)

    2. Smart Microgrids: Discussing Efficient Energy Management Solutions with Valence Energy

    3. Perfect Power - Energy providers and policy makers will reinvent today's centralized power systems and integrate them with new, efficient “microgrids." - From Robert Galvin, Motorola's visionary leader and legendary former CEO, and Kurt Yeager, former CEO of the Electric Power Research Institute

    4. Microgrid: A Conceptual Solution Robert H. Lasseter, Paolo Piagi University of Wisconsin-Madison June, 2004

    5. Report of the Defense Science Board Task Force on DoD Energy Strategy, "More Fight - Less Fuel"

    6. Resource Dynamics Corporation (RDC) - Characterization of Microgrids in the United States Final Whitepaper January 2005