Taking Control: Reducing Operational Costs through Smarter Energy Use

By Lorenzi, Neal | Health Facilities Management, November 2013 | Go to article overview

Taking Control: Reducing Operational Costs through Smarter Energy Use


Lorenzi, Neal, Health Facilities Management


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The latest generation of building automation systems can help hospitals greatly improve energy management through precise monitoring and measurement tools while offering cloud-based data storage.

The latest building automation systems (BAS) offer energy management features that allow hospital facilities managers to improve efficiency and save money. These technological advances incorporate systems integration and the use of cloud technologies for data storage and computing, among other features. Precise monitoring and measurement are the keys to success.

There is a trend in hospitals to go beyond a typical building management system's scope and to use all data available to not only monitor and adjust, but to track, optimize, perform advanced analytics, improve forecasting and have truly actionable information.

When all this big data become usable information, a facilities manager can better prioritize short- and long-term workloads, and energy conservation projects, experts agree.

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Advancing efficiency

Laura Rygielski Preston, FACHE, vice president of the global health care practice at Trane, Davidson, N.C., says major advances in building automation systems with regard to hospital energy management include:

* Development of more comprehensive energy management software that incorporates advanced algorithms for demand-based control of building systems;

* Continued growth in the

areas of systems integration and the utilization of cloud technologies for data storage and computing;

* The ability to gather data from building systems and equipment that allow for continuous commissioning and more intelligent services, increasing the reliability of these systems and productivity of facilities personnel.

Jim Dagley, vice president of marketing, Johnson Controls, Milwaukee, sees advances in cloud-based energy management platforms and smart BAS integrations that link the building, business and clinical systems to optimize the environment of care. "Specifically, a growing number of health care facilities managers are leveraging software as a service to complement their BAS investment," he says. "For example, Johnson Controls offers the Panoptix solution, which is designed to collect big data from multiple BAS via the cloud, normalize it and deliver in an easy-to-use application."

More hospitals are adopting environmental and sustainability initiatives, according to Jeff Mumford, vice president and general manager, Honeywell Building Solutions, Minneapolis. To achieve these certifications, buildings require more advanced HVAC capabilities and information on energy use. "As a result, BAS have become more sophisticated in monitoring energy use throughout a facility. They enable facilities managers to quickly access that information through mobile devices, dashboards on desktops or template reports preloaded in the BAS," he notes.

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There is definitely a trend toward more energy monitoring and reporting, says Ron Holdaway, P.E., CEM, LEED AP, senior design principal of the consulting firm Smith Seckman Reid (SSR), Nashville, Tenn. In fact, measurement and verification of energy systems are becoming the standard rather than the exception.

"Engineers are specifying sensors and meters to fully measure and validate the energy-consuming systems in buildings. Wherever possible, engineers are designing the electrical distribution systems to segregate the electrical loads, HVAC, fans, lighting, plug loads, domestic water and heating," he says.

"Power monitoring gear is specified in the distribution panels, which are interfaced to the BAS," he continues. "More meters and sensors are being designed for the building's thermal systems and these are directly monitored by the BAS. With segregated measurement, we can measure, document and compare consumption of each system, not just the total building energy use.

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Taking Control: Reducing Operational Costs through Smarter Energy Use
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